Wednesday, 9 January 2013

None Dare Call it Treason

Back to the future...
This time we played with Alien races. Gareth chose first, the Hydra Progress, I chose the Eridani Empire, Michel the Planta and Andy the Orion Hegemony.
The game opened with the usual exploring. Andy quickly built a second cruiser and blew away the local Ancients. I pursued a similar if slower course with a Dreadnaught. Gareth eschewed the galactic centre for the rim, finding mainly empty systems with Discovery tiles giving him money. Michel was also exploring, but found little of value.
The midgame saw Andy storm the Galactic Centre with four Cruisers, losing only one, Michel enter into diplomatic relations with Andy and Gareth doing much more exploring in order to be able to lose the empty systems. I expanded out to the border of Gareth’s home system before exchanging ambassadors. Probably Andy and I should have attacked Michel and Gareth respectively, but we were playing nice.
The game now stalled as the last outer rim tiles were explored- I picked up Conformal Drive and Axion Computer through this process- and we all did a lot of research. As the last couple of turns approached I bought Wormhole Generator and built a fleet of Cruisers which, in turn 8, invaded Michel’s peripheral systems. Michel had been low on materials all game and my attack forced him to build his starbases in the low value systems. Michel had plasma missiles and his starbases easily destroyed my cruisers, but I had the materials to rebuild them and attack again in turn 9- this time targeting valuable systems.
I had to abandon a couple of my own peripheral systems in order to have enough discs to take Michel’s. Meanwhile Andy invaded the system between the Galactic Centre and Gareth’s homeworld- which was my system and defended only by an obsolete Dreadnaught. I retaliated by flying one of my Cruisers to Andy’s homeworld, where he was able to build an Interceptor and a Starbase before running out of discs.
In the final fighting I captured both Michel and Andy’s home systems but lost to Michel in two other systems and to Andy with my Dreadnaught. When the scores were revealed the winner was the one who hadn’t been fighting other players at all...
Gareth 41 Andy 38 Michel 32 Philip 29
Now for something completely different...
Dobble (thansJon)
It was the beginning of the evening and Soren pulled out this neat little speed recognition game. It is basically a deck of round cards which have a number of little pictures on each of them. Each player takes a card, and then one of the deck is flipped over in the centre of the table. Everyone then has to try to match one of the pictures on their own card, with one on the middle card – the first person to do so wins the card and this now becomes their new active card. Rinse and repeat until the deck is exhausted and whoever has the most cards at the end is the winner.
The beauty of the game is that (somehow) each card only matches one picture with any other card, and the pictures, although identically graphically, can be different sizes and orientations, which makes matching them harder than it sounds. For such a simple idea, this was loads of fun, and definitely a stocking-filler for our family for next Christmas.
And the result? Jon drew with Soren. Or it might have been Tom. But not Philip….
Another quick card game...
Coup (thanks Jon)
Time for a quickie whilst waiting for another table to finish. Soren and Neil were the last men alive, and when Neil missed an opportunity to challenge Soren’s blatant use of an invisible Duke, he was successfully ‘couped’, leaving Soren victorious.
Soren won; Neil 2nd; Jon 3rd; Tom 4
A longer card game now...
Havana (thanks Jon)
This is one of those 30-45 minute games which leaves you feeling like you’ve played something a bit longer and heavier (in a good way!) Players have identical decks of role cards (a la Mission Red Planet) and choose to play 2 each round. The novelty is, each card has a value from 0 to 9, and players rearrange their 2 cards in order to produce the lowest number (eg playing 9 & 1 would give the number 19). Then, the lowest number goes first. As would be expected, the lower numbered cards are less powerful, but going first in turn order can be a great advantage. The goal is to collect resources and buy buildings of various values. The first player to 15 points wins.
Tom picked up a valuable building early on, whereas Soren was consistently getting nowhere, as his attempts to thieve and extort were proving fruitless. Jon picked up a lot of Pesos and bought an impressive early building, whilst Neil pondered…
Soren finally started to get some building going, Tom was spending half his turns protecting himself from Soren, and Neil was still pondering…
3 players were within one building of victory, but it was Jon who managed to sneak the necessary resources, recover his Architect from the discard pile, and built the necessary building to take him across the finish line. Good fun (although Neil probably never got over the fact that the game had been compared to Mission Red Planet….!)
Jon 16; Soren 11; Tom 9; Neil
Do they play anything other than card games while we’re playing Eclipse?
High Society (thanks Jon)
Neil had never played this super-filler before, so Dan and Jon obliged him with his first experience. Neil duly purchased both “x2” cards for an extortionate amount, and ended up with the least cash as a result. Dan didn’t have enough cash at the end to stop Jon picking up a nice “5” status symbol and a “x2”, which gave him the win.
Jon won; Dan 2nd; Neil – broke
Apparently not...
Shadows over Camelot: The Card Game (thanks Jon)
It was the end of the evening. This game drew a crowd of 7 players (the max), most of whom were new to the game.
James and Jon were the traitors, but there was general consensus that it is difficult to affect the outcome as the traitor with so many players, and it’s probably just as easy to lay low and get 2 white swords turned over to black at the end.
What we learned: don’t play with 7 players (stick to 3, 4 or 5 max). Make sure that everyone knows what’s going on before the game starts. With new players, you need a practice game to get the feel of what’s happening and what all the special cards do. With that said, there may well be a nice little game in that small box – so it will definitely get another outing for those that are interested………
Oh – and in case you hadn’t guessed, the traitors triumphed as no-one else could successfully count up to 11…..

Actually there were some non-card games out there...sorry no picture for this one...

King Up! (thanks Neil)

Simple Game, simple rules, to have scored so badly boy oh boy must I be thick!!
Each player, Soren, Tom, Jon and me, receives a card with 6 names on. They then take it in turns to place a token with one of those names on it onto a 7 tier board. Once all tokens are on the board the players promote one token at a time until one reaches the summit, becoming the king. There then follows a vote whether to score all tokens, or to ‘bin’ the top token. Each player has 2 ‘no’ votes he can use once each only, or a ‘yes’ he can re-use. The top token scores 10 points, the rest 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1. You play 3 rounds with the final round having a bonus score of 33 should you manage to actually score ‘0’ with your six names.
Soren took a hefty lead after the first round, Tom not that far behind. The second round was pretty similar although I’d fallen even further behind Jon. My first 4 names in the final round were binned almost immediately, so I go headstrong for a 33 score bonus, doomed of course…
Scores; Soren 70, Tom 60, Jon 41, Neil 30
We end with a realtimegame

Escape: The Curse of the Temple (thanks Neil)
A dice game I’m beginning to love! Three attempts tonight with Jon and Dan as fellow explorers. Jon was convinced that with 3 it would be more difficult, you couldn’t simply pair up and explore different chambers. To some extent he was right although at times Dan and I opted for a bit of peace and quiet and solitude.
New to Dan we began without the curses, we strolled around, were quite lucky with some close jewel-packed chambers and actually completed the task with some 3 minutes to spare, even with the exit tile coming out bottom of the stack – it’s shuffled into the last 4 chambers so we thought that was a bit unlucky! Maybe we should go hunting more jewels, the target of 11 seemed pretty straight forward. Not yet though, second game we introduced the curses, the ridiculous ‘hand-on-the-head’ challenge, the broken dice, and the ‘about-as-likely-as-Ipswich-returning-to-the-premiership’ dice on the floor is lost forever.
Not that we were feeling cocky but we decided to accept a curse every single time we went through a chamber rather than on first entry, AND, we also missed the rule that the first two chambers have their curses discounted. Saying that we also managed to do the treasure tokens wrong too, ahem! Anyway, hands on hearts, and heads, we took to our challenge in a bit more of a frenetic fashion. Dan became too isolated, lost a dice due not making the first rendezvous. We all got cursed by the dice and had to add an additional jewel to break free. Time then slipped us by and still the exit tile wasn’t coming out as we added more and more chambers. Should we split up and get through the new chambers, curses and all, or stick together…. Panic, and there it is, last tile again, a fancy teleporting move by Dan, me finally managing to find a key on one of the six dice I was throwing and we’re all out, 5 seconds to spare! Close shave, not used to them!!
Right, game three. We took a look at the rules and started playing the curses properly, and the treasures too, when you enter a chamber with a golden mask the treasure is placed inside it which you then role 2 keys to access. Again we stuck with 11 jewels, light-weights it could be said, I don’t think we even considered it to be honest. Dan’s first curse is the ‘dice-on-the-floor’ one, no sweat. He breaks free of it just in case though… and immediately throws a dice on the floor, spooky! Meanwhile Jon’s cracking through chambers and collecting jewels, until he chucks a dice on the floor too, crazy, where did that come from?! Was I going to be out done, too bloody right I wasn’t, dice on the floor, just how real are these curses?? Anyway, despite those indiscretions we explore efficiently and have all the jewels. Time to get out… last chamber, last tile again… three shuffles, three bottom tiles… too, too scary. We’re out with over minute to spare, victory, many many laughs, top game, even allowing for outrageous coincidence.

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