5th January 2020
Sunday gaming at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking continues.
For the first time in almost exactly 3 months all 6 of us are in the same room at the same time. So on with 50 Fathoms.
Our 3rd ship, 'The Herodica' has been repaired and is now seaworthy.
Foolishly, the party have decided to make Jacob the captain of The Herodica. Doesn't anyone know that Jacob can't sail or even swim!
We discuss our next move and decide to head to the 'Kehuna Flumes' and set off.
During our journey, we spot a convoy of ships flying the Baltimus flag.
We approach the convoy, they in turn fire their cannons at us and warn us off. We hold back and query them.
They provide us with no useful information and threaten us again.
We decide it isn't worth the trouble and sail away.
As we approach Kehuna Flumes, we start to notice sea creatures that we don't usually see in waters and the air seems warmer than expected?
Then we see 'the flumes'.
They mostly have the appearance of a vertical stack of rock.
Some of the flumes are like chimneys and rise above the sea level, most however are under water.
'The Kehuna' are a tribal people and are very protective of the region as it lush in 'mineral' resources.
In fact we see minerals being spat out of a chimney whilst we are there.
We then noticed 3 elongated bodies swimming in the water around us. They realised that they are 'long' eels. Giant eels that produce electricity, it is wise not to strike them, so we moved to a newer spot.
Since we were at the Flumes to collect Kehuna gold, we looked around for a good spot too collect some 'minerals'.
Rackham and Wind dive down and begin their search. They manage to find 8 ounces of gold before we decided to move on. It was wise to avoid any local Kehuna.
We moved to a new spot and Rackham dived down again.
Rackham acquires some 'guard sharks' in case he encounters any trouble.
After some effort, he manages to 'mine' some more gold. Now that we have enough for our purposes, Rackham resurfaces and we prepare to move on.
5th January 2020
It's a Sunday at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking.
50 Fathoms is no longer on hiatus, but one individual is running late (You know who you are!).
So in the interim we played a game of 'Death On The Cards'.
You can read my blog about it here.
.So we've said our goodbyes to 2019.
I've played lots of games and written plenty of blogs.
So below is summary of my gaming according to my quick calculations.
Number of different games played: 77.
Total number of gaming sessions: 171
Games I played the most in 2019:
So Port Royal came top and a worthy game it is too. I'm not sure if Machi Koro Legacy should count? We did play it 10 times, but that's only once through the 'legacy mode', well there it is. I've also decided to keep separate from standard Machi Koro.
Because I'm obviously very important, my opinion is equally important. So without further ado...
My game of the year: Wingspan.
A game that has some depth but is also accessible with a reasonable play length and interesting subject matter. It doesn't hurt that it has high quality production values and component.
When all are combined, it makes Wingspan a great experience.
My worst game of the year: Hit Z Road.
This game is equal parts fantastic production values and fantastically broken auction mechanics, so bad that it kills the game stone dead in my opinion.
My initial urge is to say. "Did anyone play test this?". But I know they. Which means that the awful auctions must be there for some confounding reason.
I just can't fathom why?
Surprise of the year: Heckmeck/Pickomino.
When this little game came along, I was instantly impressed.
A push your luck dice game that frequently gives players tricky decisions to make.
It proved popular with pretty much everyone I play games with. That I only bought the game in late October and it made it into my top 5 is proof.
Big fun in a small package.
These are the RPGs I played/ran in 2019.
Different RPGs: 7.
RPG Sessions: 51.
50 Fathoms/Savage Worlds: 17 Sessions.
Oubilette/Black Hack: 11.
Cthulhu Hack: 5 Sessions.
WFRP (Ran): 8.
Surrendered Lands/D&D (Ran): 6.
Agon d6: 4.
Isis & the Seven Serpents/Fate: 1.
So that was my 2019 in gaming.
Let's see what 2020 holds?
28th December 2019
Saturday lunchtime at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking. 50 Fathoms continues to be on hiatus, so we play board games instead.
We played 'Grand Austria Hotel'.
Read my blog about it here.
22nd December 2019
Gaming at 'The Sovereigns' continues.
The final game of the day and the last game before Christmas was Wayfinders.
See my blog about it here.
22nd December 2019
Sunday is here at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking. 50 Fathoms is still on hiatus so for the final get together before Christmas we're playing board games.
The first game was 'Agatha Christie's Death On The Cards'.
Will the other players learn your darkest secrets? Will you catch the murderer? Or will you manage to get away with murder! Only the cards can decide in... Death On The Cards!
What's in a game?
Death On The Cards uses 3 different types of cards. Secret cards, game cards and the 'Murderer Escapes!' card , game cards are further divided into other cards:
How's it play?
First there's setup, which is a little different depending on the number of players.
What's social disgrace? When a player has all of their secret cards turned face-up, all of their secrets have been revealed and they're disgraced.
What does this mean? It means that when they become the active player, all they can do is discard exactly 1 card and draw 1 card.
It is possible to come back from social disgrace as there some cards that allow secret cards to be turned back face-down.
How the game ends will depend on the player's role in the game.
'Death On The Cards' plays with 2-6 people and what's interesting is how the game changes depending on the number of players.
With 2 players, there's no secret to who's the murderer. The game is a war of attrition.
Now, for some maths (Hopefully my maths is correct.).
Let's look at it with 3 players.
Now lets look at a 6 player game.
This means it becomes easier for the murderer to get away with it in bigger game. Now I don't see this as a flaw, but it is definitely something that changes the dynamics of the game.
With 3 players for example, 'Death On The Cards' can be played as a straightforward card game.
With 6 players, it's much harder to capture the murderer. Players will need to form alliances and target suspicious players as quickly as possible. But then, this gives the murderer and accomplice opportunities to bluff, lie, double cross and sabotage their 'allies'. It becomes a lot more like a hidden role game.
Anyway, regardless of the mathematics, the game mechanics fit the theme very well. 'Death On The Cards' can learned quickly and plays quickly too . It's a great filler game and even though I'm not a fan of hidden role games, it's a lot of fun.
It's definitely worth giving it a try.
21st December 2019
It's the last Saturday night before Christmas and we're at Matakishi's for some board games.
This is a game about accumulating stocks in railway companies, running railway companies and paying out dividends.
Yep, this is 'Irish Gauge' and not 1830.
Irish Gauge is a game that simultaneously is the same as and also completely different to 1830.
That is, it shares the same themes as 1830, but is a quite different game.
What's in a game?
Irish Gauge components.
How's it play?
We begin with setup, which is pretty simple.
Before normal play commences, there is a 'initial auction' This is where players get to bid on and auction one share from each of the 5 companies.
In their turn, the active player can perform 1 of 4 actions, these are: Place track, place a special interest, auction a share and call for a dividend.
This is probably the most common action in the game
The game ends when there are no more cubes in the bag, either because of a dividend being called or placing a cube as a special interest on the board.
All players tot up their cash plus the initial value of the shares they own. Highest cash wins.
Irish Gauge is a railway building game with stocks and shares and companies.
It's actually quite a common theme in board games. But Irish Gauge plays nothing like any of these other games.
It seems like the basic strategy is that players need to build railways, to issue dividends, to buy shares.
Simple, right? Not necessarily.
Whilst players may want to maximise their railway network before calling dividends, to get as much money as possible to have more funds when bidding on shares during an auction.
Waiting a long time to buy shares is a risky move.
Why? There limited opportunities to call for dividends because when the game starts, there will only be 22 cubes in the bag and each dividend uses 3 cubes. So there's maximum of 8 times a dividend can be called - and the last dividend will be with 1 cube! This is of course, provided nobody uses cubes to upgrade towns.
So shares bought later in the game will benefit less because there will be less dividend pay outs. This isn't so bad if you get a shares at the initial value, but that's unlikely to occur. So paying an extra 20 to get a share that only pays out 5 twice is actually a loss of 10!
This means players will want to get shares as quick as possible, but at the same time, it's prudent to wait and see if other players have low funds as this is a great time to trigger an auction, since they may have to pass, giving the active player a share at the initial value.
It's like some sort of horrible balancing act.
There's more as well. If a player thinks they benefit from a dividend more than anyone else, then they might ignore buying shares or improving their network and may just call dividend after dividend and 'run out' the game. However there's a random element to dividends, so they may scupper themselves.
After playing the game a couple of times: It seems to me that how a player places their railway lines is a bit of a 'no-brainer'. But on reflection I don't think this is as much of an issue as I first thought. Perhaps when to call for dividends may seem more vital for the game than anything else - provided the right cubes are pulled from the bag of course.
There's a lot to think about here, which is good.
Finally, Irish Gauge plays as fast as a roadrunner with it's backside on fire.
If you're used to slow and meaty railway games, Irish Gauge may feel quite fresh with it's relatively short play time.
I'm not certain if Irish Gauge will stand up to extended play. But it's worth giving it a couple of plays at least.