Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Bad behaviour at IBG makes local press...........

Players: Keith, Iain, Steph, Scott, Daniel, Jon, Gareth, Vicky, Maynard, John

A cosy 10 IBG'ers were unexpectedly relegated to the conservatory tonight, due to some sort of 'varnishing the tables upstairs' incident. We wait to see if this refurbishment of the furniture surfaces adds further to the ambience in the Riverview room. The Essen posse were en route to their weekend of fun, so it was left to the rest of us to undertake some gaming adventures in their absence.
However, tonight's events appear to have attracted the horrified attention of some disdainful locals, who were so outraged at what they observed and overheard, that they actually wrote letters of complaint about the goings-on between the IBG'ers at the London Apprentice. Oh dear.......

First up this week, a new game -

Queen's Ransom (thanks for this report Scott)
A quick card game that Steph brought along; a deduction game where players need to work out who kidnapped the Queen and where she is being held. Iain was tempted into a game with Scott and Steph, none of whom had played before so a quick rules reading was needed. In a bizarre twist, I think we got them all right before we started......
There are three suspects and three locations laid out on the table, above and underneath each suspect or location, a card with a number ranging from -2 to +2 is placed randomly and secretly. These numbers determine which suspect or location is most likely based on a combination of the two cards.
Each player has a hand of cards and the game revolves around looking at the secret information to deduce the correct Suspect and Location. You do this by spending money cards equal to the current information price which changes each round., or some cards have an action on them which you can do instead. This could be drawing extra cards or even altering the position of the secret information changing the locations and suspects. Once a player wants to make an accusation they do so on their turn and look at each card secretly to see if they are correct, if they are they reveal the details otherwise they keep quiet and the game continues without them.
Steph and Iain began by trying to deduce the location and between them they seemed to be on track. Scott took a different approach and tried to get the suspect first, however Steph spoiled the day by playing a card to randomise some of the suspect probability cards so Scott was almost back to square one. Scott just progressed to locations while Iain and Steph moved on to narrowing down the suspect. Scott hadn’t quite seen everything but made a guess anyway. He looked at all of the cards secretly and declared he wasn’t correct and the game continued.
Steph decided soon after she would have a guess picking a different location but the same suspect Scott had chosen. Since there were just the three of us we revealed everything and Steph had the correct location but the wrong suspect. Iain won by default and declared he would have got it wrong as well if he’d made a guess.
There were accusations of Scott throwing people off the right track, which was certainly fun to do, after Steph had randomised the suspects. Scott figured it was 50/50 between two suspects and unfortunately picked the wrong one. With the locations, he’d just gone with what looked like the one Steph and Iain had been focussing on - lesson for next time, don’t rely on anyone else to help you.
The game feels a bit odd but worth another try at least.
Iain won; Scott and Steph lost.

Jon had just picked up this card game from a shop in Sheen, so was keen to give it a go –

John, Daniel and Keith had apparently played this in the dim and distant past, but a rules recap was useful for all the players. Jon especially emphasised that any merchant ships left in your hand at the game end were worth minus points.
The deck of cards used in this game comprises merchant ships (worth points if you can capture them), pirate ships of variable powers (used to capture the merchant ships), pirate captains (used to bolster a pirate ship’s attack) and one admiral (used to protect your own merchant ship). On their turn, players can either draw a card or play one but not both. Once a merchant ship has been laid down, players can use their pirate ships to try to capture it. If a player’s turn comes around and he has the highest value of pirates on a particular merchant ship then he wins it. Maynard did well to get several merchant ships in front of him at one time, and managed to sneak a couple of them into his scoring pile without anyone having attacked them.
After laying down his pirate captain, Jon picked up the valuable ‘8’ ship, to get his ‘loot’ off to a good start. Daniel was certainly putting his pirates about a bit, whilst Gareth seemed intent on picking up as many cards as possible.
The deck was getting close to running out, so Jon reminded everyone that merchant ships in hand at the end of the game were worth minus points. There were nods of assent all round.
The deck duly ran out, and it was now down to whoever laid their last card to end the game. Daniel had ket his hand quite lean, and so it was not long before he slapped down his final pirate and ended the game.
Scores were totalled and Gareth laid out his hand cards to reveal at least 5 merchant ships.
“You know that they’re worth minus points don’t you?” chuckled Keith.
“No-one mentioned that rule!” protested Gareth.
“Errr…..we did actually..........twice……”
Jon 14; Maynard 13; John 5; Daniel 2; Keith 1; Gareth -8

The IBG’ers now split into 2 groups – one engaged in a serious game, the others went all ‘light and fluffy’ -

Apples to Apples
Things learned from this game:

  • Daniel is definitely ‘masculine’ (having laid down ‘men’ to go with this adjective).
  • Steph doesn’t believe that the Big Bang Theory is ridiculous.
  • Maynard is quite literal (having picked some unknown river to match ‘shallow’).
  • Jon thinks that Jordan is the very definition of a ‘sensitive’ girl.
  • Vicky is rather good at this game.
  • Scott isn’t.
  • ‘Outstays its welcome’ is reached at 1 hour
Vicky 15; Maynard 9; Steph 9; Jon 8; Daniel 4; Scott 4

After some negotiation, the "serious, boring" table of Biker Keith, Norwegian Gareth, John Bandawotsit and Iain the Duck decided to play -

Amyitis (thanks Iain for this one)
Amyitis is a classic, generic €urogame, but don't hold that against it. Everyone except Iain caught on to the rules quickly and the game hangs together nicely - even though you have played all its mechanics in other games before.
The background story is good, although it is invisible during play and John didn't even mention it in the introduction:

"Amyitis invites players to recreate one of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The game is named after the daughter (or granddaughter) of the king of the Medes, who married King Nebuchadnezzar II, ruler of Babylon, sometime in the 6th century B.C. In distant Babylon, Queen Amyitis fell homesick, missing the green mountains of her native country. The king was deeply in love, so he decided to build a mountain filled with trees for her, despite the tough climate. Players are Babylonian nobles seeking prestige, so they will spend their money and resources to assist the king with his difficult task."

Iain's game was like the Irish economy: artificial boom years and then a horrible end-game crash.
John's was like Italian economy: far out in front in ancient times, but not so impressive in later years.
Gareth's game was like the Norwegian economy: long-term investment and a solid performer.
Keith's game was like the German economy: ruthlessly efficient and possibly slightly arrogant. The only flaw in his game was that he could have probably won it half an hour earlier...
Keith won; Gareth 2nd; John 3rd; Iain 4th

The Apples to Apples crew had now split up and Vicky and Maynard recruited Jon and chose –

Small World
This game has had some unfortunate publicity in the ‘well-informed’ UK press recently, but fortunately we had a vet on hand in case our gaming session got out of hand tonight. Maynard had not played Small World before, but Vicky had played it once in the past (usually enough for her to inflict a crushing defeat on everyone else in her second game….)
Vicky started the game and immediately swamped the board with Heroic Amazons. Jon picked up the Dragon-Master Trolls, which quickly set up a defensive line of Troll’s Lairs in the South. Maynard’s opening selection was the Underground Humans, who swiftly became victims to Jon’s dragon in the south and Vicky’s Amazons elsewhere.
Both Jon and Vicky declined on the same turn, whilst Maynard decided to wait one turn longer. Vicky then brought in some Swamp Halflings, whilst Jon chose to pay a few coins to get the Spirit Orcs. This would allow him to keep his well dug-in Trolls in decline as well as the Orcs. The Orcs started to nibble away at the declined Amazons, as Vicky was racking in quite a few points from them. Maynard opted for the Seafaring Wizards as his next race, which predictably headed in a diagonal direction across the board to pick up the 3 sea areas. By this time, his Humans were about as scarce as a Wayne Rooney ‘A’ level, whilst Jon was starting to pick up quite a few points per turn. The marrieds (with a c-change from their normal policy) decided to team up to reverse this situation. Vicky brought on some Stout Skeletons to attack the Trolls in the south, but it was slow progress.
In the meantime, lured by the 4 coins sitting on them, picked up the Wealthy Dwarves, for an instant bonus of 11 coins. However, as usual, the dwarves then made little progress in battle. Maynard’s wizards had finally made it across the board, so his last throw of the dice was the Flying Tritons. These are actually a really good combination, allowing every conquest to require one less token. The only thing was, Vicky’s races seemed to be the ones enjoying most of the coastal life, so the pact made by the young lovers ended up lasting only about 10 minutes, before normal service was resumed and they were at each other’s throats again (metaphorically speaking of course…)
Thanks to her Stout ability (not an adjective usually associated with IBG’s very own strawberry-blonde…), Vicky was able to have a quick foray with some Diplomatic Ratmen before the scores were totalled up. To be fair, it wasn’t close, but I think that Maynard learned enough about the races to be much more competitive next time.
Jon 138; Vicky 105; Maynard 99

And due to the shameful behaviour of some of our IBG'ers, I feel it only right and proper to now reproduce 3 of the letters sent in to our local paper -

Dear Sirs,
I am absolutely horrified at the conversation I overheard at your ‘club’ last Wednesday evening. Three young hooligans were having an animated discussion and I was forced to endure such phrases as "I’m not going to marry you because I might need to divorce you later", "If you take any more drugs tonight you’ll lose all your money" and "I’m going to have a second child with Polly, right, then I’m going to dump her, have sex with one of my friends and finally get back together with Polly. Score!"
Most alarmingly was the delighted exclamation by one particular thug, apparently going by the name of Scott, "I’m hooked on drugs and now I’m going to become a drunk!" It didn’t appear to be the first time he had made such a statement. The other two ruffians even had to audacity to find this amusing and congratulated their cohort on making such an advantageous choice.
It is disgraceful that an innocent evening of heavy drinking should be spoiled by such immoral loutish behaviour, people like you should be kept upstairs where you belong.
 Yours disgustedly, Maj. T.P. Wühlmaus Würger (Mrs)

I would like to bring to your attention that in a recent game of Taj Mahal the game appeared to be played using incorrect rules. As the most prominent games blog in Isleworth I feel that this terrible deviation in standards is unacceptable. Please cancel my subscription immediately.
 Yours, etc, S. Thomason

To the "IBG'ers",
Small World? Funny Friends? Tsch, I shall not be joining your club until you start playing some real games.
 R. Knizia, Windsor

This behaviour is of course wholly unacceptable and I apologise unreservedly to the author(s) of these letters. Dan - I'm sorry.......

Funny Friends
In case anyone cares, the 2 games that caused such outrage ended something like:
Steph 5; Dan 4; Scott 4
Dan 5; Steph 3; Scott 2

For some reason tonight, everyone decided that an early night was in order, so the gaming finished before 'time' had been called. However, there was just time for Daniel to hand out some free hair-care products to everyone who was left. To Maynard (the least follically-challenged of the male IBG'ers) - some hair sculpting putty; to Jon some hair-wax; and to Gareth a tin of Brasso........

Next week we eagerly await the return of the Essen-crew, no doubt laden with lots of new gaming goodies. I can't wait........

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