Players: Paul, John, Johan, Gareth, Tonio, Scott, Philip, Steph, Daniel, Barrie, Jon, Andy
A round dozen gathered at the London Apprentice tonight, including an immediate return by Andy, who has confessed that he has spent some of his Christmas money to purchase his first board-game (Ticket to Ride: Europe). Two phrases spring to mind: “Slippery Slope…” and “Christmas money in March…?”
Anyhow, for 2 tables this evening there was definitely an air of ‘quality over quantity’, whereas our third table characterised itself with yet more hidden-identity games interspersed with the occasional interlude for some rather obscene and wholly unlady-like language. You have been warned….
First up for the (not so) early arrivees -
Ticket to Ride: The Card Game (thanks Scott for this report)
Tonio taught the game to Barrie and Paul with Scott joining in just before the start. Tonio was feeling a bit flustered at the start of the evening and joke requests for Scott to finish teaching the game instead did not go down well, neither did mentions of his up and coming holidays. Tonio regained his normal calm fairly quickly and we were off to collect train cards to complete tickets.
Paul and Tonio kept all 6 of their tickets from the initial draw and managed to complete four of them each, while Scott and Barrie only kept 5 and had completed just three of them in the mid-game scoring. Barrie then got himself confused and firmly believed he hadn’t discarded any tickets at the start of the game despite everyone else confirming that he did, he drew a replacement ticket anyway, there’s just no telling Barrie.
The second half looked good for Tonio and Barrie, successfully collecting lots of train cards by regularly playing three different colours down and rarely having them rusted by another player playing more of that colour down. Scott and Paul focussed their efforts on single colours more and collected a few extra wild cards as a result. If anyone had any cards rusted it would be met with a polite “Well, I didn’t need any more anyway”, well that was convenient.
Everyone drew extra tickets before the end as well as making use of the last turn to draw tickets again and try and find something that might work.
We quickly tallied up and assigned the bonus destination cards (poor Barrie had missed out on most of them), with the following scores:
Scott 119; Paul 113; Tonio 104; Barrie 84
Even Scott was quite surprised he’d come back to win it, assuming he was far behind Paul and Tonio who were a completed card up after the first half and Scott had wasted cards in the final round too, having more left over than he needed.
With more attendees wandering in, a filler was in order –
Piece o’ Cake
This was new to John, so after a quick rules run-through we were off. Philip’s advice – “Don’t eat every slice as I came last trying that strategy…” Steph’s gloating comment – “I won this last time…..” Such is the wisdom and humility of our IBG sages.
Philip made his intentions clear from the off, snaffling the chocolate, whilst John took a healthy interest in kiwis, gooseberries and strawberries. Gareth made sure that he was scoffing a fair number of slices as he went along (which considering that he was also eating his dinner at the time, was a sure-fire recipe for some serious indigestion…) and Jon had a select band of blackberries and apricots.
Steph collected a smorgasbord of different flavours, and there was the usual discussion about the fact that the plums looked more like pecans, and the apricots more like tomatoes.
Anyway, when the last slice had been taken, it turned out that Philip had heeded his own advice and had tied for first place with Gareth. John and Jon had also tied for 3rd, whilst Steph’s gloating came back to bite her on the derriere (and proved to be not the only inappropriate utterance that she made tonight...)
Philip 29 (21 slices + 8 eaten); Gareth 29 (16+13); John 25 (17+8); Jon 25 (11+14); Steph 21 (12+9)
Predictably, with a few minutes to kill while we waited for Andy’s arrival, the shout came out from Steph for –
Remarkably, this turned out to be the only game of The Resistance tonight, but being early in the evening it enabled minds to be a little fresher than usual. Johan started the ball rolling by not choosing himself to go on the first mission, instead sending Gareth and John. The mission passed but Johan was immediately under suspicion. Dan then did choose himself along with the successful candidates from the first mission, which then predictably failed.
Jon was next up. Gareth took this opportunity to look at Jon’s character card and declared him to be good, and then suggested that Jon took Gareth and John on the next mission, as he had the ability to look at John’s mission card. Against all Jon’s better judgement, he trusted Gareth, but the mission did indeed succeed.
With the spies needing 2 fails on the next mission, Steph selected the previous 3 adventurers and herself, but lo and behold, 2 fail cards appeared. This pretty much nailed down the culprits, and after a little bit of to-ing and fro-ing, Philip finally chose the participants for the final mission – himself, Jon, Gareth and Daniel. Cards were turned over, and to the amazement of everyone, there was a single solitary fail card played. All the members of the final mission had indeed been good guys, but Daniel had decided to counter his increasing boredom by inflicting a little bit of chaos into the game and voting against anyway. Once a Cylon, always a Cylon…..
Gareth, Jon, Philip, Dan (sort of) – Resistance won; Steph, Johan, John – spies lost
Back on table 1, they had gone for a quickie card game -
Grab! (thanks again Scott)
Barrie had been told to play something else (he may have decided he’d had enough of us actually) while Steph and Dan meandered over during the game of Ticket to Ride. No one could quite agree on the next game and so Dan wisely suggested we play a filler game while we decide and so Grab it was.
Tonio refreshed everyone with the rules and with 5 players you have to be keen to get some cards as the deck isn’t really big enough, Scott sat patiently and nearing the end of the first round realised that getting no cards was not really going to put him in a winning position and still no good sets of cards took his fancy. 0 cards taken for Scott but it was easy to count up.
Tonio won the possible ‘practice round’ and first to three wins may make this quite a long game so we decided to lower it to just two (except for Tonio who needed three still if he wanted to count the practice).
Scott came back in the next one to win a round, Steph then showed us why you hit the table instead of the grab card in the middle; because trying to fight amongst three others doing the same thing will result in injury as one attempt at hitting the card proved, when Dan, Tonio and Steph wanted the set at the same time.
Steph must have wanted to play something else, ensuring she won the next two games, leaving Dan “yep, those couple of cards will do for me” and Paul “oh I’m out already” with no wins to their name.
And table 3 was the venue for this week's Game of the Month -
Genoa (thanks Gareth)
Genoa (not to be confused with Traders of Genoa) finally made it to the table as game of the month. John had played a couple of times so was elected rules explainer. Basically the board is split into a number of locations that can be visited by the lead player and the other players can perform actions for a price. Where they go is influenced by the other players by offering money or goods. Money is generated by completing orders or visiting specific places. The game runs fairly quickly with lots of interaction between the players. No victory points are awarded. The winner is the player with the most money.
No real strategies were played out as it was the first time playing it for Barrie and Gareth, but John with a little experience did start collecting cards which gave him a healthy bonus at the end. The final scores were close with Gareth just beating John by 10 Ducats.
This is an interesting game of pure negotiation. Barrie compared it to a number of other games including Monopoly, Settlers, Torres and just about any other game that came to mind...
Gareth 800 ducats; John 790; Barrie 690
By now, Andy had arrived, and had already requested that he be introduced to some ‘classics’, including –
Philip and Johan needed no second invitations to join in, and helped set up the board whilst Jon explained the rules to Andy. This is actually quite a nice game to explain, as you can go round the board and explain each worker placement opportunity, and that’s about it!
Andy was advised that it was a good idea to take either tools, food or ‘love shack’ for the first few turns of the game if they were available, and he obediently took this advice. Johan set his stall out early on, and started building down a stack of huts. Philip had picked up some Shamen multipliers, so was obviously keen to expand his tribe as much as possible. This he did, up to the maximum 10, but it did require an awful lot of food each turn!
Jon decided to go for the green culture cards, and without much competition managed to get a complete set of 8 by the end of the game. This occasionally required spending 3 or 4 resources to guarantee getting the right cards, so his building options were consequently limited. Andy had taken over Gareth’s mantle and was going all out for tools, and he ended with 11 of them and all 8 multipliers. He also collected a shed-load of gold and stone, but left it a little late to buy many huts with them.
Johan had shot ahead on the VP track, and a short game was benefitting him, so Philip took one for the team and blocked the smallest hut stack for 2 turns running, lengthening the game by a couple of rounds. Jon used this delay to good effect, picking up some valuable huts from the other stacks, whilst Andy continued to fill his tool-box.
Finally though, Johan was able to put a worker on the last hut, and although he had neither the requisite stone or gold required to purchase it, he placed enough workers in the relevant locations to do the job – or so he thought…. His quarrymen did their job and collected the required stone, but then it came to panning for gold. Johan sent 3 workers in, and had a single tool to add to their total. Therefore he required a total of only 5 or more from 3 dice. And what did he roll? 2-1-1! A loud shout went up from around the table at this unlikeliest of rolls and Johan was forced to end his turn gold-less and hut-less.
However, as it turned out, the Civilisation cards had run out at exactly the same time, so the game ended anyway. Although Johan had the most buildings, he had just failed to pick upenough multipliers to catch Jon, whose combination of cultures and buildings had won the game for him. Andy had made a very good fist of his first game, and had he converted his remaining gold and stone into huts, he would have pushed Jon close. Philip had done a good job with his large tribe, and another hut or 2 would have possibly won it for him. All in all, a very fun game – I’d forgotten how much I enjoy this one!
Jon 199; Johan 155; Andy 148; Philip 140
And back on the first table -
Shadow Hunters (thanks to Scott for these write-ups)
Going back to the IBG roots established.....a few weeks ago, the hidden identity games were in full force. Despite it possibly playing better with more, we went for a few games of Shadow Hunters, giving us two hunters, two shadows and just one neutral.
Game 1 – or the game where everyone wanted Steph dead
Early on Dan and Steph got in to a little scuffle and were soon attacking each other, Scott played a card to help determine who Dan was and decided to attack Steph as well. This would pretty much be the story for everyone and eventually Steph snapped and accused Tonio or Paul of making a mistake attacking her as we couldn’t all be against her. It would later be revealed when Steph was in full battle swing at Scott’s head that Scott revealed himself as the unknown, who had been working undercover trying to get the Hunters attacking each other. It didn’t quite work out that way and Steph was soon dead, with Scott not far behind, leaving Paul and Tonio the winning Hunters. In fairness to Scott, he never actually did any damage to Steph or anyone for that matter with his neutral die rolling on almost every hit.
Hunters won (Paul & Tonio); Shadows and Neutrals Lost (Scott, Steph & Dan)
Game 2 – or the game where everyone wanted Steph dead (for a laugh)
Poor Steph had set a precedent in the first game and Dan thought it would be funny to continue it by launching an early attack on Steph that was quickly replicated by everyone along with the lines “Sorry, let’s just hope you don’t turn out to be on my team” - Paul feeling the most guilty after doing the most damage.
It turns out that Dan was foolhardy in his attempt to kill Steph as she was his partner in crime as the Shadows. Despite almost avenging her death, Tonio and Scott as the Hunters managed to heal themselves just before dying to make sure Dan could be sent back to the depths of hell.
Hunters won (Scott & Tonio); Shadows and Neutrals Lost (Paul, Steph & Dan)
Game 3 – or the game where Steph didn’t feel quite so victimised.
For a clean sweep for the Hunters, they successfully stopped the Shadows yet again, they had gotten complacent by this time in the night and didn’t even bother remembering how they fought off the evil hoards, but it would be remembered that Dan died heroically trying to save...well, himself and that Paul survived long enough to kill Steph and Scott (who still hadn’t got much better at rolling the dice)
Hunters won (Paul & Dan (from beyond the grave)); Shadows and Neutrals Lost (Scott, Steph & Tonio)
It was during the game of Stone Age that some rather choice Anglo-Saxon language was heard from the Shadow Hunters table, and shockingly, it was eminating from the vocal chords of our resident Kiwi female, Stephanie. She was suitably chastised and yellow-carded - a repeat offence will see her consigned to an enforced stint at the Heavy-Eurogame table for a month.....
So, in the words of Bugs Bunny - "That's all folks..." Don't forget to put your clocks forward on Sunday (except that by the time you read this, Sunday will have passed and you'll have already forgotten.....)