Industrial Horror with a Japanese side-order

Having successfully sold 45 games in my latest Ebay auction, I have spent a small part of the proceeds. A browse of Ebay while waiting for the bids to come in revealed a copy of Martin Wallace’s Age of Industry up for sale at £10. I got it for £12.50 plus £4.00 postage which I was quite pleased about. It turned up today and most of the pieces are still unpunched. Looks like the previous owner just tried a single two-player game and decided it wasn’t for them.


Possibly against my better judgement but deciding to take advantage of a Bookdepository deal, I also grabbed a copy of Eldritch Horror for £32 with free postage. A shorter Arkham Horror with a worldwide landscape sounded intriguing and it’s been getting some very favourable reports so I’m keen to give it a go. Hopefully, we might finish it – something we didn’t achieve with AH. Should be with me around the weekend.

Finally, I decided against getting a Japanese version of Machi Koro as part of the service that Mandy Tong is providing to the favoured few (as I didn’t want to go too mad with my Japanese adventure) but having raised some cash on Ebay, I actually ordered a lovely homemade version designed by Matthew Marquand to try it out. If it’s as good as people suggest it is, I’ll definitely get an official version once a new English edition appears, but this gives me a chance to try it out. Hopefully that should appear in the next week.

Anything can happen in the next 24 hours

My latest Ebay auction has just over 24 hours to run and there are a few titles I’m surprised haven’t had any bids yet.

  • Porto Carthago is another great design about influencing the passage of ships and goods through the harbour of Carthage by Bernd Eisenstein, the designer of Peloponnes;
  • Kamisado is a beautiful and very clever abstract game by Peter Burley where the colour space you land on determines which piece your opponent has to move next;
  • Drunter & Druber is a Spiel-des-Jahres winner from Klaus Teuber about directing a city’s walls, roads and irrigation system while avoiding the precious outhouses (it was republished as Wacky Wacky West;
  • Café International is another Spiel-des-Jahres about seating customers of different nationalities at the tables in a posh café.
  • Schrille Stille is a rare game about the music industry with a unique voting mechanism and beautiful production as usual from Zoch.
  • Villa Palettti is both a Spiel-des-Jahres winner and a beautiful production from Zoch – and it’s a fun dexterity game where steady hands are crucial;
  • Alcazar is a huge game by Wolfgang Kramer which was a follow-up to the classic Big Boss and includes rules to adapt the game to fairly closely recreate that earlier game;
  • Time’s Up is the classic party game that has come out in many editions because it is that good with three rounds of increasingly difficult clue-giving;
  • Ostia is another economic game about trading in a harbour this time set in ancient Rome and it is a game of timing when to donate goods to the senate to get the best return.

There is also the very collectable first edition of Vlaada Chvatil’s Through the Ages, released in 2006 by Czech Board Games (which I’ve only played once so is in near mint condition).

There are lots more that do have bids but still at reasonable prices, particularly those by hot designers like Stefan Feld, Friedemann Friese, Uwe Rosenberg, Reiner Knizia and Kramer & Kiesling. The full list is here.

Two-player Saturday

I’ve got several two player games on my unplayed list so I managed to persuade first Jan and then Becky to help me cross a few off the list.

First up was a golf game utilising just nine cards and some markers, Famous Fairways. Eight of the cards represent the fairway, rough, water and bunkers in front of the player and the final card shows the clubs available to the players. This one didn’t click with us as it was more a challenge of positioning yourself relative to your opponent rather than against the course so didn’t feel like real golf. It worked but didn’t strike us as something we’d be bothered about playing again. Famous Fairways is here on Boardgamegeek.

Second game was much more fun. In the same series, Famous Fastballs uses eight cards and markers but portrays the classic match-up between batter and pitcher as a rock, paper, scissors guessing game. I was surprised how well it worked and how smoothly and quickly it played. Both Jan and I enjoyed this and, in a five-inning match, I came out ahead 5-3.

The third game was one of my latest shipment from Japan and, as soon as I read the rules, I knew I was going to like Khmer, and I wasn’t disappointed. It is an excellent numbers game, trying to deduce what cards your opponent has and judging when to “knock” to end play. I misjudged things and knocked when Jan had 1 point more than me. Should be played over multiple rounds really but we just played one to see how it worked. With the same feel as Love Letter, this should see a good amount of play.

The final game saw Becky and me try out my other new Japanese game, Greedy Kingdoms. This is a quick engine-building game that has a strong psychological second-guessing element as, if you can guess what cards your opponent is going to play, they’re going to be hampered in their progress. And so it was in our game, I was too obvious in my card choices and Becky got some good upgrades to allow her to build her two royal palaces before I’d even built one. Good fun though.

How many Reiner Knizia titles can you think of?

Over on Boardgamegeek, someone started a geeklist entitled “Who is the most popular designer… on your shelves?” and was looking for the top three designers by number of titles that people had in their collections. The geeklist in question is here. Well, I looked at my collection and the names of the top three weren’t a surprise:

  • Reiner Knizia
  • Wolfgang Kramer
  • Michael Schacht

However, what I didn’t expect was the number of Reiner titles that are in my collection. The answer: 89 !!! Wow!

Kramer was second with 40 and Schacht had 36.

I did also enjoy the comment someone made in response to my entry, suggesting I’d only another 500 Reiner games to go before I had them all. 🙂

Wayback when? – February ’94, ’99, ’04, ’09

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at February 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.


Five years ago was the first chance I had to play Matt Leacock’s excellent civilisation dice game, Roll Through the Ages, which is still fun today. We also got to experience Bonnie & Clyde, another in the Mystery Rummy series but a game that had been delayed so long people had forgotten how good the rest of the series had been and it, sort of, passed people by. I really enjoyed it though. The third game of note was the elegant little auction game of Byzanz designed by Emmanuel Ornella. I miss playing these clever little card games and should probably go about setting up another session outside of our current cycle to try and play some of these again.


In February 2004, I managed to play only two games and the only new game was Martin Wallace’s Princes of the Renaissance. This is a good game set in Renaissance Italy between warring princes and with a smattering of backstabbing and intrigue. Five years earlier, although I played a few more games (still only seven, what is it with February?), again I only played one new title and this was an obscure maze race game called Hey Culligan Man, later released in the U.S. as Switchboard


Twenty years ago, I played two great new games. The first was Jolly Roger, a fun set collection game with a push your luck scoring element. The second was the World Cup Tournament Football game, which was a great game of hidden teams in which the players were interested and you played chits to help their progress through the tournament. Probably a bit dated now and The World Cup Game probably does the same thing a little better.

Superbowl XLVIII session

I played a thrilling solo session of Pizza Box Football yesterday afternoon in preparation for the big event tomorrow. Could Peyton Manning lead the Broncos to victory against the NFL’s toughest defence? Let’s see.

First Quarter
Seattle kicked off but the return left Denver in good field position. Unfortunately, Manning was sacked on his very first play and Denver were forced to punt three plays later. Seattle moved the ball quite effectively and capped their opening drive with a field goal
Denver 0 Seattle 3
Denver fumbled a completed pass on their next drive giving Seattle the ball on Denver’s 23 yard line. No further progress led to a second field goal, doubling Seattle’s lead.
Denver 0 Seattle 6
Denver ended the quarter on their own 32 yard line.

Second Quarter
First play saw Manning get his first decent passing gain with 20 yards and they continued on the ground until they had to accept a field goal rather than anything better with ten minutes remaining in the half.
Denver 3 Seattle 6
The next drive saw Denver’s defence go to sleep as they first gave up 26 yards on the run and a 48 yard rushing touchdown. Ugly stuff.
Even uglier was the PAT attempt giving Seattle just six rather than seven extra points.
Denver 3 Seattle 12
Denver kept plugging away on their next drive but an interception around midfield deepened their agony. Seattle were, however, unable to capitalise and a missed long field goal attempt at least kept Denver with some hope.

Third Quarter
Russell Wilson started the third quarter in conservative mood although his running backs made sure they kept the ball. 32 yard and 24 yard gains took them to the Denver goal line and they forced their way in with Denver looking a beaten side.
Denver 3 Seattle 19
With little to lose, Manning strung a couple of good completions together to bring the Broncos to the Seahawks 25 yard line but with a fourth down and 2, Denver went for the yards rather than the field goal – and piled over with a 4 yard gain to keep the game alive. This obviously sparked the offence into life as the next play saw Manning deliver a touchdown pass to reduce the deficit to just 9.
Denver 10 Seattle 19
Seattle kept the ball for the rest of the quarter but it ended with Denver back in possession on their 33 yard line.

Fourth Quarter
Manning could sense the tide had shifted but with time running out he needed some big plays. 13 and 19 yard pass completions as well as 11 and 15 yard rushing first downs certainly looked to be the right medicine and a ten yard pass into the endzone brought the game down to a one score game.
Denver 17 Seattle 19
Seattle fans were biting their nails as their team tried to wind the clock down but they eventually had to punt the ball to Denver for one final push. Manning was in his stride now and a couple of fifteen yard passes brought them just about into field goal range. Not wanting to give up the ball, the next couple of plays stayed on the ground before one of the running backs broke through for a twenty yard gain. With just seconds left on the clock, Denver completed a remarkable comeback with a successful field goal to win the Superbowl.
Final Score:
Denver 20 Seattle 19

What a great finish!

P.S. I have no allegiance to either team. That is probably the best session of Pizza Box Football I’ve experienced and let’s hope the real thing is as exciting.

January 2014 roundup

In January I managed to play 26 games of 20 different titles, 10 of which were new to me. The new games were: Air King, Coal Baron, Bugs in the Kitchen, Escape: Illusions, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, Glastonbury, Guildhall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Das Kartenspiel, Legendary: Fantastic 4 and Speculation.

I added three new games to the collection which were Bugs in the Kitchen, Candy Chaser and Shephy. My most played game was the fun Bugs in the Kitchen at five plays although the oldie Vom Kap bis Kairo managed three plays. My unplayed list has dropped from 39 to 32 and Game of the Month was going to be either Euphoria or Speculation until the last day of the month when Coal Baron, yet another incredibly smooth game from Kramer & Kiesling, blew the competition away.