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Gamer's Notebook, November 2009
November 30, 2009 12:39 PM

It has been a while. Too many reasons to explain, but apologies. What you have below are my thoughts on games recently played at the Eastbourne convention here in the UK. Next time, and I promise it before Christmas, there will be another batch of new games written up, plus (probably) The 2009 Sumos.

Paulo Mori for Z-Man

I don’t think I have ever seen such a good game come out of such a small box… Pocket Battles is right up my street. A quick, easily learned game that is both reasonably historical and fun. To be honest I wasn’t at all hopeful after reading the rules and play sheets, which have some small holes and fuzziness, but in play it all came together well.

This is how quick it is: choose your army up to a set number of points, take 10% of that number in command chips which are depleted when hits are taken. Set up the armies. Attack. Win by killing 50% of the enemy points. That’s it. As a result, a common complaint is that the game is over too quickly (oh, what a disaster!). We had games that were over after a handful of turns – this is a decisive system. So play best of three, or just choose bigger armies. Problem solved.

Pocket Battles is one of those games that punches above its weight. The best guidance I can offer is a game somewhere between Battleline and Command & Colors: Ancients. This first set is Romans vs Celts. But I suspect we will see more armies, more periods and, inevitably, fantasy battles before too long. Assuming, that is, everyone likes it as much as I did. Some units have traits, such as fury for berserkers and command for Roman generals. These give a good feel for the different troop types even if some (Druids) do stretch the historical envelope.

Overall we are talking deadly, fast and fun here, with army choice, set up and play in about thirty minutes or less. Think below C&C:A’s complexity level, but much quicker. The game can indeed turn on a bad or good die roll, but that rather adds to the narrative appeal with a sense of making your own luck. The historicity will be the test for some hardcore wargamers, but we had some believable stuff going on at the combat level if not the command, and it would be very easy to tweak the setup and add on further rules. On my buy list, and a nice surprise.

Andreas Steding for Argentum

While he has produced some oddities, Andreas Steding always comes up with an interesting game. Hansa Teutonica, as befits its name, is a dyed in the wool German Game, riffing on the network building/trader theme. While we have seen many of these network games - some good, some bad – I think I can now say, after four games, that this one is among the best. It solves a lot of the common issues and, with the right people, really rattles along. There are several ways to score VPs, the game end triggers add a pacing dimension, and it has that lovely, ‘Can’t wait for my turn’, quality. My first game was excellent, the second marred by being kicked a lot by rival players, the third and fourth games returned to form. I was impressed and so were all the others that played.

This is a game you will learn by instalments. The early play is quite leisurely and friendly. Even fun. Later in the game you will experience the pain of interaction, and needing to pronounce escritoire all the time. Then you start to work out new tactics and strategies, for this game has many. By the second or third game you will have realised how tactical, cutthroat and just plain nasty Hansa can be. Some players take this sort of thing well, others get very stubborn, and some are genuinely hurt. Because the game will drag with slow gamers, you need to choose your opponents well: thick skins and fast brains should do it.

Hansa Teutonica is hampered by some woolly rules; the drafting is poor throughout and, worryingly, some German words remain untranslated…). The play aids aren’t much better (fancy Latin terms in games never really work), but we were there by game three. The board is nicely rendered, but the white Germanic text on pale grey is a disgrace – town names can’t be read, so much historical and geographical flavour is lost. But overall this one has struck a chord and I am putting it right up there in my favourites of the year so far. I wouldn’t want to be playing for more than 90 minutes with five, and I have a nagging doubt about something indefinable lurking, so I am really hoping this has been tested to destruction. That slight caveat aside, highly recommended.

Hanno & Wilfried Kuhn for DDD Verlag

I like this company and, by extension, these designers. Last year I played their earlier effort - Die Wiege der Renaissance - and while it wasn’t quite there, I saw enough clever ideas and differentiation to make me sit up and take notice. When I finally got a chance to play Uruk recently I was hopeful, even a bit excited. Fortunately I was not disappointed and managed three games in the same weekend. That doesn’t happen very often. Plus, I now have Seidenstrasse to hunt down…

Uruk is another game from the Civilization-lite school. It is a small box game, is reasonably priced, and gets the best out of its limited components. Clever use of cards and cubes, and an hour or less duration, makes this a game that can be played on a train, and we did exactly that.

The game is simplicity itself. You have five slots in which to place inventions, or Civilization cards if you prefer. Think bean fields, but there is no planting in this game. You start in Epoch I with a basic skill and, fairly quickly, you build more low level cards. Soon you will be able to purchase a settlement which validates your slot for more VP’s, and later these upgrade to cities which double the slot value. Time passes, Epoch II and III come along, and you start to overlay your original slots. You will now be looking at more powerful cards, useful combinations and even game winning coups. In the later stages gods appear, as do disasters, and the game accelerates to the endgame. While cards buy cards, which can generate resource cubes, and cubes buy settlements, Uruk somehow manages to avoid that conversion game ennui that many of us are now suffering.

After the third game I started to pick up some concerns from other players. Firstly, there was a suspicion that the game could often be close overall, and a marginal win may come down to a lucky run of card draws, or timing and focus of a god or disaster. For me, given the speed of play and the weight, this is okay. If anything it is a plus. I can’t see myself levelling the same complaint at Roll Through The Ages, for instance, which has similar victory points/turn considerations. Also, Uruk can finish quite quickly. Epoch III in particular can disappear in a blur. Perhaps, as with all these lite games, we are left wanting a little more.

Secondly, interaction is undoubtedly low, and in some cases minimal – the whole thing is a race, you keep an eye on the other players’ actions, count cards if you wish, and sometimes you get a chance to make a build that affects them, or pushes on the game tempo to your advantage. But in the main you are building your own empire, as quickly and efficiently as you can. There are no armies, and so no combat. There is not even trading (there may be, as we haven’t seen all the cards). Again, the game length mitigates this criticism but it may bother others more than it does me.

As you can tell, I was impressed with Uruk. As soon as you start playing it is clear that the designers have grasped the problem and made a decent fist of cracking it. It felt quite fresh and, like all these new fangled fast and solid games, it gives me confidence in seeing some really classy games in a year or two. Another firm buy…

Stefan Feld for Queen

I like Stefan Feld’s games; even if he does sometimes run against my preferences, the designs are always good quality. That said, I don’t have much to say this time as apart from new cards and some minor play tweaks, this is much the same game as Roma, still one of my favourite two player games. In fairness to Queen’s marketing team, Arena is both a stand-alone game and an expansion to Roma, which rather covers all the bases. It isn’t very expensive either. In an ideal world I had hoped it would take Roma to the multi-player level, but that treat hopefully lies in the future. Meanwhile, this delivers exactly what you might expect and all fans of Roma should buy Arena immediately.

Richard Sivel for Histogame

Another short review, because there is no need for a longer one. Everyone who played raved about this follow-up to the excellent Frederick. This time, the three players have well balanced armies and options, and there are some minor improvements to the system. The map is gorgeous. So, it would seem difficult to go wrong here. Another buy for me, even though I didn’t get to play it. I don’t expect it to be cheap when I get the chance.

Dirk Henn for Queen

The latest from Queen and Dirk Henn, a designer who once sold you games from his backpack, but who now has probably made it to the elite group of designers. Seemingly Queen will publish anything he delivers, so that can’t be a bad gig. I say that advisedly as Colonia doesn’t quite work. There is much that does, but it is the final reckoning that is flawed, which leaves a strong sense of anti-climax.

In essence, this is a game governed by the days of the week, which is a pleasing idea. We all progress through the week, phase by phase, placing workers, visiting the market, producing goods, passing bye-laws, loading goods onto ships, sailing for foreign lands, earning foreign currency and finally, on Sunday, buying relics (VPs) at the church. It is mainly resource conversion with knobs on, and nothing we haven’t seen before, but it is fair to say that each day has something original going for it – the waiting list for the tradesmens’ goods is especially clever. Shorn of theme, this is buy resource a, convert to b, to c, to d and then e. Added back in, the theme just about raises it above the abstract algebra.

But when we get to the end of the cycle, there is a big problem. You have carefully worked your way through the week, planning and squeezing out your optimum play. Come Friday it is starting to get a bit chaotic, Saturday compounds to that feeling, and by Sunday you are desperate. In short, you lose control of how many d’s and e’s you can reliably identify and obtain, so you take what is on offer and make the best of it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but to go through all that, and to commit two valuable gaming hours, you rather expect more correlation between effort and reward. Don’t get me wrong, this is a decent game but even I, a notoriously uncompetitive gamer, wanted a more refined end game because I felt short changed. So good in parts, and plenty of ingenious ideas, but on balance not properly finished. The result was, quite surprisingly, a game that none of us felt we needed to play again in a hurry.

Paolo Mori for What’s Your Game?

This is a much bigger game from the designer of Pocket Battles, showing his range and talent. Vasco da Gama is the archetypal Euro design, offering a set of tweaked, clever mechanisms, role selection and a brand new action selection/auction technique, all wrapped up in a thinnish theme. Phew. This time we are buying, crewing and launching ships to sail to India and set up trade ports. I thought the sub-games, the coastal contest and the action selection worked very well, but the latter wasn’t perhaps shown in its best light. The mechanism allows for fine and discrete player order resolution, but I felt we didn’t always need that level of granularity. Still, it does work. Like Colonia there is a sense of just going through the motions and I wasn’t engaged overall in a theme I should theoretically enjoy. Between me and you, I thought it would work much better as a space race game: public opinion, recruiting astronauts, obtaining funding, suffering political setbacks, and launching missions. Yes, on balance, that would have been better. Overall, good but not great, but offering plenty of quality hints for Mr Mori’s next design.

Bruce Allen for Zoch

And to finish, a really excellent game that reminds me of why we play German games. Tobago is a lightish, family style Euro, so you wargamer types can put your wallet away, but this is a brilliant design, with lovely graphics and a fun, original system all in one (admittedly rather expensive) box. It has family Game of the Year written all over it, if only I could be bothered with such things.

On the island of Tobago are several buried treasures that are slowly tracked down by the play of clue cards. We all drive around in ATV’s hoping to be first to the site, but anyone who helped to locate the treasure gets a share when it is finally dug up. The share out mechanism is a rather nifty card draft with a couple of kickers, and it makes for a short, intense decision making sequence. There are three neat systems on offer here (movement, treasure locating, and treasure sharing) and the whole thing plays in an hour. Universally liked, even by the jaded bunch of gamers I played with. Highly recommended.

Mike Siggins

Postscript: I couldn’t make Essen this year. A long time friend and gamer passed away suddenly and I felt my loyalties were to her family – my best friend Paul, and my godsons – rather than a trip to Germany.

Jayne Townsend, 1959-2009.

I therefore, as last year, hand over to Chris Payne who did an excellent job of spotting the new releases.

Essen 2009
by Chris Payne

There is an old English saying ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’, which has become a modern American saying of, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, and I would use this to describe the response to games this year at Essen. Not only was the party of four that I travel with often split on views on games but that seemed to be echoed with other people that I spoke to as well. This year was one of the hardest years to decide which games are the potential long-term classics and which will fall by the wayside.

For me personally, space to store games (I have 475 already) has become an issue and the poor Pound:Euro exchange rate meant that €30-€40 for a game equalled the same amount in pounds. So savings from Essen purchases compared with buying from my FLGS at home were close to non-existent at times. So, I’m looking for the best in games that expand my frontiers of gameplay, or which cover topics or areas that interest me.

Of course Spiel is still enjoyable, but it is long days and late evenings, with the mental exertion not only of playing lots of games but hearing the explanations, descriptions and tales of many more, with a diet of meat, beer and cream with the occasional fruit or vegetable thrown in. And this year for some reason seemed to be one of the more gruelling Essen’s that I have been to, in a year when my remit was very open.

As always with 500+ new games and 27 hours at the show, what follows must be a personal view. This year’s top runners were always going to be dominated by the fanboys with the release of Gates of Loyang and Fabrik Manager and these dominated the Fairplay lists. Both of these games will be more than adequately covered elsewhere. So, what of the rest? Before I went I had an “A” list and a “B” list of games that I wanted to play, or at least get a run-through of play and a look at. I managed to cover in one way or another virtually all of my A list, and little of the B list. I was originally giving games a marking in my comments but have now deleted them after my comments on Savannah Tails as its marking really does depend on if I want a game to play in a family setting or if I want a game with hardcore gamers.

Two other trends featured heavily in the halls: Dominion and its expansions were being heavily promoted and Train games, train maps and train game expansions also seemed present in numbers and again will be heavily covered elsewhere.

First game that I got to play was Endeavor (Magister Navis in German) and by agreement with Z Man we were able to play a full game from start to finish, whereas future gamers were likely to be time curtailed as had happened to us last year with El Capitan. It’s good that we were able to play through fully; otherwise I could have had very different views on this as the ability to place tokens and do things expanded rapidly on turn 4/5 after a slow start.

The game is about scoring victory points for building settlements and trade routes, and this is done by activating buildings that offer tokens (essentially workers) for placement, money to pay workers, raw materials for expansion or the ability to generate new workers. Advancement along these tracks will also earn victory points at the game end. As an economic resource management game it is very easy to end up in a state of mismanagement: too many workers to place or not enough resources to pay them, or more money than is needed to pay the workers you have. Using buildings to “do” things seemed reminiscent of Puerto Rico or Agricola, and advancing along dual ability/victory point tracks reminds me of another game that I cannot currently place. That said Endeavor stands in its own right as a game and not just a blend of older games recycled: there is something new in mix although it is quite hard to place exactly what that is. As always, some possible strategies emerged during the first game, and there was lots of ‘next game I would do this’ comments. Random placement of the bonus markers will ensure every game is different (we were told after placement that we would have an especially slow game to develop after no extra turn markers appeared in Europe) which is something I generally like from my games. The Slavery issue has been debated in the hobby: my personal stance on it is that is historically accurate to reflect it, and the game mechanisms do remind people of the exploitation.

Endeavor Summary

Likes: random marker placement ensuring game variety, variety of building options (although I would have liked a few more) causing different tactics from different players.
Dislikes: stylised swirly board pattern that meant at times some trade routes weren’t as clear as they might be.
Buying: Personally wavering, one yes, two no.

Each Essen brings some changes in games companies and their apparent standing as judged by the hall they are in, and the size of stand and glitz that has gone into the stand. International enclaves and alliances also seemed to be the order of the day this year with the French and Italian speaking stands clustered near to each other. From the voices I heard in the hall though I would guess that the number of foreign visitors (including Americans) was down, I suspect because of the financial costs of attending. Boardgamegeek.com though were there in force, both with the game, promoting the website itself and encouraging visitors to log what games they had played during the fair. I got to shake Derk’s hand as well.

My next game was from one of those companies moving apparently up in the league tables: Eggert Spiele with now not only their stand in hall 9 but also their tented stand in hall 12. Superficially Havana looks like Cuba – the cards, the cubes and the action cards all look very familiar. The game is not language independent the card test is important and the game is of the length and style where you need to be able to read the cards reasonably quickly to get the most out of it. The game is pitched at a different level to Cuba (shorter although not necessarily easier) and with more direct interaction between the players as resources change owners. There is luck in the game from what resource cubes get drawn from the bag and the effect of other players on the turn order. There is skill in the game in the card management.

Havana Summary

Dislikes: some randomness in play caused by the mechanics and the superficial resemblance to Cuba.
Buying: Personally wavering, one yes, two no.

I stand to be corrected but the Scots I suspect are in a global village of one stand at Essen represented by Fragor. I don’t think Fragor have ever done a bad game, it’s just that their target audience can substantially vary with each game. This year was Savannah Tails, featuring ostrich racing. Race game, modular board and fairly fast game play, with sensible price tag at the show (€23) should have made this an essential purchase for me, yet it wasn’t. I already have Snow Tails and whilst the movement mechanic is different in Savannah Tails the game itself seemed much more luck based than Snow Tails. Cards come in different colours and numbers, and broadly speaking its play a card and move that number of spaces and end up on a space of that colour. Only one movement across the track is allowed each turn and some track spaces have different effects. There is some element of card management and forward planning but I would put Savannah Tails at the family game end of the race game market with Snow Tails nudging into the gamer’s game market.

Dislikes: Luck element on the card draw, lack of relationship between cards in the deck and length of course. For shorter courses I think there needs to be some element of removing the higher value cards to equal out the card draw element.
Likes: Quick, reasonably simple and ostrich shaped meeples.
Buying: One yes, three (including me) no.

Credit must go to the Fragor team though. Normally Scotsmen are famous for their parsimony. The Leap of Death expansion tile (for Snow Tails) was originally going to be only available on presentation of the big paws tile from Snow Tails, but the policy at the Spiel seemed to be more relaxed and I heard the quote from Gordon “If we have them, we give them out, and we get given them at various times”.

Political/Diplomacy games have always had an interest for me, but I also dislike where a political game is defined as “extended and protracted negotiation”. I gave up playing Diplomacy when I ceased being a student and these days I want some structure to my games, if only to keep the negotiation to a reasonable limit. Caligula was therefore of interest. We only played a shortened game (fewer action cards) and with a relatively poor initial rules explanation and a designer who clearly likes his use of Latin words and phrases we were off. The game is about bumping off emperors and choosing if to join conspiracies to bump them off or keep your man on the throne, or waiting until you are in a stronger position to do something. Caligula is always the first emperor to be bumped off and some of our team felt that the title was somewhat inappropriate as a result. This seemed to be a game where one understood the mechanics fairly quickly or struggled with how to achieve anything. A later rules explanation in the game helped as did access to the rules. This is a boardgame where cards on the table form the board.

Caligula Summary

Dislikes: not very intuitive.
Likes: Political game, seemed to work.
Buying: Two yes (including me), two no.

Every Essen seems to have a ‘sleeper’ waiting to be found and Vasco da Gama may have been that game, although it was soon winkled out. Relatively unknown company and unknown designer, but the looks of something promising and a hot tip or two. We played this on Friday morning. Score victory points by sending boats on expeditions. Boats come in different sizes with different crew requirements and occasional bonuses. Crew are dealt in five random groups: buy all of one colour from a group for 1 gold, buy all of two colours for 3, and buy 3 colours for 6 and so on. Captains cost the number of crew actually taken and each ship needs a captain. What was novel in this was the move sequence: broadly speaking (and there are always a few tweaks) it was take one of your action chits (four per round) and take an activation number chit with a range of 1-20. Want to go later, then take a high number, want to go earlier then take a low number.

The catch (there’s always one) is that activation number may have to be paid for: there is a marker which as a starting place within the turn order chits, and before they are activated it may be moved randomly upwards or downwards up to four coins, so you have some guidance but do not know exactly where it will end up. Activation chits above the number will always be free, but those lower will have to pay the difference if one wants to activate the chit. If one chooses to do nil action with the marker then there is some monetary compensation. Vasco da Gama had a very Caylus feel to it – everything always seemed tight: money, crew, ships, captains just about went around but carefully planning was needed, and planning was definitely needed on the activation numbers. In this respect it had elements of Goa where at times I have had to write down the order in which I have to do things to achieve what I want to do, to avoid the embarrassing things such as taking the money with the action after I needed it to spend on the acquiring seamen action.

Dislikes: some of the graphics (on ships and on board) could be a tiny bit more user friendly and the captain pieces were tiny for big fingers. I suspect there is huge scope for analysis paralysis prone people to agonise over both what to do and what activation chit number to take.
Likes: Tight gameplay (each decision counts), novel turn activation system.
Buying: One collectively for a particular purpose, otherwise four no’s but sold out as the later decision to buy was made by some.

Tobago was next up. Concept sounded very clever –search for buried treasure by playing clue cards to determine where the treasure is. The mechanics are very clever and cards will define where a treasure is (e.g. within two spaces of the coast), or where is treasure is not (e.g. not within a jungle). Once a treasure is specific to one location then all those involved in finding it (defined as playing a clue card to determine its location or the person to physically drive to it and dig it up) will participate in the spoils. Spoils are treasure cards with various values, and are chosen in a reverse order of clue placement on a limited knowledge basis. A couple of curse cards in the treasure card mix spice up the decision on taking treasures.

Tobago Summary

Dislikes: the scope (and time) for analysis paralysis prone people to determine what card to play, probably a bit light for a gamers game.
Likes: very clever system, semi random board and set up ensuring variety of play.
Buying: Four no’s: game should be readily available in the UK and this probably a bit light on gameplay without being a filler game in terms of time for most of the group.

The last final big game that we could guarantee to play because of early access to the hall was Cyclades. Lovely production (although plastic figures and monsters are to follow once they arrive (from China probably) with wooden gaming pieces in the interim. Place men and fleets for territory control, although winning the game is achieved by building two metropolises which require one each of four buildings in your control. These buildings need to be ones that you have either built, or other peoples’ that you have managed to acquire by combat. Actions in turn depend upon the favours of the Gods, and having enough gold to pay for them. One God (with specific powers) per player is available each turn, but with fewer than five players the choice will be random although Apollo is always available. Any God not appearing will be available on the following turn. Bidding for the God’s favours runs on an Evo type system: if a higher bid appears on your God you are forced to bid on a different God. Monsters are also available for hire on payment of gold on a random choice of what is available (three different ones).

Two of us felt that given this was a building domination game then there could be swings backwards and forwards and a “pick on the leader” type problem until someone was able to hang onto a winning position. In the event a “sudden win” occurred where by the use of one of the Gods and one of the special Monsters (Pegasus – the equivalent of an airborne drop) someone was able to do more than the rest us expected, or were watching for, on the one turn.

Cyclades Summary

Likes: Graphics and components, nice combination of economic and military game. No elimination as a player’s last island may never be attacked.
Dislikes: Lack of control to move towards victory. If the God you need doesn’t come up when you need it, or you get outbid, then it may be several turns before you can achieve what you want. Two of us had concerns about game length before the “island too far” became the “island too soon”.
Buying: two yes, two didn’t (including me).

Saturday seemed to be combat day as we followed with Ants! Be the last ant colony standing. Build PeasANTS and SergeANTS to advance and defend your colony and gather food with which to build more ants. Attack the other colonies until you can eliminate the Queen. Cute graphics and reasonable gameplay from (I assume) a new British designer. Our four player game ended up as a slugfest between two players, whilst one player was eliminated very early on. Our initial feelings are that this would turn into a game swinging backwards and forwards until somebody won, whilst the elimination aspect meant that somebody could be looking for something else to do for a substantial length of time. Perhaps I’ve become too used to playing Eurogames that don’t have player elimination as a feature normally, or if they do, then there is often some aspect that is then introduced that speeds up the endgame so that a short while later (say 20 minutes) the game is over. Twenty minutes can soon be lost in a comfort break, or teabreak without people feeling unduly upset.

Ants Summary

Likes: Graphics, concept.
Dislikes: Player elimination, potential length, randomness of the food drops causing major changes in the game.
Buying: none (although if the player elimination issue and potential game length can be addressed this could be a good “Euro wargame”).

From Ants we moved to another title beginning with A: Atlantis. The Austrian Spiel Museum had a number of tables given over to this, and some very kind German speaking people who were vacating the table stayed behind to explain the game in excellent English. Pre show there were some thoughts that this was “That’s Life/Verflixxt” with attitude and I can see why, although this is different. Move along tiles by card, pick tiles up from the square behind where you land (which then become victory points), and create water areas which then have to be paid for in cards or victory points. A mixture of skill (card management) and luck (card drawing) in a nicely presented game.

Atlantis Summary

Likes: graphics, gameplay.
Dislikes: Felt very much like an abstract game with the theme pasted on. There might be scope for the analysis paralysis freaks to ruin this game, although a process of elimination should soon narrow options down.
Buying: One (who can cope with a German version), three no’s (including me). I’m waiting to see how much an English version retails for, and I suspect the free expansion the spiel museum was giving away (boats) will expand the gameplay greatly. At least one other of my crew now regrets not buying this.

Other Personal Purchases.

The three player expansion for Krakow 1325. As per my last Essen report I like the flavour, graphics and feel for this game, even if for some people it is too simple or random.

Expansion for Marquis (LudoArt).

Inquisitio and Modern Society. The former sounded interesting as a political/intrigue game from the description beforehand and from what gameplay I saw, even if the topic is a little “dark”. The second game I saw being played and sounded interesting and was a purchase to take advantage of a multiple discount deal.

Copies of reasonably priced TransAmerica and Hey that's my fish (in foreign language editions) to give away as Christmas presents to spread the hobby.

I received a copy of the BoardGameGeek Game due to my involvement with its design. Graphically astonishing, I consider the gameplay puts it at the lighter end of the gamer’s game market.

Tricky Trek to get the expansion for Factory Fun.

Mosaix for my partner who will play games occasionally preferring puzzle games like Take it Easy or Factory Fun, or the hardcore two player gaming action of Lost Cities.

So, how am I left now that Spiel 09 is over?

Most regretted non purchases: Vasco Da Gama (sold out at some point), Court of the Medici (sold out very quickly), Atlantis (but I do need English rules).
Most regretted non look at: Dungeonlords, Albion, Assyria
Most missed no show: Lords of the High Frontier
Most awaited to appear in English: Macao
On the Wavering list: Endeavor / Havana / Shipyard
Most disappointed: lack of a deal on buying Ghost Stories together with the expansion at a discount price.
Meat or Poison?: Carson City, Colonia, El Paso, Grenada, Stronghold, Peloponnes, Rise of Empires.
Still searching for: that Civ Lite game that gives me the flavour of Avalon’s Hill’s Advanced Civilisation in half the time.

Chris Payne

Mike Siggins

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