Spiel : Boardgames in the UK

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.

2 February 2014

Superbowl XLVIII session

Filed under: — Garry @ 8:48 am

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.

27 January 2014

Holiday gaming- January 2014

Filed under: — Garry @ 11:56 am

Just back from a week in Lanzarote. Although much warmer than the UK and only a couple of brief showers during the week, it was very windy which made it a bit chillier than normal. As usual, I’d packed one or two games and we (Jan, Cat and myself) managed to play something every day except one (when Cat and I watched The Hunger Games instead). Here’s a quick rundown of what we played:

Sunday 19th: Although we didn’t arrive until about 7.30pm, we still managed a quick game of Clubs. Although a very simple climbing cardgame, I really like it and it is very easy to explain to people. We played to 40 rather than 50 points and Cat won 48-44-32.


Monday 20th: Managed a solo game of Friday in the afternoon. Can’t believe it’s so long since I last played this. However, it came back to me fairly easily and I managed a win. My score ended up as Fighting 34 Pirates 30 Life 45 Aging -5 Hazards -27 = 77. We also managed to play Air King which has been on my unplayed list since I acquired it at Essen. It’s a hidden goal game where you are trying to manoeuvre planes to their destination so that your planes arrive before anyone else’s. It wasn’t a bad game but it’s not one that’s going to be jumping out at me to try again. Jan won.

Tuesday 21st: Another one of my unplayed games today: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Das Kartenspiel. This is a simplified version of Reiner Knizia’s King’s Gate where you place tiles in your colour around a location and once all the spots are covered, you score and move onto the next location. Again, easy to play although Jan got stuffed a couple of times so wasn’t as thrilled at the game as might have been the case. Cat won this one 12-10-9.


Wednesday 22nd: We played Vom Kap bis Kairo, a game I’ve been meaning to dig out and try again for ages. We were all impressed with this neat racing card game, building our railways across Africa. Has some nice bidding choices to make in determining the type of landscape you need to traverse each round but seems nicely balanced so a runaway leader shouldn’t be a problem. This went right down to the wire with all of us just one step from winning but Cat had enough cash left to buy the extra rails she needed to reach Kairo first.

Thursday 23rd: I’m a big Mystery Rummy fan and Wyatt Earp may be my favourite. Last time I played this was three years ago, again while in Lanzarote. Another close finish but I managed to take $11k in the third round to overtake Cat for the win. $26k-$24k-$22k.

Friday 24th: This was movie night but I did still manage to play a solo game of SOS: Titanic. I got a very fortunate start but my luck didn’t hold out too long. As it was, Fredrick Fleet managed to rescue 29 passengers before the ship sank.


Saturday 25th: Our final night saw us fit in two games. We started with No Thanks, a great little game. I banked on getting a long run of high cards but had two gaps killing my chances. Jan won 7-26-77 (don’t look at that last score!) We then decided to play Vom Kap bis Kairo again and it was just as close a result as the previous time with Cat this time gambling by using the last of her money to cross her seventh terrain. However, it paid off as we were unable to stop her getting to Kairo first again.

All in all, a great week’s holiday, despite the breeze, and some good gaming as well. And I only won once all week.

23 July 2013

Holiday gaming - July 2013

Filed under: — Garry @ 8:20 pm

Just back from a week in Gran Canaria with Jan, Cat and Becky. As usual, I managed to pack a few (14) games and we managed to play ten of them during the week. The games I packed but didn’t play were Jaipur, Mystery Rummy: Murders in the Rue Morgue, Tien Zi Que and Keltis; Das Kartenspiel. However, we did manage:

Sunday: Drecksau, Clubs and Qwixx

Monday: Archaeology: The Card Game

Tuesday: The Hobbit Card Game, Love Letter and Space Hulk: Death Angel (solo)

Wednesday: Dominion: Intrigue

Thursday: Coloretto

Friday: Hanabi, Space Hulk: Death Angel (solo)

9 June 2013

The Little Prince: Make Me A Planet

Filed under: — Garry @ 9:25 pm

Played Little Prince for the first time this evening and what a cracking game it is. Slightly different two-player which is how I played (with Rebecca) but I thought it a very nice interactive puzzle game. Each player is constructing a planet of twelve tiles with an additional four tiles at the corners of the 4×4 grid showing the scoring criteria for your planet. Each round, the active player draws tiles equal to the number of players, chooses one and decides who chooses next. The last player has no choice but becomes the active player for the next round. After all 16 tiles have been placed in the grid, you score and, whoever has the most points, wins. It doesn’t sound overly different but I see it playing very tactically, with gamers selecting tiles (and the next player to play) just as much with a view of stuffing other players as much as helping themselves.

The two-player game has the active player picking three tiles, displaying two face up and the other face down, so the other player picks one and the active player takes one of the two remaining, discarding the final tile. Otherwise, the game plays the same, Very good and I’m very keen to play again.

24 December 2012

Le Havre - The Inland Port

Filed under: — Garry @ 6:04 pm

Chris and I tried Uwe Rosenberg’s new two-player Le Havre game. The Inland Port combines the purchasing and activating buildings elements of Le Havre with the timing wheel of Ora & Labora and it works very well. It’s a very thinky and dry game and I reckon Guy would enjoy it very much. Our game took us just over an hour and I would expect the time to come down with familiarity but I’m not sure we’d ever get it down to the claimed thirty minutes. Certainly a lot more time to play than Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small. A very good game that has just edged out Equilibrion on my Six Picks for Solo / Two-player games of 2012.

Party Extravaganza

Filed under: — Garry @ 5:41 pm

We had a do at our house yesterday with Jan’s sister and family and party games were requested and dutifully delivered by yours truly. We managed to fit in Telestrations, Timeline: Inventions, Pluckin’ Pairs, Say Anything, Tumblin’ Dice, Cash ‘n’ Guns and Riff Raff.

It was the first time I’d tried Pluckin’ Pairs and it worked pretty well. Eleven picture cards are laid out and then everyone has 90 seconds to write down five pairs with one picture left over. You then compare answers and you score a point for every player who gave the same pair as you unless everyone chose that same pair. Very simple with some interesting conversations about why people had chosen the pairs they had.

27 September 2012


Filed under: — Garry @ 9:15 pm

I’ve been keeping an eye on this really attractive looking two player game for a while. Morels is a game about foraging for mushrooms and is getting a lot of buzz for being a good game to play with a reluctant non-gamer spouse. I saw a copy at The Cast Are Dice back in August but it’s only available to order by mail from the designer in the U.S. Well, I’ve finally taken the plunge and ordered a copy. Let’s see how long it takes to make its way over here.

24 September 2012

A Fistful of Penguins

Filed under: — Garry @ 12:24 pm

I picked up A Fistful of Penguins at the weekend and got to play it last night with Jan, Bex and Chris. The game is a simple dice game made up of nine dice with different animals on each face of the die. You also get a stack of penguins that allow you to manipulate your turn.

On your turn, you roll four,five or six dice (increasing in each of the three rounds) and you either stick with your result or spend penguins either to add dice or re-roll your existing dice. When you stick, you score for the animals you have displayed. Highest score after three rounds of play wins.

I’m not sure if there is just one optimum strategy - grab as many penguins as you can in the first two rounds and then use your multiple re-rolls to max out on kangaroos. I suggested this as an option to Chris and he executed it perfectly to run away with the victory (105 points with second place only getting 76). However, it was good fun and only took about twenty minutes to play.

26 June 2011


Filed under: — Garry @ 8:44 pm

Just had an outdoor game of Qwirkle with Jan, Cat and Bex. Turned out to be really close. I had a Qwirkle lined up for my next move just as Cat finished the game. Doh! Jan just about did enough to hang on for the win.

Qwirkle is a nice family game and, although I’m not predicting it to win the Spiel-des-Jahres tomorrow, I wouldn’t be upset if it did win.

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