Saturday, 3 August 2013

"Lazy Jack was even lazier than usual"

Although not half as lazy as me since I haven’t written up my session reports and am posting this more than 2 weeks late.
Feld of Light...
Rialto (thanks Neil)
A second outing of the year for one of the new Feld games, and I think this will be considered as the lightest one. Saying that it was quite some time since Barry and I had played our first game and our explanations to Gareth were less than fluent it must be said.
Anyway, it is pretty simple to learn so after the first of the six rounds he was off. Barry opted to do some early building as Gareth went for control of the Doge track. I decided to see if I could cope without many buildings and took an early lead with the area 1 majority.
As Gareth also picked his way nicely through the buildings, thus gaining useful additional cards and actions, it was clear that my strategy was absolutely useless! I tried to get into buildings but by then I should have been moving into more areas, which is where Barry was filling his boots, and sometimes very cheaply too. Unfortunately Gareth got confused in the final round with gondolas and bridges… pretty tricky to steer a bridge through an Italian canal but there you go!
All in all a good game and will be possible to play this very quickly once everyone gets to grips with the few strategy options. Top marks Mr Field!
Final Scores; Barry – 82, Gareth II – 76, Neil – 64.
Kingdom of diss...
Kingdom Builder (thanks Neil)
After a massive ‘dissing’ following my first play of this some time ago I recently relented and decided it must be good as SO many folk said it was… and then I found myself buying a copy as the price was just right. So, keen to give it another play. Gareth had played twice before so he lead Barry and me through the rules and off we went.
The three ‘target’ cards were; Farmers – 3 VPs for each of your settlements in the area with the fewest of your settlements; Hermits – 1 VP for each of your separate settlement areas; Miners – 1 VP for each settlement next to a mountain. We played with the areas featuring; barns, paddocks, harbours and towers.
Whilst we all looked to distribute our settlements over the four boards I was stymied in my attempts to significantly increase the number of my lowest settlements for the Farmers card. Barry also had a significant settlement area on one board although towards the end was able to split this up somewhat. Gareth lead the way with an impressively even spread of settlements and made good use of the harbour bonus token.
The game played pretty swiftly, as Barry said that’s because there’s so little player interaction and you can be ready for your turn almost immediately after playing your last. For that he felt it was very much a ‘solitaire’ experience and I’d have to agree with that. On the other hand the variable set ups and different target cards do at least make each game somewhat different and I certainly enjoyed this more than my first game. It could well be perfect for the family, play time is good; they don’t concentrate too well after 1 minute so this is ok compared to a 90 minute feast I prefer! Plus I think they would enjoy setting up there areas, always a popular mechanic with them.
Final scores; Gareth II – 71, Neil – 60, Barry – 55.
Fields of horses...
Agricola ACBAS (thanks Jon)
Paul and Jon had arrived a bit early on this glorious summer evening, so decided to have a go at some animal husbandry. Paul hadn't played for some time, so needed a rules refresher, which Jon just about managed - although failed to mention until halfway through the bit about scoring 1 point for every animal! Fortunately, Paul was collecting animals at a rate of knots anyway, so hopefully it didn't make too much difference... This was played with the expansion, which gave 4 extra buildings to choose from. Although their effects can be subtle, they can give a real shift to a player's strategy. Jon picked up the building that allowed him to build a fence during every breeding phase as long as he had bred a horse - so horses it was! Paul got a couple of expansion areas into play quite early, and ended up building a fine array of fences to contain his ever-expanding boar empire. Jon had managed to place a feeding trough in a stable, giving him the room to breed a large flock of sheep, but at the expense of boar and cows. A late building purchase enabled him to place boars on empty spaces near the forest, which helped avoid the -3 penalty, as well as helping to fill his 2 expansion boards. With the final round over, Paul felt that he hadn't done well, but it was actually a lot closer than he thought, with Jon's purchase of the half-timbered house for 5 bonus points in the last round helping to secure the victory. A fantastic 2 player game, which apparently has another expansion coming out soon... Jon 50; Paul 42
Barrels of broke...
Montego Bay (thanks Jon)
This was one of those games that was on the original £7.99 Works sale - and was worth the purchase price. Simple rules, nice components and enough gameplay to keep it interesting for the 45 minute game time. Lazy Jack turned out to be even lazier than usual, being hired only twice during the game. The huts had an interesting layout, with 3 in a row having the broken barrels next to each other. Paul and James seemed to be able to avoid these broken barrels the best, with Paul especially talented at helping his workers to arrive at the profitable huts - placing 7 barrels onto ships on more than one occasion. Paul's barrel-acquisition was enough to help him to a fine victory, with the other 3 players spaced evenly in his wake.
 Paul 49; James 40; Woody 32; Jon 24
Sands of ease...
Forbidden Desert
By this time, Dan had arrived, and Woody had left - and it was time for some co-operative action with Matt Leacock's new offering. The IBG'ers were currently 3 games played, 3 losses, so it was time to knuckle down for a first victory. The crash site was at the top of the desert, along with 2 of the 3 potential watering holes. The adventurers decided to methodically work their way southwards, not worrying too much about the water situation for the time being. They uncovered all the tunnels next to each other, which isn’t great for moving around the landscape, but isn’t too bad for sheltering from the sun together.

Dan drew an equipment card which gave water, which was a relief to Paul and Jon who were running dangerously low. The clue tiles came out very nicely for the team, and the launch pad also appeared in a favourably central position.

At one stage, the sand was really starting to build up, but a quick hoover with the Dune Blaster regained some precious time. So much so, that the adventurers soon found themselves with all 4 parts of the flying machine, and near the launch pad. All it needed was for James to join them and they had won – except that James inexplicably wanted to do some more sand-clearing rather than reach the safety of the Launch Pad! Fortunately, his team dissuaded this rather reckless behaviour, and they all reconvened at the appropriate location and flew to safety. A win for the IBG’ers (at the ‘normal’ difficulty level)!
Next time – let’s ramp up the difficulty…..
Show of cards...
Show Manager (thanks Jon)
Another outing for this current favourite of IBG – this time with James and Paul joining Jon and Dan. James had recently sold this to Dan, after failing to generate any interest at IBG when he had tried to play it in the past. The fact that it has now been played 4 or 5 times in as many weeks is probably just a coincidence, rather than the alternative hypothesis that people are keener to play games with Dan rather than James….

James picked up some heavyweight green actors in the first couple of turns, so Jon also decided to recruit for this particular performance – except Jon’s were from the bargain basement end of the Equity availability rosta. Wasting no time, he put on a show in one of the less salubrious venues, limiting James’ possible gains, and giving himself a show to draw cash from later in the game.

Paul and Jon were competing for actors late in the game, with Paul’s eyes lighting up every time Jon flushed the cards. Dan had managed to non-synchronise his plays with the other players, which gave him some freedom in what he picked up.

The end, as it always does, raced up, and when the roar of the greasepaint had subsided, Dan had just succeeded in pipping Jon to the post by a mere 3 points. Well played sir!

After James’ performance, he might be glad that he’s sold the game on now……

Dan 54; Jon 51; Paul 39; James 27

1 comment: