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Category Archives: Board Games

Posts about our weekly game nights.

This week we continued our Twilight Imperium game. I slowly retook what the Green Virus (Ben) had stolen from me. Then I returned the favor and took one of Ben’s planets. (I needed it for my special objective.) Mike, playing Blue, sensed a victory point and brought his armada over and wiped me out. Owen built ships and took a few planets. He even attacked Mike. Still, I think Owen is waiting for just the right moment to reign chaos all over the universe. And by this, I DO NOT mean by attacking Yellow (me).

If Mike, the current point leader, doesn’t start losing some planets soon, he’ll be unstoppable.

Chaos Steve

A picture of the board at the end of the session:
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We started a Twilight Imperium III game last night. We expect to be through it in about 6 weeks.

Some of the highlights:

Ben is a virus. Coincidentally so is the race he’s playing in TI3. He’s attacked both Mike and I. He’s doing it so his race can copy our technologies. I think we’ll attack him back because we want to.

The dice have been rolling pretty well for me, which is unusual. I expect that to end very soon. I’ve also been lucky on the random counters that are place on planets. So far all have been good. Speaking of planets, my home world is surrounded with them. That’s another good thing. I’ve also been able to grab an artifact for a victory point. (I think Owen is eyeing it though.) Ben the Virus has been my only real issue. But not for long.

Mike has been steadily building troops, grabbing planets, and claiming victory points. Unless Ben the Virus or Owen do something soon, he’ll be too powerful to stop. I believe he currently has the most victory points. On the upside, he does have an armada heading for Ben the Virus’ home world.

Owen got crappy worlds to start with. Then he’s had crappy luck with taking over planets. His dice rolling has also been horrendously bad. All this has led to some slow grow for Owen, but he’s building momentum now. I see him becoming a problem for the peace-loving race to his left (me). One thing I have learned is to never count Owen out of the game…unless he attacks his peace-loving neighbor to the left.

(Last picture is the final shot before we stopped for the night.)

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50fathoms-e1334040658306 pic1351042_t
Although I’ve been silent about writing anything new, we have been playing lots of games the last few weeks. Ben has started running us through a Savage Worlds 50 Fathoms campaign and we’ve played Clash of Cultures, a current favorite.


stone age

We’ve also gone back in time and played an older game call Stone Age. Although I never do well in this at it, it’s still one of my favorites. In our first game, Ben kicked our butts and took names. He ended with an unprecedented 201 points. I came in second, but I was so far behind him, you might as well say I came in last. In our second game. Ben came in dead last. I’m sure this proves something, but I’ll leave just what it proves up to your imagination.


More recently (last night) we played Railways of Europe. It’s the typical build track and deliver goods cubes game that we play so many versions of. Mostly because Ben owns all the versions and has two copies of at least one. (I don’t know why.)


The starting cube placement of the game was horrible. The cities on the board are either far away or huddled in the mountains. Yes, this made it a tough game, but it didn’t slow us down any.


It seemed most everyone had a plan—everyone but me. I became the king of worthless hotels, while Owen because the king of a stellar hotel in Amsterdam that brought him tons of points. I also helped out Mike by “colorizing” a city (This has a real name in the game, but I forget what it is) allowing him to earn some points. Most of the rest of the game, I didn’t help Mike all that much. Some might even say, most likely Mike, that I screwed up his plans. All I can say to that is that he wasn’t alone. I think I screwed up everyone’s plan at one time or another. My problem was I had lots of plans—all bad. Still it looked like I might be able to stay ahead of Mike and not come in last.


Owen was clearly going to win…and we couldn’t stop him. He was that good. Ben ended up coming in last. He was that bad. Mike and I ended up tying for second place. The tie-breaker was money. I had none, so Mike officially got second place and I came in third. It should be pointed out I wasn’t Last. Ben was. Ben.


We have Jimcon next weekend, so look for that write-up in the near future.

Some Pictures From Railways of Europe

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We played Railways of England and Wales last week while Evil Mike was in Texas. We meet at Mike Byrd’s house and had a great time.

On the first turn of the game, three delivery bounty cards were available. That meant that three players could get an extra four points right at the start of the game. It also meant that one player would be left out in the cold. Alone. At the back of the pack. Destined to come in last place. The bidding for who would go first would determine that loser.

I am that loser. Ben, Owen, and Mike all got their bounties with all the cash flow that goes with it. Me, I got nothing. On my first turn I also missed the obvious place to build track to set myself up for the bonus for delivering four different colored cubes. Owen didn’t miss it though and claimed that bonus a little later. The entire game I missed opportunities or had them taken from me one action before I could get to them. Enough about me, let’s talk about Mike. Mike was on fire during this game. (As I mentioned above, this Mike is not Evil Mike. Evil Mike is away on business. This is Mike the Younger. He rocks at these train games.) Mike took the lead and never looked back. (He certainly couldn’t see me. I was that far behind.)

Mike ended up winning. Yeah Mike.

The game only lasted and hour and a half, so we played another. This time things went differently. On the first turn, I got the only delivery bounty. On the next turn, I also got the next delivery bounty. Cash was rolling in like water. I was the Donald Trump of railroading! Still those pesky other players kept close behind my lead.

At the end of the game, I lost by one point to Ben. I couldn’t claim my rail baron bonus and he could. Life is unfair sometimes. Even to the Donald Trump of railroading.

Chaos Steve

Lately our board game evenings have been taken up with Clash of Cultures. I’ve written about this game before, but if you’ve never heard of it or want to learn more here’s the BoardGameGeek link.

I think we’ve played three more games recently. I have scores for two of them. The other game, Owen did so poorly he paid off the author with french fries and ice cream to not print those scores.

Game 1: Evil Mike 37, Steve 33.5, Ben 23, and Owen 20.5.

Game 3: Owen 59 (Amazing!), Ben 42, Evil Mike 41.5 (Half a point difference!), 30.5 (I don’t want to talk about it.)

In our down time we played 7 wonders. Ben won with 53 points. Owen was second with 48. Evil Mike had 40 points and I had 35 points. And I don’t want to talk about it.

Finally we played an old favorite, Puerto Rico. I never do well in this game and it showed in the scores. Owen got an amazing 59 points to win. Ben had 47, a respectable showing. Evil Mike had 37 points and I had 35 points. We decided Evil Mike’s biggest issue was that his turn was right after Owen’s. I’m sure I had a big issue too, but I don’t want to talk about it.

Chaos Steve

The holidays are over and I’m behind again. Over the holidays, Ben, Owen, and I played a couple games of Clash of Cultures. has a great description of the game:

“A civilization game in which each player leads a civilization from a single settlement to a mighty empire. Players must explore their surroundings, build large cities, research advances and conquer those who stand in the way. The game features a modular board for players to explore, 48 distinct advances, seven mighty wonders, and loads of miniatures and cards. The winner will create a culture that will be remembered and admired for millennia.”

I love this game. I think it’s one of the best civilization games I’ve played, and I’ve played a few. While the first time setup may take a while because there are lots of bits and cards, the play is pretty straight forward. I have to say though that I constantly forgot a few of the rules concerning upgrade limits on cities. Thankfully I have Owen to remind me. I think I had more do-overs in our second game than Ben, and that’s saying a lot.

I believe Owen trounced Ben and I in the first game. And I’m pretty sure I was way in last place too. Also In our first game the barbarian tribes that pop up during the game around the cities were hardly even noticed. That changed in our second game.

Our second game was completely different from the first. One, we had those pesky barbarians coming out of the woodwork. They were everywhere. Secondly, we did more exploring and made better use of the seas. This game ended with Ben and I tying at 34 ½ points each. Ben screeched by for the win by having more city upgrades than me. We all agreed I should have won the game.

We’re going to play this game again this Week with Evil Mike. I’m looking forward to it.

Chaos Steve

Since I’m behind, as usual, I’m combining this week with last week to make one super week of games! …that took place over two weeks.

At the beginning of this “super week” we played Constantinopolis. It’s a resource management game that takes place in Constantinopolis, the largest city in the Byzantine Empire during the 6th century. (Who knew you’d be learning a little history and geography too?) Each player is an ambitious merchant. The players buy buildings that product raw materials, factories that produce goods, and walls that give them special abilities. (No, I don’t know why a wall would give you special abilities.) Using these resources each player fulfills trade contracts by shipping them off to who-knows-where. You win the game by having the most Fame Points—not Victory Points.

Unlike our previous train gaming session, I did not dominate the game. I think if anyone did that, it would have to had to been Ben. He was in the lead, by a good amount, for most of the game. At first Owen and I languished in the rear watching Ben and Mike skillfully gain fame. Owen must have learned something from watching them, because he starting earning more fame as well. Towards the end of the game, Mike had started to lose steam and was earning less and less fame. Owen now challenged Ben for the lead. Had it not been for the walls that Ben had bought, Owen would have tied Ben for the win. As it was, he came in a close second. Ben had 62 fame. Owen had 59. I had 44 and Evil Mike had 41. I should mention that we all liked this game and want to play it again.

Now let’s leap forward in time to this week. Ta-da! It’s this week and we played Merchants and Marauders at Mike Byrd’s house. Ben was traveling for work and Evil Mike was a no show. (He did mention something about an email he sent, but none of us who showed up remembered it.) So it was just Mike, Owen, and I.

Merchants and Marauders
looks complicated. It has lots of bits—counters, cards, and ships. Mike said that setup is difficult. But once we started playing, we found it to be pretty easy. You start the game with a ship. You get to pick from two. A fast, maneuverable sloop or a more merchant worthy flute. The ship you choose somewhat determines how you will play the game. Will you be a fairly respectable merchant or will you be a pirate scoundrel. We all went the way of the merchant, choosing the bigger ship that could haul lots of cargo.

One your turn you can do three actions from a list of actions that include: move, scout, and port. Scout means searching for other ships either to plunder or to sink. Port means going to port to buy/sell goods, upgrade your ship, or hire crew. Most of the game was spent buying goods at one port and then traveling to another port to sell them. I did scout for a ship to plunder thus gaining a Spanish bounty on my head. What I didn’t realize was now I couldn’t sell goods at Spanish ports! Oh well, maybe I should have listened when Mike was explaining the rules.

You win the game by being the first to gain 10 Glory points. You get these points for doing various glorious things during the game. Mike, who has played this game a few times, won the game. Owen, who paid attention to the rules, came in second with 8 Glory points. I came in last with a measly 4 Glory points. But…I was the only sea captain to sink a pirate frigate!

Chaos Steve

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Evil Mike was off on holiday so Mike Byrd stepped in for him for our night of gaming. Way to step up Mike and spend an evening goofing off with us!

This time we played Rails of New England. A train game which is a lot more about managing your businesses than actually shipping goods to places. With Evil Mike playing, this game took us two nights to complete. With the Mike stand-in playing, we got it <nearly> done in one night.

We learned a lot during this game. Things like “Never sit next to Mike when he has a hand full of screw-your-neighbor cards.”  Also that if you start in Vermont, you better not stay in Vermont. Get the heck out of there! Quick! Mike had Vermont. He stayed.

Speaking of screw-your-neighbor cards, guess who every one of those cards were played against? Me. It’s not like I had a cash reserve akin to Ft. Knox’s gold supply. (I did.) It’s not like I was earning money hand-over-fist. (I was.) And still everyone picked on me. I should point out that my good friend Owen never played a card against me. Good man, that Owen.

Speaking of Owen, he was earning tons of money as well, but the commerce gods decided to throw him a curve ball in the form of a fires/floods/snow…I forget which. It completely shut Owen down for a turn late in the game. Otherwise he may have pulled off one of his “come from behind” victories that’s he’s so famous for. But it was not to be.

You win the game by having the most money. I had $323 Gazillion. Owen came in second with $267. Ben third with $194 and Mr. Vermont came in last with $77.

And so continues my train game winning streak! (“Two” is a streak.)

Tonight we’re playing Constantinopolis with Latin tiles. No way will I do well in that game.

Chaos Steve

Mike got a new Catan game called Seafarers of Catan. It’s an expansion to the regular Catan game that adds ships and islands into the mix. You get some extra points for building settlements on the islands.

Mike strategically out-thought all of us when choosing his starting position. Owen immediately accuses me of screwing him by building right by him. I point out that it’s a small map.

As the game progressed, Mike was the seafaring King. He also go a sweet 2:1 trade for sheep. This catapulted him into the lead. With all this sea action going on, Owen was pretty much left alone to build his roads and cities however he wished. We all expected Mike to win the game, but when all was said and done, Owen won because he got the Longest Road bonus AND the Largest Army bonus. Apparently we should have screwed with Owen’s turns a little more. Mike came in a close second and I was dead last. Settlers hate me.

Chaos Steve


rolling freight
We got together and played another game of Rolling Freight. Mike had never played it, so we quickly explained the rules to him. Ben also offered lots of advice on the best strategy for the game. Of course, Ben didn’t follow any of his own advice. (He never seems too.) Ben. Owen, and I have played the game 1.3 times before. Here’s a link to the earlier games. (I never get tired of reading it.)

Our game started out pretty normally except that Ben was really slow to earn any victory points. Usually this is Owen. But just like Owen, Ben caught up and soon was leading (or at least a contender for the lead.) Towards the end of the game, Owen started falling behind and Ben started closing the gap on the leader, me. I think had the game gone much longer, Ben would have pasted me and won. As it was though, I was able to hold him off and win the game. I am currently undefeated after 2.3 games.

I’ve figure out my secret to winning…or at least doing well in the game. Yep, I didn’t realize what I was doing up to now. That should be no surprise to the rest of the guys. I noticed at the end of this game that I did one thing similarly in all of the games. I think that “one thing” is the landmark “thing” one should do to win the game. And I plan on doing that “thing” again, if we play again.

Chaos Steve