Category Archives: coffee shop gaming

coffee shop gaming

Dungeon Madness

Yesterday was a good day. Gaming and Liverpool decimated Arsenal. Hard to top that for a Sunday. Jonathan has been rather busy with life stuff recently. This work thing just gets in the way of everything. So it was good to get a chance to meet up and play a couple of games at the local coffee emporium Costa.

Our first game while enjoying our beverages was Dairyman (owned by Jonathan). 

What can I say about the game? It’s a pleasant, light, push your luck dice game. I think between this and Go Nuts for Donuts (also Jonathan’s game) that I’ve played recently, this would be my preference. However this is the opposite point of view to Jonathan.

Dairyman for me would have to compete against Age of War and Zombie Dice. And I think I prefer both of these over Diaryman. Age of War noses it because of that little take that element of being able to steal cards from other players. Zombie Dice plays more players.

We then played my recent aquasition One Deck Dungeon. Sometimes a learning game  from the rule book isn’t the best thing to do.   

Our first playthrough was a bit muddled, and we died. But we were finding the rule book not the easiest thing to navigate to find the information we needed. I have to admit I was feeling a bit deflated by the game. Or more the confusion from the rules. Jonathan was much more positive and found elements he liked.

The second attempt at the dungeon was better. However we still couldn’t work out how the dungeon card worked. For the life of us we couldn’t find the information we needed. Subsequently I have found the information we needed in the rule book and on YouTube. How it was missed I don’t know. 

I was feeling much better about the game after our second play. Much more positive.

But despite our games being like train wrecks there was enough there to like. I’m still not a fan of the rule book. Once I’ve played it correctly I’ll talk about the stuff I like about it.

I have other games that are aimed at the solo player, The 7th Continent, Hostage  Negotiator, and D-Day Dice. I also have others that have solo modes. So how does One Deck Dungeon stack up against them? Not badly for sure. The advantage it has for most people over The 7th Continent and D-Day Dice is that it’s easier to get. D-Day Dice is out of print and not likely to be reprinted. While The 7th Continent if you didn’t back the original Kickstarter then you will have to wait until the next Kickstarter for it to get a copy. Another advantage it has over all three is portability. The box is easily small enough to throw in a bag. Although if you use the original Hostage Negotiator box  (assuming you have both the original and the Crime Wave expansion) you could take the game out with you easily. I think that would be the deciding factor, is this a Costa Gaming session or a game night session or at home. The Costa session, One Deck Dungeon wins, the later I’m going 7th Continent, or one of the others. Unless I want something quick. One Deck Dungeon is quick to setup and play. Much more so than the others. 

It was great catching up with Jonathan and play some games with him. Hopefully life will be kinder to him soon so he can play more games.

Ultra Rare Costa Gaming Session 

A very very long over due Costa Gaming was held Sunday between Jonathan and myself. Jonathan wanted to try Caverna: Cave vs Cave as a two player game (he had only tried it solo that morning). Plus he had Le Havre: Inland Port he wanted to do a learning game of.

Between the car park and Costa lies The Works, well its a lot nearer to Costa than the car park. But it qualifies as between so I will stick to that description of its location. I thought you know what I’ll quickly pop in on the off chance that they might have a board game bargain in. I mean they did sell Sun Tzu which at the time was a bargain for this nice little two player game. Mind you they also sold the awfully bland deckbuilder built around the online game World of Tanks.  I didn’t see any games there but I did see some jigsaw puzzles that looked more challenging than Barenpark. I ended up buying a couple of childrens Lego Star Wars story books for their Lego minifigs on the cover. £2.50 each for an R2 and Rebel Snowtrooper was a good deal I thought. Whilst paying I saw two home made cakes by the till. This was enough of an in for the shop assistant to up sell me into buying raffle tickets to win them. It was for charity and five tickets for a quid wasn’t going to break the bank. So I bought five tickets and won a sponge cake with a lemon curd filling.
Jonathan was already at Costa when I strolled in with my purchases and winnings.

We started off with Caverna: Cave vs Cave. I really am liking this as a light-ish two player game. I ended up with a nice little engine that got me lots of gold (which are worth points at the end of the game). By the end scoring I maxed out on 19 gold. While Jonathan had built more rooms in his cave than me. Which when we added up everything meant that we actually tied on points.

Oh another reason for me liking this game. Shortest person is the starting player! Thematically it should be the most dwarven looking but I’ll take this.

Next up was  Le Havre: Inland Port. I have to admit I have been close to getting this since playing  Caverna: Cave vs Cave. But luckily I hadn’t done anything about it. We actually gave up on this game, with the intention of watching tutorials on line, and trying to work out what we were missing about the game. We were reading the rules and it didn’t make sense how we could buy stuff, and take all of our actions, especially the first player. It was a very frustrating experience. I think we have worked out those misunderstandings since Sunday. I don’t think that the rule book is as clear as it could or should be.

So with that frustrating experience lingering around, we chatted away, righting the wrongs of the word, catching up on life events, etc. By the time we had finished it was closing time at Costa. Thanks Jonathan for a great afternoon of gaming and chat. We must do this more often. We once did. Lets male it a thing again.

And finally a big thank you to Jonathan for providing me with photos of me in board gaming action.

Long over due Costa Gaming

This afternoon Jonathan, myself and special surprise guest gamer Luke played games and enjoyed hot beverages at the local Costa.

So because three of us were gathered in one place, and it is the law, we played Thiefs Market. 

Since getting the game I’ve played the game four times, and I just love the splitting the spoils phase so much. 

It’s not just the hard delicious choices you have to make. But also the ones your decisions then pose to the other players.

Despite me building up an intimating engine of cards that if fueled correctly could buy four cards a turn, I still came last. While Luke stole my short lived title and became the new King of Thieves.

Our second game (queue Guns ‘n Roses music) was Welcome to the Dungeon. 

We vied to see who was the bravest, boldest one amongst us to take on the dark dungeon and it’s monsters as a barbarian. 

My timid play saw me again claim last place. While not exactly being brave, more like not being quicker than Luke and myself running away, Jonathan won.

I still believe that this game should never, never, ever be played with only two players. I know that you can’t avoid that situation in a three or four player game. But this is not a two player only game. And if/when you got down to two players that is the least enjoyable part of the game.

We had a great afternoon gaming. 

The art of Odin

Yesterday I put the “can anyone come out to play?” post up on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page to try and find someone to play a couple of two player games with.

Odin’s Ravens had just arrived, and Sun Tzu had been with me for a week. I was eager to play both.

Luckily Jonathan said he would be free once he had completed his chores. So a time was set for us to meet up at Costa.

Jonathan was already there when I arrived. So beverages bought we setup to play our first game of the afternoon Odin’s Ravens.

For such a simple game there are a remarkable number of decisions to make during the game.

The first being what mix of cards to draw to make your initial hand of five cards. How many Loki cards (special one use cards that give you a power up of some kind) do you draw, and how many landscape cards (cards that allow you to move).  You also get to repeat this decision at the end of each turn when you draw three new cards.

You then have the decision during the game of when to play those Loki cards. You only have a limited number for the whole game, and once used are out of the game.

Then when you do decide to play your Loki card you then have to decide which of the cards two abilities you will use. Will you use the one that helps you or the one that puts a spanner in your opponents plans. 

The art work is really nice on the cards. 

Jonathan and I both really liked the game. And that’s despite Jonathan winning by the skin of his teeth. 

Our second game was Sun Tzu. We played with the beginners variant. Which means with all 21 army figures, no Warlord cards, and the +2 and +3 removed from the game.

Before playing I had wondered why you would ever want to play the -1 card. But during play the lightbulb switched on. 

This is a game of differences. I liked that you had a hand of base cards to call upon each turn, which were then supplemented by one time use more powerful cards. I also liked that you could only use the number 6 card once in each of the areas you are fighting over.

I also liked that at the end of a turn you draw two cards, choose one and place the other at the bottom of your draw pile.

There is a fair amount of decision making and trying to second guess your opponent. Like when to play your more powerful cards and where.  Which I liked. 

For a tenner from The Works this is a nice little two player territory control game. For the history books I totally beat Jonathan’s armies to get an undisputed points victory. 

We finished off our game session with a two player game of The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction. We’d played a three player game as our first game. Now I wanted to see how it faired as a two player game.

In our game I’d taken an early lead and built on it by building two bombs worth four points each. Jonathan jumped back into the running by building a seven point bomb. I was thinking about how to get another bomb built for the win, when I remembered I didn’t need to. All I needed to do was load a bomber for two points and get the win. It was a much simpler task to do that than build a third bomb. Quicker too. It took me one more turn to do this and win after I’d figured out this plan.

I really liked Chain Reaction as a two player game. It worked very well. This is proving to be a great card game.

I’ll close this post today with an image I put out on Instagram (which then gets pushed out to Facebook and Twitter) of part of my game library.

Dice and Cards at Costa

Sunday was time for a hot beverage and some games with friends.

Debbie and her bo Nath joined me at Costa to game the afternoon away.

We started off with a couple of games of Qwixx. This is fastly becoming a fav little filler game.

I’d just packed Qwixx away when Jamie and Lucas turned up.

Our next game was Rolling America. This was our first time playing the game. So our first play was going to contain the odd mistake for sure.

I like this too. It’s nice that it is limited to eight rounds. It’s surprising how quick this plays out.

Because of the placement rules for putting a number on the map, along with a limited supply of being able to guard numbers, copying them, and a third thing I can’t remember you soon get some interesting, even challenging decisions to make.

This is another “filler” game with surprising depth that doesn’t take ages to play.

After our second game of Rolling America Jamie and son had to leave in search of strawberries.

Our final game was another game we hadn’t played before, but had been sitting in my pile of shame for a while, Valley of the Kings.

This is a nice little deck builder, which has some nice little decisions that players have to make. There is the ability for a little “take that” against other players by forcing them to discard cards or put them into the boneyard. 

The Egyption theme is cool, and educational! The collapsing pyramid trade row is a nice touch that stands it out from other deck builders.

Debbie and Nath hadn’t played a deck builder before, and they enjoyed this one.

I’d say a nice deck builder for fans of the mechanic and new players.

A relaxing, enjoyable afternoon of coffee and gaming with great people.

Gaming at Costa 25Jun16

The nice thing about playing games at Costa is great company and beverages.

Our “mini” meet up started off with Debbie and Jo being introduced to Roll For It! Debbie won this nice little light filler game.

We followed up Roll For It! with Council of Verona. Which saw my machiavellian plans to control the two competing families and the council, dominate to give me three wins out of three.

With no Jonathan there to defend his newly acquired or rather stolen title of Harbour Master, it was the ideal time to play Harbour again.

This time we played with the unique player buildings. I dealt each player three cards and let them select the one they wanted, returning the other two back to the box. Mine gave me a resource of my choice everytime an opponent used a building owned by another player. It also gave me a warehouse and an anchor, plus if I used the building I got a wood (I think) plus a good of my choice.

We also used the secret end game bonus cards as well. I ended up with the stone one.

Having these unique abilities did make things a bit more interesting. With a second warehouse added I was keeping two resources from the selling. Which is pretty powerful. It did speed up the process of being able to buy the next building. How Jo wasn't winning with her ability of being able to keep the excess goods I don't know.

The bonus cards were a fun little end addition, giving a potential nice little points boost at the end. More than enough to steal a win.

All in all I like these additions to a game I already enjoyed.

We were going to make that our last game of the afternoon. However a thunderstorm with hail put an end to that thought. So while we waited for the storm to pass we played that old favourite Batman Love Letter. Which I won.

As I said at the top of this post a great afternoon gaming with great beverages and great company.


Empires and Villages At Costa

After spotting the new mayor and his deputy supping daintily a coffee at Costa and saying hi, I had just enough time to pig out at the local Burger King, pick up my free Lego that the Daily Hate is giving away, before ending back at the Costa to meet Debbie and Jonathan for a Costa gaming session.

Before going I had debated internally whether to message Jonathan to bring Bohemian Villages, but ended up not doing so. Luckily Jonathan had bought it with him along with his 18p plus postage copy of Catan the card game.

So our first game of the afternoon was Bohemian Villages. Despite having a nice in play lead on the points front, my undoing was not completing villages to score my town halls and instead taking a negative points hit, whilst thinking I had a majority in churches that I didn't have.

Jonathan just hit it out of the park with the final scoring hitting sixty points. I made it to thirty eight points, with Debbie coming in third with a very close thirty five points. The negative points and not having the majority I thought I had cost me big time.

But still this played really well with three players. I'm still really loving this game.

Our next game was a first play for all of us, and that was Eight Minute Empire Legends. So we were learning a new game as we played it.

I thought this was going to be a lighter game. But wow was I pleasantly surprised. There is a surprisingly amount of deepness to the decisions you have to make. Deciding which card to choose, how much to pay for it, is it worth the cos?t, or do you wait hoping it will drop in cost? Do you take the card for its action to do immediately or for its ability? Or are you taking it to block a scoring opportunity for one of your opponents?

This is a nice little area control game. There are some nice touches to it. The board that you are battling over is variable and changes each game depending on the tiles you select. We played the basic game, which you would for a first time, but there are variants included such as the legend cards, the explore tokens, citadel tokens and encounter tokens. Which adds to the replayability of the game.

I like that the end game is achieved when every player has a certain number of cards in front of them (dependent on the number of players, in our three player game it was ten cards). So this means you have a finite number of turns to the game, a finite number of actions.

I like this game, it will be interesting to see how the variants affect the game play. Plus I have the expansion also which I haven't even looked at yet.

I'm glad this finally got to the table. I can't wait to get it back onto the table.

Another great afternoon gaming at Costa.


Beverages and Gaming on a Saturday

Yesterday a long over due Costa Gaming happened. Jonathan and I met up at the local Wisbech Costa on the Market Place to enjoy good beverages and hopefully some great games.

I had got there slightly early (had to get a birthday card for my Mum and a present, well it's kinda her birthday today), so I was looking through the games I'd bought with me. Oh why had I taken? Eight Minute Empire Legends, Traders of Osaka, Roll For It and Batman Fluxx. Traders of Osaka was out when Jonathan arrived.

So that is the game we played first. I've been wanting to get this to the table since it arrived.

It appears a simple game, on your turn you can do one of three actions, take a card for its monetary value, buy the whole market row, reserve a card.

Before playing and when explaining it the scoring of sets when a ship hits Edo sounds unnecessarily complicated using rounding up, multiplication and division. But when you start doing it, it actually isn't that much of a hassle.

There is a hidden depth and tactical decision making to the game. Having to decide when best to reserve a card, and when to take the card. Trying to manipulate the boats and when they arrive, or get stranded so they sink hopefully denying the other players of possible points.

I did like the game, it didn't disappoint. It worked really well as a two player game.

Our second game was a new arrival for Jonathan, Bohemian Villages.


This is a worker placement type game where your placement of your workers is controlled by the roll of four dice. You allocate those dice to generate a number, the only limitation is that you can't use a single dice to generate a number for placement. For instance if I rolled a 6, 2, 4 and a 3, I could use the 6 and 2 to make 8 and place one of my workers on farm or if I wanted a town hall I could use the 6 and 4 to give me 10, and then use the 3 and 2 to make 5 and allow me to place a worker on a tailor shop. As you can tell by that each building type is allocated to a number, for instance churches are 11. Some of these buildings give immediate scoring (which is in the form of money), others score at the end of the game (which is triggered when one player has no more workers to place), some like the inns once three other workers are in the village give reoccurring money at the start of your turn. Then you have mid game scoring that gets triggered when certain events happen.

At the end of the game the one with the most money is the winner.

Despite winning I like this game a lot. I like the rolling dice and combining them to allow you to place workers. There is a nice balance between immediate scoring, and end scoring opportunities. I like the art work. It's quick to learn. Jonathan and I did forget to claim some recurring money at the start of our turns once or twice. I think I lost about five points this way, Jonathan lost about three I think. Which brings me to the only “weak” spot of the game, and Jonathan and I both agree on this, the player aids could be improved, and made clearer about the recurring money, maybe some reminds to claim, and the wording on one or two is a little confusing.

After two great games Jonathan and I chewed the fat, righted wrongs, brainstormed before saying our farewells.

I had a great time in Costa, great games, great company. Can you ask for more?

Defusing the bombs in Costa

It's been just over a month since the last Costa gaming session, so long over due. Yesterday saw myself, Jonathan and Debbie meetup at our local Costa in town to drink a hot beverage and play a game.

I arrived at the Costa first, and the place was very busy. I was lucky to get a table, sadly not one really suitable for us to use for gaming. So while waiting for the others I was waiting for a more suitable table to come free.

Debbie showed up not long after me, then Jonathan arrived last. While the other two were getting their beverage of choice (hot chocolate) a larger more suitable table came available. I quickly nabbed it, the table needed a wipe, the tray on it taking away. But hey we had a larger table, we could play now. Then a minute later an even larger table was free, and I nabbed that instead. This table was clean! And much more suitable for us.

Considering we were about to play Bomb Squad Academy , you could look at the table moving thematically as me searching for the bomb so we could start to defuse it.

By the time Debbie and Jonathan got back to the new table with their drinks I had set the game up ready for us to play.

Debbie hadn't played the game before, so a whistle stop summary of the rules and gameplay was given.

Debbie soon got the hang of the game and took an early lead, a lead she kept into the third and final round. I was trailing in last place, not by far, I think by only three points at one time.

However in the final round Debbie kept “copying” me, and we were sharing a lot of points because we kept going for the same coloured wire trying to score the pressure plates. While we were splitting the points, Jonathan took advantage of this and stole the victory from Debbie.

So with Jonathan victorious some brief boardgame talk took place, before we parted our ways, which saw me grabbing a hotdog from the dodgy meat seller on the marketplace.