Southampton On Board - 27 January 2014 - Harbours, Zombies & Cyber-Terroism

Despite the dodgy parking restrictions in place there was still quite a few members present for this weeks Southampton group! Due to time and cost and distance I'm having to be a little more picky with which sessions I turn up to, but hey who'd be a Chartered Accountant with a games blog and YouTube channel these days?
Not too many games to report on though this week as my chosen game took most of the available time, but I was so glad to be able to try it. For a while I've enjoyed playing Agricola by Uwe Rosenberg, which now has been almost replaced by Caverna by the same designer. So I've been keen to try out his other work, but on the top of the list has been Le Havre. Pegged by Tom Vasel as one of his favourite Euro games of all time, I've been meaning to get this played for ages, but no-one seemed to own it.

"Le Havre"

No shocker that it got a lot of attention from players, 5 of us were keen to play it and despite the game's warning that only experienced players should play with 5 players, we got stuck in anyway. I ain't letting no silly publisher warning ruin my chance! I'm a quick learner of games, I play Euro's solo and take on Cthulhu with my own squad of investigators, I can handle running a harbour and trading goods, how hard can it be?

The rest of the group settled into Last Night On Earth with a couple others branching off for Netrunner under a request for tuition in the game. I've tried it once at a recent Demo day and I enjoyed it, it's a cool card game, but one that I could only really play if I knew enough players with decks that I could play against regularly. Might happen in the future though as LCG's are kinder on the wallet than CCG's. As for Last Night On Earth . . . . <shiver>. . . . sudden feelings of dread run over me when I see that game.

"Last Night On Earth"

Le Havre puts you in control of a harbour warehouse and throughout the many rounds (and there are a LOT of rounds even in the short game) you take it in turns to acquire goods from incoming ships and construct buildings to refine them or provide special abilities. The premise is simple - earn as much wealth and money as you can by the end of the game. Now already that makes it easier to pick up than Agricola as you don't have multiple scoring venues, but despite this there's legitimately multiple paths to victory. Also unlike Agricola there's usually always a good action to take so if someone blocks your worker, you're not totally screwed over.

"Android Netrunner"

Each of us chose our own route and strategic path and even though the buildings varied across the board, you could still get an idea of what each person was doing and it's a neat concept to have the buildings available for access for anybody but at a cost if it belongs to another player. Not original, but it works well in other games that use it. I had to change my intended profession a hundred times though at the beginning as everyone else kept buying my buildings! I think in the end I was a baker that also owned a lot of factory style buildings - a move which turned out to be critical when I found out what the Bank gave you for owning them.
Eventually the cyber-terrorists had finished their tutorial session (as I'm writing this I'm getting more and more tempted to buy the game now) and quickly brought out Labyrinth for just the two of them. I remember playing this classic back in the childhood days - not sure I'd give it the same love now, but hey it's one of those cheap and cheerful games that scratches the "kick you when you're down" itch.


Continuing with Le Harve, one surprise I was noticing (besides winning as I honestly thought I was lagging behind by miles until I bought the Bank which brought me back in) was actually the game length. The rulebook stated that a "short" game with 5 players should take around 2 and a half hours. And funny enough it did and that included rules explanations as well. I expected it to take much longer so this was a welcome boost. Granted we played the short version, I bet that doing the long version would have added another 30-45 minutes minimum, but when you have 5 players in a Euro game, you don't want it to drag on too long.
The zombies and treasure hunters had finished their games and whipped out a large game of King of Tokyo to finish out the evening. Regrettably I was too late to join it, but Gigazaur was not mis-treated in my absence, being the eventual victor of the game. Gigazaur rules, nuff said! It gave me a chance to catch up with other members and discuss a few games including Le Havre, something which isn't always easy to do at populated game sessions.

"King of Tokyo"

Not as much to report on this week really - but hey it's nice to be able to wrap this up nice and quick for a change. I've got a ton of Co-Op related videos and reviews to get ready for February as it is! On that note - Pandemic is coming on the 1st, guaranteed!

Games Played
Le Havre
Last Night On Earth
Android: Netrunner
King of Tokyo