Spiel : Boardgames in the UK

8 April 2014

Newish Boardgamegeek Blog

Filed under: — Garry @ 8:47 pm

If you’ve not already noticed (and why should you), I’ve started a blog on Boardgamegeek where I plan to post the sort of things I would have hitherto posted here. Comments on my posts here are minimal, spam comments are widespread, so I will probably stop posting here if the new blog works ok. Comments are easier there and more people tend to take notice so hopefully it will be an improvement. The blog is unimaginatively called Trickylight Relief and you can find it here. Feel free to subscribe if you want.

1 April 2014

March 2014 roundup

Filed under: — Garry @ 8:46 pm

In March, I managed to play 23 games of 19 different titles, 10 of which were new to me. The new games were: Eldritch Horror, Bang: The Dice Game, Amber, Auf Teufel komm raus, Council of Verona, CV, Fleet, Potato Man, Nox and Glass Road.

I added 12 new games to the collection which were Eldritch Horror, Habe Fertig, Potato Man, Nox, Abluxxen, Dungeon of Mandom, Kobayakawa, Wurfel Bingo, Qwixx: Das Kartenspiel, Zooloretto Mini, Glass Road and Splendor.  My unplayed list has crept up to 31, something I need to reduce during April, and Game of the Month was the excellent re-imagining of Arkham Horror: Eldritch Horror which has a great story to it and can be played in a pretty reasonable time. Our first three player session ended in failure but we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

13 March 2014

A carton of cards

Filed under: — Garry @ 9:35 pm

I had a small delivery from Amazon Germany arrive today. And when I say small, I mean four small card games whose box sizes in aggregate are about half the size of a typical Ticket to Ride box. That said, having gone through the rules of each of them, there is some interesting game play in each of them. The games I’m talking about are Habe Fertig, a game of playing in the gap by Qwixx designer, Steffen Benndorf; Potato Man, a trick taking game where not matching any suit played is the key requirement - otherwise the round ends; Nox, a wicked game of building high scoring piles of cards while trying to shrink the piles of your opponents (just make sure you have three colours showing when the round ends); and Abluxxen, by Kramer & Kiesling, where you try to build up the number of cards in front of you while snatching cards played by others and making sure you don’t get left with cards in hand when the round ends. I’m really looking forward to playing all these.


9 March 2014

Wayback When? - March ‘94, ‘99, ‘04, ‘09

Filed under: — Garry @ 9:29 pm

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 March 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.


Five years ago, I played Martin Wallace’s Brass for the first time. A meaty economic game played over two phases; the canal age and then the railway age. The other game that had a noteworthy first play was Blox, which is very different: an abstract tower building game where demolishing as well as building your towers is very important.


In March 2004, I got to play two very well regarded games. Alhambra was a variation of the earlier games Al Capone and Stimmt So by Dirk Henn and was rewarded with the Spiel des Jahres. San Juan is Andreas Seyfarth’s best game: Forget Puerto Rico. This distillation of the game into card games is absolutely brilliant and one of my favourite games of all time.


Fifteen years ago, March 1999 didn’t see any really outstanding new games played. Of the eleven titles I played during the month, the only two new titles were Fluxx and Johnny Controletti, the former of which is good fun but susceptible for outstaying its welcome and the latter is a somewhat forgettable bidding and bluffing game.


March 1994 saw me play 12 titles at the Nottingham Boardgames Club with two new games of note. Bier Borse was Sid Sackson’s Bazaar translated into collecting bottle tops to fulfil combinations displayed on beer mats. Al Capone was the first incarnation of what, as previously mentioned, eventually morphed into Alhambra. The version I have is Stimmt So and a fine game it is too.

1 March 2014

February 2014 roundup

Filed under: — Garry @ 2:32 pm

February saw me play 19 games of 18 different titles, 12 of which were new to me. The new games were: Shephy, Candy Chaser, Caverna: The Cave Farmers, Famous Fairways, Famous Fastballs, The Great Heartland Hauling Co, Greedy Kingdoms, Khmer, Palmyra, Trains & Stations, TransEuropa and Machi Koro.

I sold 45 games and added 7 new games to the collection which were Bang: The Dice Game, Khmer, Greedy Kingdoms, Famous Fairways, Famous Fastballs, Council of Verona and Age of Industry. The only game I played more than once this month was Shephy and that was only twice. My unplayed list has dropped from 32 to 30 and Game of the Month didn’t appear until the very last day of February when I played the absolutely fabulous Machi Koro. When this comes out in an English edition, it is going to be an instant purchase.

26 February 2014

Industrial Horror with a Japanese side-order

Filed under: — Garry @ 8:16 pm

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.

22 February 2014

Anything can happen in the next 24 hours

Filed under: — Garry @ 1:51 pm

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.

17 February 2014

Latest Ebay auction

Filed under: — Garry @ 8:10 pm

I have a new set of games up for sale on Ebay. Among the 56 titles are Suburbia, Tzolk’in, Dungeon Petz, Amyitis, Le Havre, Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game, Hawaii, Trajan and a first edition Through the Ages (although the last of these reflects its collectable status). The auction ends on Sunday afternoon and the full list is here.

15 February 2014

Two-player Saturday

Filed under: — Garry @ 10:22 pm

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.

11 February 2014

How many Reiner Knizia titles can you think of?

Filed under: — Garry @ 9:21 pm

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. :-)

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