Players: James, Noel, Neil, Andy, Jon, Gareth I, Soren, Alex, James II, Gareth II, Philip, David, Jeroen, Paul, Pete, Darren
Another great turnout tonight, and this time it was James who was being the Del Trotter of IBG, doing some dodgy dealing and bringing some new gamers along at the same time. A warm welcome especially to Darren who has just moved into the area, and cycled back from Soho to join us.
The IBG'ers have many and varied ways of completing that most important of tasks, that is, picking the start player for a game. These include: picking a piece from a bag, choosing the owner of the game, using an App, selecting the oldest player (not always easy...) etc etc. But surely one of the strangest methods is to select the player that most resembles a component from the game. Especially when that game happens to be about Stone Age man.....
An early evening filler to get us started and definitely one of the finest fillers for 6 players. The properties came out in some interesting arrangements, with some extremes of values in the same lot. Consequently no-one wanted to give their neighbour a good deal, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.
When the dust had settled, it turned out that Jeroen and Jon had been equally canny at property investment, with the other 4 players having very close scores. Always a good wat to strat the evening off.
Jon 54; Jeroen 54; Gareth II 39; Pete 39; James 38; Soren 33
Manhattan Project (thanks to Paul for this report)
James was so keen to get his revenge on Paul that he came down to the bar where Paul was waiting for a drink to ask if a place should be reserved for him.
Philip was the newbie at the table and picked up the rules very quickly - the benefit of a theme that fits!
Gareth accumulated vast numbers of spare workers, and so most other people had withdrawn all of their people by the time Gareth had done it for the first time. Philip was hoarding yellow cubes. James and Paul were adopting a more balanced approach.
Gareth was the 'beneficiary' of Paul's excess arms this week, as his spies didn't heed the warning.
Philip was first to take the bomb action and indeed the first to build bombs. Gareth demonstrated his fondness for the education system by taking the best of the universities that came up. James seemed to twig that yellowcake was for building bombs and not to be used as a mid-evening snack, so he managed to learn at least one lesson from his previous nuclear outing.
Towards the end of the game, James also sent spies into Paul's buildings, despite warning of retribution and not much in the way of defence. Paul calculated that James didn't actually need many of his own buildings any more, so held off unleashing his WMDs, at least temporarily. James' seemingly carefree attitude to being bombed had a ruthless logic to it that may not have held true in the real world, but served him well here.
That both James and Paul could be seen looking over the last page of the rule book, whilst holding a few bombs and a stash of plutonium and uranium, should have given Gareth and Philip an early warning that the end was nigh. Paul had lined up a victory in his next turn, and had enough fighters and bombs to also take out James in that go and teach him his 'lesson of the evening', however it was all in vain as James clinched victory of his turn. Sweet revenge, no doubt.
James: 51 (winner); Paul, Philip, Gareth: all lost
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries (thanks Soren)
Jeroen started building in the southern part of Norway and Gareth and Soren quickly decided to "help" him develop this region, which meant that he had to spend a lot of time and resources building through central Norway and down the western coast to connect up. In the meantime Gareth and Soren both started building towards Finland peacefully alongside each other until Soren started blocking Gareth just north of Helsinki and Jeroen decided to "help" develop the Helsinki transport hub. This meant that Gareth had to scramble up through Sweden and across the sea to Finland to connect up, while Soren could develop all the way across from north-western Norway to Helsinki.
However, Gareth did manage to connect up his lines again and also to steal the massive score for the very long route to Murmansk as well as to complete a number of additional destination tickets. So although Soren got and completed a couple of fairly easy but risky additional destination tickets at the end, Garet h ended up winning very comfortably ahead of Soren with Jeroen quite a way behind as he never quite managed to recover from the early screwage.
The Nordic map is very tight with a lot of screwage potential for a good 3 player gamer's game - or possibly with children and family if you want to make them angry or cry.
Gareth 138; Soren 108; Jeroen 83.
Rattus (thanks again Soren)
After a few fairly even and spread out initial rounds the Baltics were badly rat infected and Gareth and Soren both started to take advantage of this to pile in loads of population cubes here despite the risk. However, as the others did not want the risk of having too many character cards and allowed Soren to take and keep three character cards including the "place +1 population" and "move the plague 2 spaces", and with Gareth and Soren in opposing play order with Jeroen and David in-between, the plague could never get to the Baltics.
So Gareth and Soren could keep piling in population and in the end Soren could use his three character cards to edge ahead of Gareth and cause a bit of additional trouble for Gareth in the final culling round to secure the victory.
(Unplaced cubes left): Soren 3, Gareth 5, David 7, Jeroen "lots".
King of Tokyo (thanks for the third time for this report to Soren)
Gareth II was first to get enough energy to buy some good tech cards and assembled a great combo, which gave him practically unlimited energy and allowed him to buy more tech cards every round with his poison and London Riots-like "let me help you - and steal your stuff" tech cards. In the meantime, Jeroen and Gareth I built-up dangerously high points scores and some necessary fighting left both Gareth I and Gareth II slightly vulnerable and first David and then Soren decided it was time for some serious fighting.
David left Gareth I and Gareth II very vulnerable so that Soren could finish them off in a last chance do or die attempt - die as it should soon turn out, leaving just Jeroen and David. David seemed certain to win the final duel with his "no damage when yielding Tokyo" tech card, but Jeroen got a small chance to steal the victory on points with his "9 points for one of each dice roll" tech card. At first, this chance failed - just, missing only one of the dice, but as David did not manage to finish Jeroen off in one go, Jeroen's second, and probably last with almost certain death looming at David's next go, chance at the points victory did succeed.
Jeroen 1st; David 2nd; Soren 3rd; Gareth I / Gareth II – 4th/5th
Despite bringing this along for several weeks, Jon hadn’t got this game to the IBG table for a wee while. However, he was keen to try the Mexico map, until it transpired that there were 3 other keenies, so it was decided that the England & Wales map would handle 4 players better.
The starting set-up was very interesting, with 3 service bounties in the North available in the opening deal. Combined with a poor cube distribution South of London, this effectively reduced the play area by a third. Neil bid $11k to take the first turn, and used this advantage wisely, in setting up some profitable early deliveries around Hull. Andy went for the Midlands, and Jon majored on the Liverpool-Manchester corridor, to earn another service bounty. Noel put himself into a major amount of early debt, and started building track from Carlisle southwards, competing with Jon for links along the way. This eventually paid off as he was the first to make a 3-link delivery, and he was also able to complete the most lucrative major line by the end of the game.
Neil’s network was linear, all the way down the East coast (avoiding East Anglia of course) and the lack of competition meant that he was able to start making some impressive long deliveries. Andy had completed the Birmingham-Norwich major line, but was distracted a little by a late service bounty in the South West. Noel had upgraded his engine significantly and was also able to start making some impressive long deliveries, from a newly uncovered cube store in South Wales.
There was much competition in the Midlands, and Jon had found that all his cubes had run out, so every turn completed was making his relative position worse and worse. Therefore he delivered the last cube that he was able to, which triggered the game end. Although Noel was ahead on the score track, his 9 issued bonds outweighed Neil’s measly 3, which allowed Neil to steal ahead for a narrow victory.
Another great game of RT, completed in 90 minutes, with the random starting set-up again providing the necessary variety to keep the game fresh each time.
Neil 53; Noel 50; Jon 44; Andy 39
Somewhere around this time, Pick Picknic and (I think) Fist of Dragonstones were also played, but we have no witten record, so you'll have to use your imaginations...
Biblios (thanks Noel)
After another great games rule summary from Jon, newbie James II was up to speed to play Noel and Andy in Biblios. A quick, close game which hinged on a couple of points in each category and at the end Andy won.
Andy 6; Noel 5; James II 4
Airships (thanks again Noel)
Gareth II, explained Airships, a quick playing, dice rolling game to newbies Noel and James II, with timely chip-ins from David.
David went with a little an often approach to his airship building and kept control of the silver airship which gave a plus1 dice roll for much of the game. Noel tried to wrest control but was aiming at the bigger ships and only built a few ships in the game. James II and Gareth II did lots of dice rolling and engine building but not too many ships.
With only a couple of potential turns remaining, David built another 4 ship to run down a pile and finish a clear winner.
David 14; Noel 7; James II 3*; Gareth II 2* (*ish)
Stone Age (thank Neil)
So, we found we had time for quick game of Stone Age, always a popular one with Alex although he kindly decided I look more like the starting figure than he does, rare for him to not go first!
A new game for Darren so we all gave him our own recollections of the rules, mostly at the same time. So well done for being able to play the game at all… impressive listening skills!
And off we went. I went straight to the love shack, Darren and Jon began collecting resources, and Alex was keen on the food. Indeed he stuck with that policy, food or gold, throughout most of the game. Oh and holding onto his favourite item, the leather dice cup.
From somewhere I recalled that the civilisation cards were useful at the end of the game so started collecting those, and generously handed out bonus resources for my competitors. When Jon also moved into these he picked off the better cards with his cultivated forests. Darren, Alex and Jon also started selecting huts and so begun scoring points. Indeed Alex went dashing off round the scoring track.
With the Bronze Age on the horizon we fairly zipped through the last couple of rounds and the last hut fell it was time to collect all those bonuses. And Jon collected and collected, I hadn’t realised they’d been that many civilisation cards available… so he stormed his way to victory. Alex’s second was even more remarkable as he didn’t score even a single point at the end of the game, quite impressive that. And after four games of this now I still hadn’t worked out any kind of strategy whatsoever… more determination required…
Darren scored a creditable total for a first game, well done fellah!
Jon 192; Alex: 132; Neil 114; Darren 87
And after having been promising the bar staff that we were 'nearly finished' for the last half-hour, we finally were, and it was time to wend our merry ways home. Special congratulations to newbie Darren for staying until the bitter end!
See you next time...