Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The night that Scott lost his Mojo.........

Players: Scott, Amanda, Philip, Barry, Noel, Gareth, Paul, Jon, Jim, Woody, Barrie, Tonio, Scott II, Wii

Tonight saw 14 IBG’ers congregate at the London Apprentice, for more fun and gaming adventures. It was a warm welcome to 2 of Barry’s friends – Wii and Scott (obviously now called Scott II….) who joined us for the first time. It was also nice to see Jim again after a long absence, although he seemed to have turned up purely to try a subversive recruitment campaign for the Epsom Games Group. Good try Daddy-O, but the IBG’ers know when they’re onto a good thing…..

A funny mix of games tonight – a couple of Euro’s, a couple of card games, the odd abstract game and a (sort of) train game. There was even the opportunity for Gareth to attempt the miraculous task of reading the rules to a new 90-minute game, teach it to 2 others and get it played – all in 30 minutes. Yeah – good luck with that one….. You'd better pour yourself a stiff drink and sit down before reading on though - get ready for a shocking result.....

First up was a quick game of -

Perudo (thanks Noel)
This was familiar to everyone except Scott II. Outrageous overestimation and confidence led primarily by Gareth was usually followed by the losing of dice and Barry & Gareth were first to be eliminated. Amanda and Scott traded dice on a number of occasions before both were elimated leaving Noel and Scott II to duke it out for the win.
Noel had all 5 dice remaining to Scott II's 1 but he soon started bleeding dice. It came down to 1 die each, Scott guessed 2 2's. Noel didn't have a 2, duly called him on it and hung on for the win.
Noel - won; everyone else - lost

There were two very quick takers for Jim’s offer of a run-out for -

Egizia (thanks Woody)
Paul and Woody sat down pretty much ready to take a pasting! Early rounds saw Jim grabbing all the bricks and Woody nearly falling over himself to get to the ‘+2 Sphinx’ card. Whilst Woody started to pull away, it was clear that Jim had a plan and having grabbed the ‘Up river’, ‘end of round additional card’ and ‘place two ships at once’ it looked like he would storm through.
Paul suddenly built in all three areas in round 3 and was closing in on the lead. In the end, 4 scoring sphinx cards for Woody and the sale of a large volume of brick at Round 5 saw an unlikely win.
Woody 99; Jim 87; Paul 76

With Scott and Amanda taking a break from the fun to discuss gaming and scuba diving over dinner Wii joined us for a game of -

Pinguin Party (thanks again Noel)
The first round passed innocently enough with almost everyone getting all their cards played and wondering how they could change strategy to screw with others plans on the next 3 rounds. Everyone figured this out pretty quickly and plenty of shutting out opponents occurred in the next 3 rounds.
With 4 people this seemed to be a very interesting game with more layers that was first apparent and Noel managed to take the win from Gareth, Scott II and Wii. Who knows what the scores where though!
Noel left the table feeling pretty good about his (usually upside down) Pinguin stacking skills. His second game later in the night wasn't quite so hot but thankfully that was stopped before the end, so was officially a DNF in the record books.
Noel - won; everyone else - lost (again)

Barrie and Jon were standing around looking for a quick game to play and opted for –

Newcomer Wii wasn’t playing anything at this stage, but the attempts to recruit him were met with – “I don’t play train games”. However, after one round, Barry wandered up as he had been evicted from Perudo, and joined in too, so it turned into a 3-player game.
This was the new version of TransEuropa which has Vexation added as standard. (Why it’s called Vexation is beyond me, especially as it simply consists of 3 coloured sticks…..) Anyway, 6 rounds were played. The game is supposed to continue until someone reaches 12 points, but after 4 rounds, the scores were so low that it was decided to reduce the end-game threshold to 7.
After the fifth round the scores were still very tight, but in the 6th, Barry found himself a fair distance from Stockholm when the round ended, due to some strategically placed coloured track by Jon, which triggered the end of the game. Unfortunately for Jon, he was also a couple of tracks short of his goals, and so Barrie triumphantly took the victory, and was crowned the chief track-layer in all of Europe.
Barrie 4; Jon 7; Barry 10

On her second week at the club it was time for Amanda to play a real game; so Scott, Amanda and Tonio began to set-up - 

Power Grid (thanks Scott for this humble report)
We were quickly joined by Barrie’s new recruits Wii and Scott (not another one you may be thinking). Scott gave everyone the choice of which map and then just selected USA anyway for the ease of teaching Amanda and refreshing the rest of us. Just as we were about to begin, Barrie was looking lost, everyone else having forgotten he was here and so we extended our game to 6.
And we were off with most people cramming in to the cheap areas together. Scott started down in the South East and then was quickly surrounded by Amanda in the East and Wii to the South, Barrie went to the North East while Tonio and Scott2 were central (the west coast being particularly expensive to focus with early on.)
With 6 of us we only needed to reach 6 cities for step 2 and 14 for the end game but with the congested East coast there was little incentive for anyone to pull the trigger on step 2, and it would be too costly for most players to jump across.
The auction started off quite tame until Tonio and Amanda got in to a couple of bidding wars, her keeping an eye on whatever Tonio took his fancy too, the cheap wind farms were too alluring to the pair of them. The rest of us were happy to watch them bid ‘em up high, they were reminded eventually that losing an auction for one plant doesn’t lose you the game.
It may have been a good idea to get in early on power plants this game as a lot of the high capacity ones ended up coming out early, followed by a long dirge of useless ones which eventually a couple of people needed to buy to increase their production at all; so strangely, once someone had finally gotten to step 2, it followed that we didn’t get to step 3 very quickly either as no-one was interested in many power plants on offer and they were being discarded at a snail’s pace.
It was however looking good for a couple of players, primarily Barrie who had invested early in the big plants and now was reaping the rewards of being about to possibly win the game, just before step 3 hit, we had to mildly conspire against him to block as many of the build spots as possible so that he could not reach 14 and end the game while no-one else could power as many as him.
It was looking particularly bad for the bookies favourite Scott who had ended up in a poor position of 3-4-4 and at the front of the queue to buy new plants, nice ones not being available in step 3 until after he’d passed, stuck in a woeful position of last with nothing to be done about it now, his hopes of step 3 coming out a couple of rounds earlier did not come to fruition. Everyone else managed to get a little improvement on their position, unfortunately that also included Barrie with the capacity for 17 and most likely the funds to make the most of it. Everyone had a different capacity so it was just a matter of building enough cities which was easy enough. Especially for Scott who had been sitting on a huge pile of cash and just splurged at the end to get to 20 cities, despite it being worthless as he could power just a little over half of them, there will likely be several letters of complaint from his customers.
For a first game, despite some bidding wars with the trouble maker of the table Tonio (who seems to play Power Grid just to get in to bidding wars and see how much he can make other people pay), Amanda had got a sufficient capacity for an easy 2nd place. Wii had stumbled at the last hurdle having previously being a contender; he couldn’t get the right plant at the end either. Tonio had fought with Barrie for a large capacity plant but in the end settled for one that was smaller and not really sufficient since he needed capacity. Scott2 spent a lot of the game avoiding conflict, starting away from the others in the centre and not bidding plants up much, if at all, past their minimum bids and as such was left with what we didn’t want in an attempt to get some bargains, but this hadn’t quite worked as effectively. Not a good day of Power Grid for those named Scott.
Barrie 16; Amanda 15; Wii 14; Tonio 13; Scott II 12; Scott 11 (I know, I know, it won’t happen again)

Meanwhile, on the ‘table by the window’ –

San Marco (thanks once more, Noel)
After a really enjoyable game of San Marco last week, but perhaps with a feeling that it was a little too random based with 4, Noel, Gareth and Barrie brought it out again for a 3 player, apparently the game's sweet spot. It didn't disappoint and a close and fantastically interesting and decision filled game ensued.
Barrie held the lead (just) for most of the game with Noel and Gareth frequently changing position. We only got one rule wrong this week and we rectified that half way through so who knows we might even get it right all the way through soon after last weeks rules debacle (:-))
In the end in the last round Barrie went out first with lots of points cards and it came down to a difficult decision for Noel on how to divide the cards. After lots of thinking, his brain melted and he presented Gareth with an easy choice. Unsurprisingly Gareth chose wisely and in the final game count up Gareth just moved ahead to take the win.
Gareth 111; Barrie 107; Noel 101

Jon opted to avoid San Marco (after a bad experience playing it with Barrie and Gareth prior to the formation of IBG), and so instead joined Jim and his motley crew for a trip –

This was new to Woody and Jon, but being essentially an abstract, there were not a million rules. Jim started to explain the alternate scoring rules for the newest edition, even though we weren’t playing that one, probably in an attempt to confuse everyone else, but he was soon brought back on track.
The game ebbed and flowed, Jon was prevented from joining two groups together by at least 3 other players, and Paul quietly snuck in for a 2-group victory. Definitely a game that you need to play a second time, once you’ve learned what (not) to do…
Paul 2; Jim 3; Philip 3; Woody 4; Jon 4

The same group then looked for a quickie filler –

Felix the Cat in the Sack
Philip played an awesome bluffing strategy, of bidding high at the beginning of each round, which unfortunately often left him with nothing more than a bag full of angry cats.
As it turned out, Woody just pipped Jon to the victory, to slightly make up for their poor showing at Uptown. I make no bones about it – along with For Sale and High Society, this is one of the best filler card games out there. So there.
Woody 60; Jon 52; Jim 42; Paul 38; Philip 4

As Gareth had abandoned his fateful attempts to learn, teach and play Egizia in 30 minutes, Jon pulled out something a little more realistic –

Queen’s Ransom
This is a curious little card game, which has been played only once before at IBG. The idea is to try to discover who kidnapped the Queen, and at what location she is being held at. This is deduced by secretly looking at pairs of cards which have various numeric values, and whichever pair has the highest value will be the sought after suspect / location.
Gareth and Jon started off by looking at locations, whilst Noel interrogated the suspects. Unfortunately for Noel, Gareth then played a card which mixed up the cards that Noel had already examined, essentially sending him back to square one. Gareth had discovered the location, and was 50/50 on the suspect so he decided to gamble on getting it right. Fate shone on him on this occasion, as he chose correctly. What we learned? In this game, don’t do the opposite of what everyone else is doing….
Gareth - won; Noel & Jon – didn’t

Working our way through Jim’s bag of fun, there was just time for one more quick game –

Coloretto (thanks again Woody)
Different coloured cards, bonus cards and multi colour cards. One column of cards per player with max of three cards in it. Either lay a card from the draw pile of take a column that you want. Idea being to create three large groups of one colour each, bonus cards and as few of any other colour as possible. It was clear that Jim was the experienced player here ... Woody as usual was a little slow on the uptake .. probably more pondering than was really necessary!
Jim 37; Philip 26; Paul 23; Woody 21

There was then an abandoned game of Pinguin Party (3 rounds in when Jon was winning, of course…)

Anyway – that was that. The IBG’ers will meet up again on Saturday for the 2011 Summer BBQ – if the rain holds off……….

1 comment:

  1. As always, had a great time playing games with you at IBG.

    Sorry - there was not meant to be anything subversive about Epsom Games Club (Thursdays from 19:00) and especially the Games Days (next one 30th of July from 10:30).

    Simply trying to share the joy of a good venue, great company and cheap drinks.