Metro Game Day IV: Recap

October 19, 2010

We had a smaller group this time, but we had fun and got several plays in on Saturday. So, as promised, below is a list of the games that were played:

Space Hulk: Death Angel
John was the first guest to arrive at Game Day. While waiting for the others to arrive I taught him how to play Death Angel. John safely avoided rolling a 0 the whole game on Brother Claudio’s attack which helped us make our way to the last level. However, my team was dropping like flies. On the 4th level we – and by we, I mean John since I was out of it at that point – entered the Genestealer Lair with 3 marines. They didn’t stand a chance.

Alas poor Claudio...

A mid-game rule check while playing Death Angel

Power Grid
By the time we finished, Russ and Lily had arrived and my wife was done nursing the future space marine so we broke out a 5 player game of Power Grid. This was the first game for my wife, so after a rules explanation we dug into powering Germany. Lily took a lead early on and held onto it for most of the game. My wife and I took a slower approach and trailed while Russ and John duked it out in the west. Shortly after Phase 3 hit the Cold Fusion plant came out and there was a fierce bidding war between Russ and Lily. The plant finally sold for ~$105 to Lily which allowed her to power 15 cities at the end of the game for only 1 coal or oil! But John and I also made it to 15 and because of our more frugal bidding, with more money. The final tally was John with $40, me with $36 and Lily with $18. This was by far the most enjoyable game of Power Grid I’ve played. We all took our turns fairly quickly which helped move the game along. And having 5 players meant there was always active bidding and a struggle for resources and cities. This game is really growing on me.

I still can't believe I only lost by $4!

Russ and John enjoying themselves while my wife takes a better look at the board.

Blokus Trigon
After the intensity of Power Grid, my wife had to duck out with the kids for birthday party. So the four of us remaining played a quick game of Blokus Trigon. I got my first victory of the day winning with 9 points to Lily’s 12.

Cosmic Encounter
By the time we finished Shannon had arrived and was ready to try a game of Cosmic Encounter. The Clone, Pacifist, Chosen, and Filch aliens all attempted to conquer my Miser’s planets. My horde contained the 40 attack, an artifact and the +5 reinforcement card! The game was full of silly attacks, zaps and alliances so we all had fun. When 4 of us were at 4 points, my Filch brother attacked my empty planet. I defended with my 40 to prevent him from winning but he of course had an artifact which turned everything into a negotiation. We decided at that point to end the game as shared rulers of the galaxy.

Crusader Rex & Blokus Trigon
Russ and John had enough silliness and moved onto a more serious game of Crusader Rex. With my wife and kids back, I took a break to watch the kids and this game for a while. Russ and his Saracens had some hot dice at the start of the game, but John’s Crusaders put up a good fight. They duked it out for quite some time while the four women (John’s wife joined us for the evening) played a game of Blokus and the kids and I ate dinner. Lily pulled off her first victory of the day in Blokus.

Shadows over Camelot
The Crusade was still raging when the four ladies and I decided to team up against everything evil in Camelot. We drew more cards than people for alliances so it was unknown who the traitor was or even if there would be one. We teamed up quite well and had early successes against the Saxons and the Black Knight. After a couple of bad progressions of evil though we had to regroup. We successfully won Excalibur and then moved on to find the Holy Grail. We took the grail and successfully defended Camelot with 7 white swords to 5 black… or so we thought. Quietly Shannon had been working against us this whole time. She revealed herself as the traitor with much gusto and snatched away our victory.

The Crusaders also succumbed to defeat shortly after. It was not a good day to be a knight!

Tigris & Euphrates
It was getting late so most people headed out. We put the kids to bed and then Russ, my wife and I played a game of Tigris & Euphrates. It was Russ’ first game and my wife and I had previously only played a handful of times with just the two of us. It was interesting to see the way the game changes with 3 players versus just 2. I built up a sizable kingdom in the top left part of the map while Russ had one in the bottom right. We however let Russ’ two monuments go too long before we were able to create some conflicts to break it up. I made a surge at the end of the game in blue that allowed me to get 2nd place, but it was no match for the balance of Russ’ civilization.

One thing I usually do is play a new game on Game Day and that didn’t happen this time, but I did get my other goals accomplished:
– I won a game.
– I got to try some ‘old’ games with new and more people.
– I got all three of my most recent purchases to the table.
– And most importantly I had a great time with friends just relaxing and playing games!


Metro Game Day IV: Preview

October 14, 2010

The fourth gathering of game-playing will commence this Saturday. Between work, family and raking leaves, we haven’t had as much time to put into this game day. I had grand visions of theming each game day (starting with this one and Lord of the Rings) and then tailoring the achievements to fit the theme. But I think it’ll have to wait until next time… or at some point.

Even so, I’m really looking forward to this Game Day. It will be a great opportunity to put off other responsibilities (as much as possible) and just relax, hang out and chat with friends and get in some good gaming. I have recently acquired a few games and I’m excited to get them on the table. I’ve played them solo or with my wife, but it is always interesting to see how the game changes when more players are added. I also like to see how different types of players approach the same game.

Look for a recap next week. I’ll at least have a list of all the games that get played.


Inside the Box: Memoir ’44

October 4, 2010

Inside the Box is an in-depth look at the contents of a board game. It covers the quality, quantity, and aesthetic value of what is found inside the game box.

Memoir ’44 is the 2nd game by Richard Borg to use his Command and Colors system. The game puts you in command of either the Axis or Allies during the beginning of the US entrance into World War II. Published by Days of Wonder it retails for $50 but can be found online for around $35.

As with any Days of Wonder game, you get a great looking product. The cover depicts the US forces storming the beaches on D-Day. The box quality is similar to most board games.

Memoir '44 Contents

Memoir '44 Contents


Inside the box is a large plastic insert that holds the board, 2 cardboard tile sheets, a deck of command and reference cards, 8 battle dice, two armies and of course the rules.

The large, hex-grid board is actually double sided: a field of green on one side for inland battles and a beach on the other for landing scenarios. Each side is divided into three sections with red dashed lines. The red on green is not very easy to see for a color blind person but is usually not an issue during play.

The deck of cards contains 60 command cards used to order your troops and a set of reference cards. The latter are used to help the players remember the special rules for different unit and terrain types. The command cards contain illustrations of generic leaders, troops and vehicles in various action poses. They certainly add visual interest while you are staring at your cards planning your tactics.

The 8 dice included are – like it or not – wood. Each side has a different color and more importantly symbol so they are easy to read and great to look at.

The two thick cardboard sheets contain the hexagonal terrain tiles, some victory medals and special unit badges. The badges are quite colorful: red-white-and-blue for the French Resistance, purple for the Panzer grenadiers, orange for the Rangers and red and white for the British special forces.

The terrain tiles are very sturdy and should hold up well over time. The different terrain types are each visually distinct – there’s no question as to what type your unit is on. The city tiles are my favorite as they don’t all look the same. Some show a small village center while others depict a single fortified compound or even a church. They all add some interest to the board without being distracting.

Close-up

Close-up on some of the Components


The real draw to this game is the plastic figurines. Each side gets 6 artillery, 2 dozen tanks and over 40 infantry units in addition to some obstacles. The plastic used is soft so they shouldn’t break, although some of the gun barrels and other smaller features may get bent in the packaging and then never stay straight. I also have to complain about their color choices. The Allies appear to be dark green-blue while the Axis forces are dark blue-green. Even normal sighted people may have a hard time telling who’s who in less than ideal lighting. Fortunately the infantry and tank units use different molds for each side to distinguish them and make them look a historically accurate. Each army also has a plastic insert to hold them in. These inserts were tossed after only 2 tries of trying to get the infantry back in. Plastic bags work just as well and make clean-up go a lot more quickly.

The rule book walks you through the set-up and and how to play with illustrations. There are also several examples of what is and is not possible for most rules. There are some interesting historical facts included as well. All this and yet the rules are clear and don’t seem cluttered. There are 16 scenarios in the 2nd half of the rule book that reflect actual battles. Each is presented with the historical facts and outcome of each battle and then present you the challenge of keeping or changing history.

Sure there are a few color choice problems and other nit-picks, but overall I like the components and artwork. Setting up a scenario of Memoir ’44 takes a while but is actually enjoyable with the great pieces. Placing the figurines on the board remind me of playing with little, green army-men as a kid. The nostalgia factor probably adds to the worth of this game for me – although I think most people would agree they get their money’s worth with Memoir ’44.