Wednesday, 17 February 2010

With friends like these..........

Players: Barrie, Gareth, Jon, Scott, James, Ian, Philip, Johan, David M, Stuart, Paul D, Emma, Zoe, Simon, Paul
Tonight, fresh from his star appearance as "Meet the IBG'ers #01", Barrie decided to prove his worldwide renown by bringing along three "friends" - who then proceeded to have a great time mercilessly stealing his cards and attacking his Ratmen. One of them had the rather bad grace to be called Paul, which, without a surname, has unfortunately resulted in him being given the rather anonymous title of "Paul 2"....

Stuart and David arrived early again, this time to get in a game of Arkham Horror, but the rest of the crowd soon turned up, and the opener for this evening was -

Coloretto (thanks Emma)
The game got off to a pretty even start - Phillip usually taking an early pick with the bonus point cards and James worrying that he had too many different colour chameleons so early on. He soon became more optimistic when given 2 shiny rainbow chameleons of greatness in 2 consecutive rounds from Scott & Emma. This was probably because the rest of his chameleons were all brown and grey and boring. Or that they went on to give him the win. Either way it was the rainbow chameleons that saved the day.
James 30; Scott 22; Gareth 20; Emma 20; Phillip 15

Barrie had now arrived with his 3 “friends”, and Jon joined them for a quick game of -

Circus Flohcati
Barrie had played before, although with Gareth’s German language edition, so some of the language-independent icons had to be explained. This game is quick to pick up, and everyone was soon laying down sets.
Simon raised a few eyebrows by laying down a set of 5’s, rather than keeping them for the game ending, although the final scores seem to bear out that he knew what he was doing. Zoe, Paul and Simon, at different points in the game, all revealed the card that allows you to steal from another player, and without hesitation they all chose – Barrie. Friendship is a beautiful thing.
The scores were very close at the end (apart from Barrie), with Jon just pipping Simon by a couple of points.
Jon 53; Simon 51; Zoe 47; "Paul 2" 46; Barrie 32

Over on table 3, Arkham Horror had been cleared away to be replaced by -

Nothing is known about this game apart from the fact that Johan bailed out halfway through, and David won it. Oh, and Barrie had forgotten his Dominion-Apps thingy so the deck was probably drawn using the 'manual random' method......
David 36; Paul D 27; Stuart 20

Fresh from his victory at Coloretto, James joined the Circus crowd for another IBG filler-favourite –

For Sale
6-player For Sale is all about the opening bid. How much should you bid to try to make sure that several players have dropped out before it comes back to you? $3,000 is the usual bid of choice, but $5,000 is not unheard of, especially if one of the high-valued properties is available.
A couple of the early auctions had a strange run of properties, with 5 very low and 1 very high property available. Someone invariably gets a bargain (Simon and Zoe on this occasion), but there is always everything to play for in the second half.
Avoiding the void cheques is usually a good strategy (hard luck Paul and Simon), and when the dust had settled, Zoe had proved to be the canniest property mogul with a slim victory from the ‘old hands’.
Zoe 48; Jon 46; James 45; Barrie 41; Simon 35; "Paul 2" 31

It appears that Johan jumped ship from Dominion to join in the 'game of the month' -

Cuba (thanks Scott for this report)
For its last outing as game of the month, there was only 1 newcomer – namely Emma. Gareth explained the rules to Emma as best he could, but as always, she seemed to play the role of the confused onlooker. However, looking at the results, she seems to have known what she was doing (despite having one eye on the game of Small World being played on the next table…)
Phil was first up and started a strategy of shipping, getting himself a building to ship two goods, although a quick check of the rules underpowered what Phil was expecting from playing it incorrectly last time.
Johan and Emma had gone a similar direction in collecting sugar for Rum conversion (although Emma had plans for wine), however Johan was earlier in the turn order and got himself in to the rum café and distillery in the first two turns to cries from Emma that he had ruined her master plan. Emma diverted and still went with Rum (wine) production but sold/shipped them instead.
Gareth went for the water strategy getting himself extra water production and a building to score water. He also went with the large VP producing building.
Scott saw the first law that was possibly going to come in the first round (score 1vp/3money) and went with a money and law strategy to get extra money and later on a building for 2 bonus votes, as well as the small VP production. With all the control in the laws and a growing pile of money scoring 5-6 points per round it looked promising for Scott although Gareth jumped on this band wagon and was storing up lots of money himself and with his other VP scoring was slowly increasing his lead over the rest.
Scott looked dejected in having a great plan of his own work so well for Gareth, until round 5 hit and a juicy ship entered the 3VP spot and with all his money Scott bought up the 5 necessary goods to get 15VP as no-one else had enough resources to stop him fully. This took him in to the lead to much disappointment from Gareth (which is why we play games with him really).
Johan and Emma continued their Rum business but since Emma was using them up to sell and ship, Johan could only turn them in to VP’s at a lower rate since buying more sugar was overly expensive.
Phil expanded his shipping empire with Cigar production but no scoring building for them so continued to ship/sell them, the downside for Phil was that everyone kept shipping before him.
With no money left, Scott lost all control of the voting and the last two rounds saw everyone pile in lots of their money to take control. Phil had it in round 5 and brought in great laws for him and Scott to the detriment of Gareth, and the last round saw Gareth have the control but the laws available were all quite damaging to everyone (super high taxes). However, the meddling was not enough to change the outcome:
Scott 91; Gareth 81; Emma 72 (2 cash); Phil 72 (no cash); Johan 63

And like Johan pointed out to everyone he spoke to afterwards, it is a nice game with great mechanics but you get locked in to your strategy from turn 1 and it’s difficult to react to the changes throughout the game if it looks like your strategy is not effective enough. Here endeth Cuba as game of the month.

Meanwhile, over on the first table, Chaos was ensuing (again) -

Chaos in the Old World (big thanks to James) report from the chaos crew (where is Russ when you need him?)

Except - one week later, James has dredged the inner recesses of his memory and produced this entertaining account of what happened...

After surviving the chaos of the modern world by navigating the road closures to get to Isleworth, it was time for some ye olde worlde chaos as Ian, James, David and Stu set about summoning demons.
David decided to take on the role of Khorne which as the only god that gets points by defeating the other gods basically means you get to spend the whole game with a target on your back. James took the tubby Nurgles, and David and Ian shared one of Tzeentch or Slaanesh but I can’t remember who had who… one of them was definitely green…. or maybe that was Stu after the drinking he’d done beforehand….
The mechanics of the game are that players summon various pieces to the board in order to dominate lands and spread corruption, gaining either victory points or increasing the power of their gods. Too much corruption and a region is ruined giving even more VP. Each players’ god operates with a separate set of pieces and powers/abilities, so the game from a newbie perspective involves a lot of “who, what, where, why, how?” questions until things settle down. Luckily we managed to avoid the ‘you never mentioned that rule’ shenanigans of the last time this was played at IBG…
Anyway, given the game was over a week ago I can remember few details other than that Stu managed to corner off the RHS of the board quite nicely, while Ian took the lower left and James the centre. David didn’t have much luck early on with battle victories.
What the other players hadn’t realised is that James had browsed the rules early in the game and discovered a strategy page - very useful as up to that point he had no idea what he was actually trying to do. With his Nurgle’s going for VP (as a result of the advice he’d read) while the other gods squabbled for power upgrades he managed to run away with a victory scoring 61 VP. Although it should be noted that Stu was close to claiming the power upgrade victory at the end so the differences were not quite as great as the VP score suggests.
Anyhow, in terms of Godlike powers, James ended up as Thor, god of Thunder, Stu was Shiva the Destroyer, and due to some unfortunate typos, Ian ended up as Gok Wan, god of camp shoes and David finished as Bod, god of milkshake (hmmm, strawberry please).
James 61; Ian 22; Stuart 15; David 7

The main game for Barrie's buddies et al was –

Small World
There was a full-house 5 players (which is always fun) for this game, with Paul D, Paul 2 and Zoe not having played before. However, this is a reasonably easy game to explain, with the concept of ‘declining’ being the only part that needs special attention, and you soon get the feel for it after a couple of rounds.
Jon started with the Merchant Giants, and predictably headed for the mountains for his early conquests. Barrie brought on some Flying Trolls, and quickly set up some useful defensive positions around the board, using the Trolls’ Lairs to good effect.
Zoe decided to begin with the Forest Wizards, and conquered a section in the South-West corner which scored her some useful bonus points. Paul 2 galloped on with some Mounted Humans, and Paul D knocked out a number of Lost Tribesmen with his Commando Orcs.
The first player-to-player combat occurred as Paul 2’s Humans cut a swathe through Paul D’s Orcs – an aggressive move that was only partially tempered by a few muttered apologies...
After a couple of rounds, Jon was the first to decline, and brought on some Stout Tritons, who quickly took up position around the central lake. Barrie decided that Jon had become too strong and took control of the Wealthy Ratmen to attack his declined Giants. The 2 Pauls had adopted Ghouls and Elves, with the former making sure that the Ratmen didn’t become too prolific.
It was at this point that Zoe decided to show affinity with the fairer sex and give the Diplomat Amazons a run. However, she couldn’t decide whether to attack Barrie’s Ratmen or Jon’s Giants. Jon gave her some good, impartial advice, and told her that rats were vermin that needed to be annihilated. Barrie’s pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears, and Zoe (eventually...after a 'dramatic' pause..) took out a few of her “friend’s” Ratmen along with some remaining Lost Tribes. She also used the Diplomat ability to good effect, preventing Paul 2’s newly-acquired Halflings from stomping all over her.
Jon picked up the Fortified Dwarves for the final 2 turns (mainly because of the 6 victory points which had accumulated on them) and set up a small camp on 2 dwarven mines.
The only other new race to enter the board were Paul D’s Pillaging Sorcerors, which he freely admitted entered the fray a turn too late.
By the end of the game, Barrie and Zoe had only used 2 races, with Barrie still having 7 of his original declined Trolls unmolested on the board. The scores were tallied, and (as usual) there was a very tight finish, with Jon doing the un-gentlemanly thing and pipping Zoe by a single point.
If she didn’t live a distance away, I’m sure that she would have a fine future ahead of her as one of the femme fatales of the IBG’ers….
Jon 88; Zoe 87; Barrie 80; Paul 2 70; Paul D 67

With Cuba and Small World finishing within minutes of each other, it was time for another outing of the increasingly popular -
Nanuk (thanks for this info Gareth)
This week the hunt was made up of eight players - the largest to date. The game was new to Paul 2, Johan and Emma but the simple rules were quickly explained by Jon and the group was off hunting game within minutes.
A large bounty of birds, seals and fish were caught with four highly successful hunts, more than sufficient to feed the tribe through the winter. Lots of bluffing by the less honest members of the group, Jon and Gareth, who seemed very confident of having many of the animals/ birds needed for each hunt and then surprisingly elected to stay at home.
It was also pointed out by Emma, that Gareth raises his eyebrows when lying….so much for bluffing in the future.
Particular mention should go to Paul 2 who led two successful hunts even though it was his first game. Also, tragedy struck on the final hunt for Johan, who had been unable to generate any support and was eaten by a polar bear!
Another great game with lots of laughter, which comes highly recommended by the IBG’ers. This game has now joined the select few including, Saboteur, 6Nimmt and Diamant, as the perfect way to finish the evening with a large group of players.
Philip 9; Scott 9; Emma 7; Paul 7; Jon 7; Barrie 6; Gareth 5; Johan 5

(Postscript by Jon: I contend that I played an honest game the whole way through this evening. Also, you can actually tell when Gareth is lying because his lips move….)

There were still a few minutes left on the clock – enough for a single round of the luck-driven card-fest that is –

6 Nimmt!
11 players sat down to this one, including Stuart, who tried Philip’s old tactic of playing random cards. It proved no more successful in Stuart’s hands than it had in Philip’s….
Emma, wearing her best “Confused from Colchester” expression, appeared at a loss to know which pile to pick up after playing a low card half-way through the game. Gareth was quick to excitedly chime in with the advice – “Take that one, ‘cos it screws other people over the most.” Subsequently, justice was indeed done, as the aforementioned buttinski was duly the player who found himself to be “screwed over”……
Barrie and Johan managed to both stay out of trouble for the whole game, and Jon appears to have attempted to ‘shoot the moon’ with a mammoth total.
Barrie 0; Johan 0; Scott 1; Emma 8; James 9; Gareth 15; Ian 16; Stuart 16; “Paul 2” 17; Philip 28; Jon 38

Well, Barrie's friends will be welcome back at the IBG'ers any time (although whether they will be welcome back at Barrie's house is another matter entirely....)

Great to see everyone again tonight - we're back again at the same place next week for more Wednesday-night escapism......

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