Wednesday, 22 February 2012

"That Grandee from the Spanish Shore"

We start with a blaze...

Flash Point: Fire Rescue (thanks Jon)
Daniel’s latest purchase (or trade) had arrived in the post that very morning, so there was much joy when he turned up at IBG with it. Jon, David and James joined him in trying to heroically put out fires and rescue people. Dan had just about had time to learn the rules, and didn’t do a bad job at sharing this knowledge, although we did play one rather important rule wrong about putting fire tokens down instead of smoke (making it quite a bid harder to win!)

The first game was played with the family rules, and the IBG firefighters came pretty close to rescuing all the victims, but were stopped in their tracks by a collapsing building.
The second game was the ‘advanced’ version, adding specialist roles, hotspots, ‘Hazmats’, an ambulance and, of course, a fire-engine. This time, the team nearly won through again, but were thwarted by the collapse of the rickety old house just minutes before retrieving the final helpless householder.

My thoughts on this game are mixed. I like the theme, and am always happy to play co-ops. The rules are simple, the game is short, and the tension does build as the house becomes more and more engulfed in flames. My caveats would be the lack of choices available to each player – only 4 AP’s per turn, and it’s usually pretty obvious what you need to do. The fire also appears in random places each turn, so it lacks the semi-predictability of something like Pandemic, where you can plan ahead somewhat. I think that I went into the game expecting something more puzzle-like, and should have just got into the fun of it a bit more. I’m happy to try it again though, maybe this time with one of the expansion boards and preferably with the correct rules!!!

Moving into the Air...

Airships (thanks Jon)
Another outing for this quick dice-rolling filler. This time, the airships went like hotcakes, the ‘+1 Hindenberg’ changed hands more times than a bent fiver, and James looked a bit lost.
I’m afraid that I either didn’t write down the scores, or lost them, and my memory is crap, so all I can remember is that I didn’t win and James came last. David and Dan slogged it out for first, and ‘cos I’m feeling generous, I’ll put David in front. I’m sure that Dan will chirp up if I was wrong…….
David – 1st; Dan – 2nd; Jon – 3rd; James – 4th

Back down to earth in Vegas...

Lords of Vegas (thanks Jon)
And to round the evening off, yet more dice-rolling, this time in the casino-building world of Vegas. Dan explained the rules again, as it was new to everyone else (apart from Jon who had played once before about a year ago.) Both Dan and Jon quickly got some casino tiles joined up and on the Strip, which started to pay out after a few rounds. James had a thwarted effort at preventing Dan from monopolising a particular area when the dice didn’t fall in his favour. By half-way, Dan had pulled away, with Jon in lukewarm pursuit.

With three quarters of the game gone, David realised that his only hope of posting any type of score was to take an all-or-nothing gamble, so he wagered his entire bankroll of $23m at Dan’s casino. Dan hedged his bets with the bank, which was just as well as the dice rolled favouably for David, allowing him to pull ahead of James into 3rd place. Right at the end, Jon managed to merge a 4-tile and 3-tile casino together, and chose the colour not currently paying out significantly for any other players. If the next card was this colour, he would have jumped 2-steps on the score track and caught up Dan…..but it wasn’t. The Game-Over card was turned over, and Dan maintained his 2-step lead.
I enjoyed this more than my first outing of the game, but still have reservations at the amount of luck compared to the game length. 45 mins and it would be perfect…..
Dan 45; Jon – 2 steps less; David – a fair bit further back; James – last, and not having much fun…..

And the finale in Spain...

El Grande (thanks Paul)
Rooting through Gareth's bag of goodies the classic El Grande was on top which was enough to tempt five players to step back to medieval Spain and attempt to control the areas with the help of some caballeros and of course El Grande.

Shamu was the only one not to have played before, with Gareth, Johan and Philip having played many games in a row when it was 'game of the month' over a year ago.

Shamu took a while to get going due to never having played before, and good naturedly decided not to use his veto card. Shortly afterwards Johan, looking very comfortable playing the bad guy, used his on Shamu.

The game featured the usual questions about the 'everybody' cards either including the active player or otherwise.

The rest of the players appeared to decide to take Gareth's advice during the last few rounds that it wasn't him that should be the target, but Paul who was in the lead, but it was not quite enough as he had enough of a lead. Johan came very close to catching him at the end, but had to settle for second place.

Scores: Paul: 102, Johan: 92, Shamu: 78, Phil: 78, Gareth: 68

“That Grandee from the Spanish shore” is a quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers.

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