Wednesday, 9 June 2010

"Naughty Elephants Squirt Water......"

Players: Jeff, Keith, Jon, Gareth, Philip, Johan, Toby, Vicky, Maynard, Steph, Scott, Emma, Ian, Iain, Tonio, Barrie, Jim, Paul

A fantastic turn-out of 18 IBG'ers meant that there was the opportunity to play a wide variety of games tonight. We had everything from a test of general knowledge, a test of managing a dastardly dungeon, a test of describing pictures in an oblique fashion and a test of knowing when not to send your workforce to the outskirts of a French town......

There was also the proud unveiling of an iPad and the equally proud unveiling of a tattoo. Oh, and Tonio has decided to start a campaign to put khaki-coloured suits back in fashion.

To start the evening off, another of Tonio’s seemingly endless collection of fillers –

This is basically a general knowledge game, the idea being to try to guess the number of correct answers from a list of 10 ‘possibles’. For instance, a list of 10 countries was read out, and the players had to decide which of them were amongst the 10 poorest in the world. You then bid how many you think you can get, and the highest bidder tries first (a la ‘Name that Tune’ in reverse). The first person to get it right scores the points, and everyone else scores minus the number they were away from the winning bid.
As lots of IBG’ers kept arriving, and in keeping with the spirit of the club, we ended up playing with more players than the supposed maximum, but it seemed to work ok.
Questions included philosophers, poisonous plants and Olympic venues, and when the head-scratching had subsided, Philip had turned out to be the brightest cookie, with Johan being the only other player to score positive points.
Philip 9; Johan 6; Maynard 0; Jon -1; Gareth -1; Steph -6; Scott -8; Emma -9

Some more players waiting for other boardgamers decided to fill their time with a quick game of - 

Mamma Mia! (thanks Paul)
Everyone had played before apart from Iain, but no one very much or very recently, so checks of the rule book were needed at the start and mid-game, but nothing significant.
In the first round Paul powered into the lead taking three pizzas, mainly based on the hope that other pizzas would fail, which they did!
In round two everyone else did some good catching up with Iain and Toby managing three and Keith and Barrie on two.
Then in the third round, Paul managed to sneak two more pizzas, taking the game, with Iain and Toby getting four (Iain having more ingredients at the end, so winning the tie break and securing second place).
Paul 5; Iain 4; Toby 4; Keith 3; Barrie 2

Jim, arriving at the "gaming hour" of 19:30 was amazed to find so many people already present and playing games. Fortunately Vicky was looking for a game too and Jim had a new-to-him two player game -

Sumo (thanks Jim)
This is an old Hasbro game where each player is a Sumo wrestler, the idea being to knock your opponent out of the ring (the board) by clever use of defence and attack cards in your hand. A quick read through the short rules and the game started.
After 10 minutes of milling around, Jim managed to push Vicky’s wrestler out of the ring, both of us being left with a rather "is that it?" feeling. [N.B. Subsequent games away from IBG prove that it is actually a nice quick filler with some strategy/bluffing and sudden attacking moves, much like the real thing].
Jim - won; Vicky - didn't

A couple of new games from Scott and Steph this week; the first one up being a quick card game about penguins having a party. Being a Knizia, it is immersed in theme as usual....

Pinguin Party (thanks Scott for this report)
You have a hand of cards with different types of penguins, the aim of the game is to play out your hand of cards or finish with as few left as possible. To play the cards you build a pyramid out of them (specifically a 2D one for anyone totally lost at this point), you can either play a card next to another penguin in the bottom layer, that can hold 8 penguins, or you can place a card on top of two other penguin cards but only if the card you play matches one of the penguins underneath.
The trick of the game is to play your cards at the right time and get all of yours in while cutting off the penguins that you have none of.
If you can’t play a card on your turn, you take a number of points equal to the cards you have left and the other players continue until everyone has passed or someone has finished, at which point the player who finished first can discard up to two point tokens and everyone else who hadn’t already draws points for the number of cards remaining. The winner is the player with the least number of point chips; you play a number of rounds equal to the number of players to give everyone a chance to start.
Tonio was here early and Ian arrived just in time to join in the fun.
Most rounds saw people take a couple of points after getting most of their penguins played until a later round saw Tonio annoyed even more than usual at Scott after he blocked off the yellow penguins early after he hadn’t drawn any of them, while Tonio had a hand filling up with them.
There was a slight intermission as Barrie entered and as subtle as a sledgehammer, he walks in and bumps in to Scott, crying out that he almost damaged his new iPad, what a shame that would be :)
Despite any lucky play on Scott’s part, Steph managed to triumph as usual by getting all her cards played on the last round earning her minus 2 points for final scores as follows:
Steph 2; Scott 4; Ian 7; Tonio 8

Against Jon's better judgement, 5 players assembled for the second outing of this month's GOTM -

This was completely new to Toby, and Johan needed a refresher of the rules too, but it’s always worth taking a few extra minutes to go through them thoroughly.
Gareth tried Dan’s opening gambit from last week, and moved the provost back on his opening turn. It therefore required a little diplomacy and trust between Johan and Jon to move it back again.
Gareth had obviously come with a premeditated strategy, and started erecting buildings at every opportunity, completely ignoring the castle or the favour tracks. Toby is obviously a quick learner, and was soon sending batches to the castle along with acquiring buildings along the way. Jon chose to focus on the castle, not building a single building until near the end of the game.
Midway through the game, Johan decided to place one of his workers in isolation at the edge of town. Jon felt that it was only right to use his free provost move to send it back, but promised not to pay any deniers to move it back further. Therefore Johan paid 3 deniers to move the provost back to its original position, only to have Philip jump in and deny him use of his worker after all. This was the second time that Philip was to use the provost to screw with Johan’s plans, which rather put paid to any chance of success for the Dutchman.
With a couple of rounds remaining, it was obvious that Toby and Jon were both wanting to build a ‘blue’ building, and it was only through some co-operative provost-moving that this proved possible. As it turned out, the newbie came out on top by a comfortable margin, having played a good mix of strategies throughout the game. Maybe the veterans had been too nice to him – only through a rematch will we find out…….
Toby 77; Jon 62; Garth 57; Philip 52; Johan 46

The Sumo twins were now joined by Keith and Paul, and Jim proffered -

Yspahan (thanks again Jim)
This is a favourite game of Jim's that he had religiously brought with him every time he had attended IBG but never played there, An explanation of the rules (with only one minor detail omitted) with heavy emphasis on the merits and benefits of camels and gold, and the effect of the camel train as a bonus, and the game was under way.
The first week (round) played out and the omission in the rules came to light - the building cubes played already played are all removed from the board and returned to their owners. This did not adversely affect anyone because all the building work was complete.
The second round was a tenser affair for such a light game and the lead changed frequently as the building of the players "bonus effects" cards developed. Jim had remained stubbornly in last or next-to-last place throughout.
At the end of the third day, Jim's experience showed through as he concentrated on placing cubes on the camel train and gaining cards for every cube while the others stayed mainly focussed on completing the buildings. A final flurry of card play after card play on the final turn pushed Jim a long way ahead of the others.
Jim mentioned that the game now had a list price of a staggering £41, but Milan-spiele had the German copies on offer at 11:90 Euros if anyone was interested in ordering a copy. All three other players opted to do so. It looks like the game will be played again soon at IBG, but I’m not sure that a win, let alone one so large, will be possible ever again!
Jim 108; Keith 73; Paul 65; Vicky 59

For the second new game from Scott and Steph -

Dixit (thanks to Scott for this report)
Dixit was brought to the table gaining lots of interest, particularly from Emma over the cute little rabbit scoring pieces. Don’t be alarmed, the scoring track and pieces might be overwhelmingly childish but the game can be quite devious as Tonio and Steph would be showing the rest of us, those being Scott, Emma and Maynard.
The game is very simple, you have a hand of 6 cards with some very zany and artistically drawn pictures on them. One player is the storyteller each round and they pick one of their cards and say whatever they like about it, they can quote a phrase, sing a poem, say just a word or even make a sound to describe their card. This is played face down and every other player must choose a card from their hand best describing whatever it is the storyteller is going on about.
The cards are all shuffled up and placed face up on the table for people to vote on which one they think is really the storyteller’s. The scoring is what makes the game interesting because if everyone picks the right card then everyone except the storyteller gets 2 points, so they shouldn’t make their clue too obvious, but if no-one gets it right, everyone except the story teller gets 2 points, so they can’t make it too obscure either. In all other cases the storyteller and the correct guessers gets 3 points. You also get 1 point for everyone else who guesses your card instead of the storytellers so it pays to play something very fitting to the story. The first person to 30 points is the winner.
The problem though is that coming up with a phrase that only registers with part of your audience and relates to one of the amazingly diverse and quirky cards can be extremely difficult, but it’s also the great fun of the game.
The game had so much love for it that after the first game, we played again immediately, which was almost past breaking point for Maynard but he was happy enough to play again.
The games formed a bit of a mish-mash in my mind so the highlights of the games are as follows:
Tonio always having a great card on someone else’s story, so much so that he would often have everyone guess his while he guessed the storyteller’s correctly.
Emma laughing hysterically at most of the cards as she saw them, giving away a lot of information particularly when she was storyteller, after which she started looking at all of the cards before placing them to disguise which one was hers a little better.
Maynard having a story of “Naughty Elephants Squirt Water” which must have slipped past Steph when she was a youngster in New Zealand as everyone else correctly guessed the compass that was played.
Scott believing he had the best clue ever in the world for a card he had been staring at all of the first game, this being his head stretched a little in to the middle of the table and a click of his tongue, and that was it. Tonio pulled his famous trick of playing a better card for the clue and everyone else picked his metronome while only Tonio successfully guessed the donkey (you know, from Shrek, oh, you didn’t get it either?!)
Steph showing her deviousness with her story of “Ships don’t sail in winter” playing a picture of a tree holding a bunch of flowers on a sunny day; if you looked closely enough he had a tattoo (as does one of our IBG'ers, as the warm weather allowed us to discover tonight...) of an anchor and with his wilting branches it was clearly winter, clearly! Suffice it to say this was well above the level Scott thought we were playing the game (i.e. the lowest possible); we all started staring at the cards much closer after that, especially on Steph’s turn.
Some rules to suit our needs, when Tonio and Steph both reached 30 at exactly the same time on the same space in the first game, we decided to keep playing until there was a clear winner. After which there was still enough interest to keep going; so a second game started and Scott introduced the “keep the same hand of cards you had, but discard any if you don’t like them” rule for the beginning of the second game, partly so he could play that donkey card he had just thought of a clue for and also get rid of the other ones he couldn’t find any use for.
After a lot of good clues from most and some dubious ones from most as well, the scores for the games were:
Game 1 - Tonio 37; Steph 35; Emma, Maynard & Scott 22

Game 2 - Tonio 31; Scott & Steph 25; Emma 21; Maynard 20

It was thoroughly great fun had by all, with Emma still wanting to play another game of it but Lexio seemed to be enough of a distraction to tempt her away. Beware if playing with Tonio, he is unstoppable. Beware if playing with Steph, she is tricksy, but we all knew that anyway. For those who missed it, tune in next Wednesday...

Philip's comment - "Don't remember much about the game..."
Stephanie 186; Scott 179; Emma 164; Jim 113; Philip 101.

And to round the evening off -

Nanuk (thanks Gareth)
The Arctic hunting game Nanuk was tabled for the second week running and the unofficial IBG adapted rules for 8+ players were used (2 cards dealt rather than 3). Three tables were joined together to accommodate everyone and the rules were quickly explained to the newcomers, with the game underway in less than 5 minutes.
There was a good number of successful hunts as well as some tragic failures. When the scores were totalled up Toby came out on top, closely followed by Vicky who took the most polar bears for the bonus points. A great way to end the evening off.
Toby 9, Vicky 8, Ian 6, Iain 6, Barrie 6, Paul 5, Gareth 4, Jon 4, Maynard 3, Keith 0, Johan 0

It should be noted that several players were a bit distracted during Nanuk as Barrie had been showing off his latest toy (a shiny new iPad) and a rather addictive little game of Air Traffic Controller. Show-off......

For those of you wondering if that was all the games that 18 people managed to fit into an evening, you'd be right - there was also an apearance from Rat-a-tat-Cat, Pandemic and Dungeon Lords, but as no-one has sent me any information about them, you'll never get to hear about Barrie's famous victory.......

See you next week.

And....."C'MON ENGLAND!!!!"

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