Sixty Seventh session - Root and Branch

St. Ives Tabletop

15th November 2023

Twenty two gamers arrived for a packed session with six tables on the go at once and for the first time we had two copies of the same game played on two tables at once.

Starter games included club favourites Ecosystem, Braggart, but also new games Dale of Merchants and Stella: Dixit Universe.

Dale of Merchants is a deck building game themed around a market hosted by animal folk, with multiple factions to choose from each with a trait loosely based around their animal like Snappy Scarlet Macaws or Hoarding Flying Squirrels. You have to balance gaining cards to your deck and using their powers to gain various advantages or laying some cards out to your market stall as stock. First to lay eight stacks of stock of increasing value from one to eight wins.

Stella: Dixit Universe

Stella: Dixit Universe has players interpreting Dixit picture cards after receiving a common clue word. Each player observes the Dixit cards and secretly associates these cards with the clue word using wipe clean marker boards. You gain points for selecting the same cards as the other players but lose points for selecting a card that no one else chose.

Then we split up into six tables for the longer games.

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion was back for the next part of the campaign. We had a break from Jaws last session, but James, James, Diego and Jeremy were ready for the next segment in our adventure to discover what or who was behind the strange goings on in Gloomhaven.

Adventuring spoilers... The party tracked down the building marked on the map they found on the ship to find it was a burnt empty shell. But with a little bit of digging through the rubble we found a set of stairs leading into a foul smelling chamber filled with red-robed zealots chanting something incomprehensible.

Suddenly 4 massive stones erupted from the floor, and huge cracks started appearing in the ceiling. It was time to stop whatever was going on here!

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

We are still learning some of the rules in this last training scenario. They concern Elements, Objectives and Spawning. Elements are magic essences that can be invoked by cards played and then used by someone else (including the monsters) or by your character on the next turn to perform powerful additions to other actions. Objectives are special things in the environment that generally need destroying, and, of course, Spawning is about how monsters appear when you perform various actions!

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Adventuring spoilers... So the party had 4 objectives to destroy - the summoning stones - to disrupt the ritual. Unfortunately the group did not have a good start with several bad moves and actions that either didn't land their hits or meant they didn't reach their intended targets. Joe did the best by using his void magic to control some of the zealots to attack each other and use the elements to heal other party members. But then his luck ran out when he ventured too far into the battle and got targeted and taken down.

The rest of the group rallied and managed to take out the remaining zealots and Trocian used his sickles to take down a stone golem. Theyren then triggered a spawning event by destroying the second stone - where more zealots piled into the room from another passage. Milly used her big bang to do some serious damage to a group of zealots and an objective but soon succumbed to a barrage of blows.

Theyren deftly took out the last objective, whilst Trocian healed, but unfortunately they were overwhelmed by more foes from the depths and so we had to concede the scenario.

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

This night, we found out what happens when you fail a scenario. You keep the coins looted and your experience gained during the scenario, and you get to try again. This was a difficult scenario, but one everyone is keen to try with a different strategy!


Two tables chose Root, which is an asymmetric game with different forest denizen factions fighting for control over the woodlands. Root has been very popular at club, being played five times previously between sessions 32 and 40 so good to see it back out on the tables again.


Photosynthesis has a different woodland theme, this time planting and growing a forest and taking care to think ahead to where the light and shade will fall. See session 57 for a previous gameplay review.


Ra was last played in session 63 and had the players in this Egyptian themed game collecting tiles with a variety of victory point scoring mechanisms through an auction mechanic over three epochs.

Wreck Raiders

Wreck Raiders was a new game this session, it has a diving and treasure collection theme. Divers can collect four different types of treasure and/or seashells in order to furnish their museum with sets of items matching requirement cards or keep their loot private in their vault, where the aim is to collect each of the 12 unique treasure items. Shells can also be used to acquire parts of an aquarium which can have many levels. One feature of the game is that new dives can either move previous divers off a site to the beach gaining them shells or giving adjacent divers treasure as well as the new diver, so you can end up helping your opponents collect items when acquiring specific items for yourself. The end result was pretty close between the top three players with a balanced strategy across the three scoring methods being an important factor.

Welcome To The Moon

Then the table moved on from diving suits to spacesuits with Welcome to the Moon. This was first played in session 21 which has a brief review. We played the first and simplest board as there were a few new players and were quickly filling our rockets. However Dave B. was best at filling his compartments and triggering extra actions and blasted off convincingly ahead of the rest.

Roll Through The Ages

Then we finished the session off with Roll through the Ages which is a variant on Yahtzee with dice rolling and icon locking providing a variety of ways of scoring. Also Zoo Vadis an evolution of Reiner Knizia’s classic negotiation game, Quo Vadis? which we played in session 29. In order to join the star exhibit, each species must campaign its way up the hierarchy of enclosures with the majority support of animal voters. This is a political scheming and strategic negotiation game to get your animal faction the most votes.

Zoo Vadis

The next session is 29th November, the last session of the year and our annual charity night. We will be splitting any donations received between EACH and St Ives food bank. We hope to see another big turnout and will gratefully receive donations on the door or from the games raffle and bake sale that members can also kindly donate to.

There will be no sessions in December due to the Christmas holiday, but we restart 2024 on January 10th.