Grad Pad Games was yesterday. I played the following games:
Paper Tales: described as the designer playing 7 Wonders and disliking the fact that it is a perfectly viable strategy to completely ignore military. Here the emphasis is on military - it's impossible to get anywhere without it. I'm not sure if I liked it or not - I suspect I won't like it in the long run.
St Petersburg: a game I haven't played for some time. I probably ought to have purchased more buildings - I lost on the tie-breaker because I purchased some nobles from my hand in the final round.
Paperback: another new game. Basically Scrabble turned into a deck-building game. Very odd.
Paul played Babylon 5, I don't know if he got any other game in (I had to go out so wasn't around the whole time).
Dug out my old Squadleader stuff, such a complex game, can't believe I used to play it so much when I was younger. There's a simplified rule set called Retro which has some interesting ideas but is often every bit as ambiguous as its parent. At a similar scale have been investigating Valour and Victory which is far more straightforward but is print and play so will require investment in plentiful stocks of card and printer ink, plus acquiring the necessary precision cutting skills with a hobby knife and a metal ruler. Possibly life's too short.
Also dug out Intruder, a Task Force Microgame from 1980 in which the crew of a space station have to track down and neutralise or kill an alien specimen that's escaped from the science lab. Uses a form of hidden movement and is designed for solo play. Similarities with a certain well known sci-fi horror film from the same period are of course entirely coincidental. Not actually got round to playing this yet - am reacquainting myself with the rules. I think the game is fairly simple in essence, but it's written in a manner consistent with 1970s wargames i.e. more like a legal statute than a user friendly how-to guide. The space station is called Prometheus so Task Force were arguably ahead of Sir Ridley there.
Played Portal Games' 'First Martians' last night. The 'sequel' to their awesome 'Robinson Crusoe: Adventures On The Cursed Island'. The same game play, except by using the game app, you cannot see the potential consequences for your decisions (which you can in RC as the consequences are on the bottom of the cards). Overall, enjoyable, but quite complicated with a LOT of on board icons. Even on Easy Mode in the tutorial mission we failed, albeit on the turn of a card which blew one of our oxygen generators, which was one failed part too many for us to win.
Per my post above I've finally settled on the Squadleader/Cross of Iron rulebooks which seem to be an acceptable compromise between realism and rules density. Played some good small engagements which for me is where the system shines. I don't think it really suits the big pitched battles that turn up in some of the scenario cards.