Wednesday, 4 July 2012

"I found it particularly ironic, my lord, because I've got a thingy that's shaped like a rocky outcrop......"

Players: James, Paul, Neil, Noel, Barrie, Jon, Philip, Dan, Jeroen, Gareth II, Richard, Alex, Emma, Rob, Woody

After last week’s low turnout, the waifs and strays of IBG returned to the fold, and we had the pleasure of the company of a number of faces that we hadn’t seen for some time – including Barrie (moving house to next door seems to have taken up all his Wednesday evenings recently…), ‘Smiley’ Rob and the unforgettable Emma (who had a ‘smashing’ time…)

With 3 games going at once, there was a real eclectic mix – knights of the Round Table fighting evil, ancient Egyptians building pyramids, transport moguls financing airline companies, polar hunters catching fish and hardened lumberjacks racing down the river trying to avoid phallic outcrops……

King of Tokyo (thanks James)
Been a while, and with relative newcomer Gareth II jumping in with the quote that he knew all the cards it felt like it would be a crime not to open up a game of King of Tokyo to set the evening going.
Jon, Neil, Paul, Woody, Gareth II and myself all teamed up to start playing... Neil only getting to the table as Emma was still at the bar... although the game couldn't start without someone going downstairs to extract the monster she'd already chosen and ran off with before the game :)
The game started with a recap of the rule and a running commentary on the cards from Gareth who looked like he had played this game more than would be considered healthy.... also given the game is based on pure inter player conflict this marking him out as the immediate target for the rest of the game. This made for a nice change from usual given myself, Jon and Paul are usually too busy trying to get each other to focus on anyone else.
In the early stages Woody and Paul took Tokyo and stayed in for a few rounds, with 5/6 players you have twice the monsters in Tokyo for twice the carnage. Both survived a round of attacks to deal some damage, but on the second round stared to feel the heat and made way for Jon and Gareth. Already at this stage a few characters where down on health, while Neil was racking up points by rolling 5x3's on this first turn.
Then James made it into Tokyo, and rolled 5 damage when it came back to him, plus having a card that added 1 extra damage from Tokyo...... a move that unsurprisingly triggered a move from mid to end game. I think this wiped out Paul, Neil and Woody... leaving Jon in Tokyo with James but with only a handful of health and Gareth just about toast on the outside. One more round and the game was over with Mecha Dragon dealing death to all other creatures... and sitting all alone in Tokyo wondering what he was going to do next.
Great game this... and always fun to play...
Results: James won and everyone else was deaded

Shadows over Camelot
A pre-arranged game of this co-op classic, new to Jon and Noel. No full report available, but basically it was always looking dodgy for the knights, especially as Jeroen managed to make a particularly suspicious move that resulted in Noel understandably accusing him (wrongly) of being the traitor. Gareth II was in fact the traitor, and played a good game, keeping under the radar until the last minute when he dealt the death-blow to the good guys.
Definitely worth another play, now that the newbies have a reasonable handle on what the heck was going on……

Amun-Re (thanks Philip)
Given the option to pick a game from the pile, Philip selected one of his favourites. Discovering the rules were in German dampened his enthusiasm slightly, but Richard had web access to the English rules via his phone so we managed alright- albeit we missed the rule that you can’t play 2 identical cards in the same phase, as well as the rule that you can discard a card for 1 gold at any time.
The first turn went fairly smoothly, everyone building a pyramid and buying cards and farmers. Richard had a particularly farmer rich province which he boosted with extra farmers from cards and from the reward for largest sacrifice.
Everyone apart from Alex donated generously to the Sacrifice- Alex stole 3 gold, but that didn’t stop the sacrifice reaching level 4 and showering money on everyone in proportion to their peasant workforce. The second turn was much the same, with donations slightly lower and for the third turn, with the scoring round coming up, the first double-pyramids appeared. The sacrifice was low level for the third turn as people wanted to stop Richard from scoring high with his temples. Richard pulled ahead anyway though, with 5 VPs for most pyramids west of the Nile. Alex and Philip tied for most pyramids east of the Nile, earning 5 VPs each.
The second half of the game saw some very heavy bidding for valuable provinces, particularly from Barrie and Alex, and less interest in Peasants, with sacrifice levels continuing to fall. Barrie achieved the combination he wanted of the three western provinces, worth 6 VPs from his cards, but lost the competition for most Pyramids west of the Nile to Philip, mostly thanks to him having made the only positive contribution to the final sacrifice.
Richard had most pyramids East of the Nile uncontested, but a slight imbalance in Pyramid distribution across his provinces which briefly saw Philip pass him, only for his 6 VPs for most money to put him firmly in 1st place. In other news, Emma’s 3 VPs for 2nd most money allowed her to pip Barrie for third.
Richard 43, Philip 39, Emma 30, Barrie 29, Alex 24

Airlines Europe (thanks Woody)
Despite having his name slandered prior to game play by Paul, Woody sat down with James, Paul and Neil (good to see you Neil) for another airing (or airlining) of Airlines Europe. Paul and Woody had played before but as you can see from the scores, experience counted for nothing!
Paul and Neil fought over the Abacus tickets, eyeing up the big final prize, which Neil eventually took. James professed to be 'trying to work out the strategy' throughout the game, whilst collecting dominance of a couple of airlines and bagging the big points. Woody seemed to be single handedly pushing two airlines with no assistance and this was his demise.
A close game with jolly good banter ... well played Neil!
Neil 62; James 59; Paul 55; Woody 53

Cargo Noir (thanks again Woody)
A game that did not receive good ratings when launched ... somewhat unfair, we all agreed. In essence, a game of bidding and counter bidding, resource collection and wealth generation used to purchase VP cards towards the end of the game. James had given it one go before, but the rest were Noir virgins.
Paul quickly expanded his fleet allowing him to occupy more areas of the board and accumulate wealth quickly. Neil had a rough start, with all his first two rounds bids being usurped. Woody went with his usual guesswork to start with and James found himself collecting resources quickly as no-one remembered to outbid him.
As everyone became more familiar with the strategy and mechanisms, play leveled out and a close game ensued. Counter bids became more prevalent, but in the end, James's resource collecting skills won the day, but only just from Paul and Woody.
James 100; Paul 95; Woody 90; Neil 75

Fast Flowing Forest Fellers
After an aborted attempt to play Nanuk, the 5 remaining players settled on this fun race-game, recently introduced by James to the club and now also owned by Jon. It had previously only been played with 3 players, but handles 5 just as well. It was played with the suggested start-up board, as time was pressing, but this provides some interesting currents, with a few logs thrown in for good measure.
Some of the boys showed their adolescent sides, claiming that some of the rocky outcrops resembled certain parts of the male anatomy. All I can say is, that if Rob's body parts look like that, then I wouldn't like to be around when he attempts to take a pee. (Actually, I wouldn't want to be around when he takles a pee anyway...)
Getting back to the game - Jon, Noel and Dan managed to filter one of their loggers down onto the 2nd board without too much difficulty, whereas Rob and Gareth II seemed locked in some deadly vendetta which saw them constantly pushing each other’s loggers into nasty currents. (But that’s Rob all over – nasty, vindictive and not to be crossed……!!!!)
Jon decided that the game should be played with the variant that after a player has one logger home safely, you still have to use the correct cards for the remaining logger. This led to a much tighter game than previously, which have often had a runaway leader problem.
Once everyone had both loggers onto the second board, there was much to-ing and fro-ing, as loggers were constantly pushed back in the vicious currents, but eventually Jon’s logger popped his head up above water and floated to victory, closely followed by Dan and Noel.
Lots of fun in 30 minutes, and definitely one of the most interesting race games out there.
1st – Jon; 2nd – Dan; 3rd – Noel; 4th – Gareth II; 5th – Rob

Long time no see for this great end-of-evening game that used to see regular table-time at IBG.
Loads of fun as always, with Noel and Jon being shut out in the cold (literally) for most of the hunts. Barrie hadn’t got a clue (as usual) Emma had a headache, and Dan and Rob tied for 2nd place.
Which left Gareth II to pinch the win courtesy of having collected the most polar bears.
Definitely one of those games that induces more than its fair share of mirth, which is a great way to finish off a games evening.
Gareth II 18; Rob 15; Dan 15; Emma 6; Jon 5; Barrie 5; Noel 4

And that was that. After the broken glass had been swept up (ahem...) it was time to wend our merry ways home. Hopefully it won't be too long before we see our long-lost IBG friends again....

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