Wednesday, 1 September 2010

In the Land of the Giants........

Players: Tonio, Paul, James, Jon, Daniel, Scott, Steph, Jim, Rob, Gareth, Ian, Philip, Johan, Iain

13 IBG'ers frequented the Riverview Room of the London Isleworth Apprentice this evening, to play a variety of card and board games, requiring the skills of memory, quick-thinking, creativity and most of all - patience.....

First up was a return to brain-bending on the high seas -

Santy Anno
After last week’s “success” with this game, James brought it to the table again, with a couple of newbies thrown into the mix. Paul’s opening gambit to Jon was that “this game messes with your head” (his actual comment can’t be published on a family-friendly blog) and “Dan always wins”. To be fair, he was pretty accurate with both those statements.
The first observation though, has to be about the components – generally of very good quality but why does one of the pirate cards have obscenities written all over it? (And before you ask, it wasn’t because Paul had doctored it with a biro…) Seems strange and totally unnecessary, but as we were all adults, it was accepted (although Jon gave the card more than one disapproving look…)
Paul dropped out after 2 rounds but Steph was on hand to take his place – which was good as they both seemed to be equally as bad as each other at this game. Rob managed to totally screw up his movement between ships on a number of occasions, but somehow still managed to get his pirate to finish on the right one.
James was pretty quick on the draw but, unsurprisingly, Daniel again proved to have an uncanny knack of being able to process visual-spatial information in milliseconds, leaving him as the clear winner for the third game running. Maybe he should be forced to drink a shot of rum after every round in future……
Daniel 25; James 17; Jon 9; Tonio 9; Paul / Steph 7; Rob 6; Philip 2

The only other game that we have a report for took up the whole evening (despite tantalising us with the words '60 minutes' on the box cover), namely -

Giants (thanks to Tonio for this report)
We travelled many miles to arrive at the mysterious and intriguing Easter Island for a game of Giants. In this rather detailed game with intricate (if sometimes fiddly) pieces, we played the part of four competing tribes, looking for prestige by erecting and decorating as many Moai before one player has used all his ahu tiles (pronounced “a-hoo” - these were the ceremonial plinths on which Moai statues were erected).
At one point in the explanation of the rules (which, to be fair, did take as long as a game of Dixit) Paul said that the game could be accused of being too true to the fine details of the history of Easter Island. For example, in the game, we did experience the rush to finish off the forest even though we knew that there would be no more wood. It is believed that the original civilization on the Island made a similar mistake and destroyed all of the meagre resources the island had to offer.
Anyway, the game played well with some people (no names, Jon) spending a little more time than others thinking about their moves. You get rewarded for erecting your Moai statues further away from the Rano Raraku (volcanic crater and birthplace of the Moai), so James and I (Tonio) received scant reward for getting early erections (there must be another word I should use here).
Jon and Paul seemed to have very similar game plans and their early statues slowly moved across the island to sit adjacent to each other. This was when it became apparent that to succeed at the game we needed to share man-power and go where the people go.
I liked the bidding mechanic at the start of each turn. You bid with two hands, sacrificing tribe tokens and men. The tribe tokens dictate who gets first choice of Moai (there are three sizes), and number of men dictates which sized statues you can take. However, the pieces you bid with are not available to you in the positioning and moving phases for that turn.
There was much movement and memorising and millinery and moaning (actually, that was mainly me with my victim complex) and the final scores were:
James 128 (25 track points + 103 Moai / Hats); Tonio 111 (31+80); Jon 100 (28+72); Paul 98 (27+71)

We estimate the game time on the box is wrong. Perhaps 30 mins per player is more accurate? This game has been an education in many ways. A more historically accurate end to the game would have been to continue attempting to move all remaining Moai statues and then abandoning statues at the crater and pushing other tribes' statues over and eating the members of the defeated tribes. Thankfully, although it got late, none of us were driven to cannibalism, so that was good.

And for the following games, we have scores only -

Pinguin Party
Scott & Steph 2; Gareth 7; Ian 8

Iain 32; Steph 31; Rob 29; Scott 24; Daniel 24

El Grande
Johan 109; Phil 101; Gareth 97; Ian 96

Saint Petersburg
Gareth 87; Philip 74; Ian 64; Johan 55

Kuhhadel Master (thanks Jim)
Steph 3500 (after selling poor old Scott, her devoted, wonderful husband, well short in a trade late on in the game; what a fool he was!)
Dan 1970 (is there any game new to him he can not do well at?)
Jim 1330 (just edging Scott in the last make-or-break deal between them)
Scott 1300
Iain 900 (doing his best to come last in the game he had taught us all)
Rob 410 (who seemed to lose out in every "horse trade" on offer)

And finally, Scott tells us of his attempt at conquering the -

Forbidden Island
My first game and I had heard it was easy so we tried Legendary. We ended up with all 4 treasures, one square away from Fools' Landing but too many waters rising so we hit the death level.
Scott, Steph, Iain and Dan - lost

And that was it. The Giants players just about wrapped up in time for the pub to close, but then hung about outside for 20 minutes for the post-match analysis. I'm sure that they'll be back again in a week's time.....

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