Thursday, 7 June 2012

"I can’t stomach any part of Gasteroenterology"

All eurogames tonight follks. We start in the air.
Airlines Europe (thanks Paul)
After Noel whetted people's appetite for Airlines Europe several weeks ago, the lack of any subsequent appearances led Paul to purchase a copy for himself, such was his liking for the game, hence the appearance this week.

Would it be classified as a Eurogame or otherwise? Interesting question as it bought Andy (seasoned Eurogamer) face to face with Dan (king of  Ameritrash), possibly for the first time in a board game. True, Dan may not have played if he'd had another option, but as it was the only seat going when he arrived it did make for an interesting dynamic...

Andy seemed to be collecting everything, Tom took a turn to get straight on the rules, Noel was going for Abacus Airlines, while Paul and Dan seemed to be going for more shares in fewer airlines (or at least they only got shares in a few airlines).

Andy and Dan were battling it out over yellow and orange, Tom and Paul over red and blue, quite a few went for white and not many for balck or grey at the start.

Towards the end of the game it seemed no one wanted the game to end as the last few cards on the draw deck took a long time to be claimed. Paul was especially keen to draw it out as long as possible as he was clearly trying to outstrip Noel for the big 16 points on Abacus, but Noel saw it coming and happily called time on the game before he could be usurped.

Noel: 88, Andy: 76, Dan: 75, Paul: 72, Paul 71
Then descend to somewhat exotic ground
An interesting light euro with two currencies, feet and shells (and fruit, which counts as either). The feet are used to walk you to the merchandise which you then purchase with the shells. Exact location of merchandise changes from game to game. You can also use feet to sail to other islands, but only if you have a boat.
The idea is to build up a number of villages. The bigger the village the easier it is to score for it. James clearly went for a big village strategy while I concentrated on getting as many villages as possible.
I started by walking over to the mask store and buying masks- the more masks you have the smaller your village can be. I then walked onwards and bought a boat. The boat allowed me to sail to an island where I could pick up tokens allowing me to score for several villages. Meanwhile James was picking up fruit tokens (which give a steady fruit revenue) and a god which allowed him to walk anywhere for only two feet a time. The third player, newcomer David (?) was doing much the same as James.  The five turns continued to follow the same sort of pattern, with me picking up the full range of masks and tokens and building five villages while James and David went for quality over quantity and picked up fruit, tiles that scored with fruit, and so on. The rounds get progressively more difficult as you get less revenue and targets are higher. I failed to meet the round 4 or round 5 targets, taking a point loss, and wound up last with James winning.

From the Pacific Ocean to the pacific panda bear...
A panda has been given to the Japanese Emperor. The players’ task is to look after both it and the ornamental bamboo gardens. The players have 3 sorts of mission card- one which requires the panda to eat certain colours of bamboo (collected in the panda's stomach- he has one per player!), one which requires bamboo plants of a particular height to be grown in a particular soil, and one which requires a particular layout to the garden (which starts undiscovered except for some water). Players have a range of options on their turn and 2 actions but may not take any action twice. There is also a special weather die which can move the panda, grow extra bamboo, grant an extra action or allow players to take actions twice. 
Once a player has fulfilled 7 missions he gets a bonus 2 VPs, everyone else gets one last turn, and the game ends. There was much frantic movement of both the Panda and the Imperial Gardener, but I was fortunately able to compete 7 missions first and (just) win the game.

P.S “I can’t stomach any part of Gasteroenterology” is a quotation from “Every Major’s Terrible”, which is a modern spoof on “A Modern Major-General”, which is found in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. You can find the spoof at

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