Portsmouth On Board - 12 March 2014 - Falling Nations, Slow Russians & Bad Games!

A jam packed session at Portsmouth On Board this week - never short of members here and if you don't believe me, come on down and see for yourself! But enough shameless plugging, let's get started on the games.

My highlight for the evening was finally getting my new game Nations to the table. I'd only done a mock play with two players and wanted to see how a full game would work out. Well I say full, I rarely ever want to play a game with maximum players as you know it just makes a Euro game take forever. So four players was good enough. Roping in Nigel from GamesQuest, Jez and my mate Jim we chose our starting nations and made a start. On reflection I think next time I'll explain the rules as I go through the first turn of the game as that seems easier than trying to do it all before hand. But hey, civilization games are complex, we all know this.

Being gamers, none of us wanted the boring A side of the player boards, so we all embraced our nation's unique characteristics and went for the B sides (A is identical, B is unique). My Rome vs Persia, Greece and China.


Elsewhere in the group the main Euro highlights were Russian Railroads, a quality game that you would recognise from my last report and Power Grid a. . . . . . game that. . . . . . I can't bring myself to do it, I hate this game, nuff said! Hope it was more enjoyable for those playing it as it ever was on the many times I've been subjected to it. 

"Marvel: Legendary"

On the first turn alone we could tell that Nations was going to be a brain burner. But in a good way - you have a ton of decisions to make each turn. Should I work the farm, quarry or temple to begin with? Should I arm my workers for some military strength? Should I acquire an advisor or upgraded building? Should I start a war? Should I begin construction on a wonder? There are loads of options available and on top of that you have to be careful in balancing your resources as none of them are considered arbitrary. 

A bit of AP within the group slowed things down a bit, but in fairness, it's not easy to consider all your options in this game quickly. And as each player takes it in turns per action the downtime is fairly minimal. Each player went down a very different route as well, but despite this some similarities could be found. Nigel and I had engaged in a perpetual arms game of leapfrog, Jim had kept to the Chinese theme and gone for constructing multiple wonders thanks to some free architects he acquired and Jez . . . . . . well I'm not entirely sure what his plan was as unfortunately as because I kept starting wars every round and buildings weren't always readily available, his nation was simply being punished repeatedly. I wanted to keep Jim's victory points under control, but in doing so, it was like kicking a man when he's down. 

Ah well despite the falling of Greece, he was remarkably chipper about the whole thing and still enjoyed the game. That's what I like in a gamer buddy, someone who doesn't get riled up when games don't go his way and looks past defeat to enjoy himself. Kudos!

"Russian Railroads - perhaps they'd had one pint too many?"

On inspecting Russian Railroads, I was confused as to why the point scoring was surprisingly low for what I have called the "ultimate point salad" of a Euro game. Apparently having 4 players was causing much more tension in the worker spaces and no-one was getting enough points with their basic trains. An interesting change from the 3 player salad we had the other week. There was still tension, but getting points wasn't difficult. Maybe the Russians in this game were just being slow? 

"Power Grid - oh god the paper money"

Back at Nations, Jim was running away with the victory points - seems having that extra worker at the start is a big help. But then he'd also started up an engine that was giving him two free architects a turn, which in a four player contested game is very powerful. 

By the end of the game, it was impossible to catch him up, despite my best efforts. I settled for second place though as it was an enjoyable romp throughout and now makes me want to try out the solitaire variant within the game and also give Through The Ages a try which is effectively the more complicated version of Nations. After starting late and explaining the rules, we barely finished with a moment to spare - again I think I'll explain the rules as we play the first turn next time for ease.


Sometimes you'll have sessions where you can only get one game in, this was one of them. The solution is simply to devote more hours to one session. Oh well Tabletop Day is looming and there's an entire weekend of gaming to be had there . . . . but will I opt for doing a 24 hour marathon as I've been considering for the past fortnight? Could I last longer than 24 hours? Who knows? More to come on that later. . . . 


"Carcassonne - two games of this were being played at once"

Games Played

Russian Railroads
Marvel: Legendary
Fairy Tale
Power Grid
Love Letter
and many more!!