Sunday, 22 April 2012

Oh! the Monster Overbearing

We began with a couple of light fillers.

No Thanks (but thanks all the same to Jon
The early arrivals had a quick go with this ever-popular filler. Philip took some early big cards after he had run out of coins, and seemed to be out of it. However, all the connecting cards turned up at the right time and he continued to collect coins which resulted in him wiping the floor with Jon and (especially) James.
Philip 24; Jon 41; James 45

6 Nimmt! (Thanks Jon)
More IBG’ers turned up, and so this game of high skill (!) was brought out. James II always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, that is, when Philip hadn’t got there first. The rest of the players were incredibly close though, with James I picking up the fewest bulls’ heads to come out victorious.
James I 5; Jon 7; Neil 8; Soren 9; Philip 19; James II 24

Now for a game where collecting cattle is good, not bad...

Andy, me and newcomer Richard settled down to a three player game, with me going first. I opened with Resource collector and the 2 Wood spot, Andy played 3 Wood and Plowed a field, and Richard paid 2 food for Field Watchman and the took a Grain, allowing him to plow a field. I was still start player so I put down Clay Mixer.
Andy continued to stockpile resources, pausing briefly to play the House Goat, while Richard continued taking Grain and plowing fields. In turn 3 I completed a Cooking Hearth and upgraded it into a Cooking Corner, while Andy went Fishing. Richard put down the Master Brewer, making his Grain strategy even more attractive- he was able to Sow 3 fields in turn 4. I picked up Reeds and Sheep as Andy stockpiled Wood and Clay.

Andy was the first to build rooms and grow his family, though I was not far behind. The Loom allowed me to collect food from sheep, while the Fruit Tree simply provided food in later rounds. Richard built both Ovens and with the Wet Nurse was able to catch up in the Family Growth stakes. Andy had the Axe and with the spare wood fenced early and had a strong collection of breeding animals. I upgraded to Clay and built the Well, while playing the Piece-Worker and the Plow maker, both allowing me to pay food for a benefit. Richard played a third occupation, allowing him to play a couple of Minor Improvements which required 3 occupations. Andy failed to play any occupations all game, but picked up the Pottery and some excess clay for a bonus point.
I had the Horse, which compensated for the lack of animals other than Sheep in my farm. We all had sound balanced farms at the end, with no empty spaces and plenty of fields and pastures. However, I had a 5 room Stone House, while Richard had a 4 room Clay Hut and Andy a 4 room Wooden Hut. Andy and I had 5 family members, Richard 4. Had Andy played Church Warden in the final round, he and I would have advanced 3 points over Richard...
Philip 50, Richard 40, Andy 38

Monsters Ahoy for our next report!
Andy left for an early night and Richard introduced me to this dice-building game, a distant relative of Dominion. You start with humble Assistants and Quiddity, which is used to purchase better dice, which then turn into monsters and can score Vps if they survive a round of combat- not very difficult in the 2-player game.
A random selection of monsters and spells is available each game, with small-medium monsters making their appearance for this one, no big dragons or the like.
I went first, which gave me a natural advantage which I exploited to the full, scoring 12 points before Richard scored any. Richard had said that with 2 players you played to 12 and with 4 to 20, but a glance at the scoreboard revealed it was the other way round. Still my Hags and Champions of the Holy Query consistently survived his Deathdealers and Night Ghouls. He also invested in spells, which I simply ignored, but the spells didn’t seem to help much- one was purely defensive which didn’t really help given the lead I had over him and the other brought more dice, which would have been useful had there been some big monsters around. Still he did manage to speed up for the second half of the game.
Philip 20 Richard 12

More Monsters, though rather less variety...

Mall of Horror (thanks Jon)
Ameritrash ruled ok tonight – there was the option to split into 2 groups of 3 for some Eurogame action, but the consensus was (eventually) reached to stay with the adventure theme and stay together to get eaten by zombies.
Soren had played before and explained the rules, of which there are not that many. Each player has 3 characters in their team, and they must run around a shopping mall, avoiding or fighting zombies, attempting to have the most valuable members of their team alive at the end of the game.
Soren obviously knew the value of the parking lot (a risky location, but the one that delivers the valuable equipment cards.) However, as no-one else realised this, 2 of his characters were suddenly left alone with the automobiles when the brain-munchers descended. Before you could say “don’t worry, the zombies are looking for brains – you’ll be safe” – 2 of Soren’s crew were goners. Jon was next to lose a team member, when everyone else in the shop decided to hide like little girls, leaving him to face the zombies alone. James I and Neil had set up a nice little pact, swapping the honour of being security chief each turn. Paul and James I also made a little deal that they both reneged on in about 4 seconds flat.
After that, things moved quite quickly, with Neil choosing all the wrong locations to hide out in, and finding only the undead for company.

Soren and Paul had a shed load of equipment between them that they were putting to good use, but before long, there were only 6 characters left, and 2 of them belonged to James I. Despite James trying to persuade everyone that he wasn’t ahead (and being allowed to take back an entire turn because he ‘misunderstood’ the rules….!) his penultimate team member was thrown to the zombies. This left Jon and James II alone in a room, and as Jon had a gun and James didn’t, the result was inevitable.

With only 4 characters remaining on the board, the game ended. Jon, Paul and James II all had their gun-toting guys left (who were only worth 3 points), but Soren’s girly cheerleader was worth 7 points and therefore he (or she) was declared the winner.
Verdict: This game fits the theme really well, and is an enjoyable romp (think Lifeboats meets Revolution.) The only thing that is slightly sub-par is the endgame – this game felt like a bit of an anti-climax, as it became apparent during the last few turns that Soren was the only person who was going to win outright, as he had the highest value character left. Neil was also eliminated before the end, which gave him nothing to do for the last 15 minutes (although I think the rules do allow for eliminated players to add more zombies). Anyway, Soren has now traded this game with James, so we may see a re-appearance at IBG sometime!
Soren 7; Jon, Paul, James I – 3; James II – eliminated on last turn; Neil – eliminated

An adventure without monsters rounds us off...

The Adventurers: Pyramid of Horus (thanks James I)
So, after a bargain buy on ebay I brought along a copy of the latest Adventurers, this time a jaunt to the fabled Pyramid of Horus. Unlike the first game this one involves a single room, but the further in you go the higher the risks and rewards and the more likely you might end up trapped behind falling boulders. James I, James II, Neil, Soren, Jon and Paul all ventured to go inside and see what bounty they could scavenge.

The pyramid is split into 4 areas… the snake area near the entrance where cheap items can be picked up, and also some equipment from less fortunate previous adventurers… the scorpion pit comes next before you can choose to either take a dip in the crocodile pond or instead take your chances against the mummies patrolling the inner walls so you can check out some high prize sarcophaguses…  yes, I did need to use spell checker on that word… .Everyone started out a bit timid, hanging out in the snake area for some stuff,  before I think the 3rd roll gave everyone 5 actions and we all dashed into the inner chamber … there was quite a bit of tension early on as blocks started falling near the main exit… after 4 rounds we’d already reached a stage when the game might end after each round and a few adventurers were starting to think about getting out while they could…  Jon had managed to find a couple of crowbars and so headed to the main prize (a yahtzee roll of 1/2/3/4/5) for an easy win, although he was also picking up wounds on the way due to various scorpions and snakes… Paul went for one for the easier tombs… taking a few risks with the mummies but escaping scott-free. Soren and Alan headed to the other side for similar prizes while James (II) seemed hellbent on suicide marching around the crocodile pond and narrowly avoiding several falling blocks. I’ll admit I wasn’t really sure what I was doing at all… although I was getting quite lucky with the amount of treasure I was finding so decided not to take too many chances on the bigger prizes.

Paul was the first to decide it was getting a little bit dicey in there and headed out, followed by me… and soon enough everyone (apart from James II) was heading for the only remaining path through the fallen boulders. James II was playing tag with a mummy when he realised all his mates had left and so dashed after us… the question was could we get out before the entrance was closed….

Well yeah, although we were all kinda hoping that someone would get trapped… just for the hell of it really!  the last to leave was James II and as luck would have it, on the very last square he got splatted by a falling boulder, which cheered everyone else up no end  although he still managed to limp out with his injuries…

Thoughts? It’s ok… different from the first game in that it’s just the 1 room and not a variety of traps, but at the same time I think this game has more replayability as no-one dies, and it doesn’t have any tokens where being able to remember the images from game to game would be an advantage… Probably not every week, but maybe bring this along again in a month or so…
 Regrettably no one died!!!
Final scores… - Neil 33; James I 30; James II - 26; Soren 24; Jon & Paul 22. 

P.S “Oh! The Monster Overbearing” is a quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinnafore.

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