Wednesday, 13 April 2011

"Vengeance is Mine" - saith James.........

Players: James, Scott, Dan, Jon, Keith, Philip, Gareth, Andy, Rob

Easter is nearly upon us, resulting in a seasonal dip in attendance at IBG. However it was great to have ‘smiley’ Rob back with us after a long absence, and his reward for returning was that we got to play 2 of his games. There had also been a bit of tarting up done in the Riverview Room, as all the tables had received rather a nice varnish. Lovely.

Tonight was the opportunity for some dastardly deeds of revenge to surface. James was not happy when Jon attached a rather large magnet to his butt, so in return he whooped Jon’s Trolls with his Amazons. Confused? Read on….

First up -

Haggis (thanks Scott)
With Scott and James the early arrivals again, James picked Haggis out Scott’s small collection of card games to save him having to read the rulebook for his own copy. A trick taking game that is designed for 2 or 3 players, each player has the same three wild/power cards and the rest is made up of basically a standard deck of playing cards numbered 2 to 10 (there’s five suits for 3 player games - thanks Gareth for your observations of it “just being cards”).
James played a cautious first game and Scott only won by a few points. The second game was even better for Scott as he came close to emptying his hand and James thought through the possibilities in how to minimise his losses; by avoiding one pitfall, he jumped straight in to another without realising it:
Scott 60; James 22

You are supposed to play until around 250 (James wanted to play until he won at least one hand which could have gone on all night....) but Gareth had arrived with his card game which was better than this deck of cards apparently so we switched to something else.

Parade (thanks again Scott)
Still one of Scott’s games that Gareth requested as he was keen to try it, we also managed to grab all of the stragglers walking in so were also joined by Jon and Keith.
The theme is a typical Knizia (non-existent), but the cards all depict Alice in Wonderland characters and there are six suits (colours) and range from 0 to 10. Funnily enough there is a line of cards in the middle of the table to start the game which is the ‘parade’, and on a players turn they will add a card to the end of the parade. The number on the card indicates how many protected cards it gives you. Past this protected number, if the number on the played card is the same or higher (or the same colour) than any non-protected cards then you add them to your score pile.
Every card you collect counts negative against you (or the lowest score is best) based on its face value, except where you have the most cards of a colour and then you only lose one point per card instead. So generally players seek to focus in a colour if they have to collect them and ideally want to avoid getting them at all.
Gareth started off as he meant to go on by trying to take back a move he did 5 minutes ago, the table protested and he wasn’t allowed, in revenge Gareth vowed that no-one could now take their turn back which hurt Scott, who despite playing his cards immediately on his turn (unlike Jon who, you know, needs a little time to get the gears in motion at the start of a Wednesday evening...) couldn’t replace the card he played 1 second ago. It wouldn’t matter though as he only picked up two cards while Jon possibly misunderstood the rules and was collecting them in vast quantities. Gareth and Keith were soon following his example. James played a cagey game and may have won if Gareth could have enacted any more penalties towards Scott direction.
Scott 10; James 12; Keith 21; Gareth 21; Jon 31

Frank’s Zoo (and again...)
Gareth brought back this blast from the past which if people recall we played every week for a while simply to get the rules understood. We played a quick hand of it to refresh our memories but it didn’t survive much past the learning hand, which if you are interested was:
Philip – out first; Scott – second; Keith – third; Gareth – stuck with cards still in his hand (he obviously remembered being better at it)

Agricola (thanks Scott for this report)
With some quick talking from Philip he managed to convince Gareth that he didn’t want to play Agricola, I seem to recall it involving a waving of his hand and Gareth reiterating “I do not want to play Agricola”. Andy was quick to jump in to the Hotseat for a game of something that he’d played before, as luck would have it, we wouldn’t be changing too many of the rules by playing the expansion as we were trialling the Gamer’s deck instead. This is a deck that was designed and play-tested by the Agricola online community to add a better balance and interest to the cards, and from the looks of it they have made a pretty good job of it.
So playing we had Scott and Philip, both eager to play again to be crowned Agricola champion or just to be feared when Agricola is mentioned, plus Keith and Andy who were both fairly new to it.
Scott was first out of the gate and played himself the occupation of Family Counsellor who grants a bonus food/grain/vegetable if you manage to keep all of your workers on the same piece of cardboard during a round, the more people you have the better the reward and Scott would make use of this almost every round of the game, easing his food requirements massively.
Philip seemed to play an endless stream of occupations and minor improvements and by the end of the game had a bonus for doing almost everything but had maybe spent too much time building bonus and less time utilizing them.
Keith went with an early grain engine and an oven to feed himself, everyone else however priotised building some extra rooms and managed to force Keith to be last to grow his family.
Andy got himself an early run in to vegetables and by the end of the game was using them extensively for food but seemed to be wary of growing his family for worrying about the mouths to feed and had an abundance of food at the end that could have been used earlier.
Scott ended with a little bit of everything, aside from an animal or two and had gotten the most points from his improvements and bonuses which other players occupations had provided (most grain/fields), although Keith and Philip had got in on the bonuses as well.
Philip had fallen short somewhere along the way as he managed to end the game with no fences, partly because Scott was cruel and blocked him from building any on the last turn. We assumed Philip had just spent too much time playing cards than using them as it seemed he had a lot of good effects.
Andy had a lovely looking farm, surplus food but had not gained quite as many points from cards/bonuses as everyone else.
Keith had been hampered by a lack of family members early on with a very constrained family growth action space for most of the game; it coming out late in round 7 was not particularly helpful either.
Scott was quite happily far and away the leader this week:
Scott 46; Philip 32; Adam 30; Keith 20

With the retun of Rob and the presence of Dan, it was a dead-cert that we were going to try out -

Junkyard Races
Rob decribed this as "Mario Kart the Board Game" and he wasn't far wrong. He took about 20 mins to 'remind himself of the rules' and then about 3 mins to explain them. This is basically Formula De but with oil slicks, bombs, rockets and jet fuel thrown in for good measure.
Gareth did his usual trick of moaning about the starting set-up on his Kart, until he was reminded that Jon had actually passed all 5 Karts to him and told him to take a free pick. Some people......
Jon, Gareth and Dan all had jet engines attached to their Karts, but unfortunately these required jet fuel to function, which was hidden under tokens that appeared at various points on the track during the race. James had a formidable arsenal of weapons on his Kart, but never really got in a position to make effective use of them.
After 1/2 lap (we were playing a 2-lap race) Dan managed to pick up 2 cans of the elusive jet-fuel, which gave him the opportunity to roll a bucketful of dice. Not only did this shoot him into the lead, it was also enough to enable him to jump across the stream, cutting off most of the second lap. As he was more concerned with having fun than winning the race, he then sat in one spot and fired off weapons at anyone in the general vicinity (namely James). James then retaliated by dropping a spring and a time bomb, but as he was caught in a cul-de-sac at the time, he only succeeded in bouncing himself back onto his own bomb and blowing half his Kart to pieces. Nice.
In all the confusion, Jon had also picked up some fuel, and raced past Dan to pip him at the post. Prior to this, James had just crawled over the finish line, and was very proud to announce that he had at least completed one lap and had therefore not been lapped. Unfortunately, Jon's last act prior to crossing the finish line was to attach a large magnet to his Kart, pulling James back across the finish line, and then roared past him to finish the race and lap him in the process.
The laughter was long and loud, but the look in James' eye fortold that this would not be the end of the matter.....
Jon - 1st; James - last; Dan, Rob, Gareth - somewhere in the middle

Both tables had finished at the same time, so Jon suggested to Andy that he should try another 'classic'. Suspiciously, James was very quick to also stake a claim at the table to play -

Small World
(Awaiting the report that details how James spent the whole game attacking Jon's poor defenceless races without mercy...)

Race for the Galaxy
With Jon suggesting such horrendous games like Small World, Philip and Scott decided to start up some Race for the Galaxy with Keith also eager to jump in on the fun (and it is fun despite what you may hear from Jon). We’re slowly converting one player at a time to get up to speed with RFTG and all its expansions.

Game 1
Scott kept to the name sake and sped through the game as quickly as possible, Keith and Philip seemed to be setting themselves up for some bigger payouts later in the game but in the absence of finding much of value Scott just played cards as quickly as possible and took as many goals along on the way for a quick win.
Scott 26; Philip 21; Keith 14

Game 2
Philip went for a bundle of prestige this game while Scott focussed on his military might and conquered all he could see. Keith got a little left behind in the dust this game, I wouldn’t recommend competing with people who know the game at the best of times but he did well to keep up and had a nice produce consume engine by the end but the 6 cost developments and goals are really crucial as well for all the added bonuses. Scott’s military/production combo won over Philips prestigious tableau.
Scott 70; Philip 62; Keith 34

Game 3
Keith had had enough punishment by this point in the night and left Scott and Philip to have one last battle, although Scott was less keen, seeing his impending doom from having won so many games so far, surely it couldn’t continue. You’ll be pleased to know it didn’t - Philip made good use of cards to grab plenty of goals and win out over Scott’s slightly less impressive performance.
Philip 60; Scott 56

Also played tonight was a rather bizarre 1984 Milton Bradley game - Thunder Road. All I know was that it played pretty quickly and is (according to Rob) a 'classic'. Ask Gareth if you want the real story....

And that's it for another week. I'm on holiday next week, but will be leaving the reporting duties in the capable hands of the remaining IBG'ers, so there will still be a seesion report to look forward to.

Happy Easter everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment