A quick run through of Friday since I didn’t take many photos.
First up was Codinca, a game of strategy and some puzzling as you move your squares around a 4x4 grid to try and achieve certain patterns before your opponent does. I won.
Then we gave Nippon another outing: we thought it was best to get this out quickly before we forgot the rules and it ends up in the same fate as Canalmania, occasionally suggested but never chosen because no one remembers how to play it.
This time, I got my game up and running faster, with an early consolidation. Then I went mad on ships and trains. Sam, again, built six factories and was poised to make his big point-scoring move in two moves when I pointed out the game only had one turn left.
This gave me a handsome win, with Sam ruing his lost opportunity. Then, as I went to the toilet, before he packed away, he worked out what the scores would have been if his plan had worked. I still wouldn’t have won, but it would’ve been closer.
Then we played Magician’s Night a game played entirely in the dark, with only the luminous characters on the pieces visible. The idea is to nudge your cauldron into the middle while hoping you don’t knock anything off the play area. When you hear the “clunk” of a piece falling, it’s someone else's turn.
With two players, it’s not great. Just a case of pushing one way then the next. Sam won.
Then we played Heck Meck. Sam informed me during the game that on a recent holiday he’d played it against someone and lost 18-0. His luck hasn’t improved much.
I won 16-0.
The next day, me and Ian went round to Sam’s at 1.30 to try Sam’s recent acquisition: Scythe. The behemoth of a game (“It’s even heavier than Caverna,” said Sam) has a big old rule book to go with it’s figurines, cards and meeples. It looked daunting. I’d watched a half-hour walkthrough on YouTube, so I felt I had a handle on the concepts. Sam went through the rules and, before too long, we were off.
Where you sit around the table decides who you are (or vice versa) since every character has their own home base. They also have their own special powers. Mine was “meander,” which does not seem like such a great military strategy, but it meant I got to chose two options during an encounter rather than one. Encounters are like a light-hearted vignette, where a little scene plays out with rewards for the player involved.
One thing I didn’t do mcuh was expand. Unlike Sam and Ian, my empire didn't get bigger than five hexes until the very end. Sam sped to the game-ending criteria of six stars for certain achievements, while I boosted my popularity for the end of game multipliers.
Although Sam had six stars compared to mine and Ian’s four and three, my better popularity meant more returns on what I had, getting me the win.
Ian had to go home soon to look after a dog while the owner was away. We chose a short game: Bandu. Shorter than Scythe, certainly, but still longer than we’d expected. Ian went out first.
Sam and I built increasingly rickety buildings.
Last photo taken before my tower (front) collapsed
Then we fired off a quick round of Timeline, where Sam won again and Ian and I came joint second.
Then Sam and I did (most of) the Guardian cryptic crossword for last Monday, ate food, and played Pueblo where we both tried the strategy of leaving your neutral blocks until last. It was a close thing.
So now, Chris was on his way so we set up Scythe again since we knew Chris was keen to give it a try. This time Sam and I chose different characters. This time my special ability was that I was able to win more than two stars for combat. Slightly more aggressive than my previous meanderings.
This time I concentrated on upgrading my skills so everything was cheaper and better. Sam did the same. In fact, he was so efficient that he still only two workers on the board about a third of the way into the game. Chris expanded cautiously and steadily. Perhaps too much so, as his lack of specialising meant he put down fewer stars than the rest of us.
I was on four stars when Sam suddenly sped past me, putting down two stars in a turn and setting himself up for a win the next turn. My previously peaceful plans would take too long, so I had to use my special ability. I initiated two attacks, winning them both for two stars, and ending the game. Although I was less popular than Sam, my multipliers were still good enough to score another win.
I like Scythe, perhaps because I won both times, but also because of the mix of resource management and strategies. But it does satisfy the same needs as Eclipse does: an epic with many ways to win and lots of different bits to move around.
Then the three of us played Magician’s Night.
Sam charges up the pieces
With three players it’s more fun. Chris won the first one, and then liked it so much, we set it up again. I won the second thanks to Chris nudging my cauldron into the centre while trying to push his own.
I set off after this, leaving Sam and Chris to play Raptor.
What a day. What a couple of days. Thanks for hosting, Sam. Enjoy your travels and see you in two and a bit weeks.