Tuesday, 29 November 2011

"Much I'd Spend to gain my End"

Perudo (thanks Scott)
Kicking off the night was the usual treat of Perudo with Scott, Amanda, Philip & Emma. Philip who usually employs a risky strategy of bidding very high and hoping everyone rolled the same number but today was a different tact and instead lady luck said no, even with reasonable bids he would be called out and just miss out by one die or call exact and there would be 5’s in abundance (five’s were called quite regularly). So despite the change of tactic, Philip was out first and in a bizarre twist of fate Scott had lost his touch, too many weeks without Perudo and was soon out next. Leaving Amanda and Emma to battle it out, but Amanda had the edge with the number of dice and would usually be telling the truth, much to Emma’s demise as she had been expecting otherwise.
We moved on to another light game beginning with P...

Pinguin Party

Actually I have almost no memory of this game. The usual pile up of different coloured Penguins ensued, with the Purple Penguins getting pushed out early in the first game because “you don’t want miserable people at a party”. Everyone took chips most games. There was one game I didn’t take any chips, which probably contributed to my eventual victory.
Philip- 4 chips Scott, Amanda and Barrie- 5 or 6 chips.

Last Will
Amanda and Scott were keen to play Last Will which was recently new to them (although Amanda almost deserted us to play Puerto Rico which she is also addicted to); Andy and Philip were convinced to join and make us up to a nice complement of 4, Philip and Andy both being new to the game and a quick run through of the rules ensued.

Unfortunately for all they were not warned to be wary of Scott (possibly this is written in the Isleworth gamers rules and regulations), Philip had a great start, a steward to look after his pair of farms and plenty of animals, however it all came unstuck when he need to start selling them off while Scott and Andy were ensuring the prices stayed high on farms, which was bad for Amanda too who was also frittering away her money in farmyards. Andy and Scott had gone to house where Scott had his chef, lady and gardener stripping his assets while Andy just let his rot away and depreciate.

It all seemed to be going quite smoothly but as we got down to the selloff, Scott had ensured he kept some hectic days and a large ball to attend to just break the bank sooner than everyone else expected who all wanted another round and still had a property on their books (Scott had missed explaining the rule about houses being worth 5 more at the end of the game but everyone was in the same boat so it didn’t affect the standings).

Scott – minus 2, Philip – 19, Andy – 27,Amanda – 31

After Last Will, Andy was keen to play his copy of Oregon that he had acquired in the works sale for a mere £8 and needed someone to teach him the game, so Scott kindly agreed after a little persuasion, this was new to everyone else. Amanda seemed most confused about the rules and confessed they just went in one ear and out the other (she’s started tuning Scott out already!) but seemed to survive okay with a few pointers along the way.

Scott got off to a great start by showing everyone else what they should be doing when a railroad, a saloon and a boatyard all ended up together, using extra turns and jokers to maximise the turn and then re-flipping the extra turn and joker markers to do the same thing all over again next time. Andy was quicker off the mark to join in and make most use of the spaces before Scott took them all, leaving Amanda and Philip a little in the dust.

Philip made a good comeback and assisted Andy and Amanda along the way by getting himself some big scoring while also scoring them a little too. Not good for Scott who was clinging on to his early lead by a thread. Scott rushed his cowboys as quickly as possible and soon enough had all 14 in play with just enough points in mine tokens to clinch the win.

Scott – 66, Andy – 63, Philip – 58, Amanda – 44
Elsewhere was another Euro...(thanks James)

I picked this up for a song a few weeks back, and after a trial run with the Missus (who beat me as usual) I thought it would be safe to unveil on a Wednesday as it hit the sweet spot of several gamers... quick rules, plays in under and hour, nice looking board... ok as it happens only 33% of these plans worked out, but still... it’s higher than my usual average...

A game of tower building, using worker placement, but with coloured cards instead of meeples. Players can choose to buy tower parts, obtain gold, or build... pretty simple but for one interesting extra. Once a coloured card is placed in a zone, only cards of the same colour can be used in that zone for the rest of the round... and this makes the game pretty intense as you’re trying to maximise the cards you have but not wanting to get cut out of an area by waiting too long.

So, a slightly harder game to explain than I’d thought, but we got there eventually and with only one rule being screwed up (again, better than my average) we started. Jon immediately recognising the value of white towers started spending big... but quickly ran out of cash. Emma went for black (closet Goth you know), Paul red and I took green... and so it began.

Round 2 and Paul and Emma both started building brown, while Jon was sticking to White with a Green tower to compliment. Some tower tiles were embellished with gold which earned bonus points. Jon, showing his previously hidden fetish for bling was snapping these up left right and centre to create a building fit for JayZ.

Round 3 and the end game started to loom. I was trying to make sure I only built once each round but used 5-6 pieces and had by now managed to construct a green tower to rival Jack’s beanstalk. Emma was completing with this, while Jon had come unstuck with the white tower strategy as it kept running out of cash... his new tactic to counteract this was to stock up with as much money as possible... as would become apparent at the end. Paul had decided that he was going to compete with my Green tower and was building a Red tower of similar height. After the last round there were several bonuses available for bigger tower, most towers etc, so plans were starting to be set for the end game

Last round and there was a building frenzy... apart from Jon who was trying to gather enough funds to buy Northern Rock. Emma and James both completed their 5th towers and Paul extended his red tower to match my green one (‘Tower’ envy is nothing to be proud of Paul...)... but It was clear at this stage that only Emma and James were in the race for the victory.

Final scores are sadly lost to the winds of time (or less romantically a trouser pocket at home somewhere), but I clinched victory with bonus points over Emma in a close 2nd. Paul was making up the numbers and Jon had learnt a valuable lesson that bling might get you noticed, but shouldn’t be taken as an alternative for substance.

So, I like the game, (and not only cause I won )... it's definitely in the family arena in terms of complexity, but there is enough going on for gamers to be interested. And despite being 1 1/2 hours for a first time run through, it should be under an hour for future games. Better I think with 4 than with 2, as the decisions seem a lot more intense. will have to bring along again for a rematch, although I'll wait a few weeks so I can savour the win a bit longer

Elsewhere the fare was lighter still...
Montego Bay (thanks Jon)
£7.99 from The Works – with lots of nice-looking bits so was worth an outing. This is quite a novel little game, where players have 2 workers that they use cards to control their movement around some dockside sheds. Depending on where the workers end up will dictate their ‘rewards’ in the form of barrels of goods, and possibly coins. The trick is that all movement is decided simultaneously, and workers that end up on the same square often end up being relocated. Players then use their barrels to load ships at the docks, and score points based upon majorities in each vessel.
The game claims to be playable in 45 mins, and this turned out to be exactly right. The ships leave the docks in a fairly swift fashion and the endgame is soon triggered. Although the decisions that players have to make aren’t particularly deep, there is enough in the game to cause some head-scratching (especially for Paul….)
It turns out that Jon was the best docker, but only by one point from Paul, with the last round being crucial in terms of scoring points.
I’m definitely going to bring this along again, as it fits into the ‘45 minutes with a bit of meat to it’ category, which is always a bonus.
Jon 41; Paul 40; James 33; Emma 25
Another light game...

Diamant (thanks Jon)
Long-time-no-see for this fun little gem-hunting push-your-luck game. We used to play this a lot at the end of the evening, but these 8-player games don’t seem to have come out quite as often recently. Never mind, this was rectified tonight, and we were soon reminded of why we used to enjoy it so much.
First up we have Gareth (on a rare pre-twins visit to IBG). His modus operandi is known as the ‘run screaming out of the mine like a little girl as soon as possible’ strategy. For the first few mines, he sat smugly back after he had collected 4 or 5 gems, as other more adventurous souls ventured further on, only to be often hit by misfortune and disaster. Barrie and Jon were the bravest gem-hunters, often dancing hand-in-hand into the darkness, only to be confronted by an effusion of foul-smelling green gas (maybe Gareth had ventured this way after all…..)
In the final mine, Gareth was joined in his usual early exit by 2 others, resulting in a paucity of scavenged loot. Once again, Jon and Barrie were the last ones left in, but this time fortune favoured the brave and they were rewarded by myriad gems. They both jumped ship after a particularly rewarding cave, which was not quite enough to give the victory to Jon, as Johan had quietly amassed a small fortune in precious stones in previous rounds. The other 5 players were separated by only 2 points, with Gareth coming in joint last. Maybe next time, he will be brave enough to venture into the mine with everyone else……..
Johan 44; Jon 35; Emma 25; Barrie 24; Paul 24; James 23; Gareth 23
Another push your luck game...

Nanuk (thanks Jon)
The evening finished with the game that, once upon  time at IBG, used to be the closer of choice. In honour of Emma’s last appearance at IBG, it was rolled out again, to send her on her way happy (even if she did come last). Tonight’s game was characterised by 2 events – Gareth was devious every time (no surprise) and Jon played it honest all the way through (maybe slightly more surprising). During one round, an unlikely alliance of James and Jon were left to try to source 8 deer by themselves in 3 days. With only 4 in their hands it was looking unlikely, although the first 2 cards from the deck did indeed turn out to be deer. However, the miracle hunt did not transpire, much to the relief of the other 7 players.
James then chose to side with Gareth in not going on the final hunt, which turned out to be an even bigger mistake, as it proved successful and profitable. The final scores demonstrated that honesty had paid off for Jon, with a narrow victory.
PS – if anyone can think of a better and quicker way of scoring this game, then please speak up – the current method is appalling…….
Jon 9; Dan 8; Barrie 8; Gareth 8; Lou 7; Tom 4; James 3; Mark 3; Emma 3

P.S The title is a quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe.

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