Galactic!

raceforthegalaxy

Last week was the return to my regular euro gaming session, and I was joined by Azriel, Nechamiah, Rosalynn, and Sheer. After some chat catching up on the last few months, we then spent some time deciding what to play before opting for Race for the Galaxy. Sheer and I had played it before, but not Azriel, Nechamiah, or Rosalynn.

Mechanically, Race for the Galaxy is easy to play. It’s a sort of turbo charged San Juan, with some added twists. But it is one of the hardest games to understand at first playing. There are several reasons for that. The main one is that a lot of the mechanics are on the cards as symbols, and the symbols are challenging to understand and get used to. Once you have played your first complete game, and have seen how the various symbols work, and how the effects interact, it becomes much easier. But, regrettably, that first game is tough.

Inevitably – because I am a really bad player of this game, though I quite like it – Sheer won quite comfortably. Rosalynn and Nechamiah were getting in to the swing of things well by the final rounds. However, poor Azriel suffered the worst, and was struggling even at the end. I don’t think he will ever want to play that game again! Nevertheless, it was great to get the group back together again, and get some gaming in.

Thanks to those who came for making it another fun night.

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Galaxy to Germany

John, Sheer, and Yehuda joined me for this week’s session of the games group.

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We started off with Race for the Galaxy, using the Gathering Storm expansion.

  • First, when John said that one of the games he brought with him to Israel was this one, I knew he would be good at it. So it proved.
  • Second, when Yehuda said he didn’t like the game, and didn’t want to play it, I feared he would have one of his ‘less than lucky’ experiences if he could be persuaded to play. He was persuaded. So it proved.
  • Finally, Sheer was new to the game. (That brought Yehuda to the fore, as he does the rules explanations so well, and he did the business here.) I knew he would do better than 99% of first timers. So it proved.

Race for the Galaxy is a card game about hand management. There are variable actions each turn, depending on what you and your opponents choose. Your objective is to get VPs by placing cards (which are all worth VPs) on the table, or getting combinations of cards that generate you VPs.

I quite like the game, but am not any good at it. However, this time I seemed to be able to play it better, got a decent combination on the table early, and was in contention.

Poor Yehuda had a good plan, and was doing OK, when some bastard (me) brought the game to an end, and stopped him too early for his liking.

Sheer made a couple of blunders, but recovered well and was not that far off the winner’s score – probably by just one card.

But John was as effective as I feared. He soared ahead (by count of VPs on cards in play) and kept going. He won, though I came tantalizingly close, just one damn VP behind.

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After that, we witched to Hansa Teutonica, which everyone had played before and knew well.

At the start, there was the usual fight for extra actions – a fight I lost – which Sheer and Yehuda came out ahead, I think. I confess it’s the one part of the game I do not like – not that it will stop me playing it – and I rarely do well with it.

Seeing defeat in that area on the cards, I went for a different strategy: scoring VPs on the board. Because the others were too busy fighting for actions, I got a decent run at this.

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John and Sheer were doing OK, constantly scoring as we all completed the main routes.

Yehuda was doing well in a range of VP areas, but seemed to be slightly behind the curve. He would have done better had the game on longer, though.

I managed to keep in contention, and then – very luckily – was in the right place at the right time to claim a couple of bonus action chits. Those bonus actions turned out to be the margin of victory for me, with Yehuda in second place.

Thanks to all who came for being a part of a great night’s gaming.

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Winning moves

This week’s session started with Ben, David, Yehuda and me playing the cut-throat Reiner Knizia card game, Ivanhoe. It’s a neat, simple filler game which requires a careful sense of timing to match the cards you draw. Of course, there’s a decent element of luck, but a good player will tend to win more than a less skilled player. Yehuda and I had played it before, but that didn’t stop David winning. Well done that man.

We then split into two groups. Ben, David, and Yehuda played Age of Industry. Yehuda did his usual excellent job in explaining the game to newcomers Ben and David. Both picked it up quickly, developing very different strategies. The final scores were very close indeed and there seemed to be some surprise at the table when it was discovered that Ben had won; clearly Yehuda’s explanation was effective… Congratulations to Ben for the win.

Meantime Laurie, Rochelle and I played Race for the Galaxy (RFTG) followed by R-Eco.

Rochelle was a newcomer to RFTG and struggled with the icons which the game relies on. That’s not unusual, it must be said. However, the only recognized solution is to play the game again and again. Unfortunately, I doubt Rochelle will put herself through that again; she really did not enjoy it. Laurie is way too good at the game for me to come close to a challenge, so she won by a chunk of points. Laurie deserved her win.

Rochelle had her revenge, though, taking latecomer Susan, Laurie, and I to the cleaners with a convincing win at R-Eco. A notable win for Rochelle.

And thus ended another night of fun and games and winning moves. (Or in my case, losing moves.)

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Session Report – 13 December 2011

With a week away from my regular fix of gaming due to the house move, I was really looking forward to the return to the group and gaming. I was not disappointed. Although I came nowhere near winning any of the games I played in, I left Laurie and Daniel’s house on a high. I had a great night. I enjoyed myself. I had fun. That is what it’s all about. Continue reading

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