Monday, 30 May 2016

La la la la la la Granja

With Sally and the boys off camping and me (Sam) unable to take tomorrow off work and join them, the silver lining to this lonely cloud was that Andrew and Ian could join me for the debut of La Granja, the game that Cuz talked me into buying but has sat fallow in my cupboard for a couple of months. As it was a bank holiday, we convened around the table at the shockingly early time of 2pm - a full two hours before Ian opened his first beer.

In La Granja you're building a farm a lá Agricola but collecting points a lá almost any Stefan Feld game you care to think of (exception: Rum and Pirates).  There's four phases that, simplified, consist of playing a card - they can be played four different ways - collecting income and sprouting crops/pigs in your fields, collecting revenue via dice, and haggling over turn order and deliveries in the central board, which represents the market town where you're selling or trading your goods. I thought Joe would like it, but I could feel the very idea of La Granja making Martin's blood pressure rise, even though he was miles away.

We got a couple of rules wrong (we would have all scored quite a few more points, we subsequently discovered) but there was no arguing with the winner: Ian ran away with it at a canter, and Andrew and I fought it out over second place.

Ian 25
Andrew 21
Sam 20

Then we broke out the perennial murmured suggestion of Ian's, Lords of Waterdeep. This has been away from the table for a good while, and since we'd never played the Undermountain expansion before we tried it out. The main difference appears to be that the quests score a lot more points, with Andrew surging ahead and staying there throughout. Suspicions that I had the building Lord were unfounded - I just didn't have any better ideas. But I managed to pull off a mini-coup in the final round, completing three quests in total to nearly catch Andrew...

Andrew 210
Sam 202
Ian 158

Sam tries to palm me off with a dodgy cube

Real life intervened at this point, and Ian had to go off to something called a barbecue. Not sure what that is. Andrew and I broke for tea, with Andrew calling out crossword clues while I rustled up some fish and rice. Then we elected to try La Granja again as a two -player, discovering our scoring errors in the process. We both did a lot better, but I snuck my first win of the day:

Sam 68
Andrew 56

It was only 9pm but we'd been playing for a good while now, and Andrew fancied something simple to finish off. I suggested The Duke, which is new to him but very easy to pick up rules-wise. It reminded me of our times at college, when we played something like sixty games of chess over an academic year... facing off over a gridded board, waiting - essentially - for your opponent to make a mistake. That was some 23 years ago! And with the trip down memory lane ending with honours even at a game apiece, we called it a night. Thanks chaps - see you all (I hope) tomorrow!

Andrew here. Just to add a note (along with some photos) that Sam and I also played Letters From Whitechapel. During the first two murders, Sam/Jack got back to his hideout quickly, while I/police slowly narrowed down the options as to where his base could be.

Then, suddenly, Jack the Ripper gave himself up, saying that he'd been cheating! He'd chosen a red circle (ie, a potential murder location) as his base, and this was against the rules. What an honest murderer!


  1. "I could feel the very idea of La Granja making Martin's blood pressure rise, even though he was miles away." - it happened just from reading the title of this post!

    Looking forward to tomorrow. I got a new game too - Imhotep!

  2. LoW was an amazing game. As we came into the final round, I had a lead of fifty points, and about 32 bonus points to come. How on Earth it ended so close, I'll never know. I'm glad I won, though. If I hadn't, I may have never played the game again.

    La Granja was good, once you got over the initial learning curve. Lots of different tactical choices.

    And I liked the Duke too. It reminded me of Shogi and, in particular, Dobutsu Shogi...

  3. Holy cow I totally forgot about Letters From Whitechapel. Honest and forgetful - not a great combo for a serial killer.