29th November 2023
It was our third annual charity night raising money for two local charities, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) and St Ives Food Bank with donations, a bake sale and a raffle. So it was lovely to have a bumper attendance of 25 gamers and a table full of varied tasty donated snacks to keep us going through the session.
The raffle was so popular this year we randomly selected two winners, James T. and Graham W. who chose Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra and Continental Divide as their prizes. Overall we made £334.97 to be shared between our chosen charities.
As we had such a big attendance we mostly played some of our games with higher player counts so we had five tables on the go with the longer games. Like last year’s charity night many of these games had a classical civilizations theme; Roman, Egyptian and Greek.
The evening started as usual with a few short games, Incan Gold, Patchwork Doodle and Sushi Go. Surprisingly this was the first time Sushi Go has been played at club. It is a nice simple pass and play game with a Japanese food set collecting theme played over three rounds.
Pre session Discord chat had suggested that Concordia would be a popular choice and in the end we had two tables both playing this five player, one on the original Rome centred map and one on the Athens centred map. This means Concordia has now had 10 plays at club making it our most popular long game. On the Greek map it was close in the final scores with Simon W. racking up a lot of points with his colonist and tools strategies but Kathy J. managed to pip him by two points with her successful immigration & settlement policy and managing to acquire a lot of the Saturn and Jupiter cards that bring end game scores for regions settled and cities built.
Colosseum was another easy decision with a few people keen to give this game another try having had a go in previous sessions (64 was the last one). With Hannah S., Natasha M. and Tom M. choosing to go straight into this as their main game, Oliver W. and Steve L. seized the remaining two spots and the opportunity to continue their ongoing battle for Colosseum supremacy. For the crucial first round investment decision, three players took the safe season ticket option (+5 spectators a round), Natasha chose to expand her arena (pretty much essential from turn 3 onwards) and Tom opted for the Emperor’s lodge, greatly increasing his chances of attracting VIPs to the show.
Early rounds were low scoring with the lead changing hands several times. Dodgy strategy from all concerned saw Hannah and Natasha alternating between making generous trades between them and then stabbing each other in the back, and the Emperor taking up almost permanent residence in Tom’s amphitheatre as the others somehow neglected to move him out when they had the chance. Round 3 saw a game highlight with Natasha wrongly claiming some sought after assets on her opening bid of 8, with Tom having to point out that Steve’s higher bid of 9 was not a decline in German.
As the game entered its final round, Hannah and Steve were separated by a single point but Steve was in the fortunate position of having all the assets needed for his magnum opus, thanks in no small part to Oliver’s generosity in trading away assets he knew would help the others. With Steve also benefiting from a run of stabby and watery themed productions and no real competition from the others for those assets, this provided decisive, but the plaudits for the most sporting player definitely went to Oliver W.
Six gamers played two missions from the Zombicide base game mission book: “Y-Zone”, a straightforward run-to-the-exit scenario, and “Grindhouse”, in which the objective is to prevent radioactive zombies from getting to the exits. Zombicide is notoriously difficult, but with good teamwork and by spreading the XP evenly across characters so as not to increase the difficulty level too early, they succeeded in both missions.
Then we had a table of three that managed to work through three medium length games. First up was Cleopatra a market based goods collecting game that then enables players to collectively build a 3D temple for Cleopatra. The player that contributed the most to the building scores the most victory points but if too many sub-standard (corrupted) goods were used to cut corners and build faster Cleopatra does find out and throws that architect to the crocodiles. It was a fun game where there was a lot of wrangling to throw away the corrupted resources, but unfortunately ended with Richie being crocodile food, and so Jeremy and Darren came first and second.
Then it was Fantastic Factories last played in session 45. Which is a worker (dice) placement game where you use energy and material to build blue prints to either train your workers, claim end of game prestige points or to enable the creation of goods. The first person to 12 goods triggers the end of game rounds, after which the person with the most goods and prestige point wins the most fantastic factory. Richie got his own back by creating the best factory and triggered the end of game and ended up with the most prestige.
Finally the table tried First Empires which is Risk with a twist. Each of the potential empires has a different empire board with 5 tracks that can be improved to add more dice to be rolled, number of re-rolls per turn, army movement points, objective cards and number of armies. They can only be improved by rolling the same symbol on the dice you roll on your turn, and having at least one army in a territory (per dice) so this gives you an initial direction on your turn. The cards you have give you further objectives to complete to get end game scores. Finally as you go up the tracks you have to place new cities in extra to your starting one, which you either conquer or protect. You can kick armies out of a territory and conquer a city with more armies than in the location which can be improved by using any fight dice rolled. Its a quick game of only 8 rounds, and the scores are made up of the objectives complete, cities conquered and protected, and the scores related to the heights reached on the empire tracks. It was a close fought game, with Jeremy just wining with his Mutapa Empire versus Karthadst (Richie) and Huaxia (Darren).
Thanks to everyone joining us for our Charity night and helping us raise a new record total for our charities. We are now having a Christmas break and club will return on 10th January 2024. We hope everyone has a lovely festive season and we see you again in the New Year, please bring along any games related presents you want to try out with other players.