Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The News Tonight: As the country looks to leave the Euro, we delve deeper into it…

A select committee was assembled this week to consider Britain’s ongoing role in the Euro.  First up was our delegate from Roman times, Tonio, with his Teutonic Knizia game ‘Circus Flohcati’.  The sceptics, Gareth II, Ravi and Neil pushed the language barriers to one side and began collecting fleas.  Thankfully the theme only goes so far.  Colours and high numbers were fought over, and collections of small sets too for bonus points.  All in all, a neat game, one up to the Euro although the expert – he introduced it – failed in exhibiting it’s true glory.

Scores; Gareth II  51, Ravi  49, Tonio  47, Neil 45

Maybe property will be the determining factor for Britain?  A nation of homebuilders after all, not content to rent when materialism and ownership is thrust upon us…

For Sale (thanks Jon)

Return of the super-filler, which was new to Michel and Dan II. Jon bid all his remaining money to take the ‘30’ building in the last hand, but had he retained a single coin, he would have won. But he didn’t. So there. Really close scoring though.

Final Scores; Tom 49, Jon 49, Paul 47, Barry 45, Michel 39, Dan II 36

With the property boom being popular it was no surprise when many of the delegation moved up to

Kingdom Builder (thanks again Jon!)

A welcome return for this excellent 45-minute game, and there was no trouble in finding 3 others to join Jon. The 3 scoring cards chosen were Hermits (many settlements); Workers (congregate around castles and other fixtures) and Merchants (join up different castles etc). They were all slightly at odds with each other (although workers and merchants dovetailed a little) which made for an interesting game.

There was slightly more interaction than usual in this game, as it was possible to block other players from scoring points for merchants and workers.

The game stuck to its 45 minute promise, and ended with Tom scoring several Merchants which helped propel him into first place. Jon and Paul agreed to share spoils for 2nd place, with Tonio not too far behind.

Final Scores; Tom 52, Jon 45, Paul 45, Tonio 38

Meanwhile over at the Common Agricultural Policy Forum.  Would those French farmers have their tractors descending on the Houses of Parliament?  Indeed not it seems, their representation was too busy examining the hysterical, I mean, historical formation of Europe and it’s colonies in Through The Ages.  The only quote available came from MEP Gareth who said, ‘Not being put off by the lack of finishing this week, next week Gareth II has asked to join in so it will be a four player game, not sure if we will even get out of the first ages never mind the 3rd’.  So not much positive coming out of that one then.


Back on the farm Andy took Ravi – and I was all ears too – through the Agricola guidelines, Gareth II was expert adviser.  Not content to just try and sell the policy into Europe Andy thrust forward the ‘World Championship’ deck of Occupations and Minor Improvements.  Delusions of grandeur… mais oui, bien sur!

There was a brief moment when the Hora, in his second ever game, thought  he was going well, only to realise that not only could he not take his much anticipated next move, he’d also buggered up the move after that, and he still needed to feed the world.  No wonder he moved from countryside to city.

Meanwhile Ravi continued to plow fields.  Must be some sort of subsidy going astray there, he needed to get sowing too really.  He did pick up a good flock of sheep too though, to keep the wolf from the door.  Gareth II was looking confident, gradually building up resources and waiting for the perfect moment to fence his pastures in whilst extending his family to the max.

Andy lead by example.  Occupations and improvements coming out all over the place, and his pile of resources reflected some of the strategic food mountains Europe is famous for.  And just when we thought he couldn’t do much more along came a massive consignment of cattle to add to his already crammed farm. Impressive.

Final Scores; Andy  46, Gareth II  38, Neil 30, Ravi 19.

The Health Delegation opted to tackle the ongoing infestation problems of Europe with the fleas finding their homes in a slightly larger form; Rattus, (thanks Jon!) and in particular the ‘Spread Across the Med’ into North Africa.
This was played with the Africanus expansion, which allows for up to 6 players. In this case there were only 5, as James had joined the Kingdom Builders after waiting patiently on the sidelines.

Tom firmly set up camp in Northern Europe, along with Tonio and Paul. James and Jon relegated themselves to Northern Africa. The game progressed with the plague sweeping first South then North then South again. Jon and James were using the King to squirrel away a few cubes, whilst Tonio was setting up a large contingent of blue cubes in the centre of the board. Paul and Tonio took it in turns to walk the camel around the board, whilst Tom did a good job of generally staying out of trouble.

Towards the end, everything seemed fairly close, but with a swing of points obtained thanks to one of the witch cards (Merlin?), and a final decimation of cubes (mostly Jon’s) when the last plague tokens were resolved, the result was that Tonio had come out in front. Maybe everyone had been a little too nice to him on his return to IBG….?!

Final Scores; Tonio 15, James 13, Paul 11, Tom 10, Jon 9

A smaller sub-committee somehow lost the plot, the Euro definition was fine but South American tribes were hardly on the agenda… Game of the Month no less!
Tzolk'in (Thanks Woody!)

Game of the month. Most players now have an idea of the game, so no lengthy explanation needed. Worker placement, resource management, moving cogs, crystal skulls !

First time plays for Barry and Philip, Dan II had played once or twice before and Woody seems to play nothing else (joking).

Philip quickly went down the workforce expansion route but didn't acquire enough corn to feed and maximise their effectiveness early although he rectified this in latter stages. Dan II decided to dominate the temples, picking up
resources and VPs early whilst Barry had a bit of skull action going on. Woody however appeared to be just collecting resources and not doing a lot else other than moving up the corn and resource technologies. When final scoring arrived, Woody was on 2VPs but having purchased three monuments in his final turn, shot through for a narrow victory.

Final Scores; Woody  63, Barry  56, Dan II  54, Philip  28

The German delegation then got all a bit agitated and out came 11 Nimmt!  No longer content with six, they now have to go to eleven.  Phillip joined Ravi and myself for four or five hands, some close games won by Phil and then me before Ravi took a ‘right ol’ fistfull’ as they like say in the East End.

We paused to watch the first of two attempted Escapes from the Euro, I mean, the Curse of the Temple. 

Escape: The Curse of the Temple (thanks Jon, again!)

James and Jon inducted Paul and Tom into the frantic dice-rolling fest that is Escape. With little time left in the evening, the game was played twice but without the curse and treasure expansions – they add to the fun but do take a little while to explain.
The first game went down to the wire, with only seconds remaining as James finally rolled his last key.  Only for Tom to pipe up that he was stuck with four Black Masks – they all lost a die each earlier – and that was that; Team-bonding failed!  The second game was a much more sedate affair, with over a minute left when the adventurers sauntered out of the exit, stopping for a celebratory cigar on the way out.

Definitely a fun way to end the evening!

The Euro Rebels in the meantime went even further off track;

Stone Age (Cheers Woody!!)

10.15pm, only time for fillers ? Hell no, time for speed Stone Age!  Woody, Barry, Dan II and Gareth sat down for a lightning fast game with the aim of finishing in 45mins. Woody went down the starvation route, Barry grabbed the buildings, Dan II took a mixed approach whilst Gareth had axes and food. Done in just over 30mins !

Final Scores; Dan II  139, Barry  132, Woody  120, Gareth  92

So, it looks like the Euro may well be making a strong return to favour… join us again next week for the next instalment.

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