2 Jul 2007

KGB returns

KGB sessions will return on a regular basis starting this weekend.
I hope we can attract more people during the summer time!


8 May 2007

Chronicles of the Cold War (part 1)

Game: Twilight Struggle

Players: Ricardo – America

This report will cover the events of two games of Twilight Struggle between me and Ricardo.

Round 1:

The game started with an earlier American advantage. Having Ricardo all the scoring cards of the the early war during the first two turns he was able to know were to invest and beat me in the scoring of those areas.

But not having any scoring card had its advantages! First of all, I had the chance to play more cards, meaning more influence around the globe. And second, without knowing were the scoring would be, I was investing in all the regions at the same time. These two factors combined allowed me to spread my presence in all the regions at the time, and not concentrating my efforts in a single one. The result was that during the middle war, I was able to unbalance the score in my favour, being able to keep it that way until the end of the game, rushed by the “war games” card. In the end, USSR won by a single point at the beginning of turn 10. If the game would finish in the end of the turn, I would probably maintain the win, since USSR had more influence overall.

USA 0 – 1 USSR

Round 2:

We played the round 2 of this game just three days after the first one. The start of the game was almost the same, with the Americans gaining an early advantage. But unlike the previous game, USSR was unable to catch up, and by mid war, USA had enough advantage to finish the game with the “war games” card, at the beginning of turn 8. Once more, USSR had more influence of the world, but with 3 more turns to play, the situation could become more balanced.

In this round I had more problems placing influence on South and Central America, and Ricardo kindly removed the influence I had as soon as he could. The scoring cards were more balanced this time as well, and I did not had the advantage of having more cards to play. Also, for the first time one faction achieved “control” over a region; I was able to control the Middle East, and having a huge score on that region, that helped me to lose by a single point only.

USA 1 – 1 USSR

After two “Cold Wars”, USA and USSR manage to win one of them, both by a single point only. Just like during the real Cold War, there seems to be a tie. Can you get more realism than that?


23 Apr 2007

Civilization: 2007-04-22


Africa – Dalim Thor

Thrace – Red Piss Legion

Crete – Philip

Babylon – Me

Egypt – Sgrovi

The game started with an initial confusion concerning the rules. Sgrovi, the owner of the game, read the rules from a file downloaded from BGG, that had some rules different from those of the rulebook. We decided to go with that version, finding out later it was wrong.

The first turns all players expanded having no conflicts.

On turn 3 Crete builds two ships and starts expanding out of the island.

On turn 4 Africa and Egypt build the first cities (1 each).

On turn 5 all civs except Crete constructed at least one city.

Turn 6, Africa and Egypt bought the first advance (Mysticism).

The first trade occurred on turn 7 between Thrace and Babylon.

Crete constructed the first 3 cities on turn 8, the turn where things started to get interesting. The first conflict and 3 calamities occurred on that turn. The conflict was minor, but the calamities have done some damages. A volcano in Crete did not cause much damage. A famine in Africa affected all players. The last calamity was a civil war in Egypt (Babylon benefited from it). Egypt lost 2 cities and a token.

Turn 9: With all player having at least 4 cities, the first epidemic occurred. The “lucky” civ was Thrace, but it affected all but Crete.

At start of turn 10, Crete, Babylon and Egypt had a solid empire, while Africa and Thrace were struggling to build cities due to early decisions. 5 calamities occurred on this turn. Famine and a civil war (with no effect) in Africa, an epidemic in Crete, Heresy in Egypt and a civil disorder in Babylon. Thus far, the epidemics and famines were causing the most damage to the civs, and the heresy delayed Egypt a little.

On turn 11, a flood in Babylon destroyed all units and cities its flood plains, while an earthquake in Egypt caused minor damage. At this point, Crete and Egypt were solid, while the other civs were recovering from the calamities.

The first civil war that caused an impact was on turn 12 in Crete (Egypt benefited). Two cities and several units changed sides causing a major impact on Crete, that also suffered an epidemic that Egypt was immune. A volcano and a flood (with reduced effect) in Egypt were insufficient to unbalance the gains from the civil war. A famine in Thrace completed the menu of disasters that turn.

Turn 13 only had an earthquake in Babylon. At this point, Egypt was launched to win the game, only needing to buy the most expensive techs, maintaining 9 cities on the board.

Only two calamities occurred on turn 14. A civil war in Babylon (Thrace benefited) caused moderate damage (Democracy helped). A piracy in Africa caused that civ to lose 4 cities.

Turn 15 was the last turn we played. After resolving the calamities, we declared Egypt the winner. Egypt only needed to acquire a specific tech in 3 turns to win the game. Africa could also win, but required 2 specific techs in 2 turns plus an additional one, and another on the third turn, but the calamities on this turn forced the civ to lose many cities.

Overall, we all enjoyed the game. We played with a few rules wrong that benefited no one in particular. Not many conflicts occurred because we played with the entire board. Some calamities really caused many problems to some civs but overall, the game was balanced, only Thrace was a little behind. We played 15 turns in about 9 hours (with 1 hour lunch break). We didn't reach the end of the game, but by then, the winner was already known. We all had a great time playing the game and we all want to repeat the experience, preferably with Advanced Civilization!

Mr. JMendes appeared in the middle of the game, telling us of some of the differences between Civilization and Advanced Civilization. My opinion is that Advanced Civilization is more polished, and a game to try some day. But for this session, the civilization that will be immortalized in the history books will be Egypt. Historian FNunes signing out!


13 Apr 2007

A game in a University

I remember someone writing that “someday, I hope to see students playing Puerto Rico in the universities instead of the traditional card games”. Well... it's not Puerto Rico, and the players have already graduated and we played it in after work, but the fact is that one day two friends and I played a game of Ticket to Ride Europe in a bar inside the university of Lisbon.

The game was played when António received his copy. He and his girlfriend could not resist and invited me (the one that delivered it) to a quick game. The outcome is not important. What really matters is that al three of us enjoyed it. Here are some pictures.

António and Isabel at the beginning of the game

Not many student were in the bar at that time (arround 6.30 pm)

The endgame with points still being counted


3 Apr 2007

baptism of Fire

During the last month, there is some kind of wargaming disease spreading in our gaming group. It first started when Ferreira played Combat Commander Europe during the monthly encounter of boardgamers in Lisbon in February. At that point, the only wargame I had tried was BattleLore, and although it is a great game, I didn't get the “wargaming feeling” I was expecting.

The Wednesday before the March monthly encounter in Lisbon, I had a chance to play Hammer of the Scots, a game about the fight of Wallace to free Scotland. I liked the game mechanics and how the two factions have different playing styles but maintaining the balance. I particularly enjoy how the re-enforcements are handled on both side.

The next game I played was on that encounter of boardgamers, where I played a quick game of Memoire '44. Although I've enjoyed the game (despite suffering a heavy defeat), I missed the retaliation rules of Battlelore.

But that encounter was important because I had arranged for my brother to play Panzer Grenadier Airborne Introductory Kit with Ricardo. That game has 20 scenarios, representing battles on D day and the following days, between the Americans (usually the airborne combat forces) and the Germans. They played a game in the morning, and after we've returned from lunch, bought a copy of the game. I tried the game next day. The game plays on an hex grid with cardboard tokens to represent everything and with no cards involved. The Panzer Grenadier system is the next step that a Memoire '44 player should take into heavier wargames.

Finally, last week I got the chance to play Rommel in the Desert with Ricardo (he's one the main responsible for the “wargaming disease”, Pombeiro is the other), a game with several scenarios of WWII in north Africa. The combat and movement mechanics are similar to Hammer of the Scots, and just like in Hammer, where the payers had to manoeuvre the forces to capture the nobles and keep them safe in the winter, the supply lines also force the players to do those manoeuvre.

So, what is the result of the “wargame disease”? I find myself wanting to play more wargames and less heavier eurogames. I still love to play the light ones. Also, I now want to add a wargame to my collection (Panzer Grenadier: Eastern Front my first choice) and not an hybrid.

6 Mar 2007

Game Review: Werewolf

Name: Werewolf
Genre: Party Game
Designer: Dimitry Davidoff
Publisher: Several
Category: Mystery/Bluffing/Deduction
of Players: 8+
Cost: Very Cheap
Quality of Components: High
Age of Players: 8+
Rules: Very Simple
Strategic Depth: Low
Learning Curve: Very Low
Set up Time: Minimal

There are some games that are design to be played in very specific occasions, therefore people may ignore them when building a game collection. Werewolf is one of those games.

In Werewolf, all players assume the roles of villagers living in a peaceful community. But the peace is broken, when in a morning, one of the villagers is found slain. The marks on the body points to a werewolf killer. At this point, everyone panics and the villagers start killing each other until the werewolf is killed stop.

The game requires at least 8 people to be played. The game requires only a deck of cards (common cards will do). The cards represent the roles each player. One of the players is the moderator. The moderator is the first person to be killed, and the only player that knows everyone's roles. Werewolfs know each others and the villagers have no additional information. Other roles include the seer, the witch, the hunter, etc.

The game flow is simple, at the beginning everyone closes their eyes, the werewolfs kill someone (the moderator in the first night). At night all other roles are played as well. Next it's the day phase. All living players discuss with each other trying to agree on who are they going to kill. Usually people vote for someone and the person with the most votes is killed. And the game processes with the werewolfs killing someone at night and all the players killing someone in the day. The game ends when the werewolfs and the villagers are at equal number or when all the werewolfs are killed. Werewolfs win if the first condition is occurs. All others win with the second. If the hunter and a werewolf are the last players living, the hunter wins.

Simple game, lots of fun. I've only played this game in one occasion: in the return trip from Lagos two weeks ago. At first the players were lost, but very soon everyone realised that they had to kill someone during the day and a mob mentality could be felt, players screaming a name, trying not to be killed, some trying to convince the others not to kill someone claiming that he was the seer. Lots of fun!


22 Feb 2007

FNunes@encontro mensal de boardgamers de Lisboa

For the first time, the monthly encounter of boardgamers in Lisbon took place on a Saturday. It started at 10 AM and proceeded over the night as usual. This was my second presence, and since it began early, Davide Ferreira and my brother joined the event. It was a very good gaming day, I and really enjoyed it.

The first game I played was one that I wanted to play for a while: Power Grid. In this game, each played buys power plants and resources to try to supply power to different cities on the board. At first the players have a chance to purchase a power plant in auctions. After that, the players purchase the resources for their power plants, and finally, they buy “cities” on the board and connections to link them. I only played the game once, but I got the felling of playing a gamer's game. I loved playing the game, despite finishing last out of 5 players.

After a lunch break, I played a game of Ticket to Ride Europe with other three players that never played the game. Ticket to Ride Europe is a game that I enjoy very much, and one of the few I'm always in a mood to play. I've played the game so many times now, that I now exactly where all the cities are in the map, and I usually chose my tickets without looking at the board. In this game, my experience came to the top and I come out as the winner by a comfortable margin. I hope the other players enjoyed the game as much as I did.

The last game I played was Twilight Imperium 3rd edition with the expansion. This was my first epic game. We started playing the game as 16h and by 24h (with a 2 hour dinner break) the game was not finished. I confess that I lack the skill to describe this game with a few words, since the game is massive and there is always to much going on. I just hope I can play it again soon.

From the left: My brother, me and Diogo playing Twilight Imperium


KGB - session 14

Next KGB session will occur Saturday 24 February, 2007 at 14:30. Please confirm you presence.

Tournament Master:
David Nunes

My pick:
Lord of the Rings