Author Archives: kerrin

January Jamboree 2015 Report

JanuaryOn Jan 8th I realised  I had played games every day since Jan 1. I knew #TimCon was coming up (Jan 11 – 18) and #CanCon (Jan 24 – Jan 26) so I had this crazy idea to play games every day in January. This might seem like an easy task, but I live alone (as a house sitter). To play a game I must attend an organized meetup or arrange for people to have me over to play games. People who have live in players don’t know how lucky they are 🙂

Only games played face-to-face with others were counted. No solo plays. Digital plays not included. I didn’t do anything different other than try to organise a playdate to fill any gaps on the calendar. I didn’t set out to play more unique games, or more people. I played what came along or who became available.

The Stats Summary

45 Games / 96 plays / 17 New Games
85 People / 34 New people
18 Unique Locations / 7 Public Events / 11 Private Homes

Over the 31 days, I played 45 different titles, of which, 17 were new to me. This totaled 96 plays. Some of these plays were short fillers, others meaty euros and a mixture of party games.

Average 3 games per day. How lovely! 🙂

The Best Part

85 people played games with me!!!! Of those, 34 I met for the first time. Wow! …….and of those 34, some have joined my board game family. Yay!
I really appreciate everyone’s support to fill a date I had available and everyone I played with. I love our hobby and the people I meet.

Next time

Things I will do differently next time….

  • Adjust the dates to run Dec 26 – Jan26 (or end of CanCon)
  • Take a photo of everyone I played a game with

Detailed Stats

January 2015 has been the highest so far. High values in Aug 2014, Jun 2014, Jan 2014, Nov 2013 are due to attending conventions. This data comes from .

Plays by Month since I started recording plays

Plays by Month since I started recording plays. Red – new games, Blue – distinct, Green – total plays.

The discrepancies are this data is pulled from my BGG profile and is based on plays I have logged. Some marked as First plays, I have played before I started recording plays.


Plays for Kerrin Addis – January 2015

* New to me (not played before 1/1/2015)
Red text – In my Top 10

Game                                              Quantity         Expansions

Machi Koro                                                14         Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion
Agricola                                                        8
Mysterium                                                   7
*Spyfall                                                        5
Sushi Dice                                                    5
Timeline: Diversity                                     5
Castles of Mad King Ludwig                     3
*Dungeon of Mandom                              3
Rummikub                                                  3
Fields of Arle                                               2
Five Tribes                                                  2
*Grog Island                                               2
Incan Gold                                                  2
The Castles of Burgundy                          2
Time’s Up! Title Recall!                              2
*Balderdash                                               1
Belfort                                                        1
Colonia                                                       1
Concordia                                                  1
*CV                                                              1
Diamonds                                                  1
Dread Curse                                              1
*Elevenses                                                1
*Evolution                                                  1
Glen More                                                  1
*Hey, That’s My Fish!                                1
Istanbul                                                       1
*Jaipur                                                         1
*Kanban: Automotive Revolution           1
Kingdom Builder                                        1
*La Isla                                                         1
*Madeira                                                     1
*Murano                                                     1
Navegador                                                 1
*Orléans                                                    1
*Pairs                                                         1
Parade                                                       1
Red7                                                           1
*Royals                                                       1
Samarkand: Routes to Riches                 1
Say Anything                                              1
Splendor                                                     1
Sushi Go!                                                    1
*Telestrations: 12 Player Party Pack      1
Terra Mystica                                             1         Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice



January Jamboree Progess

My aim is to play face-to-face games everyday through January.  January is pretty much a holiday month in Australia and the height of summer, so plenty of people are around on holidays.

Have just completed 14 days and everything is looking good to take me through to Jan 28.

It has been a mix of playing with regular gamers and introducing family and friends to games.

45 games, (3.2 per day)
10 new games. Orleans has been added to my collection.

44 players (wow)
20 new players I have met – Yay!
5 newbies I have introduced to games

Dates that need filling

Jan 28 – a nibble
Jan 29 – open
Jan 30 – waiting for confirmation
Jan 31 – open

Games played Jan 1 - Jan 14

Games played Jan 1 – Jan 14

Agricola 55 pts – my best score ever

Finally I have managed a 50+ score! Wow, so excited. I usually score in high 30’s. This was a 3 player game with K deck. No drafting of cards. I started with Resource Seller, followed closely with Tinsmith, Market Women so I could get Clay Pit out. This gave me a great food engine of clay early on. I never struggled for food and didn’t have to eat any animals until late in the game.

  • Fields 4 pts
  • Pastures 3pts
  • Grain 4pts
  • Veg 4pts
  • Sheep 1pt
  • Boar 3pts
  • Cattle 1pt
  • Fenced Stables 2 pts
  • Family 15pts
  • Rooms 3x Stone 6pts
  • Bonus pts 12 (incl 5pts from the Constable)

Click image for closer look.

Agricola 55 pts

Caverna – The Cave Farmers

Caverna Box lidCaverna is the latest game from designer, Uwe Rosenberg and was released October 2013 at the event Spiel held in Essen, Germany. Disclaimer up front….. my favourite game is Agricola by the same designer so I am a huge fan.

There is a lot of discussion that this game replaces Agricola. I don’t agree.  I believe I will be able to get this to the table with non-gamers as it is so much fun to play. Then I can introduce them to Agricola 🙂 Caverna feels a little lighter and more options to feed your family each harvest. There is plenty going on to keep you busy and satisfied.

I have taught this game quite a few times, 2 player, 3 player, 4 player, 5 player and 6 player and these are the frequently asked questions. After the first round I would hand around the FAQ’s to be read by all the players. Click image to enlarge.

Caverna Player Board


  • Dogs go anywhere, they roam around your board
  • Dogs can mind sheep but only on a meadow (light green), 1 dog can mind 2 sheep, 2 dogs /3 sheep, 3dogs/4sheep etc
  • Dogs don’t breed
  • Dogs are not farm animals, therefore you don’t lose -2 if you don’t have one
  • A dog on a forest space is not considered a “used” space. Used spaces are covered with tiles or stables
  • Dogs are worth 1 point each


  • A single boar can live in a stable on a forest space.
  • If you place a stable on the forest space with a picture of a boar you will not get the boar. (You must cover it with a tile to get the boar)


Each mine (Ore or Ruby) can hold 1 donkey


Your house can hold 1 pair of animals


  • To go on an expedition, you need a weapon. There are 2 action spaces where you can forge a weapon. Stage 1 and Stage 4. Once you have your weapon, the only way you can increase your strength is to go on expeditions.
  • Forging weapons action spaces in Stage 1 and 4. Only used to create new weapons. You can not add extra ore to an existing weapon to increase its strength.
  • When you receive loot, they must all be different but you can pick 2 things on the same row.
  • After completing an expedition, that dwarf increases its strength by 1.
  • There is a Level 1 loot item that adds +1 strength to all dwarfs with a weapon. (This does not forge a weapon for dwarfs without a weapon but adds +1 to weapon strength of any of your other dwarves that have a weapon, played or not played.)

Board/ Actions spaces

  • Used space is a space covered with a tile or stable
  • Fenced pastures must be placed on a meadow (light green) not on forest spaces.
  • Farming action spaces (Sheep and Donkeys) – you can only build 1 stable per turn
  • Wish for children. You can only build a dwelling (orange top) not green or yellow top furnishings
  • Urgent wish for children. You can only build a dwelling (orange top) not green or yellow top furnishings
  • Urgent wish for children. You can build the Dwelling without doing family growth.
  • After Wish for children round, you pay 1 food per dwarf. But there is no harvest. No field phase or breeding

On the back I put the round cards and point scoring

Stage 1

  • Blacksmithing Forge a weapon/3 expedition
  • Sheep farming Build pasture (fences)  and/or Sheep
  • Ore Mine Construction Build a mine + 3 Ore/ 2 Expedition

Stage 2

  • Wish for Children Family Growth/ Build a Dwelling on a cave
  • Urgent Wish for Children Build a Dwelling + Family Growth/ Take 3 Gold
  • Donkey Farming Build Pasture and/or Donkeys
  • Ruby Mine Construction Build Ruby Mine on tunnel

Stage 3

  • Family Life Family Growth and/or Sow
  • Exploration 4 Expedition
  • Ore Delivery Take the Stone and Ore


  • Adventure Forge Weapon and /or 2 x 1 Expedition
  • Ore Trading 2 Ore = 2 Gold, 1 Food (up to 3 times)
  • Ruby Delivery Get rubies


  • 1 point per Farm Animal and Dog  
  • -2 points per missing Farm animal (not dogs) 
  • ½ point (rounded up) per Grain 
  • 1 point per Vegetable 
  • 1 point per Ruby 
  • 1 point per Dwarf 
  • -1 point per unused space (not covered by a tile or stable) 
  • Furnishing tiles (Orange/Green), Pastures, Mines
  • Parlors (Yellow buildings)
  • Storages (Yellow buildings)
  • Chambers (Yellow Buildings)
  • Gold coins 1:1

Agricola tournament at PAX Australia 2013

How exciting! I was asked to run the Agricola Tournament at PAX Australia Jul 19-21, 2013. Agricola is my No.1 game, so I had no hesitation in saying yes. (I wish I has taken more photos but there wasn’t time – grabbed these from other streams)

The schedule had two qualifying rounds on Friday and again on Saturday with the Semi-Final and Final on Sunday. I followed the rules from World Boardgame Championships,, with a few tweaks that didn’t apply to our event. (about to head off for my 4th WBC this week, so excited!)

Preparing for Agricola tournament

Preparing for Agricola tournament

We had 5 brand new copies of the game donated and I had the pleasure of punchng and sorting all of them. I fixed the handful of typos and pulled the banned cards and bagged all the components. I was in heaven with the smell of fresh cardboard and nice slippery cards.:)

My original thoughts were that maybe a handful of attendees would sign up. I thought the PAX audience would be more interested in games with Fantasy/Sci-fi/Battle themes so I figured I might get maybe a 3 player game going for each session :-).

I was excited to have this many participants.

Qualifier A – 5 tables – 4 x 4, 1 x 5
Qualifier B – 3 tables – 3 x 4 (I played to make up the numbers)
Qualifier C – 2 tables – 1 x 4, 1 x 3
Qualifier D – 5 tables – 4 x 4, 1 x 3
Semi- Final – 20 invited, 3 tables – 3 x 4 participated.

Each table could decide which decks to use from E/I/K and whether to draught or not. Only a handful of games chose to draught.

At the registration desk, I encouraged people to sign up even if they had never played before, I gave them a run through of the game prior to starting the qualifier and sat with that table of newbies during the qualifier helping them learn the game.

Agricola newbies at PAXAUS 2013

Agricola newbies at PAXAUS 2013

Each qualifying session had a table of newbies. More Yay’s! 17 Newbies all together and of those I asked, they were going to buy the game. Yay!!!! 3 of those newbies made it to the semi final, and 2 to the grand final. Even more Yay’s. (‘Belle’ looking at camera made it to the semi final with a score of 40 on her first game)






Reasons people won’t enter a tournament

  • Too scary
  • I am not good enough
  • I dont know how to play
  • I dont want to look like an idiot with expert players

While this might be true in other tournaments eg sport, it is not so in board games

Reasons why you play in a board game tournament

  • You like/love playing the game
  • You want to play with others that like the game
  • You want to test out your skills against other players
  • You want to try out/learn the game
  • Scheduled play instead of wandering around looking for a table
  • Dont have anyone to play with
  • Great way to meet people
  • You are shy

Teaching Agricola to newbies
Let them know it will take a 2-3 hours. You don’t want people leaving half way through because of schedule commitments. A lot of people say its best to learn with the ‘family’ version of the game but with gamers I always start with the cards (E deck) and have not had any problems. (With non-gamers I start with the ‘family’ version.)


I show them a printed photo of the perfect farm (50 points without bonus points) and tell them it is not easy to achieve no matter how many times you have played.(I have never achieved it) also to study the score card and try and maximize points. When the game started I helped each player with their cards on what to concentrate on and then let them make their own decisions. Positive feedback from all newbies, they loved playing it and how fast the time went. More Yay’s.

Grand Final 

The winner of each table plus one table had 3 players within a few points of each other all over 40 so they were invited to play in a 5 player Grand Final. We used the World Championship deck and each player chose a deck randomly, then discard down to 7.

Agricola Grand Final at PAXAUS 2013

Agricola Grand Final at PAXAUS 2013

There were 5 players in the Grand Final and 2 of them had not played Agricola before attending the PAX event. The 2 newbies came 2nd and 3rd – well done!

The final scores were 46, 31, 28, 25, 23. Congratulations Virginia Graham (wearing hat) on your win.
The winner played with Deck Upsilon and with a combo of Bargaining Baker/Kindling was able to buy Clay Oven/Stone Oven/Cooking Hearth quite early denying other players a food engine although could never get to bake.

Agricola Final Scores PAXAUS 2013

Agricola Final Scores PAXAUS 2013

Each player seemed to struggle for food each harvest relying on Day Laborer through out the game except for 2nd player who played a steady game and built a well balanced farm eating sheep with the fireplace.




Some other things I noticed – in the semi final there were 3 tables of 4 players. Seating was pick a card and go to the table with that card, therefore random. Each table was 1 female, 3 male.
2 females won their table.

I had a great time running this event. Great support from the Enforcers and all the Table Top crew. Thanks to Melissa Rogerson and Good Games for organising and supplying the 5 copies of Agricola and to Penny Arcade for bringing PAX to Australia and displaying board games to thousands and thousands of people. 17 new fans to Agricola and I mean Fans. My mission is successful. I want Agricola to be around as long as Monopoly.

Kerrin the Agricola Evangislist

PS Forgot to mention during the tournament, while I had a Agricola fan base, but anyone reading this, if you would like to play Agricola on iOS in real time while we are Google Hangouts, please join the community I have just started. Hopefully we can find others who only want to play in real time.

My First Essen experience

What is Essen? It’s the location of the 4 day event, Spiel. The larget games fair that happens every year in October in Essen, Germany. Spiel is german for “play” or “game” and probably has some other meanings. One of the translations I saw was “slackness” which is how non gamers see this great hobby 🙂

Essen is the 6th largest city in Germany and is located 2 hours by train north of Frankfurt. I caught the ICE train from
Frankfurt airport. WOW! The ride is so smooth that it doesn’t feel like a train, and fast. The display shows how fast we are
going, the fastest I saw was 300 km/h.
Spiel is huge, I was told and read that it was huge but until you are there it is hard to imagine how huge it is.



Here are some stats:-

  • 810 exhibitors from 34 nations
  • 48% of the booths have been hired from international companies
  • 750 new games being released.

It is open for 35 hours over 4 days. 810 exhibitors divided by 35 hours = 23.14 exhibits every hour without breaks. I don’t think so. I dont even think it is possible. Did I mention how huge this thing is?
750 games / 35 hours = exhaustion 🙂
From what I can calculate there are 115 videos on ustream that were recorded over 5 days on a gruelling schedule by BGG. Did I mention huge?
I arrived in Essen on the Wednesday and used my time to figure out how to use the subway system, buy a ticket to the event so I could avoid the ticket line on the first morning and study the map of the layout of the event. I also watch some of the BGG streaming from my hotel room. Great coverage by BGG with a 3 camera setup.

On the Thursday morning I got there just after 9.30am and lined up to get in. Didn’t take too long and was in just on 10, they must have opened the doors a little early.

I purposely had a very small list of must do’s and the rest I just let it happen. As a huge Agricola/ Le havre fan I was focused only on one game. Ora et Labora. As soon as I got in the door I made my way direct to the Lookout stand to get Ora et Labora. I only had room in my luggage for one big box game and this was it. They directed me to the Zman stand. Big Sigh, the english version did not make it to the show. Production/printing issues. There was talk of it arriving by Saturday but later in the day it was crossed off the Zman list. more sighs. Plan B is to try and get the english version at BGG con. We will see.






The Lookout booth was very small and no signage. Very understated compared to other publishers. If you weren’t looking for them you wouldn’t have given them a second glance.
They had 3 small tables that filled the booth. 2 with Walnut grove and one with Ora et Labora, and all in german, sigh. I discovered that O&L plays for about 4 hours when learning so I didn’t even try to get a game while at Spiel.
ok now what do I do. Now I can have a look around and went back to the entrance and started again without any plans. Going past the 7 wonders stand they were calling for a player in english. I put my hand up and got into a game. On their stand they had a giant version of 7 wonders with oversized cards and player boards.
This was the only time this happened, that is, calling for an “english” player. All other games where in german and you really had to hustle to try and get into a game. The 7 wonders stand really knew how to organise the 10 tables they had. very well organised.
Queen games had a huge area dedicated to Kingdom Builder. 15+ games going. I asked one of the officials if there were any english tables and luckily one had just started up. I played with 2 Canadians and a Russian guy. We struggled to figure out how to play from the rule book, and then got some help from a passerby. The Canadians belong to a game design group in their area and Gavan had published a game called Jab and did the art work on a game I saw on the BGG stream – sorry cant remember the name. So how was Kingdom Builder? It was OK. I would consider it a light game that plays for about an 1 hour. Would I buy it? Nuh. Would I play it again if it landed on a table at our board game group? Yes.
Ok a couple of games under my belt and re-evaluated it would not be easy to get into a game not being able to speak german. The other game on my radar – Last Will by Vladimir Suchy (Shipyard and 20th Century). This will be the game that fills my bag. It is about inheriting from the uncle who has just died. All players start off with the same amount of money and the first to spend all their money wins the game, I really like this mechanism. Games where you have to lose to win 🙂
Started Friday with watching the BGG streaming from my hotel room. It might seem strange to do this but it was the easiest way to see and hear about the new games than in person. The streaming is addictive and its hard to turn off, “I will watch just one more” and another hour has passed. Tore myself away and headed back to Spiel and did a few rule checks with the guys from Czech Games re Last Will.

Got into a game of Die Burgen von Burgand by Setefn Feld (Macao). The instructor was willing to do English and German explanation. I played with 3 Germans who indulged my request. Thank you. I liked this game and like to play a few more times before deciding whether or not I want to own it. Roll 2 dice to determine 1. which area you pick from 2. where to place on your board.
Went to the Tree Frog Booth and all the tables (about 7) were playing Discworld. A game that I had played once and enjoyed and wanted to play again and they spoke english 🙂 The only table open had Old Man of the Forest card game on it. So decided to check that out while waiting for a spot to open up for DiscWorld. A few others joined including Robert (German) who did the rules translation into german for Discworld. (He is a massive Terry Pratchett fan) and Tim from Tree Frog who taught us how to play the card game. Tim remembered me from World Board Game championships 2010 🙂 where we played a prototype of a lawn mowing game 🙂 It’s a small world! 🙂 This is a pic of the Deluxe version which was selling for 120 euros.
Decided to head off and would try Discworld on Saturday.
There was no activity at my hotel so headed off to the Ibis to look for after hours gaming. Wow, this is the place to be. A great room with plenty of tables, good lighting, no smoking and about 5 tables already playing games.
Robert was there and joined him and 3 Brits for a game of First Sparks. I really like this game. You will recognise some of the mechanisms from Power Grid but it is nothing like Power Grid. It seems to get into the meat of the game much quicker and plays in about an hour if all players knew the game. Like the theme, the art, the pieces. Will probably buy this when it comes to Australia.

We followed this with my first play of Last Will. Really enjoyed the game. There are lots of ways to spend money and it will be about building killer card combinations.
Started Saturday watching the BGG streaming again. I could see how much bigger the crowds were so didnt rush to Spiel. As I said the streaming is addictive and ventured to Speil in the afternoon hoping some of the families had left. Caught up with a game I saw on streaming, Murder Mystery Mastermind, that had magnetic player boards to hold the clues. Very interesting.
While there picked up their card game F3 as I knew it would fit in my bag.
I thought the crowds where big on Thursday and Friday but nothing can prepare you for the size of the crowds on Saturday. I didn’t like it and being short doesn’t help. My head is at backpack height, so as people turned I would get hit in the head, so I hightailed it out of there. There were people playing on the floor in the walkways. Where was the safety officer? The number of people who tripped over this guy was incredible.

I headed to the Ibis around 4pm. Yippee, there were people playing games who were also avoiding the crowds. Got into a 3 player game of Tournay. Very interesting game, will need a few more plays to understand the cards and buildings. Also a game a about great card combinations. Played First Sparks with a different group of people who interpreted some rules differently. Will wait for the forums to clarify as others start to play the game. Still a great game. Someone had Ora Et Labora (German version) and I sat in on some of the rule explanation before catching the last train back to my hotel. This game is going to take some time to learn.
Sunday last day – I did not go to Spiel. For 3 reasons. I did not want to be tempted to buy anything as my luggage was full and I was addicted to the BGG streaming 🙂 and I knew the next day was a full travel day and wanted to be prepared for that. I am not as young as I used to be and I know my limits 🙂
The atmosphere at Spiel is amazing, games and gamers everywhere in every nook and cranny. People from all around the world with one thing in common. A love of playing games 🙂