Games Without Frontiers

Posted on 17th January 2008

Last night was my first visit to the Halesowen Boardgame Club. A nice bunch of guys, and very enthusiastic gamers. In the end there were 8 of us, so we ended up splitting into two camps, one playing Power Grid and the other playing Brass. Seeing as Brass was a new game that Dave had brought along, and all of the group knew Power Grid, it was suggested I play Brass. I was quite happy to play either, as my intention for coming along was to get to play some new games, so I could see whether they were suitable for me to buy for DanDan and I.

Brass itself is a pretty decent game. The thing I like about it is that you can employ several different strategies throughout the game. All of us seemed to be trying very similar strategies to begin with, which is understandable, as we were all still learning how to to play the game. It meant there were a few points collecting strategies that weren't observed until much too late in the game. However, I think part of the problem with this was that we were playing with 4 people, and as such we got through the game cards fairly quickly on a per player basis, although the total gameplay took roughly 2 hours. I think if I ever play it again, which hopefully I will, I will be developing a lot sooner.

The game is in two parts, the canal phase and the railway phase. Observing the points scoring, at the end of the canal phase none of us really got any clear lead, and the final victory points at the end counted for a lot more. As such I think developing early would in turn set you up for later in the game. We also noted that the iron works and coal became much more important later in the game, and had we developed appropriately, it would have paid out much bigger dividends. Dave also built two shipyards in the last throes of the game and consequently bumped his score by 36 points. I had looked at building a shipyard, but not realising the large victory points it got you, ended up taking another track.

All in all, it was a great game and I would certainly like to get it, although it's probably a bit too advanced for DanDan at the moment. Dave noted that apparently the game has proved very popular and is in short supply at the moment. I'll have to keep my eye out for it, as it might be a good game to take to YAPC::Europe if I can generate enough interest for another Games BOF session :)

I'll certainly be visiting the club again, although seeing as they also meet on a Wednesday, I'll have to slot it between my Perl and Linux meetings. Hopefully I'll be able to make it once a month and catch up on even more new games.


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