Fifty eighth session - Life, Lucre and Liquor

St. Ives Tabletop

12th July 2023

We had 15 attendees, including 3 first timers, and played a mix of new and old games mostly with themes about life, money and spirit making.

The night started with some favourite short games of Ecosystem: Coral Reef and High Society before splitting into groups for some larger games.

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition

One of the big games of the night was Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition. For those not familiar with Ares Expedition, it is a simplified version of its bigger brother, with streamlined engine building mechanics, many similar project cards and the same corporations but no city building. Despite having a board roughly the same size as a mouse mat, it still has a fairly large footprint due to the high number of cards involved. Early play saw Helion able to exploit its heat production bonus and take a handy lead in terraform rating, but the other corps gradually made up the difference giving what looked like a very close finish. Or not. With the main card deck divided into two halves for ease of play, final scoring showed that the half deck on one side of the board had held most of the cards giving bonus victory points! All in all a very enjoyable game, but better pre game shuffling may be needed next time!

Earth Earth

A table of 4 players sat down to play a game of the recently published Earth. In Earth, players compete to make the best island through a tableau building mechanic. Each turn, the active player chooses one action from planting, watering, composting, or growing. They then get the major benefit associated with these, while the other players get the minor benefit. This means there is very little downtime. To finish the round, all players activate any actions of the associated action colour. The game continues until one player completes their 16 card tableau and at this point scoring begins. There are many ways to score, including individual and game objectives, which change each game and provide lots of variability. The game is also beautifully made with great artwork and components including growable trees! We’re sure this game will be back at a future session.


Another table was set up for a 5-player game of Distilled, which is a highly thematic game about creating and selling various spirits. The game has a good combination of strategy and push-your-luck elements to it.

Each spirit has a recipe that requires a particular blend of ingredients, and as some ingredients are lost during the distilling process, you never quite know what you are going to end up with unless you have planned very carefully in advance.

The game is played over a course of seven rounds where you can learn new recipes, buy ingredients and items from a market, create and sell your spirits to gain spirit points. Players are also working toward their own secret goals, and there are five public goals called spirit award tokens also up for grabs, but only for the player who gets there first. This game went down to the wire, with not much to separate the first two players. However, the player who won ended up collecting four of the five available spirit award tokens to seal their victory!


Simon W. brought Concordia back to the club, it never left our hearts and minds (being a favourite of several members of the committee). Concordia may be a plain looking euro-style game, but the game play is clean and sharp - it gets to the core of collecting resources, expanding (merchant houses) across the map, and buying scoring cards; there’s nothing extra or overwrought in the design. Three of us danced around the Italia map, the wine was flowing freely and much cloth was sold. The end game came sooner than two players expected, thanks to some excellent racing towards the finish, and that hurt those players scores enough to seal the win. Within the game there are not many paths to victory, there is some specialisation in specific scoring cards (i.e. gods) but the mechanics to achieve them are all the same; that is what makes Concordia such a solid and enjoyable game (as well as being so easy to teach). This is the seventh time we’ve played Concordia at the club, and I expect to see it come out again soon.

The next session is 26th July, please come and join us for more games. Contact us via discord, twitter or email for more information or to suggest games you want to play or are going to bring.