Fifty ninth session - Trees, Tribes and a touch of magic

St. Ives Tabletop

26th July 2023

A bumper session with 20 attendees and a new record for most different games (twelve) played on the night, we even had to spread onto a fifth table!

Starter games were all new to the club, Canopy, Nimalia and Tsuro.


Canopy is about building a rainforest ecosystem, it has elements of Sushi Go with a push your luck card collecting mechanism with different card types scoring in different ways. It is played in seasons, where the weather, plants and tress are scored each season, but the wildlife is only scored at the end of the game. A pretty game with lots of different scoring methods; tree height, forest size, animals, plants and a few negative event cards too.

Nimalia is another animal themed game, building a nature reserve. This one has elements of Ukiyo with a pass and play then placement of cards onto the reserve where the new card must cover at least one corner of a previous card but not exceed a 6x6 grid. Played over five rounds there are four randomly selected scoring conditions and each round has a different combination of conditions actually scoring. In this game the scoring conditions were separate forests and otters being next to the same type of animal that were the most decisive though it ended up being an amicable draw for first place.

Tsuro is also a tile placing game with new tiles adding to the twisting paths being created and the aim is to keep your token on a valid path through the grid longer than anyone else. A very simple game to teach, just look for valid placement options for the tiles and decide whether to extend you line or make things complicated for your opponents.

Quacks of Quedlinburg

One table got stuck straight into The Quacks of Quedlinburg. This is a game about “Quack doctors” making potions. Each round players get potion ingredients from their bags to put in the swirling pattern of their pots. Ingredient chips have values that determine where in the pot they are placed and potentially increasing potion value. But push your luck too far and the pot will explode. This is a Euro game that has won lots of awards so it was nice to see it having a turn on the tables in club.


Photosynthesis had been requested in advance so another game of cut-throat forest growing ensued, see the session 57 blog for a gameplay overview.

The other tables split up into longer games of Pax Pamir, Wingspan and The Great Zimbabwe. These are also club staples played at either three or five sessions now.

Pax Pamir

Pax Pamir is a card based area control game set in Afghanistan. During the game all but one of the five players switched their allegiances between the British, Russian and Afghan sides to gain advantages. There were some early points scored by the Russians but control then switched to the Afghans and some well timed control checks led to the victory condition being met.


The Wingspan table used the Oceania expansion with the new food type of nectar - this helped get the game going faster as food is less limiting. In the end some good scores on the end of round bonuses clinched the victory over last round egg laying and card tucking strategies.

The Great Zimbabwe

The Great Zimbabwe table were busy building monuments to their gods and exchanging cute cow tokens, see session 27 for a longer explanation of this niche game.

Block and Key Ecosystem: Coral Reef

Then to conclude the evening the earlier finishing tables tried Block and Key also last played in session 57, Cloud 9, Photograph and club favourite Ecosystem: Coral Reef now on its fifth session.


Photograph (also known as Wind the Film) is about organising the pictures in your camera film roll so that you can play them in the right order based on numbers and colours. Your hand represents the film in your camera and it must stay in order (apart from when you wind the film). On your turn you choose 1 to 4 photos available on the table to add them to the front of your roll (your hand), then you can wind the film - move one photo in your hand - then you must develop (play) the same number of photos you took to your tableau from the back of the roll. When you play cards, to maximise your score, they must be within a certain range of the previously played colour card otherwise its a bad shot and you lose points. When the sunset card comes out everyone scores their played cards - the more cards in a run the better the score.

Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is themed around hot air balloons, a push your luck game about moving the balloon from cloud to cloud to score points but getting out before the balloon starts to fall. Players take turns each round being the pilot who rolls special dice then they have to match the dice colours to cards in their hand to see if the balloon stays aloft. The other players are guessing whether the pilot will have the right cards to stay up and hence they stay in the balloon to earn more points from higher clouds or if they should jump out and keep what they have earned so far. If the balloon fails it resets to the lowest cloud and the next pilot has a go. First to fifty points is the winner.

The next session is 9th August, where there should be another interesting mix of old favourites and new games to try. Do contact us if you have any suggestions that we can bring or matchmake in advance, via discord, twitter or email for more information.