Actually this report covers 2 boardgame sessions a week apart. The first was at my sister’s, where we played Ticket to Ride. We normally play the Europe version, but my niece had brought the USA board, so we decided to give it a go. The main difference (aside from the geography!) is the lack of tunnels and ferries, plus crucially the lack of stations. I think this could greatly increase aggressive play; the deliberate blocking of opponents routes. For this first game though, none of us decided to play aggressively. I drew routes that were north-south through the central area of the board, and which overlapped to a great degree, so I spent most time completing these. This was a mistake! In the final scoring, I had many low value tickets over short stretches of track, and therefore tallied a low total points score (I came 4th, or last). Meanwhile my 13 year old niece, completed a few long tickets (e.g. Seattle to New York) utilising long stretches of track. She was the clear winner. During the game I was sorely tempted to block her and throw various spanners in the works, but as we were only there for the afternoon, I decided discretion was the better choice. Next time, there will be no ‘mister nice guy’!
On the 8th Val and Chris came round for lunch and a game. It was such a nice day, we took the dog, Snowy, for a walk, which significantly reduced the time available for games. I had intended to play Dominion, but instead my wife suggested Power Grid. We have not played this recently and I certainly could not remember the rules, nor more importantly, the strategy needed to win. The game progressed more slowly than I seem to remember previously, and the game lasted almost 2 hours! By the time we came close to reaching the finish line (i.e. 17 cities in a network), all the players suddenly realised that Chris was in a dominant position: he had 17 cities, all of which he could power. I was second, having 15 powered cities, Val came third and Elaine last. We played the German board using the southern 4 regions. Power Grid is an excellent game in which you have to balance many elements; type of power plant, resource management, and network building. The only change I have made to the game is to exchange the normal paper money (which I feel is cheap and flimsy) for more substantial, and satisfying, poker chips (which I bought at a charity shop for only £1).