Spelgroep Phoenix is a friendly club for board game fans. We meet every Tuesday from 19.00-24.00 at:
Buurthuis 't Klavier
2907 GG Capelle aan den IJssel (near Rotterdam)
every Wednesday from 19.00-24.00 at:
dienstencentrum Stichting Radius
Check the calendar for details. We charge a small fee for the meetings as we are renting the locations. You are welcome to bring your own games or just join in with those others have brought or the pile of games that is permanently available at the venue. If you've only played well-known games like Monopoly, Risk and Scrabble, you will find a lot of the games we play at the club unfamiliar. But we are a welcoming bunch and will always be happy to teach games to new players. The games we play range from simple card games to epic civilization building games - there's something for everyone!
We like to think of Spelgroep Phoenix as a friendly place. This guide is to let you know what to expect at your first meet-up.
Tuesday evenings in Capelle a/d IJssel (near Rotterdam) are in Buurthuis ‘t Klavier (address: Gong 4). Don't be worried you've come to the wrong place as you see the entrance beneath a schoolbuilding. Coffee and refreshing beverages are available at a reasonable price. The location does not provide food.
On Wednesday evening the meeting is in Leiden at Dienstencentrum Radius Merenwijk (address: Rosmolen 6, Evening entrance at the Stellingmolen, back of the building). Also here coffee and beverages are available at reasonable prices.
Every Tuesday -> Capelle a/d IJssel, suburb of Rotterdam. From 19:00h to midnight or a bit later.
Every Wednesday -> Leiden. From 19:00h to midnight or a bit later.
Very rarely due to national Holiday or Christmas we have to skip a meeting. Again, check our agenda for details. Once in a while we have a meeting on Saturday. Alternating between both locations. These sessions start at 12:00h and run until 23:59h.
What (games do we play)?
All kinds of tabletop and boardgames: card games, war games, dexterity games, trading games, family games, cooperative games, simulation games. See here for some examples. If you don't know any of these games or haven't played many games before - don't worry! See below.
How (do I attend a meeting)?
Check the meeting is on. Always confirm with the Agenda (link).
RSVP for a meeting aka let us know. This is important for us so we know you are coming and can accommodate our games for that session to give you a warm welcome.
Show up. Weeknights, some eager people start playing games before 19:00h but as long as you arrive before 19:30h , it should be easy enough to find a game to jump into. An alternative is to pre-arrange to start a game for whatever time you arrive.
Introduce yourself to the host. Every meeting has a host, a kindly soul who will make sure newcomers get into a game. Once you arrive at the venue usually someone will approach you. If possible, identify yourself as a newbie in your RSVP or on the forum before you come to a meeting so we know to expect you. That way we can take good care of you.
Play games. Have fun.
Any rules I should be aware of?
Very few. We're easy going. But we ask you:
Take care of games while you're playing them, and pack them up games after you're finished. Watch out for food or drink spills. Make sure all pieces are returned to the box and they are sorted or arranged as they were before you played it.
Be kind. Be a good sport. Win and lose graciously, be patient with other players, don't shout, don't argue. It's just a game. Also, sometimes events can be very crowded, so watch how much noise you make and how much space you take up.
Look out for your valuables. Our gamers are a trustful bunch but we play in public locations. Nothing has been reported missing so far and we would like to keep it that way.
Have fun. This is mandatory.
Where do all these games come from? At both locations we have a cupboard containing around 200 games. Plus our club members usually bring along games. Everyone is welcome to bring along games they think others will enjoy, but don't worry if you can't as there are always more than enough to go round. The games that people have brought usually get piled up on a table in the middle, and anyone's welcome to pick from that stack and start up a game.
How do I get in a game? Most games are organised on the spot (someone picks up a box and calls out "who wants to play...?"). Even you could do this: "Could someone teach me how to play...?" Some games get organised on the forum for a particular meetup (especially on the weekend, where more complicated games tend to be played), but you don't have to do this. Just get out there and ask. If you get lost or can't get started, ask the host for assistance.
Across a meeting, groups will play a game, then split up and regroup to play a different game. Most likely, you'll get to play several games. Towards the end of the meeting, people tend to play "fillers" - shorter, lighter games.
But I don't know how to play game X? Don't worry if you don't know any of the games or haven't played many games before! Someone who knows the rules will always be happy to explain. Even regulars will often have to be taught or reminded of rules. If you're not sure whether you want to join a particular game, ask for some more information. It's fine to say if you'd rather play several shorter, simpler games than one epic that will take the whole meeting.
When does it finish? Midnight. Of course, you can leave earlier if you want.
When does it cost? : We charge 1,50 Euro for an evening and 2 Euro for a Saturday.
I'm really into game X. Can I come and play it? Generally, yes. But because there are only a few clubs like us dedicated to boardgaming and there is a limited amount of space, we've drawn some lines:
Scrabble / Mah-jong / Monopoly / Bridge / chess / poker / etc.: You might not get a lot of interest in these, as most players come to us to play games they wouldn't otherwise get to play. Also, there are also plenty of other places to play them.
Roleplaying, RPGs, CCGs, Magic the Gathering, etc.: There are many other clubs dedicated entirely to those sort of games which would be more suitable venues as would private game sessions.
Computer and online games: Many club members play these, especially online versions of boardgames. But it's not something we do at meetings.
As a rule, if there are other clubs dedicated to this game (e.g. Scrabble), if it's a game that can easily get played somewhere else (e.g. Monopoly), if it's one that's played mainly by people that play it exclusively (e.g. chess), you don't need us as a venue. Nothing personal, just being practical and catering to our strengths.
Above all, have fun, and if you have any problems grab the night's host.
Some of the games we play
We play a wide range of board and card games; we hope the following list gives you a flavour of what's available to play at Spelgroep Phoenix. For more information on specific games, check out www.boardgamegeek.com (English) or www.bordspelmania.eu (Dutch).
'Euro-games' are so named because this style of board game with clever rules, little luck and lots of strategy was originally invented by European game designers. Unlike traditional board games like Monopoly, players are generally not eliminated during the game, so everyone can have fun until the end.
Settlers of Catan
This was the first Eurogame to become (comparatively) big, and it's still popular round these parts. The board is made up of randomly arranged hexagonal pieces, so each game is different. Depending on where you build your settlements you'll get different resources, though you have to be lucky with the dice and clever with your trades too. It has been proved that it is impossible to get through a game of Settlers without someone saying "I've got wood for your sheep".
In this popular game, each player is a medieval subsistence farmer, desperately trying to feed their family while improving their farm. You'll feel like you never have quite enough actions to do what you want, and just when you do someone else will take a vital space before you. The game comes with literally hundreds of cards, so your plans will never be quite the same twice.
OK, a game about making money by supplying electricity to Germany* doesn't sound thrilling. But this is a really clever game that requires a variety of skills to master. Each round you can buy a power plant in an auction, but you also have to be able to fuel it with coal, oil, garbage or uranium from a wildly fluctuating market. Yet another dimension comes from which cities you choose to expand to, and somehow you always seem to be one dollar short.
*Our regular players have a range of different maps for this game.
Ticket to Ride
A pretty simple game compared to those mentioned above, but great fun nonetheless. Collect matching cards to build railway lines spanning continents, and score bonus points by completing route cards before someone can beat you to the crucial link. The original version is set in the USA, but subsequent maps (Europe, Switzerland, Germany and Scandinavia) have added a few more tactical wrinkles for an added challenge.
Games played by drawing and placing tiles, often fitting together 'domino-style'.
The rules of Carcassonne are simple enough. Draw a tile from the bag, and match it domino-style to any tile already played. Gradually a map of medieval villages, fields and roads emerges, and you have to position your little wooden followers carefully to score the most points. It can be played quite peacefully, with everyone working on their own little projects, or cut-throat with blocking moves and take-over attempts.
Galaxy Trucker has two very different phases. First, a mad rush to put together your space-ship from tiles showing engines, lasers and cargo bays before the time runs out. Then you see how your hastily-constructed ship will fare against asteroids and alien attacks. If you make it to the end of the round with your ship still intact (easier said than done!) you can sell your cargo for profit. Then it all starts again, but this time with a bigger ship that's even harder to find the right tiles for.
Not card games in the sense of poker and rummy, but strategy games with varied, colourful decks. All that's missing is the board...
Race for the Galaxy
RFTG is not everone's cup of tea, and it takes a few games to master the bewildering icons on the cards. But if you do get into it, it's one of the most rewarding games that can be played inside half an hour. The idea is to build a galactic civilization composed of planets and technology developments; but to add a card to your empire you have to discard others, making for lots of agonizing choices.
A rising star of the gaming world, this is another short but strategic card game, set in a medieval fiefdom. The twist here is that you spend the game building up a deck of cards that you will cycle through repeatedly. You want to add as many point-scoring cards to your hand as possible before the end of the game, but they don't do anything else for you, so if you buy them too early your hand will get clogged up and you'll stall.
Citadels (In the Netherlands the game is called: Machiavelli)
Popular at the club because it's one of few games that will accommodate as many as seven players, and because with the right group it will provide lots of laughs. Each player secretly chooses a role for the round from possibilities including assassin, thief and king. Because you can't choose which player to murder or steal from, only the role, there is plenty of room for second-guessing and bluffing.
Games in which players have to work together. Sometimes you all win or you all lose, but some games introduce the possibility of traitors winning on their own.
Four deadly diseases are spreading around the world, and only your crack team of experts can stop them before humanity is wiped out. Each player has a special role, but you'll need to work together to have a chance. And there's no time to waste. Each turn more disease cubes are added to the board; get too many in one city and a nasty outbreak will spread the disease to all its neighbours.
Shadows over Camelot
A team game where you don't know who is on which side. Team affiliation is decided secretly half way through the game. The Knights around King Arthur are battling for survival against dark forces. The game provides tension till the end with success for the Knights of the Round Table depending on identifying the traitor in their midst.
Games that involve bidding, and tough decisions about how much something is worth.
Each player tries to run the most profitable auction house by buying and selling works of art. The pictures themselves are uniformly hideous, but can you convince the art world that the artist whose work you're flogging is the next big thing? This is quite a subtle game, where you're trying to manipulate the other players into doing what you want, and you can win by buying the right artists low, selling high, or a mixture of the two.
Another clever auction game by legendary German designer Reiner Knizia. The theme is ancient Egypt, and you will try to purchase sets of tiles that go together well to add to your score. But you can make at most three purchases each round, so do you buy now or hold out for something better? It's particularly satisfying watching the last player in the round risking everything by drawing another tile, while the others chant "Ra! Ra! Ra!" (it'll make sense if you play...).
'Fillers' are games that tend to be quick to play and light-hearted. They are usually played at the beginning or end of the evening or if players are 'filling' half an hour between longer games
A simple game of collecting sets of coloured cards. Each turn you can draw a card and add it to a row in the middle, or you can take an existing row. Like a lot of other filler games, the decisions are all about whether you should push your luck or take a lesser but safer reward now. Special chameleon cards count as any colour, but only your three biggest sets will score for you; any other colours you get stuck with count negative.
At first glance there's not much to this game. The cards are marked with a number from 3 to 35. You have 11 red chips each. Each time it's your turn, you can take the numbered card in the centre or say "No Thanks" and pay a chip into the pool. But the clever scoring system means it's always tough to know when to pay and when to take the card (and the pool of chips), and running out of chips can be disastrous. It only takes 10 minutes, but will one game be enough?