Tuesday, 1 November 2011

"Maturing his Felonious Little Plan"

I arrived rather later than usual and was immediately asked to explain and play…

King of Tokyo

There were already 4 players, but fortunately Cyber Bunny was untaken. Little explanation was needed and soon Andy and James were in Tokyo and Tokyo Bay respectively. My first turn did 4 damage but neither player left Tokyo. A few turns later both were dead and Alex was striding towards victory. Between me and Emma we managed to kill him off, but he had earlier invested in “It Has a Child!” so reappeared with 0 Vps. Somehow he then proceeded to get to a winning position all over again, and we couldn’t stop him from eating a final skyscraper to win the game.

We then moved on to another highly-themed game…

Betrayal at House on the Hill

James explained this haunted house game- it has two parts. In the first the players explore the house together, drawing tiles from a pile of possible rooms and causing events to happen, items to be picked up, and omens to be discovered. When enough omens have been found the second part of the game triggers- one player betrays the rest and a specific scenario (depending on which omen triggered the ‘haunt’ in which room) is enacted. A variety of ages and genders are represented by the available characters. I took an old man (Father Reinhard), Alex a young man (Ox) and James a small boy (Peter Akimoto). Emma took a young woman (I’ve forgotten her name, call her Emma). Father Reinhard went first, finding a chapel with a safe in it, and promptly damaged his already frail physical health trying to open it. Ox then discovered the Coal Chute, sliding down into the basement where he spent the next several turns until the haunt started: Alex had played before and knew basement rooms were more likely to be Omens. Emma and Peter and Father Reinhard explored the ground floor- no one bothering to go upstairs. This isn’t your typical semi-detached: there are rooms reaching round and back on the entrance, one of them is a graveyard, and horrible things keep happening. Emma discovered a Mystic Elevator, which landed her in the basement, just moments before I arrived in the basement via a collapsing floor (which did further damage to my frail physical health). My arrival in fact triggered the haunt…

This scenario (A Little Night Murder), starred me as the traitor, who having murdered the house owner now needed to murder the other players before dawn to claim the inheritance. I had three servants to assist me- but I was going to poison them afterwards, mwa-ha-ha!

Unfortunately my felonious little plan was cut short by Ox wielding a spear, which killed Father Reinhard on the very first turn of the haunt. Perhaps the game should have ended there, but relying on the literal wording of the rulebook, I declared that I could still win, even though dead, if I managed to kill the others.

At this point the peculiar topography of the house came into play. With only half the rooms explored, there was no way out of the basement except via the unreliable mystic elevator. On the other hand Peter Akimoto on the ground floor had discovered a secret door the servants couldn’t operate…

The surviving players decided to trap the servants in the basement. Unfortunately (for them) they succeeded only in trapping themselves in the basement with the servants. So they set about exploring, looking for the basement stairs. Peter Akimoto was ambushed by the servants in a smoke-filled room and battered to death, but the servants proved unable to defeat Ox, who repeatedly stunned them (servants can’t be killed, apparently) while Emma finally found the basement stairs (across a chasm??). The game actually ended a turn early since Ox had stunned all three servants and they would take a turn to recover. Interesting game, I’d prefer a scenario with less emphasis on brute strength…
Alex- Alive and Won, Emma-Alive and Won, James II, Dead but Won.Philip-Dead and Lost

My choices out of game now proved little better than my choices in game…


With 90 minutes left I reckoned there was plenty of time to play a 60 minute game which no one knew the rules for. I obtained the owner (James I)’s permission to borrow Tournai and set about explaining the rules after a brief skim through. Emma was pretty suspicious of the game anyway, since there seemed to be “maths” involved, and she was relieved when I had to halt halfway through the rules explanation because I had no idea how Characters worked- so we gave up on this one. Maybe another day…


(Sorry, no picture!) Instead we went for this coloured shells game. Simple to play- each player has a secret colour of a possible 6 colours, place shells on top of each other to change the colour of a pile, two shells of the same colour on a pile disappear into the ether…

Didn’t go quite smoothly though- firstly James guessed Alex’s colour before the game started, so Alex drew a new colour, but then he couldn’t work out what colour it was- it was clearly Purple when others looked at it- finally Alex settled on a third colour and the game began with random drawing of shells. Shells were being piled up and disappearing with abandon and the eventual winner was James on the tie-breaker (highest pile in his colour). I was somewhat handicapped by having no shells in my colour, but that’s the way the cookie (seashell?) crumbles.
James 6 shells (pile of height 3) Alex 6 shells (pile of height 2), Emma 5 shells, Me 4 shells.

On another table several hours earlier the mysterious east was in play…

China (Thanks Scott)
With loads of new games sitting around but no-one who knew any of the rules we opted for whatever we could find that someone would teach. This turned out to be China which neither Woody or Johan had played before, Scott allegedly had played before but wasn’t very hot on the rules and we stumbled through the first couple of actions and skimming of the rules before it all came flooding back.

The house scoring was the easiest for Johan and Woody to grasp and they set about populating the whole of China in a continuous loop for more points while Scott placed his emissaries focused I none corner while Woody and Johan played the odd one or two but not getting many majorities.

The game was over pretty quickly and was all fairly even going in to the scoring but Scott ran away with the emissary scoring while Johan made slightly more on the houses to grab second place.

Scott – 57 Johan – 45 Woody – 42

A third table decided to go with the ever-popular cathedral building in medieval Europe theme…

Notre Dame (Thanks Noel)
After much group dithering Noel and Andy convinced Maynard to join them for 3 player Notre Dame. The first round cards showed up 5 rats which had everyone struggling from the start to keep their rats under control. As such it was difficult to build early coin or cube momentum and everyone had a fairly balanced start. Andy and Noel shared notre dame in the first round and Maynard made sure he was involved in rounds 2 and 3. Andy and Maynard had fairly steady points gathering from the start through use of the carriages and the Park. It was only when noel switched his completed cube collectors into the hospital and quickly built up the points scoring sector, in which he had 6 cubes by the end that he began to catch up. A final full donation to notre dame by Noel gave him just enough VPs to pull level to Maynard and take the game on the tiebreak (number of cubes and coins in personal supply), which had been checked up just minutes before. Thankfully no shared victories here, and, note to Jon, no shared 'moral/imaginary' victories either.
Noel 56(plus 2), Maynard 56(plus 0), Andy 54x

Meanwhile, others had turned to dexterity…

Turmbauer (Thanks James)

Or Cornerstone Essential for those not speaking German. I‘ve been after this game for 18 months and was very happy to finally see a copy available at Essen this year. Basically a cross between 3D Tetris, Jenga and the Climbers. Players roll a dice which indicates what blocks they can use. Blocks are placed to grown the tower and your meeple can then climb up with the restriction they can only use their own or neutral colours. Jon, Scott, Maynard and myself were all intrigued to see how the game played (Scott, despite a roll of the eyes once dice were mentioned!). SO early on rules were a struggle as there is no official English translation yet so I’d only managed to work out how to play from a Google translate of the German rules added to some reviews of the original Cornerstone. As a result you can be sure we got some parts wrong, but it all seemed to fit together during the session. I managed to take an early lead while Maynard’s little fella seemed stranded after just a couple of turns. Every turn at the start Scott seemed to roll 6’s and so only have large blocks to place... as a result the tower was growing high at an alarming rate making it hard to get our meeples to the top. Placing blocks is also tricky as one sure way to lose the game is to knock the tower over. A few blocks can be misplaced and corrected but a Jenga style collapse is game over. Which as it happens is how this game ended with Jon destroying our finely crafted tower in a fit of un-coordination. So I think Scott might’ve won... the rules say the highest placed meeple at the time of collapse is the winner, but I’m not sure if I can remember who that was... Not me, that’s all I know for sure.

So thoughts ? It’s a different kind of dexterity game. A combination of luck (dice), dexterity (placing blocks), strategy (where to place) all mixed together.. I think the only conclusion we all came to was that it needed a flatter surface than the one we were playing on !

Thence to cows…this was about the time others were contemplating Tournai, and Emma was quite fascinated by the strange cow noises from the other table…

MOW (Thanks James)

Or 6 Nimmt with cuter cows. A nice little find this for me at Essen for 5e complete with soundbox providing an authentic MOO sound whenever a player feels the urge... which seemed to be quite often based on the initial gameplay. A very simple filler whereby players place cows at the end of a line higher or lower than the previously played cows, with some super cows providing a few rule tweaks and a chance to reverse the turn order. If at your turn you can’t play a card then you take the herd and it all starts again. Final scores are based on the number of flies on the cows J. I think we had 7 involved in the inaugural game. Scott, Woody, Maynard, Barrie, Johan, Dan and myself. And after a few minutes when everyone played with the automatic moo generating box we started.

Not sure if he wasn’t listening to the rules but Maynard started out on a mission to collect as many cards as possible.... A fine strategy in other games for sure. Several rounds in and I also decided that perhaps I’d misread a few lines after all and so decided to see if I could outscore Maynard. Woody had up to this point remained cow free but soon enough he started to join in the collecting frenzy... Interestingly all 3 of us were next to each other and it became a game of 2 halves, with seemingly different rules depending on which side of the table you were sitting. As the cow supply started to dry up a few stragglers in the herd were shared around and the game was over. The end game is quite harsh as your hand of cows gets smaller and you have fewer options each turn...

So final scores... we had two 1st places really.. the most points and the least points... I leave it up to you to decide who was the real winner.

James 38, Scott 26 Maynard 20, Barry 19 Woody 17 Johan 8

Mad scientists were the theme for James in…

Nefarious (thanks James)

Another new Essen game. This one by Mr Dominion himself so coming with great pedigree and a nice theme. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a mad scientist? Ever since my physics teacher got the whole class to join hands so he could give us all an electric shock I think the idea has appealed to me J Sadly no shocks in this game (other than Scott not winning, which is always a shock of a kind). Johan, Barrie, Scott and myself we the guinea pigs for the first run, and luckily it’s not so complicated a game so I think we might have even gotten all the rules right first time round. A very simple mechanic to this one. Select one of 4 actions (3 relating to money and 1 inventing stuff). Create inventions that generally have good/bad outcomes for you and the other players. and the first to 20 points is the winner. It feels like a filler in a big game box to me, not enough weight to really carry off the box size, but too much going on for a simple filler. Hmm.

So as to the game, can’t remember much detail I’m afraid. Scott and Barrie quickly realised the money making powers of speculating, while I just started trying to play invention cards. At mid game I think we all suddenly realised that 20 points wasn’t actually that many to get so everyone started inventing things like crazy. I lucked out with some replicating inventions that enabled me to have a hand of about 10 inventions and bags of cash and so despite Scott making it to 22 points with his final card I managed to invent some kind of death ray to get to 23 points and take the win.

Jury’s out for me on this one, doesn’t feel like enough going on, but then again it easily plays in under 30 mins, so maybe that’s ok ? Needs a few more games I think to form a proper opinion.

James 23 Scott 22 Johan 21 Barrie 18

From Mad Scientists to Robots pursued by Sharks…

Get Bit (Thanks James)

Woohoo... so 2 weeks late but I finally manage to play my game! 6 players (so sadly no chance to try out the new pink 7th player I’d picked up at Essen...). This is about as filler a game as you can get. Fantastic components, plays 2-7 1 minute rule run through and maybe 20 minutes to play. And who doesn’t want to play a game where you can pull arms and legs off opposing players. I’ve played several games of Resistance when I’ve had that kind of urge... but this game actually lets you do it! I think we had Woody, Scott, Dan, Barrie, Johan and me in this one, but I could be wrong. No idea how the game progressed but I’m think I won... which is the important bit.

James 1st Johan 2nd Dan 3rd Maynard 4th Scott 5th Woody 6th.

There were a couple of games which were scored but not reported:

Barry 30 James 22 Woody 20 Dan 18

Felix: The Cat in the Sack
Andy 57 Woody 52 James 43, Jon 24

“Maturing his Felonious Little Plan” comes from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

No comments:

Post a Comment