Hugo, Russian Railroads and Sushi

Arriving a little earlier than usual to do set up there were 2 of us at 6.45pm with 15 minutes to kill before the official start time so we started with a quick game of Port Royal.

I was 2 points away from winning when the first arrivals came through the door and we started the first official game of the evening, Sushi Go!

More people arrived and we moved onto a 6 player Midnight Party, this game revolves around Hugo the ghost who chases partygoers (the players pieces) around a corridor in clockwise rotation, to escape Hugo the partygoers run into rooms, those that do not escape his cold embrace end up in the cellar and attract minus points, the longer you survive the less minus points you get. It was a fun game with one of our number almost scoring a perfect minus score with -56 points.

We split Into three tables my table choosing Russian Railroads a slightly heavier game than my normal offerings, this is my favourite game from 2014 it is the winner of several awards and in my mind should have won the Kennerspiel award at Essen, it certainly has a higher rating on BGG than the winner Istanbul.

 Game board with plenty of places to send workers.

Game board with plenty of places to send workers.

Russian Railroads is a worker placement game the goal being to earn the most victory points. Workers are placed to undertake a number of tasks such as increasing the track lengths of three Railroads out of Moscow, building better trains or Industry, increasing Industry rating or picking up one of a number of bonuses which help gain victory points. Railroads can be increased in quality to collect more victory points, their length when increased can also attract a variety of bonuses as they reach certain trigger points.

 Player board before start up bits added showing the three tracks being built.

Player board before start up bits added showing the three tracks being built.

The real skill in the game is reaching these trigger points quickly and making best use of them. I also ought to mention Engineers, there is 1 available to hire every turn and 2 others which can be used every turn, they provide another place to play workers but give a better return than the board spaces and once hired they are exclusive to the hiring player.

 A couple of Engineers with trains flanking an Industry token

A couple of Engineers with trains flanking an Industry token

This just skims the surface of the game there are a variety of routes to victory none of which are certain, this means that collecting the right Engineers for your gameplan can make all the difference.

 Some of the extra bits in Russian Railroads

Some of the extra bits in Russian Railroads

Our game was very close and was only really decided in the final turn.

Table 2 went with a lighter selection of games starting off with Samurai Spirit which I talked about in the last session report.

 One of the Seven Samurai showing his animal qualities but overpowered in the final round by the bandits.

One of the Seven Samurai showing his animal qualities but overpowered in the final round by the bandits.

 Samurai showing player hands and village board down to the last hut. Photo by our guest photographer "J"

Samurai showing player hands and village board down to the last hut. Photo by our guest photographer "J"

An interesting aspect is that the more familiar we become with this game, the harder it is to beat it – even at the basic level. This was followed up with Sushi Go! (its second play of the evening).

Incan Gold was the third game on table 2 where a huge score of 118 was achieved by the winner.

Concordia  was the game of choice on table 1 of a mid-heavy weight game. In Concordia the idea is to achieve the most victory points through a variety of goals. Each player starts the game with a warehouse with a small number of goods and a set of cards (each player has the same set-up).

 One of the several boards available for Concordia

One of the several boards available for Concordia

On a turn a player plays a card from their hand and undertakes the action thereon, the options include expanding your influence by building in new towns (each of which has a specified trade good), trading resources, collecting more action cards and picking up your discard pile.

 Some of the cards in Concordia

Some of the cards in Concordia

The cards themselves have one of 6 gods named at the bottom and at the games end these act as multipliers for various goals such as each city occupied and number of colonists in play.

 Player board in Concordia with goods stored in the warehouse

Player board in Concordia with goods stored in the warehouse

The game is a matter of balance between expansion, resource collection and card collection. Concordia is a very nice game that has depth but where the mechanics remain relatively easy to play.

The final game on table 2 was Red7, after which the players on Tables 2 and 3 amalgamated for another game of . . . . . Sushi Go!.

 (Library Photo) a hand in Sushi Go!

(Library Photo) a hand in Sushi Go!

I must be missing something as I cannot seem to win this game, an interesting event halfway through was everybody’s choice of Sashami as the first dish – as you need 3 of them to score it was to be a low scoring round.

 4 Dishes of Sashami each in a different hand.

4 Dishes of Sashami each in a different hand.

As Concordia ended those that remained at the club came together for a 7 player game of Incan Gold, the scores were low mainly due to very few of the larger gem cards coming out but also at level 4 where the first 2 cards off the top of the deck were identical disasters.

 Another photograph from our guest photographer "J" this time of Concordia mid-game

Another photograph from our guest photographer "J" this time of Concordia mid-game

All in all a fun evening with some heavier games being played and a nice end with a 7 player game.