Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The one where Jon left them for one night and they turned into a bunch of Trekkies.........

Players: James, Paul D, Philip, Maynard, Andy, Keith, Dan, John, Emma, Gareth, Scott, Vicky, Amanda, Shirief

Well, I was on holiday this week, basking on the beaches of Norfolk, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and the complete lack of mobile signal or broadband connection (just like the good ol' days....)

However, the rest of the faithful IBG'ers congregated for the usual Wednesday night session, and here are a collection of the reports of what went on (many thanks to James for collecting them)......

Memoir '44 (thanks James)
So Paul and me continued our aim to try out some 2 player games before anyone else arrived. Emma magnanimously allowed us to give this a whirl while she was munching her dinner so we quickly set up in expectation we’d take about 45 mins to get through the first scenario. I’ve played a couple of times before, but always Allies, so taking the Germans this time (it never feels right to be playing the Germans in a WW2 game, too many memories of school-ground games and a guarantee that you’re gonna end up losing) and letting Paul be the Allies I hoped it would even things up. The rules are pretty simple, especially as the game eases you into the complexity as you work through the various scenarios.
The early battles were over by the right-hand bridge, the Germans only have a small force to protect this so it’s an easy win for the Allies. Paul seemed to find this a tad harder than hoped and lost a battalion but still managed to wipe out both German defences and take the early lead. In the meantime I was taking potshots at his forces from the other side of the river and sandbag defences to try and whittle down a few troops. Nothing serious but it forced a few retreats from Paul’s beleaguered forces. Paul realised there was no gain in fighting on 2 fronts so pulled back a little from the main German defences while polishing off the remains on the RHS and then moved over for the final battle.
Things looked good for the Allies towards the end of the game with the Germans abandoning their sandbags and hiding in the trees. But then, a sudden desperate counterattack, and everything turned around. I had one chance, needing to take out 2 allies with 2 dice… otherwise Paul would win next turn… and… and… the gods smiled on the Nazis!
We both enjoyed this! Lots of tiny miniatures, lots of dice, lots of cards. It feels like the game was invented to allow non-war gamers a chance to play war games :) I have a feeling that we’ll try to get this out in future weeks when we’re both early to check out the further scenarios… but don’t expect us to be painting any figures just yet. That way madness lies......

Star Trek: Expeditions (thanks John for this one)
Three members of the IBG'ers temporarily joined the Federation on Wednesday night. Their mission was not exactly to go boldly but actually to go to Nibia. A planet that seemed to have got itself into a right mess. Captain James T Kirk (John), Mr Spock (Daniel) and Uhura (Emma) boarded the USS London Apprentice (The Enterprise was getting a refit) and blasted off for Nibia.
When they got there they found the situation was much worse than they had been led to believe. The Klingons had managed to get there first and were doing a good job trying to convince the government to join the Klingon Empire and they had almost decided to join. Of course that might mean nothing if the large rebel forces that were threatening to overthrow the government won the day. And if that was not bad enough, Mr Spock's initial scan of the planet revealed the ecosystem was on the verge of collapse. Our heroes obviously had a lot to do.
Kirk immediately took charge and tried with limited success to get some of the crew to join him on the planet. (Maybe they had seen to many episodes of the old TV show). As is typical with Kirk he beamed down to where the Alien Priestess was and managed to take her within seconds of landing. Then it was Mr Spock's turn and he shunned the scanners at his disposal (Did not use his ability to look at a location without going there all game) and decided to be in on the action here as he beamed down also.
Although Kirk and Spock both found some local trouble it was left to Uhuru to find the real trouble. After recruiting a member of the crew she beamed down and visited the Presidential Palace, to try some diplomacy. She did not have quite the right skills that were needed. So Kirk decided to head over to use his great diplomatic skills at the place (He also heard there were some hot Alien Senators there). After finding out just how alien, alien could be, he used his diplomatic skills to make the Nibian Government tell him about the overtures the Klingons had made. Trouble was not over but progress was being made.
As the missions progressed Mr Spock revealed himself to be more charismatic than had ever been thought before as more and more crew members flocked to him. Him and his team were soon able to avert a disaster at the Nibian Power Generator by installing some new dilithium crystals.
Now Uhuru really started to use her communication abilities making sure crewmen were reporting to the most suitable location. A Klingon bird of prey was in orbit around the planet. There had been a few minor skirmishes between it and the USS London Apprentice so Kirk himself beamed up and took charge of the counter attack. It was a long battle but he eventually (with a little help from Mr Spock) destroyed it. This allowed the London Apprentice to move into a better position to defend the planet (more points at the end.)
Meanwhile Mr Spock and Uhuru were busy down on the planet. While trying to find out what was the matter with Nibia's dilithium reserves Uhuru got caught up in some local trouble. Luckily Kirk was able to break off from his combat with the Klingons long enough to beam down and help her out. This allowed her to continue her investigation and discover that a rare type of decalithium was causing a degradation to the dilithium.
While that was going on Mr Spock was giving a presentation at the Nibian Senate of all the advantages of aligning with the Federation rather than the Klingons. He did such a good job that the Nibian government presented him with the Amulet of friendship.
So great progress was being made with the diplomatic side and the ecosystem rescue. However very little progress had been made with the rebels thoughand time was ticking. Then a government motorcade was ambushed by the rebels. There were many casualties and it took a long time for Starfleet medical to deal with the aftermath. Kirk thought, what a terrible time for Bones to go on vacation.
Mr Spock now seemed to move so fast that time almost seemed to stand still. (He played lots of extra action cards.) With his now huge crew following, he first went to the Temple of the Soul where he managed to uncover the secret of the ancient Nibain artifacts and was rewarded by the Nibian Government who signed the agreement of federation and awarded him the Soul's blessing. Not yet done, Mr Spock then raced over to the Dilithium Processing Centre and helped them upgrade it so they could sell the decalithium to the Federation and use the now purified dilithium to solve their own energy production problems.
Finally with time ticking away it down to Uhuru to deal with the rebels. Kirk assigned her the crew members most suited for the mission and even Mr Spock allowed a couple of his flock of followers to go with her. With great daring she led an attack that took out the Rebel headquarters, where she found details of the Klingons plans. Returning to Nibian Military Headquarters she worked with the Nibians to set a deadly trap for the Klingons.
That was all missions successfully accomplished with quite a few days to spare. For their efforts John, Daniel and Emma were awarded the Starfleet Silver Palm.
The game was played on the easy difficulty level and to be honest once you know how the game works, it's not a very hard challenge. I think next time it needs to be at least medium.
Kirk out.......

Thanks to Gareth for the next 3 reports...

Notre Dame
A game about juggling seven different areas within your region of Paris, trying to obtain the most victory points. The main mechanic of the game is a card draft every round proceeded with worker placement.
Vicky became overrun by rats in the second phase which depleted her points. Scott ran out of gold in the third phase restricting his options. Amanda went for early victory points but then had to quickly avert a rat invasion. Gareth amassed lots of gold to spend in Notre Dame and grabbed a narrow victory.
Gareth 61; Scott 57; Amanda 49; Vicky 35

Scott and Vicky went on too many disastrous hunts. Emma was too trusting but did get the +2 victory points for the most polar bears. Amanda and John had a lot of success and confusion reigned between Gareth and Dan and a lot of Fish! 
Emma 13; Amanda 11; John 10; Dan 7; Gareth 6; Scott 5; Vicky 4

The Resistance
10 players incl 4 spies.
James was picked up as a spy from the start by an action card he gave to Scott. First mission failed by Maynard. Gareth survived the first mission and was sent on the second along with Amanda two more fails for the spies. Gareth and James now ousted and John suspected of being a spy. Third mission successful, John continued to protest his innocence but this fell on deaf ears. Fourth mission included Maynard and the spies won.
Spies -  James, Gareth, Maynard and Amanda.
Resistance – Scott, Vicky, John, Paul, Emma and Philip.

Parade (thanks Maynard for this one)
This is an abstract game featuring six groups of coloured cards, each with numbers from 0-10. Initially each player has a hand of five cards, there is a parade of six cards dealt face up and the remaining cards form a draw pile. Each player takes it in turn to add a card to the far end of the parade, collect any eligible cards from the rest of the parade for scoring, and replenish their hand with a card from the draw pile. When the draw pile is emptied each player gets one more go, they discard two of the cards in their hand and use the other two for scoring, and then final scoring takes place.
Determining which cards you pick up works like this. Firstly, look at the number on your card, and count back from the old end of the parade that number of cards. Then pick up any cards that remain that are the same colour, or have a value of less or equal to your card.
For example, here’s a sample parade:
Draw pile : Blue 7 : Blue 4 : Green 6 : Red 2 : Green 5 : Purple 2 : Purple 5 : Red 10 : Blue 6
If we add a Green 4 to the end of this pile, we count back four cards from the end (to the Purple 2) and the remaining cards are unprotected. We then pick up any cards that are the same colour (Green 5 and Green 6) and the same or lower value (Red 2 and Blue 4).
To get the score, check if you have the largest collection of a particular colour(s). If so, turn those cards face down. Then add the numbers on each card remaining, and add 1 for every face down card. The winner is the person with the lowest score.
This game was initially dominated by rule and scoring confusion, but things were cleared up and we got going. After a few initial quick rounds frowns started to emerge as the choices started to become “least-worst” rather than actually good. Some analysis and card-counting was required, and Maynard quickly lost track of any sort of strategy. He ended up picking up plenty of white and yellow cards but was gazumped by other players also collecting yellows. Emma was doing well at avoiding picking up too many high-value cards, and Philip had a monopoly on blue cards.
The game ended with Emma coming a creditable second, Philip third and Maynard a distant fourth, in a state of despair giving up counting his cards. John explained that there was a reasonable element of strategy as he tends to win about half of his games, even if that strategy was yet to be figured out by the some players!
John 13; Emma 16; Philip 20; Maynard - lots... 

Le Havre (thanks to Keith for this session report)
As I'm sure everyone is aware Le Havre is variation on the worker placement theme. This week's hard working dockers (yes, it's a fictional setting) were placed by Andy, Keith and Shirief.
This time work shy dockers were particularly slow to construct any buildings because Andy monopolised the wood and Keith took all the clay. Eventually Shirief's fine and efficient dockers managed to source the relevant raw materials and developments started to spring up along his side of the harbour including a Joinery and a Hardware Store.
Andy raced to catch up, with his dockers building a Smokery, a Marketplace and a Charcoal Kiln while Keith hoarded his resources, only building a Bakery. So by half way through the game it looked like the results would be Shirief ahead of Andy with Keith dragging up the rear atop his massive bread mountain.
The second half of the game was something of a reversal with Keith's bread mountain keeping his workers fed while the dockers on Shirief's building sites refused to work without pay, forcing him to take loans to stay in business. With their basic needs met Keith's workers rallied, building the Wharf, and turning out the first wooden ship, then a Grocery Market and the Shipping Line in short order.
Meanwhile, Andy's workers had moved into heavy industry with the Cokery and Steelworks towering over his mostly unused Marketplace. Keith was stymied by a shortage of cash, so Andy was able to get the first steel ship while Keith shipped some some hides. Keith then built his first steel ship while Andy built the first luxury liner.
As the game drew to a close Shirief finally managed to bake a massive consignment of bread, get his striking dockers back to work, and build a couple more buildings. But Keith and Andy had leapfrogged him and spent the last few turns milking points from the Shipping Line.
Andy 165; Shirief 125; Keith 180

The only other game played tonight was Egizia, and James may or may not reveal what happened in the fullness of time....

That was it - more of the same next week!

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