Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Spice of Life at IBG.....

Players: John, Jon, Barrie, Gareth, Scott, Steph, Ian, Jeff, Philip, Toby, Paul, James, Daniel, Mark, Tonio, Jim

16 IBG'ers turned up on a warm summer's evening, fresh from seeing England destroy Slovenia in the World Cup (ok, we scraped through, but who's counting...) It was nice to see John back with us after a long absence, and he had the decency to bring a number of new games with him.

As if anyone needed reminding, the Isleworth Boardgamers are an eclectic bunch, and as such, play an eclectic range of games. Tonight was the very definition of "something for everyone" (well - unless you're a hardcore wargamer or CCG'er I suppose....) with just about every category represented: light, heavy, Eurogame, card game, board game, dice game, party game, co-op game. Just no Ameritrash for Daniel - we're working on it.....promise.....

And to start off, something from the lighter end of the spectrum -

Loopin' Louie (thanks James for this summary)
Few games illicited such an enthusiastic early response this evening as this one did. Personally I remember playing this game in my 20’s with 3 (uber-competitive) friends for several hours at the expense of games like Risk, Cluedo etc… So as a start up game it was ideal while dinners were being scoffed and beers quaffed …well, it’s that kind of game – for once no green baize required.
Playing (of course, at the expert level, we’re not wimps) initial thoughts were that finally we’d finally found a game that Scott sucked at… However despite a later Scott victory putting the champagne on ice, the feeling remains however that if one can keep Scott away from small coloured cubes and onto finger flicks and dice that we might finally start to put a dent in his all-too-high winning percentage.
Steph seemed to be adept at the high (looping the loop) flick, although this could be down to drinking too much coffee during the day, while James’s small measured flicks to dive bomb the chickens seemed to largely contradict his professed vegetarianism.
A few early gamers also had a go but to be honest I can’t remember who as things weren’t being taken that seriously, especially scorekeeping. I think we all won some and lost some, but as half the games descended into disorder (much like the English defence) it was more ‘Chaos in the Old World’ than ‘Die Macher’ and the scoresheets were put away.
Eventually some more sensible gamers arrived and it was time to put the toys away… It’s not likely to herald a change in direction of the club as members choose to bring along Mouse Trap, Buckaroo and Operation in place of Power Grid, Agricola and Puerto Rico, but it’s nice to play games like this everyonce in a while……especially if you’re playing Scott.

From chickens to penguins -

Pinguin Party (thanks Scott)
Kicking off the night as usual, Scott and Steph recruited Paul in an attempt to create the best penguin pyramid possible.
The rules take all of 5 seconds to explain but how best do you play out your cards? The best way is to watch Steph - the first two rounds she managed to get all of her penguins in the party while Scott and Paul took a point or two. It looked good for Steph going in to the last round and unfortunately for the rest of us, none of us got all of our penguins played leaving the final scores as:
Steph 2 points; Scott 4;  Paul 5

And from penguins to fleas -

Circus Flohcati (thanks again Scott)
Toby and Dan had now joined Scott, Steph and Paul while Scott just got out the flea circus game and started shuffling, “fancy playing this?!”. A quick rules check with Tonio about his german special cards and we were off.
Scott was first and you may say fortunately picked up a 7 immediately but it was quickly stolen by Steph. Early on a lot of low cards were on the table wasting a lot of the high cards now being drawn and so everyone started collecting some low numbers and everyone got themselves one set of cards for ten points.
Some more collecting started after Paul, with the help of a special card, managed to get 9 different colours on the table, all pretty low again. Some started collecting more low sets while a few lucky card draws from Dan and Paul cascaded them above the rest of us. After Scott was stolen from a couple more times the final scores were:
Paul 52; Dan 50; Toby 42; Steph 41; Scott 39

So for Toby and Steph, the 'steal from Scott' strategy hadn’t won them the game, leaving us all at the bottom.

Some other early arrivees had a go at -

Atlantis (thanks to Tonio for this report)
Jeff brought this reimplementation of Cartagena to the table. It was new to most players. It's a tile collecting game where you play a card and take a tile, slowly dismantling the board and creating holes in the play area, that you then have to pay to cross as you try to get all your meeples to the mainland.
There is an advantage to getting your first guy over asap, and Tonio playing last both started with more cards and was able to "piggyback" off other players. There is a rule stating that you cannot end your go on the same tile as another player, so some creative and sometimes lucky play meant Tonio got to the mainland first and was therefore able to pick up two cards at the end of each turn.
James on the other hand had to get all 3 men out at once, due to poor card options. Jeff was the first to use his free bridge as he mis-costed a journey and was running very low on cards.
At the end of the game everyone has to just pay the cost to get everyone home without being able to pick up any tiles. Luckily these costs were not too high, James paid 5, Ian 3 and Jeff only 2, but it wasn't close!
Tonio 21; Jeff 9; James 9; Ian 6

Everyone had now turned up, and so we split into 4 groups, John finding several willing volunteers to try -

Long Shot (thanks to Dan for this informative report...)
Long Shot is a game about horse racing, specifically with ten horses in the race. If someone were to ask me to name ten famous horses I would probably only get as far as Red Rum, Mr Ed and Sarah Jessica Parker before giving up. Horses were first domesticated by the Egyptians, or then again it could have been by the Ukrainians - history was never my strong point. They proved to be pretty rubbish at domestication, not being able to grip the vacuum cleaner properly between their hooves and constantly breaking plates during the washing up, so people decided to jump up and down on them presumably to teach them a lesson. The horses didn’t like this much and would frequently run away, and so horse racing was born.
Horses usually have four legs, as do tables, but it’s not generally wise to confuse the two. The horses in this game were quite untablelike and very small, that’s not to say that they were midget horses they were just horses on a smaller scale, sort of like average sized horses only very far away. Midget horse racing might have been a better theme for this game, or even just midget racing - I Kid You Not - but, alas, Wednesday night was to be the inaugural IBG thirty florins flat hurdle hunt.
There have been many famous odes to horses such as the Byrds 'Chestnut Mare' or the Osmonds 'Crazy Horses'. Jim Morrison once wrote the arty psychedelic poetry 'Horse Latitudes' which includes the line "In mute nostril agony" which pretty accurately sums up how I felt about the game. It might have been a laborious trial of rolling dice and randomly playing cards without any real strategy, or then again maybe it was a fast paced ball game involving twenty two men competing for the greatest prize in world sport. The TV was on and I’m easily distracted.
So, what happened during the game? Dice were rolled, some midget horses moved around a strangely oval race track, paper money exchanged hands and eventually the game came to an end. Some people may have enjoyed the game, or horses in general, more than I did. There is a special website for people like you.
Final Scores: Steph 175; Germany 1; Ghana 0

Er...for those who enjoyed the game a little more than Dan, and for anyone interested in the real scores - Steph (who had jumped ship from Age of Industry) owned the first 2 horses and romped home, with 'Heavy Betting' Jon coming in second. John went lame and ended up at the back of the field.
Steph $240 (175 winnings/40 bets/25 spare cash); Jon $165 (0/110/55); Daniel $155 (50/65/40); Mark $125 (0/70/55); James $85 (0/40/45); John $60 (0/25/35)

Now it was the turn of the heavier Euros to surface -

Caylus (thanks Gareth)
This week we played the final outing for Caylus as game of the month, again the game was played with 3 players who had all played before this time Gareth, Phil and Toby. Play was pretty evenly matched at the beginning and the game moved quickly. By mid game Gareth had taken the lead but Phil and Toby were accumulating a large amount of resources ready for the last phase.The scores came in very close at the end with Phil buying 2 major buildings with his favours but it was not enough to take the win from Gareth, his first on Caylus.
Gareth 94; Phil 90; Toby 88

It's been running for several weeks at IBG, and now we finally get to find out what goes on when we play a game of -

Dungeon Lords (thanks Tonio again for this one)
After winning his first game last week, Tonio was keen to give this game another go and see if it was just beginners luck. Jeff, always keen to Lord it it the Dungeon and Barrie equally eager to be The Lord of Dungeons again (after a similar virgin victory) convinced Ian to give it another go and so we were set.
The game takes place over two "years" which are divided into four seasons. Adventurers arrive after the second third and fourth seasons. There are also three special events.
The first few rounds were the usual gentle start before the adventurers arrive and start destroying the dungeons: 2 Vampires and an Orc came to town looking to be hired and Ian and Barrie duly employed a vampire each, which made them both a little more evil. Tonio and Jeff went for traps and no-one went for the rooms that were available (gold making and goodness generating).
By the time the first foursome of fearless adventurers arrived Barrie was most evil, then Ian, then Tonio and finally Jeff. The adventurers are given out with the strongest going to the most evil so Jeff and Tonio got the best deal, except even the wimps weren't going to be push-overs. The evilness chart did not change much. By the time the second lot of adventurers were allocated, Ian was most evil and the third time Barrie was back on top.
Tonio and Barrie were starting to make a few mistakes at this point. Tonio took actions requiring gold but couldn't pay his dungeon tax and so couldn't buy the room he wanted. Barrie built a lovely extension to his dungeon and promptly lost it to an earthquake (which we all knew was going to happen) because he'd placed his room at the wrong end of the dungeon. In a game where you don;t really get that many actions, to waste a couple of actions so foolishly can cost you the game.
And so the first battle begins... there are four rounds. At the end of each round there is normally healing (if there is a priest and if a monster has attacked) and then the conquering of a tunnel/room and fatigue (if the adventurers are not all already dead - which they generally are not).
Ian slayed a rogue with a pendulum and a vampire in round one. Then in round two a kamikaze imp took out the first priest and a witch took out the second. Battle over and only one room conquered!
Jeff's monster slays the wizard before he has a chance to execute his spell, and then in round two a trap door takes out the rogue. A poisoned meal finishes the battle and Jeff has also only conceded one room (trap door prevented conquering stage in round 2).
Barrie poisons the warrior and his vampire swoops in to attack. At this point the Paladin is triggered. Oh dear! In round two the Paladin is conquered, which, although it's worth more points than the regular adventurers, it also resulted in Barrie losing 3 rooms! (Only 3 rooms because the Slimer monster used his ability - nice monster!)
Tonio used a gold ring and his one monster, the goblin, to kill a warrior and stab the priest, but conquering and fatigue were skipped as the ring was played. Round two fatigue was enough to take out the priest and in round 3 another adventurer died to a poisoned meal. battle over and only one room lost.
Things were not looking too bad at this point, but the second "year" is harder and at this point the note-taker, Tonio, started playing phenomenally badly. In two consecutive plays Tonio couldn't execute 2 of his three orders. Barrie did help by having a good old chuckle, but to be fair it is normally him who is steaming up about poor choices or things generally going wrong!
One of the three events that happen every "year" is monster pay day. This can be very tight, and everyone suffered from monster pay day at some point in this game. Ian lost a vampire because he couldn't afford the evil, Jeff lost his dragon, Tonio couldn't afford a Golem because he would have had to pay twice and so on. Tonio was hoping for at least Lord of the Imps, but the special event wiped out all imps not in full employment and Jeff stole even those few points away.
Despite all this Jeff became most evil in the second year and the battles went something like:
Barrie used pendulum and slimer to take out a rogue, while Tonio used his goblin and newly acquired vampire to kill a heavy duty wizard. Ian showed skill and mastery by using a witch and two darts to take down a warrior and a wizard in one go. Jeff's Demon eliminated the rogue and saved the room.
Round 2, Barrie and Tonio relied on fatigue to take care of one guy each. Nice. Jeff deals some damage with an heroic kamikaze imp and a ghost playing the supporting role (he is NOT a monster).
Barrie was the only one to finish his battle in round 3. Ian defeated all his adventurers by the end of round 4, but Tonio and Jeff had to settle for losing another room and everyone back in the town talking about how much of a nice dungeon lord they both are.
Conclusion: Jeff won his own game for the first time. This game can be very unforgiving if you make a poor choice of a bad mistake, and choices you make really do influence future choices.
Both Barrie and Tonio won their first games and scored 0 in their second. Let's see what the future holds...Showdown next week??
Jeff 23; Ian 16; Barrie 7; Tonio 0

And if it's economic games that you want, we had one that was such a monster that 2 IBG'ers were needed to write the report -

Age of Industry (thanks to Scott & Jim)
Martin Wallace’s new economic beast was unleashed on IBG by Scott this week, the game is similar to Brass, another game by Wallace, and the idea behind it was to streamline Brass and make the mechanics suitable for different maps and future expansions. Having gained some interest from Paul and Jim we began setting up a 3 player game, with Scott doing his best to explain the rules, which go something like this:
Set during the industrial revolution, you are businessmen dabbling in various industries trying to make your mark and leave with as much money in hand and industries on the board as possible. To do this you will have a hand of cards depicting either industries or regions of the board; a region card is simple, you can use it to build any industry tile in that region as opposed to the industry cards which are for specific industries and you must be able to connect the new tile to an existing industry of yours on the board via your own railways.
Industries get you points as soon as they are on the board but ideally you want to ‘flip’ them as well so that they pay you back a profit, industries will flip as their necessary requirements are met. Industries include coal and iron which are needed for building railways and advanced level industries, they flip once their initial supply of coal/iron is used up. Cotton mills and factories need to sell to a market demand tile on the board or to a port industry tile; the purpose of building a port is purely to provide a sales point for a mill or factory. The last industry type are ships which provide a link to a foreign coal market along with a market demand tile, however, we played on the Germany side of the map which does not use ships.
To fund building all of these industries, you have easy access to loans and can take as many as you like without using up an action but you must pay $1 for each loan each round so it’s best to not leave to many un-flipped industries on the board if you’re in debt.
On your turn you get two actions, they can be used to build industries, build railways, develop industries (meaning you discard a lower level industry tile to get access to a higher level one earlier, factories require this before you can build them), sell your goods (as many as you can match up to ports/demand tiles), or draw more cards.
Turn order is decided by who spent the least during the previous turn and the game ends when the draw deck has run out and at least one player is out of cards.
The game began with Jim up to the plate first, faced with an empty board and a ton of ways to start. It is a very daunting game at first to get to grips with but Paul and Jim took it in their stride, dipping their toes in the water and observing Scott closely, who had played 3 times beforehand at this point. The Ruhr is the biggest town and a big attraction for early investors, between us there was some coal, iron and mills popping in to existence around it. Connecting up to the north and within a few turns we all managed the same plan of selling some cotton through our own port, dubbed “Scott’s master plan.”
Scott headed South next and set up a new mill operation while also jumping over to the East with another mill. Jim had misunderstood slightly and built some railways around Scott towards the markets to prevent him using them - while this tactic works for preventing industries, everyone’s railways can be used to sell goods and transport iron/coal. Scott took advantage of this and shipped both cotton mills at the same time.
With lots of railways being built, mostly by Jim, Scott kept the stocks of coal supplied while Paul and Jim kept their sights on the Iron, usually building an ironworks just before the other wanted to, well, at least that’s what Jim would proclaim afterwards regardless of what was built. Jim set his aims higher than just cotton, like the rest of us; he developed his factory technology and began setting up shop, getting himself in to a position with a factory and some cotton on the board and with two places to ship it. Unfortunately Scott and Paul had other ideas and each used up one of the markets before Jim had the chance to do so leaving him with nothing but a failed master plan.
Paul dabbled in a bit of everything too with a venture in to factories and a lot of tussling with Jim over positioning, often building railways where the other one wanted them and snapping up small town spaces where there was no room for competition. Scott let them have their quarrel while he focused on his East Germany empire that was now established and connected across to the West.
We were getting closer to the end of the game and a lot of the board was filled with most markets already sold to, leaving just future ports as the point of sales. It was now time for people getting in to their level three technologies to make space by building over their lower level ones, overbuilding loses the 1 VP on the board but gets you a few more VP for a higher technology and you get to make profit on it again, since you already have your position established its easier to play cards that match too. All of us got in to the swing of it and set up a few more sale contracts with level 3 mills/factories and ports.
Scott had also gotten himself in to a predicament, all of his coal mines were on the board and the coal was being used up fast with all of the level three industries and railways requiring it. This leads to another rule of the game - you can in rare circumstances build over other people’s coal or iron works if there is none on the board and none in the distant market (a way to purchase coal/iron at an increasing cost if you are connected to it through a port symbol). This left Jim in a great position to overbuild Scott and catch up to the growing pile of gold coins in front of him. Fortunately for Scott, Jim didn’t have the right card at the right time and needed both actions rather than doing a special build (use both actions and any card as a wild card), instead choosing to overbuild his own coal mine, still netting Jim a large amount of money from restocking the distant market and flipping his coal immediately, Jim managed to pull this off a second time just before the game ended too. Restocking the distant market and flipping coal or iron immediately are the most lucrative investments you can make with just one action.
As the game came to a close with no draw deck left but a few cards left to dwindle from players hands, Paul confessed he had a two turn plan that he would like to get in to action but it looked likely that this would be the last turn since Scott only had one card. However, as Scott does, he avoided the obvious and seeing that the other players couldn’t do too much with just one more turn, especially as Paul didn’t gamble on a two turn plan, from last place in the turn order he delayed the end of the game building a couple of railways instead before ending it the turn after.
Now we could set the scoring algorithm in to action, just what everyone was waiting for. The scoring is fairly simple and Jim had pen and paper at the ready as with three players the money gets quite high. Together with your money in hand you get money back for your railway investment, each piece of track pays $2 plus $1 for each industry tile in the towns it directly connects to. Once you have your money total you divide it by 5 and this is how many VP’s they are worth, this is then added to the value of your industries on the board and voila!
Now we go back to Jim in the studio for the results:
Scott 56; Jim 52; Paul 44.

It was clearly a game with many options and strategies available to obtain those all important VPs. Many of the subtleties of these various options and strategies revealed themselves to Jim and Paul as the game progressed, some from the effect of their moves, but also from the impact the others had with their moves.
Although Jim and Paul claimed to have little idea what they were doing, at neither time did either feel out of the game although both suspected Scott had the game "sewn-up" especially after a couple of turns where he gained fairly large sums of money and/or VPs. In fact Scott always seemed to have a lot of cash while the other two eked out a rather meagre existence at times, often in debt to the bank.
The game seemed over rather quickly in the end although it wasn't far short of the 2 hours play time Scott had suggested - it certainly didn't feel like two hours had passed. When the scoring was done, Jim was surprisingly close to Scott but insisted this was due to good fortune rather than any strategy!
This is a great game, lots to do and think about without it hurting your head and it would seem to offer great replayability. The only down side appears to be that it will eat away 1/2 of the time at the weekly gaming session at IBG. Looks like the oft talked about whole day game playing event will have to come into being....

Meanwhile back at the Long Shot table, it was another appearance of the latest darling of IBG -

A third outing in as many weeks for this game of pictorial creativity. Mark was probably at a disadvantage here, being Hungarian and having no clue at all about who ‘The Goodies’ were, but he was a good sport about it all. John threw in a nice clue about Eric Clapton’s son, whilst Steph referenced Guybrush Threepwood, the main character from Monkey Island (apparently).
It’s surprising how often several players have cards that match the storyteller’s clue so well, and this was perfectly illustrated when Jon chose to explain his card with the words “Ding Dong”. The 6 cards were revealed, with one of them displaying a ringing bell. Was Jon being that obvious? Actually no, as his card was a picture of a well, referring to the children’s nursery rhyme. Only 2 players actually chose the bell though, which raises an interesting point – maybe choosing an obvious clue will throw people off the scent as much as a subtle one? I’m sure that Philip or Barrie will choose this strategy if they ever get to play the game…..
Daniel 34; John 31; Jon 28; Steph 26; James 24; Mark 18

The GOTM had finished, and fresh from his victory, Gareth was keen to try out a game of -

San Juan
This was (supposedly) new to Gareth, and James had played a few times before against the AI on the downloadable computer version (which is an excellent implementation actually.) Jon explained the rules and the game was off. With 3 players, this game fairly rattles along.
Gareth started off by putting down a Smithy (giving a discount on all production buildings) and then proceeded to buy numerous production buildings. Jon meanwhile, chose to not build for 2 turns and then put down a Library. This gave him an extra bonus each time he selected a role, but had put him a little behind in terms of buildings and resources at the beginning. He then had the bizarre situation of not picking up a single Violet building into his hand for 3 rounds, further delaying his ability to get an engine running.

James had got a little combo of production and Violet buildings going quite nicely, and there was soon a cycle of production and trading running most rounds. Jon finally managed to get some Violet buildings in hand, and set up an effective combination of Aquaduct and Trading Post, negating the need to pick the Producer or Trader role.
Towards the end, Gareth managed to get a Guild Hall in play, and had 5 different production buildings for a 10-point bonus, whilst Jon finished the game with a City Hall for 8 points. James also had a City Hall for an extra 5 points.
When everything was totted up, Gareth and Jon came out tied on 31 points, but Jon had managed to retain more cards in hand for the victory.
Personal opinion? This is the game that Race for the Galaxy wished it was – straightforward, streamlined, over in 30 mins and with no tiny iconography that needs a Rosetta Stone to decipher. ‘Nuff said.
Jon 31 (23 + 8 bonus) – 5 cards in hand; Gareth 31 (21 + 10) – 1 card; James 21 (16 + 5)

And now it's back to Planet 'Out there Somewhere', from whence Daniel sends us another 2 reports -

Wyatt Earp (thanks Dan!)
With a natural break occurring at a couple of tables we were treated to the fabled gamer mating dance with several individuals milling about the room, boxes of their favoured games clasped in hand and hopeful looks on their shiny faces, calling for other gamers to flock to them in twos and threes. At the remainder of the Dixit table however there was only one question - Zombies or Cowboys? Mark has had a yearning to replay Wyatt Earp for a long time since last having a game a couple of years ago and with it being a fairly quick and accessible game the decision was made to hunt down some bandits in the Old West.
Although it can seat up to four, like most rummy based games Wyatt Earp is generally thought to play best with three. With five players at the table there was temptation to follow the grand tradition at IBG of breaking the game with one more player than it is rated for, however Toby and Steph instead decided to keep within the rules and combined mental efforts in order to become the gestalt known as Stephoby.
Hideouts were played tit-for-tat between Daniel and Stephoby, allowing Billy The Kid to escape the Marshall's men till the very end of the game with an escalating reward building up on his wanted poster. The game finished in the third hand after a titanic battle to bring Billy to justice, which could have won the game outright for any of the players but ended up with honours shared amongst everyone at the table.
John eventually collected the largest amount of bounty with Daniel not far behind, and we were treated to another IBG phenomenon as Mark cheerfully adopted what must surely be a club motto by now "Not Last!" Sadly Stephoby’s aggressive play was hamstrung by John twice finishing the round immediately before their coup de grace and they never really recovered despite a profitable haul in the last round.
This was the first outing at IBG for this popular Wild West themed Rummy variant and based on the pleasant reception received it may well appear again. However, it really does play better with three...
Clint Eastwood - John; Lee Van Cleef - Daniel; Yul Brynner - Mark; Slim Pickens - Stephoby

With half the cowboys heading off into the sunset there was just enough time for Mark and Daniel to have a hand of -

Mamma Mia! (thanks once more Daniel...)
It’s less challenging and lively with only two players and the game flew past at speed. It may have gone even quicker if either player knew the rules, it does seem mighty complicated for a simple filler and the rules a touch too convoluted for an addled brain at the end of the night. After a slow start Pizzas were baked with little incident and the game declared after the second hand in Mark’s favour.
Mark 5; Daniel 4

Making its way around the room was the lifeform they simply call -

Dixit (thanks Jim for this one)
Hugely popular game at IBG, but left brainers like me (according to Barrie) would dislike and be no good at it. Scores were enormous for other players with a tie for first place and me lagging way behind with 8 or 9 points.
See how Barrie's theory was disproved? I scored some points and Ian (apparently another "leftie") scored even more.
I am personally still smarting from the fact that my clue for tin soldiers (quoting a line from a pop song from 1967 called "Hole in my Shoe" by a UK beat combo called Traffic) failed to gain me any points. The defence that all the other players weren't born until the (late) 80's has no substance - Neil from the "Young Ones" (a popular TV show of the 80's) had a hit with the song in 1984!
Would I buy it? No
Would I suggest it? No
Will I play again? Yes, but only after Mind Gym training for the right hand side of my brain.
Scores - not known, except that Jim and Ian obviously didn't win........

There was little time left in the evening, but James had gone burrowing into Jim’s bottomless bag of games, and came out with gleaming eyes and a shiny tin, namely –

Forbidden Island
Jon was keen to have a go at this new release, and Gareth was also persuaded to join in (prior to him finding out that it was a co-op…) Jon had watched the Dice Tower video review, so had the general gist of what was going on. James took the rulebook, and did an excellent job of skim-reading and explaining the relevant points.
This is basically ‘Pandemic-Lite’, borrowing several familiar mechanics from its more famous big brother. The theme this time is a treasure hunt on a rapidly-sinking island. Players need to work together to collect 4 treasures and make their way back to the Helipad (‘Fools’ Landing’) to be airlifted off the island before it sinks into the sea. The island is made up of 24 tiles, randomly placed into a defined pattern, and each tile can become flooded and later sink entirely if it is not shored-up. Jon persuaded his 2 cowardly-custard compatriots to try the ‘normal’ difficulty level, rather than ‘novice’, and the game began.
Jon had the Messenger, and his special ability of passing treasure cards without being on the same tile as the other player proved highly useful. All the Treasure tiles turned out to be near the centre of the island, as did Fools’ Landing, which certainly helped make the adventurers’ jobs easier. The waters rose 3 times, but before the 4th rise, all the treasure had been collected and the players reconvened at Fools’ Landing for Gareth to airlift them to safety. And all done and dusted in 30 minutes.
Although the choices that you get to make within the game are limited (and somewhat straightforward), the modular board and randomised Flood stack certainly allow for increased replayability. Maybe if Jim brings this again, the IBG’ers will dare to try it on ‘Legendary’ level…
James, Jon, Gareth – all won

Enough variety for you? And if you live in the SW London area, why not come back next Wednesday in person and join in the fun for yourself......

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