Friday 29 January 2010

Times Square

Times Square is a Reiner Knizia game that never got much attention. It's a 2-player only game, and it is mostly a card game. I read some good things about it on, and was almost tempted to buy it. Then one day Michelle said to me, why not make it yourself? So I did.

The Game

This is pretty much an abstract game. The theme is about two opposing nightclub owners trying to attract two important celebrities to their nightclubs. Whoever manages to do so wins the game, or if the game ends with neither celebrity stepping into a nightclub, whoever has the celebrities closer wins. That doesn't sound like a very exciting theme, but then the theme isn't really that important. It is the gameplay that is interesting.

The game board is a long track representing a busy street, with two nightclubs at both ends. There are 6 figures on the board. Saucy Sue and Champagne Charlie are the two persons that determine victory. Get either of them to the doorstep of your nightclub, and you win. If the draw deck is exhausted twice and noone can achieve this, the game ends immediately, and whoever has Saucy Sue nearer to his nightclub wins. If Saucy Sue is standing at the centre of the street, then Champagne Charlie's position is the tiebreaker. The other 4 persons are Handsome Hal, Dancing Deb, and the two bodyguards of Saucy Sue.

The whole game revolves around playing cards to move these characters. Every one of them has different rules, restrictions and/or special abilities. Handsome Hal can allow you attract another character to where he is. Dancing Deb can allow you to use her cards as if they were jokers (i.e. can be used to move any other character). Saucy Sue's bodyguards never let her out of their protection. One will always be on her left, and the other on her right. On your turn, you can always only move one character type, which usually means one character, except for the bodyguards who are the same type. You can play any number of cards, and you always draw enough to get 8 cards, which means it is often good to play as many cards as you can on your turn, to maximise your gain. However, you are also restricted by the rule which states that a card can only be played if its effect can be carried out.

Champagne Charlie has special movement rules. You never move him by card play. Instead he moves one step towards you at the end of your turn for every character that you have at your nightclub (of course if you already have Saucy Sue at your nightclub then you have already won and who cares about Champagne Charlie). Champagne Charlie also moves towards you if all three of Saucy Sue and her bodyguards are on your side of the board.

My self-made Times Square. I have the game board, rules summary, reference chart and card deck breakdown all on the same piece of A4-sized paper. On the gameboard, the starting positions of each character are marked. The darker spaces at both ends are the nightclub spaces.

I bought a cheap magnetic chess set so that I could use the chess pieces. The black ones are the characters who determine victory - the black queen is Saucy Sue, and the black king is Champagne Charlie. Other pieces are grey - the grey bishop is Dancing Deb, the grey knight is Handsome Hal, and the two grey pawns are the bodyguards.

The cards are rather small, but managable.

The Play

By now I have already played 7 games of Times Square, i.e. I've met the goal of 5 plays in first year of purchase / manufacture. Two were games against Han, and 5 were against Michelle. So far most of the games ended in sudden death, i.e. one of the characters, often Champagne Charlie, being attracted to one of the nightclubs before the deck ran out twice.

We found that the 4 most powerful cards in the game are the 2 "protect Sue" cards, and the "reset Deb" cards. The former make both bodyguards jump to the spaces immediately next to Sue, and the latter make Deb jump to the centre of the board. These cards are especially handy when they can let you move these characters many steps. Also under specific conditions the "reset Deb" card can be a joker, which means it can be used to "reset" anyone else (except Charlie). These 4 powerful cards often need to be saved and only used at the most suitable time. You also need to be mindful of them. Your opponent may be holding them, so don't spend many cards making a move that can be instantly undone by one of these cards.

Managing the movement of Champagne Charlie is very important. This the short term strategy part of the game, whereas getting Saucy Sue to be on your side by game end is the longer term focus. Not to say that it is impossible for Saucy Sue to enter your nightclub, just that it is much harder to do. When you have characters at your nightclub, and you are attracting Champagne Charlie every turn, you force your opponent to counter your advantage, by either getting his own customer(s), or pulling away your customer(s). The urgency gets worse if you are getting 2, or even 3 characters at your doorstep.

Because you have a hand of 8 cards, I find that it is rare that you'd feel your hand is completely useless. Of course, sometimes if your opponent gets very lucky in card draws, it can be tough to catch up. However I feel that generally during the game there are always meaningful decisions to make. You won't really feel restricted by your cards. I think that is quite amazing.

Sometimes you can plan for some powerful combination of moves that span across a few turns. E.g. getting Handsome Hal into your nightclub, and then on your next turn attract one of the bodyguards to your nightclub too. That would mean you'd be attracting Champagne Charlie two steps. Another example is moving Dancing Deb on one turn to position her so that you can make use of her special ability, and then on the subsequent turn using that special ability to move another character many steps towards you. Sometimes you have to watch your opponent and try to anticipate and block such combination moves.

The Thoughts

I quite like the game. It is very fast (10-minute games), and yet there are quite many interesting decisions in the game. There is some bluffing and double guessing - gambling whether your opponent has some of those powerful cards that will completely neutralise your big move, contemplating whether you should make a defensive move to block your opponent's pontential big-gain move or try to make your own big-gain move, and so on. It's an interesting tug-of-war where the game situation can change very quickly.

Times Square reminds me of En Garde, because of the long track in the game, although they are very different games (but both are by Knizia). En Garde is fast and furious, whereas Times Square is about maneuvering and then occasionally making some big-gain moves. It offers opportunities for both offensive and defensive play, and sometimes manipulating the pace is also critical, because when the deck runs out for the second time, the position of Saucy Sue (and Champagne Charlie) will determine the winner.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Battlefields of Olympus

Battlefields of Olympus is a 2-player only (I think) card game with a Greek battle theme. The Greek part is pretty thin, as the game could have been about any type of ancient or medieval battles, but at least the battle part is more or less thematic. You compete to grab land cards, which are worth different victory points. Whoever reaches 16pts wins instantly, or the game ends when all the Ares cards appear.

The Game

There are two stacks of cards in the game. The Warrior cards are all in one separate deck, and the rest of the cards are shuffled into the main deck. You start the game with 4 Warrior cards. On your turn, you normally either draw a card, or start a battle to fight for the top-most visible land card. When you draw a card, if it is a land card, you just add it to the "discard" deck or face-up deck, covering any previous land cards. You also get to draw a random Warrior card. If you draw an Action card, you keep it. Action cards have various special effects, and most are played during battle. If you draw an Ares card, you must start a battle, to fight for the current top-most visible land card.

You have a hand limit of 4 Warrior cards and 4 Action cards. If you get more Warrior cards, they go to your personal Reserve deck, from which they can be taken only after a battle. If you get more Action cards, you can't keep them and must discard them. You can, on your turn, swap any number of Action cards for Warrior cards (drawn randomly), but if you end up with more than 4 Warrior cards in your hand, you put the excess into your Reserve deck.

Given the limit of 4 Warrior cards and 4 Action cards, battles are quick and simple. There are only 5 types of troops, and each troop type defeats one or more other troop types, kind of like a slightly more complex version of paper-scissors-rock. E.g. Heavy infantry can defeat swordsmen, spearmen and archers, but are themselves vulnerable to cavalry. Players take turns playing Warrior cards, with playing Action cards being optional. If you play a Warrior card, you must either defeat or match your opponent's Warrior card. Action cards can be used to modify the outcome, e.g. the Flank Action card makes a losing Warrior card the winner instead. You can decide to pass, which may cause you to lose the battle, but not necessarily (e.g. your opponent's previously played Warrior card matched rather than beat yours). Whoever wins the battle wins the land card and draws one Warrior card. The loser draws 2 Warrior cards. Both can then mix cards from their Reserve decks into their hands, but the limit of 4 Warrior cards must still be obeyed.

There is a concept of Mercenaries. When you control 3 land cards of the same colour, you draw a random Warrior card and place it in front of you. This is a Mercenary unit, which you can swap with any Warrior card in your hand at any time. This gives some flexibility and sometimes can be critical in a battle.

The Play

Han and I played two games. At first the interaction among the 5 types of troops was a little confusing, but it is actually quite logical so I got over that quickly. The game moves quickly, because every turn your decisions are simple. I read the Action cards texts as I played. They are quite straight-forward too. They add some interesting twists to the battles.

In the first game, Han was first to capture 3 land cards of the some colour, which meant he received a Mercenary. He went on to win the game. In the second game, it was the other way round. Mercenaries are quite handy. So sometimes even if the points on a land card is low, it may be worthwhile to go for it if you can make a set of three.

In both games the winner reached 16pts before the 5th Ares card appeared. I guess we were quite aggressive. The Ares cards are basically a timer forcing the game to end. We never got close to having Ares forcing the game to end, so I can't really comment on that aspect of the game. But I guess it can be quite tense, because if you are trailing in points, you may be torn between fighting for a cheap land card and gambling that a better land card will come up before the last Ares card does.

Warrior cards on the left, and Action cards on the right. On the Warrior cards the top left icons represent the troop type, and the smaller icons on the top right represent the troop type(s) that the Warrior cards can defeat.

A battle in progress. The land card being fought over is on the right. In the centre are the Warrior cards fighting it out. Current the Heavy Infantry (on my side) is beating the Archers, because one of the top right icons (the green one) matches the icon of the Archers. Han had played a Flank card on his side (next to the Archers), which turned a defeat into a victory, but after that I played a Surround card (next to my Heavy Infantry) which cancelled his Flank card.

Two land cards and an Area card. Olympus is the highest valued land card, and it can be treated as a land card of any colour.

Close-up of a Warrior card (left) and an Action card (right).

The Thoughts

I liked the game more than I expected. It is quite simple, but there are quite a few interesting aspects that you need to manage. Quite a number of tough decisions are forced upon you. Managing your Reserve deck is one interesting aspect. It is good to have a healthy Reserve Deck, because it means in the longer run you will likely win more battles. During a battle, sometimes you may want to try for a tie (i.e. noone gets the land card) rather than trying for a win. If you pass while the troops on the table are tied, your opponent may not be able to play another Warrior card that can beat your Warrior card. The battle would end in a tie. However, if you do play another Warrior card that beats his, he may just have the right Warrior card to beat yours in return, or an Action card to modify the results in his favour. Sometimes you may even want to lose a battle to conserve your strength for the next one. Whenever you lose, you draw 2 cards, as opposed to the one card that the winner gets.

Battlefields of Olympus is quite a tense little game. You are never quite sure what your opponent has up his sleeve. Battles are generally short and sweet. The pace is quick, and yet quite a number of tough decisions are packed into the game. This is a 20-minute game, so it's filler territory. It's a good one, as long as you don't mind the confrontational theme.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Tales of the Arabian Nights

Tales of the Arabian Nights is an old game republished last year. It was the game that I had mistakenly thought Once Upon A Time was when I bought the latter. Arabian Nights is the more famous game. In some ways, these two games are actually quite similar. Both are story-telling games. The biggest difference is in Once Upon A Time you are (mostly) active and in Arabian Nights you are (mostly) passive.

The Game

Think boardgame version of choose-your-own-adventure books. That's more or less the gist. Players are characters in the world of the Arabian Nights. They start the game in Baghdad, with three basic skills and a quest to fulfill. They adventure around the board encountering various people and events. They may learn new skills, acquire treasures, get cursed, become an outlaw etc. Throughout these adventures, they gaining Story Points and Destiny Points, which are needed to win the game.

A very thick Book of Tales comes with the game. When a player encounters an event (which usually happens every turn), you look up a list to determine what (or who) you encounter. Then there's a list of possible reactions you can choose from (look up another list). After choosing your reaction, your fellow player reads out your story for you, from the Book of Tales, after looking up the right paragraph based on your choice of reaction. There is some die rolling that mixes things up a bit, and sometimes some of your skills can make a difference in the outcome too.

That's basically how the game works. Pretty simple. And there's a lot of looking up to do. There are some other rules, but the game is not complex.

The Play

I played a 2-player game with Han. He suggested we use a goal of 15pts instead of 20, to make things go quicker. Also we each had 1 master skill and 2 normal skills, as opposed to 3 normal skills. I wanted to play green, as usual, but green is a woman in this game. Han played Sindad, who is blue in the game. My starting quest was to be a have a great story. Every time I scored 2 Story Points within the same turn, I'd earn 1 of 3 quest markers, and when I earned all 3 markers, I'd complete the quest. Han's starting quest was to travel to three distant cities (determined by me), so he had some destinations to aim for. I wandered around until I drew some city cards, which were like mini quests - go to the specified city to gain some benefit.

Things didn't quite work out for me. On my first turn I ran into some corrupt official who tried to frame me for a crime I didn't commit. Since I was good with weapons, I tried to attack him, but that didn't work out. I was defeated, humiliated and injured. I escaped and wasted one turn to recover, but now I was an outlaw and could never go back to that city because the people there knew my face. I tried to be a studious person. When I met a wise sage I tried to speak with him and learn from him, but the arrogant old fart got offended and told me off. I was never able to earn 2 Story Points in a turn, while Han managed to visit one quest city after another. He used a pretty crazy approach when choosing reactions, taking mostly aggressive or unusual actions. It turned out quite well for him though. He gained Destiny and Story Points steadily while I floundered, and he eventually won the game. He did have one tragic love story to tell though - he got married in a city where widows and widowers were expected to get themselves killed too if their spouses died, and his wife died a few days after their marriage (and I bet she had no life insurance). He managed to run away and returned to Baghdad.

My character, the lady in green. The story track is on the right, where you track your Story Points earned.

Left to right, top to bottom: Skills (Wisdom, Magic, both at Master Level, and Storytelling at Talent Level), a City card, a Treasure card, the supposedly secret Destiny Points and Story Points goals, a Status card (Outlawed), and a Quest card.

Han was Sinbad (left), and he was already en route back to Baghdad to claim victory.

I like the artwork of the game. It's both functional and beautiful. The Lake of Colours and Undersea Kingdom and two special Places of Power in the game. You can't enter such locations except by some special encounters. We didn't get to visit any such places during our game, but we cheated and on my last turn when I gained the rights to enter The Dusky Land, I jumped there to see what an encounter there was like. Normally I'd have to travel there by ordinary means. Nothing much happened though. I just spied on some genies doing... I don't even remember what they were doing. Maybe they had cast a spell on me... Oooh... spooky!

The Thoughts

All those reviews for Arabian Nights are right - if you want to enjoy it you need to play with the right mindset. You don't get much control about whether good or bad things happen to you. You need to just relax and enjoy the bizarre story (bizarre is good). Not that you should not be trying to win. That is still important because it gives you a sense of purpose (just like the quests and city cards do). Just be prepared that the winner is probably going to be determined by luck rather than skill. In Han's words - "a game only good for families and non-gamers". I think we played a bit hurriedly with those modifications used to shorten the game, because we were worried it might drag. It turned out, at least to me, that the game felt short.

There are many many paragraphs in the Book of Tales. However in our game I think we've encountered Strange Customs three times. Maybe it is because I tended to visit cities. It can be no fun if you start encountering the same things. I pity the game designer / developers. For every little bit that they wanted to reduce the chances of a player encountering the same thing, they had to put in a lot of effort in writing many more paragraphs. A lot of hard work had gone into this game. And still, we could encounter the same thing even in our first game, and this was a 2-player game. Maybe we were just super unlucky. Of course one way to change what you will experience is to intentionally choose some other reaction to the same encounter. But that feels a bit forced. You would be making a random choice for the sake of variety, rather than getting into character and making the choice that feels right. This can be applied to locations that you choose to have an encounter too. You can intentionally choose to have encounters at different types of locations - cities, forests, deserts, sea etc. However that feels forced. It detracts from the feeling of immersing yourself in a magical story.

We encountered a whirlpool on land. I've read that quirky things like this can happen. I don't mind it too much. I can make excuses like I happened to be crossing a lake.

Your story will be quite disjointed. It is more or less random which paragraph you get every turn. There are things that try to tie things together and give a sense of continuity - your skills, your treasures, your statuses and your quests. They do help, and in my opinion to a good extent, especially the quests. Skills are sometimes helpful and do affect the outcome of encounters, but not really all that often. E.g. my skills with weapons didn't help me when I decided to fight the evil vizier.

I have already ordered a copy of Arabian Nights, even before I played it. It is something very different from any other game I have played, and I think it will be a good game to play with my children when they are older. I can enjoy the game, but it's definitely not something that I'd play heavily. And indeed it is a good game to play with non-gamers. You can just spend 3 minutes describing the basics, skipping the rest of the rules, and start a game. You only need to teach them how to do the look-ups, Destiny and Story Points, and movement, to get a game started. All the rest can be taught during the game.

The game is probably best with 3 or 4 players. With 2, the non-active player has too much look-up work to do. With more than 4, there is probably going to be too much downtime. There is little player interaction anyway, and I don't think that's an important part of the game in the first place.

Arabian Nights is not not a game. It's just that your choices may not have much relevance to winning. Accept that, immerse yourself in the story, and you'll enjoy it.

Sunday 17 January 2010

Twilight Struggle

I first played Twilight Struggle in 2006. Played 1.5 games, but after that never came back to try it again. The recently released deluxe edition (4th printing, which means this game is selling well) triggered my interest to try it again. I am looking for another 2-player-playable longish game that can be my wife and my go-to game, in addition to Through the Ages. So I borrowed Han's copy of Twilight Struggle to try it out with Michelle, to see whether she likes it, before deciding whether to buy the deluxe edition. Actually, I'm not even sure whether I liked it when I played it four years ago.

The Game

Twilight Struggle is about the Cold War, 1945 - 1989, from the end of World War II to the fall of USSR. It is a 2-player-only game, where the players play USSR and USA, the two superpowers during the Cold War, competing to spread their influence around the world. This is a card driven game. Players take turns playing cards and either use the operation points on the cards to spread their influence, or use the events on the cards. Most of the flavour of the game comes from these real historical events. This is a very educational game, summarising the geopolicital tensions and international incidents throughout the Cold War. In most cases the outcomes of these events are related to how influence is changed on the world map, or how victory points are scored.

There are various ways to spread your influence. You can add your influence through proper means. I imagine providing aid to countries, or signing international treaties, etc. You can make some risky political realignments to reduce your opponent's influence. I imagine these to be things like spy missions, which can backfire and cause you to lose influence instead. You can even set up a military coup to try to reduce your opponent's influence and even to increase your own influence.

The game board is a world map. This first edition board is just cardboard is not a mounted board like the latest deluxe version. I used glass bead to weigh it down.

The Middle East at the start of the game.

The victory point track. You only keep track of the difference in score, not the actual scores.

Some of the cards. The one on the top left is a scoring card. The number on the top left is the operation points. If it is on a white start, then the event on the card is a USA event. Red star means USSR event. White+red star means both superpowers can use that event.

When you play a card, if it has an event associated to your superpower, you can choose to use the operation points number of the card, or have that event occur. Sometimes this can be a tough decision. The even more tricky thing is if you play a card with your opponent's event, you can only choose to use the op points, and your opponent's event occurs (usually bad for you). That means you will be in trouble if you draw many cards associated with your opponent's superpower.

There are ways around this. Normally you will play cards from your hand until you have only one card left. So if you have many of you opponent's events, at least you can reserve the worst one to be the last card held in your hand. But you can't discard it. You'll still continue hold it when you replenish your hand for the next Turn, but hopefully later on the effect of the card wouldn't hurt you as much. The other way around this is the Space Race. This is a simple and abstract mechanism meant to represent the prestige project of the two superpowers. Any card spent on the Space Race will not have its event occur. Advancing your country in the Space Race gives some benefits, but as soon as your opponent catches up, you lose that advantage.

Another interesting aspect of the game is the DEFCON track, representing how close the world is to nuclear war. Military coups, and some other events can cause the world stability to worsen. Whoever causes the situation to get out of control will end the world by nuclear annihilation. Everyone loses, and that player loses more for being the culprit. Military coups are sometimes a convenient way to fight for influence, but the DEFCON level will restrict the use of coups in different regions, and you can't start a coup if it the world is on the brink of nuclear armageddon (unless you want to concede the game).

The Military Ops track is another interesting concept. Both superpowers want to flex their military muscles around the world, by sponsoring or triggering wars, and staging coups. You can lose face and get penalised if you don't show off your strength enough.

Most of the scoring in the game centres around the scoring cards. Every region on the board has a scoring card, and when such a card is played, players score depending on how well they have established control in that region. If you have a scoring card in your hand, you can plan ahead and try to make sure you are better positioned than your opponent to benefit from it. Sometimes when you see your opponent suddenly sucking up to African warlords, you'll wonder whether she'll be playing the African scoring card soon. But then, she may also be bluffing just to distract you.

The game is a little complex. Definitely at the level of the complex Eurogames, but compared to wargames this is probably relatively simple.

The Play

Michelle player USSR, supposedly the easier superpower to play, and I played USA. In the early game USSR was always ahead in score. I was pretty much just doing damage control. USSR had strong influence in Europe, even controlling France. I barely held on to West Germany. Even in Asia it managed to control South Korea and Taiwan, traditionally USA allies. During the mid game, the advantage gradually shifted to the USA. I slowly managed to dominate Asia, the Middle-East and Central America. Michelle controlled many countries in Africa. We were more or less equally matched in South America. Eventually USA won in Turn 9 (out of 10 Turns in the game), by reaching 20 victory points. The last 4pts were gained by successfully advancing on one of the steps on the Space Race.

Unfortunately, my victory was marred. There were some USA event cards that I forgot to discard. Some events should have been discarded from the game when they occurred, but were not. That definitely impacted the game. One thing that I made use of a lot was the coups, which I think helped me a lot. Michelle didn't use those much. She was still grappling with the rules. And I think throughout the game neither of us tried realignment rolls. It had never even occurred to me. It probably would have been very useful in some situations. So actually I was grappling with the rules too, just maybe slightly less than Michelle.

(Sorry about the angle. This was taken from the north end of the board, and then flipped outside down. Just imagine you are looking down from somewhere high in the air.)

Europe was dominated by USSR. I held on to West Germany desperately. If I lose it, I will lose the game instantly because Michelle would have full control of Europe. This is a special instant victory condition.

Eventually I got quite strong in Asia. I won back South Korea. But now I realised I may have made more mistakes. If the numbers were right, I should not have control of South Korea or Thailand yet. I'm not sure whether this photo was taken halfway through an action and the markers had not been all updated yet.

Central and South America. We spent a lot of effort in Central America and all the governments were our puppets.

The Thoughts

I quite enjoyed the game. I enjoyed watching history unfold. I think in any game a majority of the cards will come out sooner or later, just that not all will be played as events. This means that the cards very much define the game. All the flavour, the pacing, and the many unique quirks come from the cards. The game is very much about damage control, and managing the timing of the scoring cards and the rise and fall of your influence. You need to prioritise where you want to exert influence. Sometimes you need to bluff. In a way it feels like Race for the Galaxy - how do you make the most out of your hand of cards. If they are good, how should you squeeze the most out of them? If they are bad, how do you minimise damage?

Playing the game for the first time can be challenging, because there is a lot of text on the cards. But the overall structure of the game is not complex. It's just playing cards and doing one of four possible actions - add influence, realignment, coup or Space Race.

I don't know whether Michelle will play this with me again. I'm kind of in denial and don't want to ask her yet, waiting for when she is in a charitable mood. The mistake I made upset her a little. But I think at least she now has a pretty good grasp of how the game works. She is always resistant to learning new games, but once she gets over the initial learning curve, she can start liking the game, if it is a game that she is able to like. For some games she flatly tells me it's no fun (不好玩的). At least she hasn't said the same about Twilight Struggle. I am still hoping to make this game another go-to game for us. I just have to wait for the right moment to spring the question on her again and get her to play again.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Greed, Incorporated

On 8 Jan 2010 I joined the Old Town Kopitiam Cheras gamers again, to play Greed, Incorporated. We had 5 players, the full complement, and it was the first game for all of us.

Greed is a game about businessmen building up companies, then wrecking them in order to gain personal profit in the form of big severance packages, and ultimately using this personal wealth gained to buy status symbols, like art collections and private jets. Everyone starts the game with no personal wealth, but each player is the CEO of a new company with $100 million cash. To make money, the companies can gradually acquire up to four assets. Some assets produce goods, which can be sold for profit, and some assets convert goods to other types of goods, which can usually be sold for even more profit. Companies can trade goods with one another. Every year (round), if any company does not earn more money than the previous year, there will be a blame game, and the CEO, CFO and COO will each pick a person to blame. Anyone blamed will be fired, and will get a severance package, and this is how the players gain personal wealth. Every round there are two status symbols that are available to be purchased, via open auction. The players bid for these using their personal money.

You can also start up new companies using your personal wealth. A player may control (i.e. be CEO of) any number of companies. A player can also be CFO, COO or board member for any number of companies. So trying to get yourself into positions of power and into profitable companies is important.

The red boot marker is placed on a company if it doesn't make more profit than the previous year. It means someone will be sacked.

Most of the main game board is for tracking the prices of the 11 types of goods. On the right (i.e. bottom of this photo) are the price change trends. The bottom of the board (i.e. left of this photo) are the two stacks of status symbols, and the starting bids.

The board of a company consists of CEO, CFO, COO and three more board members. The high-heel shoe, sports car and neck tie are player markers.

The rules are a little complex and there are many steps in every round. This reminds me of Die Macher. You really need a reference sheet for this. We all started the game without much clue. Henry was the first to have a decent company, producing valuable assets and making good profit. I think Jeff was the first to gain control of two companies. He started a lot of creative (i.e. dubious) business deals between his two companies. Later on Allen controlled 3 companies! There were even more creative business deals among those companies, e.g. goods being sold at dirt cheap prices. Heng was one of the earlier ones to be controlling no company (after getting himself fired, i.e. cashing out). Henry and I also at some point had no companies. Baaad idea. We watched in despair as Jeff and Allen's companies prospered and made profits that were unimaginable based on the kind of profits that we had seen in the first few rounds of the game.

Jeff was the first among us to discover the trick of populating the board with your own family members. It's a fantastic way of milking the company dry. Every year that the company is doing poorer, just point fingers at your CEO son, sack him by giving him 40% of the company's cash, then have your CFO son take over as CEO. The next year, just employ your next son (or son-in-law or daughter-in-law or nephew or neice etc) to the CFO position, ready to pull the same trick. There is a rule that penalises this, but the penalty (at least in our game) was small.

Towards the end game, no one could beat Allen's riches. He kept winning the gold status symbols, and Jeff kept getting the silver status symbols. Henry, Heng and I had no chance by that stage. I think we didn't even have enough cash for the starting bids. At game end, Jeff won the game with 29pts, from 4 status symbols won. He had started gaining status symbols earlier than Allen, who had 27pts from 3 status symbols. Henry scored in the teens, with 2 status symbols. Heng and I both had 9pts, he had one status symbol and I had two, but I think I had less cash, which meant I was dead last.

"I worked for this company for 10 years and all I got was some lousy corporate training!"

From right to left: one of the silver status symbol cards won; 2 asset cards (showing card back); currency (in small font: In Greed We Trust).

This is the game board for a company. The card on the top right is the company name. The four cards on the top left are assets of the company. Some produce goods (Coal Pit and Steel Magnate in this photo), some convert goods (Railroad and Builder). The bottom section are the three money buckets. The dollar sign token is always placed on top of the Last Year's Income bucket to remind the CEO never to touch this bucket. Money always goes out from the right (Free Cash) and comes in from the left (This Year's Income). The yellow Railroad card and the grey Steel card are goods that the company currently has. There are 4 slots along the right edge representing warehouses. From one round to the next you can store one good for free without selling it. Any additional warehouses used will cost you money.

Game in progress.

At one point we had 8 companies in play. The table at Old Town barely fit.

Greed, Incorporated is quite a tricky game. You really need to think ahead, analysing the types of assets available, the needs and products and situations of all the companies, who's who on the company boards, etc. Trying to manipulate your company to intentionally do poorer so that you can get yourself fired can be tricky. Each company has three buckets of money - (1) Free Cash is what the company can spend; (2) This Year's Income is whatever the company has earned this year, and money in this bucket cannot be spent; (3) Last Year's Income is money earned in the previous round, which the company also cannot spend. So cash flow can be quite tight because a lot of money can be tied up in this pipeline. Only once a round the money in the buckets are shifted forwards towards the Free Cash bucket.

The game is quite complex. I'd say more so that Indonesia (another complex economic game by the same publisher), and about the same as Die Macher. One thing that makes it feel more complex to me is the two layers in the game - the companies and the players. You need to switch between mindsets. While you are playing the role of company CEO's, you have to remember that making the companies profitable is only the means to an end - your own personal wealth and earning status symbols. You are playing two very different roles at the same time. I have a feeling I won't do very well in 18XX train games, because they too have two layers, the players owning shares in railroad companies, and the companies themselves. I struggle with managing these two layers. Chicago Express has these two layers, but then it's a very streamlined design so I can still cope.

Timing of when to cash out and when to bid for the status symbols is important. This depends a lot on how the group plays. You really need to watch your opponents and guess their intentions. There is pressure to cash in early and gain some cheap status symbols before others can afford them. However cashing in too early may leave yourself vulnerable, being unable to build up your earning power for later rounds. You may become uncompetitive in the later game, when the status symbols are worth more points.

How to wreck a company before you get yourself fired is a skill. You don't want your successor to milk more out of the cash cow. When you have an opportunity to take over another company, e.g. the company did poorly and your superiors are bailing out, do you want to take over as CEO, hoping you can turn the company around and eventually in the long term make more money for yourself, or should you just take a cut now and abandon ship?

The game is quite brutal. It seems to be very hard to recover if you've made some bad decisions in the early game. I felt that from mid-game onwards I was already doomed. Well, this was my first game afterall, so maybe if I play again I won't repeat such fatal mistakes.

There is opportunity for negotiation and trading in the game. I think this is meant to play an important role. In our particular game this didn't play a big part though, at least not for me. I did strike some deals, e.g. selling a good for less than what it was worth, because I wanted to find an excuse to fire myself. However for most of the game I was floundering, and the trades I did didn't help me much.

Overall I didn't like Greed, Incorporated as much as I expected. I'm probably a little biased because I did really poorly in the game. For me the sarcasm and humour from reading the rules didn't turn out to be so funny in an actual game. I guess I didn't really enjoy being evil CEO. Another recent Essen release that has caught my attention is Power Struggle, which also pokes fun at the business world, specifically the politics within a company, bribery, corruption etc. Now I have second thoughts about trying it out.


Oh who am I kidding, if I get a chance to play it I'd jump in without hesitation.

Saturday 9 January 2010

Space Alert mission

On 3 Jan 2010 I brought out Space Alert again, this time to play with Han, who had not tried it before. In my previous plays I had never reached the real missions, but this time I did. We started with tutorial Level 1 (of 3 levels), which we managed to win, and then moved on to Level 2 (which I had not won before). We managed to beat Level 2 too. Then we decided to be a bit more ambitious - we jumped straight to a full mission, skipping over tutorial Level 3. The Level 3 tutorials add internal threats, battlebots and interceptors. The real missions add heroic actions and visual comfirmation on top of these. Heroic actions are quite simple, and we didn't bother with the visual confirmation aspect of the game, so I thought we might as well go for it. Visual confirmation is a way to earn points. There is a scoring system in the game, but I don't bother with it, because I'm happy to just survive and win. Winning by how much is not important. I do the same with Lord of the Rings.

The real mission was tough. We had 4 external and 1 internal threats. There were only two of us playing, so we had to manage two androids in addition to our own characters. The good thing with 2 players is there is less coordination required. The bad thing is each of us need to manage more things, and this being a real-time game makes it quite tense. As more and more threats started to appear, we split up. I managed one android and the two of us (android and I) handled two threats at the centre and red side of the spaceship, in addition to the android being put in charge of the mouse-wiggling to keep the spaceship computer screensaver off (which would otherwise delay everyone's actions). Han managed the other android, and the two of them went to the blue side of the ship to manage the 1 internal threat and 2 external threats over there. It was quite frantic. We did all we could within the 10 minutes of the soundtrack. We finished placing all our actions with about half a minute to spare. We knew we couldn't do much else with that little time remaining. To try to change anything by then would be too late. So we stopped the soundtrack and proceeded to the execution stage.

It was a good idea to have a dedicated person (well, android) minding the mouse. One less thing to worry about. The android could also shoot the main cannon when we needed it to. There was a cheat-like thing that we did, which I don't think is illegal or against the spirit of the game. Up front we assigned the android to wiggle the mouse in the 1st, 4th and 8th turns. You are supposed to plan actions for turns 1 to 3, 4 to 7 and 8 to 12 in three different stages. The rules explicitly forbid changing your planned actions of a previous stage, but they do not explicitly forbid planning for an upcoming stage. And I do not pick up the cards for that upcoming stage yet. Anyway, if this is disallowed, I would still set aside the Button C cards, to be played in the 2nd and 3rd stages. It's just easier to place them early and not worry about them anymore.

The external threats appeared one after another. We managed to defeat the first few without issue. Then suddenly I realised I had misremembered how the internal threat worked. We had the one where the missiles malfunctioned and would explode if not fixed in time. I had thought that as long as we made sure we fired all the missiles before they exploded, we would be fine. I suddenly realised that when they malfunctioned, we should not have been able to fire them in the first place. Oops. Surprisingly, my mistake in teaching the game probably saved us. I not only misremembered how malfunctions worked, I also forgot to tell Han that every button can only be pressed once per turn. He had himself and his sidekick android press the missile C button at the some time, thinking that they could fire two missiles at the same time. It doesn't work that way. Only one missile can be fired in one turn. However, if there is a malfunction, more than one person can work on fixing it at the some time. If more people work on it at the same time, you can fix the malfunction quicker. So the two C actions that Han had played were not wasted afterall. The missile malfunction was fixed in time. But of course no missiles were fired to target the external enemies.

Our spaceship took some damage. It was then that I realised that taking damage is a major source of uncertainty. No matter how well you have planned, if you take damage, you won't know beforehand what will be spoilt. Your weapons may become less effective, your energy stores too, and your lift may go out of order. You can't plan ahead for these, and these can cost you the game. So, in Space Alert, you really must try to avoid damage as much as possible, to minimise uncertainty.

One threat after another were defeated. We were still alive. It was down to the last one. It was approaching too fast. We couldn't destroy it before it reached the Z point. But! Thank goodness the damage it dealt was not enough to kill our spaceship. We survived! We won our first full mission of Space Alert! We were lucky for sure (the two mistakes ended up helping us), but I think we played pretty well too. I didn't go back to see whether we would have lost if we had played with the wrong rules. We might have survived anyway.

I am pretty happy with this session. Now I can confirm I do like Space Alert. One thing that definitely helped a lot was moving the pieces around when we did the planning. I didn't do this in my previous games. Doing this helped us visualise the situation on board the spaceship. It is especially important for making sure you have managed your energy cubes well. It can also help avoid two people trying to squeeze into the 1-person lift at the same time.

Another thing that I find to be important is you need to specialise. Just like the android being assigned to wiggle the mouse, someone needs to be in charge of remembering to manage the energy transfers, of specific threats, etc. It would be convenient that each character stays in one room, or only moves between two rooms, doing whatever shooting or energy replenishment or sheild charging as required. However the internal threats force you to move. When a character picks up the battlebots, the battlebots stick to him/her, and cannot be reassigned. So that character will have to move about to fight intruders, or to fly the interceptors. Quite tricky, and I like it.

Now I need to think of how to convince my wife to try this again...

Wednesday 6 January 2010

gaming in photos

28 Dec 2009. Elasund. By the designer of The Settlers of Catan, with many similarities, and yet being very different. This was one vicious game that I played with Michelle. See that big 2x3 building at the waterfront? At first she built a small building there, which I tore down to build a medium sized building. Then she tore down two of my buildings to build this big one.

I think Elasund can be an easily misunderstood game. Often near game end you may feel helpless because there isn't anything that you can do to stop the leader from winning. I think that's a misconception. By the time you reach this point, the game has already been decided. You have already missed your opportunity to come back. But it is not that you never had the chance. I guess another way to complain about the game is that the last few rounds are pointless, because the winner is quite obvious. Then I'd say it is fine because the game is not long. It's a 1 hour or so game, and it moves quickly.

1 Jan 2010. Power Grid on Italy expansion map and using the power plant deck 2 expansion. My power plants are in the foreground. I placed the power plant market (6 plants) on the board itself. In this game Michelle (red) started in the middle of the playable area (only 3 regions for a 2 player game), while I (green) started near one end (top left of this photo). Bad move. I soon realised I would get cut off, and spent a lot of money making a long connection towards the red region.

The Great Wall of Italy blocking off the unplayable area. This photo is so Christmas-themed - red and green. Michelle won this game by tiebreaker (cash). We both could supply 21 cities at game end, but I had no money left. Actually she could have won more decisively. If she had just bought one extra coal to drive up the price, I would not have afforded that one piece of coal to power my plant, and she would have won 21:16. However she didn't bother to do the detailed calculations and didn't realise this. She won anyway so it's not important.

1 Jan 2010. Race for the Galaxy with both expansions. My start world was Imperium Warlord. I was lucky to have Doomed World and Imperium Blaster Gem Consortium. I settled Doomed World cheaply, and then discarded it to settle the much more expensive Imperium Blaster Gem Consortium.

Mid game. I had both Imperium Seat and Imperium Lords 6-cost developments, but unfortunately I could not afford to play both.

I eventually decided to play Imperium Seat and give up Imperium Lords. My final score was 46pts. I had 2 cards left in my hand and 1 goods card under Rebel Fuel Cache. And the reason I mention that is, of course, because this game was determined by the tiebreaker of hand cards + goods.

Michelle's 46pts tableau. She also went with a military strategy. She needed the second strength track, because her strength for settling rebel military worlds was 12. She had 4 cards in hand at game end, and thus won by tiebreaker.

3 Jan 2010. Race for the Galaxy (with both expansions). This was my starting hand - all 6 were developments - and the two start worlds I could choose from. Too bad I didn't get the #10 start world (I forget the name) which is good for developments. Also an unusual hand does not mean a good hand. I didn't win this game.

3 Jan 2010. Warriors of God. Han and I played the Lion in Winter scenario, which has Robin Hood. The last time we played it was the other scenario with Joan of Arc. I played the English again, and he the French. In the early game the French controlled England, which is bad. I eventually managed to take it back.

"Go back to your country!", said Henry of Anjou to David (a Scotsman on the French side).

We only played 5 rounds (out of 12). I think I did slighty better than last time, but just barely. Han was leading by a comfortable margin. I did manage to establish control in some provinces (see red round tokens), but Han had more (blue round tokens). Han explained that the English has better leaders and troops, but leaders usually only appear in England or northern France. So the English should be going around kicking French buttocks. The French leaders pop up all over the place but are not as good as the English, so they should work more on establishing control and earning points from that quickly.

In Warriors of God, establishing control of provinces is the most important way of gaining victory points, but it is not easy to do. Even the most highly ranked leaders only have a 50% chance of establishing control. However, if a leader is located at his home province, he/she establishes control automatically. Thus overall it is easier for the French to establish control in more provinces.

It was some time since my previous play, so I almost had to relearn the whole game. I really need to play a full game of this. And hell yeah I'm going to play the English again!

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Race for the Galaxy logging

Warning: Geeky post coming. Read on at own risk.

I have played more than 380 games of Race for the Galaxy now, this being my most played game ever. My second and third most played games are Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper and Carcassonne, both at 200+ plays. I wrote about how I log my plays of Race for the Galaxy some time ago. See the second half this blog post. Now my logging method has evolved further.

FYV[4] cards 19 (13), special 10 (1 - new galactic order), chips 2 = 31 (mostly military)
HCS[1] cards 23 (11), special 5 (1 - galactic federation), chips 1 = 29 (military)

This above was the notation that I used in June 2008. It started with the player initials (FYV), then start world in square brackets (4), then points from cards (19) and number of cards (13), then points from special 6-cost development cards (10), number of such cards (1), name of the cards (New Galactic Order), points from victory point chips (2), total points (31), comment on strategy used (mostly strategy).

Soon afterwards, it changed to this:

HCS[3] cards 27 (12), special 20 (gal imp 11, seti 9), chips 0 = 47 (military)
FYV[0] cards 11 (12), special 21 (new eco 9, min lea 6, mer gui 6), chips 30 = 62 (rare element consume)

I dropped the count for 6-cost development cards, since I was going to list down the names anyway. I didn't use the full names anymore. "gal imp" instead of "Galactic Imperium". "seti" instead of "Galactic Survey: SETI". "seti" was the only 6-cost development card that I abbreviated in a different way from all others.

HCS[1] cards 8 (9), special 9 (gf5, fta4), chips 19 = 36 (consume)
FYV[3] cards 18 (12), special 11 (seti), chips 5 = 34 (military)

Later on, I abbreviated the 6-cost developments names further. I only used the initials. "gf" = "Galactic Federation". Good thing that none of them had the same initials. Only "seti" remained as "seti". Not "gss". And if a player only has one 6-cost development, I don't list the individual points for the card, since it will be the same as the total points. E.g. seti above.

After the expansion Gathering Storm came out, I needed to record points from objectives too.

FYV[1] cards 19 (13), special 7 (ngo), chips 3, objectives 11 = 40 (mostly military)
HCS[0] cards 12 (9), special 0, chips 12, objectives 8 = 32 (settle, some consume)

I used this notation above for quite some time. I recorded a summary of the game score (e.g. "fyv40, hcs32") in one cell in Microsoft Excel, and then I inserted the breakdown as a cell comment. Recently I made one dramatic switch. I had one burst of many plays of Race for the Galaxy with Michelle, and I suddenly felt I needed to simply this notation further. I don't bother with inserting as comment anymore now. I just squeeze everything into the cell. This is now my latest notation:

fyv45, hcs 28; fyv10-14(14) is10 seti9 6 6, hcs2-16(12) gf6 1 5

fyv54, hcs23; fyv11-41(15) 0 0 13, hcs2-9(6) gf10 ngo4 0 0

It starts with winner initials (fyv) and score (45), then other players and scores (hcs28). After that the breakdown: player initials (fyv), start world (10), points from cards (14), number of cards including 6-cost development cards (14), initials and scores of 6-cost developments (is10 seti9), points from VP chips (6) and points from objectives (6). I have dropped the total points for 6-cost developments (even if there are more than one played). If there is no 6-cost development, I just put a 0. See second example above. Also I don't bother to repeat the total score in the breakdown anymore.

Hmm... I just realised that the last two examples that I had randomly picked showed Michelle completely slaughtering me.

1 Jan 2010. My tableau at the end of a game. I had six (!) 6-cost developments, which I'm very sure is a record for me. I had an unusualy big gap between basic military strength and military strength for Rebel military worlds. 2 vs 8. I was able to settle the 7-defense Rebel Homeworld. My total score was 65!

And guess what... Michelle scored 66pts and beat me. She went with a consume strategy, and scored all 34 victory point chips. Nothing particularly amazing about her tableau it appears, but actually the cards she earned when consuming was a big help, and Deficit Spending (top right) allowed her to discard unwanted cards in exchange for VP chips. In hindsight I probably should have tried to end the game one round sooner. Not sure whether I could have done it even if I had wanted to though. She consumed 12pts on the last round.

Friday 1 January 2010

my 2009

I did a my 2008 post one year ago, and it was interesting to go back to read that (at least for me). In 2008, three games more-or-less established themselves as the default go-to game when my wife Michelle and I had some time to play. Through the Ages for long games, Agricola for medium-length games, and Race for the Galaxy for short games. In 2009, no new game displaced these three. Pandemic did become a staple, for gameplay length between Agricola and Race for the Galaxy. That said, there were some new-to-me games in 2009 that I quite like.

Let's start with the fancy stats and diagrams.

Overall statistics.

Dashed line uses the right dashed axis. That's the total plays. I didn't play as many games as last year, but I'm pretty happy with 500+. Number of distinct games continues to grow, but looking at the numbers of new games played every year, you can probably guess I have many played-once games. Indeed the "singles" line confirms that. Every year there are more games that I play only once.

Number of distinct games played, and the breakdown into fives, dimes, others (i.e. played 2 to 4 times), and singles.

Same data, but looking at percentages.

Plays in 2009, with the breakdown of how many are of dimes, fives, etc. Most played game in 2009 was by far Race for the Galaxy, i.e. same as in 2008.

Percentage view. This graph seems to shout "You only need those 11 (dimes) games in your collection, and you'd still be enjoying more than half of the plays!" But of course things are not that straight-forward. There were many games played only a few times, or even just once, that I enjoyed immensely.

Game purchases. "Acquired games" includes games bought, gifts, free games, etc. Everything except self made games.

Other miscellaneous thoughts:

Favourites - None in particular among new-to-me games played in 2009. Le Havre and Automobile come close. I enjoy the long-term planning in Le Havre, I like how it is more open to different strategies, and I like how it tells the story of a developing port city. Automobile is tight and tense. Very limited actions, and you need to plan carefully. Competition is fierce. The game is almost all open information, making it a little prone to analysis paralysis, but the only hidden bit (market demand) gives a lot of (good) anxiety and can cause lots of cheers and/or groans.

Le Havre


Likes - I like Indonesia, even though I have only played it once, and it was a 2-player game, probably the worst way to play. It's a long and complex economic game. Dungeon Lords has been great in my first 2 plays. I definitely want to play more. It's such a nail-biter. Struggle of Empires was published (and bought) in 2004. It is a good area majority game with lots of options. The dice add some randomness, but there are many things that you can (or at least you feel you can) do to mitigate luck. And wars are expensive. Euro-war-game.

Rare and good - Games that I didn't or won't get to play often, but are very enjoyable when I do play. I actually played Space Hulk (1st edition) 3 times in 2009. That's more than many other games. I don't own the game, but now that Han (whose copy it is) is back in town, we plan to play all 6 scenarios that come with the game. Axis & Allies Anniversary edition is long and good. Not that much longer than A&A Revised (2004), and has many improvements over it. Warriors of God is also quite long - nice sweep-of-history game. But it should move faster now that I've played it. I think the most important aspects of Civilization are the trading and the technological advancement. Negotiation and diplomacy are important. Watching disasters shake the world up is fun. Just try not to get too attached to your people. Fortress America was great Ameritrashy fun. I think I should try to arrange a game of Samurai Swords.

Fortress America


Medium likes - I am a little surprised with my number of plays of Keltis and Wasabi. Both are enjoyable although not anything earth shattering or deeply immersive. Just light and good fun. I'm going to get the Keltis expansion.

Surprises - Container seemed so dry from reading the rules. When I played it (a 5P game - I think the ideal number), I realised the rules are just the framework which allows the player interaction to come through. An economic game which is all about the group mentality and how the group creates and runs the in-game economy. This, my friends, (pregnant pause) is player interaction. Formula D is probably the only race game that I truly like. I generally dislike race games. I enjoyed making race car sounds when I played. And this was at a public venue (Carcasean boardgame cafe). There is a lot of excitement in the risk taking (which gear to use) and in the die-rolling. The World Cup Game is simple, quick and flavourful. Good for non-gamer football (soccer) fans. Before playing Airships I had expected yet-another-similar-dice-game, where you roll dice and try to do something useful with them, and often you can reroll / freeze some dice. But in Airships the decision making is before you roll the dice. There is some medium to longer term planning you need to do.


Disappointments - None in particular. Not that I didn't dislike any new-to-me games, just that for such games I didn't have high expectations in the first place.

Classics revisited - It's always good to revisit older good games. Many hobby gamers are guilty of buying too many games and only playing each game a few times. Often game depths are not sufficiently explored - opportunities wasted. I played Traumfabrik again and enjoyed it a lot. Thinking about it made me decide not to buy the recently published Basket Boss. They are quite different, but somehow they give me a similar feeling (admittedly that's from only reading the rules of the latter). I played Hammer of the Scots again, and thinking about that made me decide not to buy Richard III. I think owning the former is sufficient. I should spend my self-imposed game-buying quota on something more different. Puerto Rico, still enjoyable, despite being the 2P variant. I played more games of Lord of the Rings in 2009 than in 2008. Most are with the Battlefields expansion. It is tough.

I didn't play this?!! - Power Grid. I thought I was a big fan. I own so many expansions too. I've stopped buying expansions until I can play the existing expansions more. I love Princes of Florence too, but sadly 0 plays in 2009. I like Die Macher a lot, but this is a long one.

Surprised that I played this many - I knew I had played many games of Through the Ages, but I didn't realise this many. 2nd most played game of the year! I was a little surprised with the number of plays of Keltis and Wasabi too. They passed the 5-plays-in-first-year-of-purchase test with flying colours.


And now the long list of all games played in 2009. New-to-me games in 2009 have an asterisk.

1. Race for the Galaxy - 115
2. Through the Ages - 31
3. Pandemic - 28
4. Agricola - 22
5. Dominion - 22
6. Bonnie and Clyde* - 21
7. Keltis* - 20
8. Blue Moon - 19
9. Wasabi* - 17
10. Le Havre* - 12
11. Secret Mission* - 10

12. Twister - 9
13. Ra: the dice game* - 8
14. Loopin' Louie - 8
15. Automobile* - 8
16. Lord of the Rings - 8
17. LOTR Confrontation - 7
18. Roll Through The Ages* - 7
19. Galaxy Trucker - 7
20. Gulo Gulo - 7
21. TTR Switzerland - 7
22. Metropolys - 6

23. Blokus 3D - 4
24. Carcassonne - 4
25. Monopoly Deal* - 4
26. TTR Nordic Countries - 4
27. Blokus Duo - 4
28. Um Reifenbreite* - 4
29. A Game of Thrones LCG* - 4
30. Space Hulk* - 3
31. Rabbit Hunt* - 3
32. Lightning: Midway - 3
33. Space Alert* - 3
34. Villa Paletti - 3
35. 10 days in Asia - 3
36. Elasund - 3
37. Attika - 2
38. Brass - 2
39. Thebes - 2
40. Hive - 2
41. Dawn Under - 2
42. Axis & Allies Revised - 2
43. Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition* - 2
44. Magic the Gathering - 2
45. Civilization* - 2
46. Scotland Yard* - 2
47. Waterloo* - 2
48. Kakerlaken-Poker* - 2
49. Dungeon Lords* - 2
50. Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition* - 2
51. 7 Ages* - 2
52. Louis XIV - 1
53. Age of Steam - 1
54. Tikal - 1
55. Downfall of Pompeii* - 1
56. Witch's Brew* - 1
57. Titan* - 1
58. Puerto Rico - 1
59. Risk: Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition* - 1
60. Caylus - 1
61. TTR Card Game - 1
62. Mag Blast - 1
63. Fortress America* - 1
64. Indonesia* - 1
65. New York Chase* - 1
66. Arkadia* - 1
67. Container* - 1
68. Fuzzy Tiger* - 1
69. That's Life - 1
70. Minion Hunter* - 1
71. China - 1
72. Ticket to Ride - 1
73. Modern Art - 1
74. Cartagena II* - 1
75. Red November* - 1
76. Castellers* - 1
77. Age of Empires III - 1
78. Mamma Mia - 1
79. Taj Mahal - 1
80. Perikles* - 1
81. Tempus* - 1
82. Colosseum* - 1
83. Battlestar Galactica* - 1
84. Minnie's Garden Game* - 1
85. In the Year of the Dragon - 1
86. Monopoly Express - 1
87. Amun-Re - 1
88. MR1: Jack the Ripper - 1
89. Tribune - 1
90. Manoeuvre* - 1
91. Notre Dame - 1
92. Chateau Roquefort* - 1
93. Formula D* - 1
94. Big Kini* - 1
95. Chaos Isle: Zombie Deck* - 1
96. The World Cup Game* - 1
97. Cosmic Encounter* - 1
98. Traumfabrik - 1
99. Warriors of God* - 1
100. TTR Europe - 1
101. For Sale - 1
102. Yspahan - 1
103. Wyatt Earp - 1
104. Hammer of the Scots - 1
105. Snow Tails* - 1
106. Byzantium - 1
107. Kakerlaken-Suppe* - 1
108. Chicago Express* - 1
109. Fresh Fish* - 1
110. Diamonds Club* - 1
111. Struggle of Empires* - 1
112. Airships* - 1
113. 2 de Mayo* - 1
114. Dou4Di4Zhu3 - 1
115. Middle-Earth Quest* - 1
116. Hacienda - 1
117. Risk Express - 1