Boardgaming in Glasgow

Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India

For the final night of 'themed' June I decided to stick with the winning combination of Kramer and Kiesling ... but it was difficult. Difficult because Last train to Wensleydale was one of the games nominated, and i love a big slice Wensleydale .
I particularly like it when its served with a side of Smith and Kelly (and it was)

So we split into 3 groups. Nick's group played Municipium, Stephens group played Wensleydale and I tabled Maharaja.

The aim of Maharaja is to build palaces. If you can build all your palaces before anyone else then you win the game. If two or more people build them all on the same round then money is the tie breaker.

Each round the Maharajah visits on of the Cites on the board and scoring will take place. Then its a simple majority exercise with the winning player getting 12 coins, 2nd getting 9, 3rd getting 5 and 4th place getting 3.
Palaces are expensive to build (12 coins each) so you have to ensure you get enough income from city scoring to allow you to build more palaces.

To aid you can take special character cards which give you special bonuses (e.g. an extra coin every turn, palaces cost 9 gold etc..)

The heart of the game is the clever action selection mechanic. Each turn starts with everyone secretly selecting 2 actions then in turn order revealing those actions and performing them. As usual 2 actions is never enough and you spend a lot of time agonising over what you think your opponents will do, what you want to do, what you need to do and how your going to get the money to pay for it all.

Early game scoring.. Julia is mysteriously absent while Kyle (Blue) and David (Yellow) vie for majority. Calum (red) watches on with amusement.

The game ended with Kyle and myself both building out 7th palace on the same round, fortunately I had a few coins more then him and squeaked the win. Calum was close behind and Julia was off somewhere muttering that she hated the stupid game.

As is always the case when you haven't played a game for a few years we got a couple of rules wrong, but nothing too serious. It also reminded me of what an excellent game it is, and I really must make more of an effort to get it to the table more often (unfortunately it joins a long and illustrious list of games I want to play more often) 

So theme month is over - back to normal games selection again.

A few members have never had the pleasure in trying out our 'namesake' board game, Primordial Soup, so hopefully we'll get a chance to rectify that (I've even made some fimo amoeba specially!)

Go Stop. No really - please stop!

The second of our 'theme' nights in June kicked off with a Feld (Aquasphere), a Wallace (Brass) and a Kramer Kiesling (Java)

Where i learned that no matter how much you love a game, and no matter how good you think you are at it, sometime you just can't get it together. 

Michael, Andy, Mark and myself all settled down to a nice relaxing game of Java and i was pretty excited about it. I love almost all Kramer Kiesling games but Java's the one i want to love the most.  
I just love the way it looks, i love the action point system, i love the area/control dominance aspect of the game and i love the games ability to let you pull off some really creative moves.

It was Marks first game so we had a quick rules explanation before we began (and a much needed refresher for the other 3!), first player was chosen and it was me.


So - what do i want to do here again i asked my brain. It blinked silently at me and said nothing.

The game progressed with the others competing heavily and building ever larger cities, while I pottered about elsewhere enjoying the scenery or something. Festivals were had and I was quite literally always late to the party.

Michael has a mid game melt down as he tries to work out if he can irrigate 6 tiles, expand the city, build a palace, stomp on Andy, and gain dominance with his 6 action points [spoiler: he can't!]

Andy stormed into an early lead and looked untouchable for most of the game, with Mark keeping him honest. Michael quietly expanded into a good position and by the time Andy initiated end game scoring had control of most of the board.

Michael won with Andy a close second. Mark finished a respectable 3rd not too far away from the leaders. I was last seen  in the supermarket trying to buy drinks and nibbles for the first festival.

As always it was an enjoyable game, making sure you are present in as many cities as possible with good access to sneak dominance during final scoring is key!

Elsewhere Brass was being played, or 'tolerated' in the case of Nick. Rob popped is brass cherry in an experience he described as intense, which pretty much sums it up.
Stephen took a comfortable win but hats off must go to Mr Smith who had the biggest pile of cash I've ever seen at the end game! 

We rounded off the evening with 3 quick card games.

The excellent Abluxxen is a game i've had for a while but only recently got a chance to play. The rules are very simple - so simple in fact that you wonder where the game is when you hear them.

...und Tschuss is a Martin Wallace games that doesn't involve trains, loans, industry or cheese but is still rather enjoyable.

The crowning glory / utter horror show of the evening was the final game of GO STOP. This Japon game was purchased in bulk by us at our first Essen in 2008. The rules are atrocious, the game play is silly but we laughed we cried and a good time was had by all.

The Palaces of how do you play this again?

Our 3rd week of 'theme' night June and the juggernaut that is Kramer/Kiesling  just wouldn't stop.

The Palaces of Carrara

I played this once a few years ago and I remember doing very badly at it. The aim of the game is to build buildings in six cities by purchasing, and using, marble of different quality and cost.

Each city has specific requirements on the quality of marble you must use and each will give either victory points or money when the buildings in them are scored. Scoring building also lets you receive certain wooden objects which are worth victory points at the end of the game (a Palace will give you a crown , Biblioteca will give you a book  etc.).

Nick, Mark, Julia and myself played last night, only Julia hadn't played before and we had plenty of time to go over the rules while waiting for Nick to turn up.

Near the start of the game. Nick builds one of the many "Porta's" available

We all adopted slightly different strategies (mainly because we had all forgotten 'how' to play the game).

I went for a frugal approach - only buying the cheapest stone and building only in Red, Blue and Black. A tense last round seen me grab the opportunity to initiate end game scoring. The extra five points helped me stay ahead of Nick and Mark for the win.


We rounded of the evening with 3 games of Abluxxen, deciding to keeps score from one game to the next.

This turned out to be a terrible idea as Nick destroyed us on each round. His score of 54 beat the rest of us combined (17,16 and 10) :S

Next week I'll try and get a Knizia to the table, as long as I can resist the urge not to nominate Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India!