Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Small but perfectly formed

Six board gamers tonight - makes the blog easier, but where have all the Autumn gamers gone? Next week a fair few of the players will be in Essen, but numbers of players are typically very unpredictable week on week. We've tried to work out if is the weather, big sporting events on TV, school holidays, but it seems like the roll of a die, so if you're considering coming down to the London Apprentice on the 23rd then you'd be most welcome to come and add the the randomness.

Gamers: Jon, James, Tom, Amanda, Neil, Phil

Mama Mia (thank Jon)

The starter of choice today comprised of 6 early-bird IBG'ers turning into pizza chefs,
attempting to make bold and outrageous pizza recipes using a variety of tasty ingredients. There was a time when Mama Mia was seen nearly every week at IBG, but it's been kept safely in its tin for a while now, so was well overdue another outing.
It was new to Amanda, and a quick refresh of the symbols on the recipe cards (the slightly more complex 'Mama Mia plus' was being used) was enough to get everyone going. As always, no-one seems to play enough recipe cards in the first round, but as the game wore on, they were played with complete abandon.
Both James and Jon played '15+' recipes early on in a couple of rounds, which essentially resets the oven if they are successful (which they were). Neil was constantly a couple of ingredients short of his recipes, and never seemed to have the leftovers in his larder to fulfil them.
Jon and James pulled away in the final round for an honourable draw, and Tom was the best of the rest.
Scores: Jon 7, James 7, Tom 4, Amanda 3, Neil 3

Railways of the World - Mexico (Thanks Noel)

Phil didnt have to wait too long to find two willing players for Railways of the World as Jon and Noel are always keen for some classic train action. Phil was offered the choice of some relaxing gaming through Englands green and pleasant land or the attritional loanfest that often transpires in Mexico's mountainous map. He took one look at fellow Railways veterans, Noel and Jon, and plumped for Mexico.

The starting cubes offered two good spots for starting networks, one in the South East and one in the Northwest. Jon dropped out first in the initial auction at 5k, Noel bid up to 9 and Phil took it with a bid of 10k. Phil duly placed in the SE and picked up the 1st delivery bonus. Noel then took his favoured spot in the NW leaving Jon with a difficult decision. He decided to not go too close to either Noel or Phil and placed in the NE near San Antonio.

Noel built a solid network through the NW and took the first to deliver 4 different cubes bonus. He also picked up the San Antonio hotel to take advantage of the plentiful yellow cubes on the east side of the board which eventually made their way through Jon's network to San Antonio. Jon built a circular network in the NE and delivered the first 3 route delivery coming across to Noel's starting city, El Paso.

By the mid game, Noel was well ahead by around 15 points having secured the El Paso to Guadalajara and Torreon to Mexioc bounties and helped out by a timely Culiacan service bounty. He had 7 loans to Phils 5. Jon was further back in points totals but had more cubes still remaining in his network while Phil and Noel were pinching each others and cities were emptying quickly in the SW. At this point there was only one long route left unclaimed and only one more route out of Verracruz. Noel and Jon had eyes on the route and the auction bidding started. Noel was a bit surprised to pick it up for 3k and duly built into Verracruz. It turns out that Jon had his eyes on Salina Cruz a little further south which unfortunately for him was the wrong Cruz for the long route bonus. Several turns later Noel came across from El Paso to San Antonio to take this long route bonus and mean that he had an extensive network.

Phil was flush with cash having stayed prudent with his loan acquisition and he Urbanised several midland cities for good effect. Crucially Noel was able to build into one of these and siphon off some cubes for 4 point deliveries. The game ended with only 4 cubes remaining on the board and Noel's network won the day.

Scores: Noel 68, Phil 61, Jon 57

Get Bit (thanks Neil)

After the delights of North Wales in pretty good weather it was time for a bit of swim
ming. Now, unbeknown to most for the last 2 months I have started swimming again in an effort to do something about my colossus of a stomach. Every week day morning I swim 64 lengths of the slowest breast-stroke imaginable, that’s a whole mile! Would that help me in this game?

You each have a plastic swimmer making his/her way to shore in single file with a shark chasing them. Each player has a card numbered 1 to 5 and chooses which to play. Once revealed the lowest number played allows the player to move their swimmer to the front of the queue. Then the next lowest and so on… any matching cards mean the players cancel each other out, no movement for them.

Which was the problem James had straight away. I matched his cards and with his swimmer nearest the shark, he lost a limb – literally pulled off your swimmer – at the end of the first three rounds. With James in trouble Tom and then Amanda also lost limbs whilst I remained close to shore. James got eaten, completely. Tom had a couple of bad rounds until Amanda took over at the back. Eventually I lost a couple of limbs but still found my breast-stroke to be good enough to win. It’s pretty easy to swim faster than a man or woman with no legs and only one arm! Hurrah!

Enjoyable bit of fun, one the Horakids would love I'm sure.

San Juan (thanks Noel)

Noel, Jon, Tom and James settled into some comfortable shoe gaming with San Juan to finish the night. Jon built an early Quarry and complimentary Carpenter setting the scene for some quick purple builds. James and Tom both had early Guild Halls and several high value production buildings. (We decided to play with a Guild Hall variant, scoring only with every different production building). Noel had a Trading Post and complementary Building which gave him an extra card when the 2 buildings traded. He also build a City Hall and Triumphal arch with 2 monuments. James added a City Hall to his Guild Hall. Jon closed the game out several buildings ahead of everyone else with an Arch and 2 monuments amongst his well built city. But with James Chapel and Noel's 2 six buildings the final scoring was likely to be close... but Jon squeaked through on the tie break. James also did very well on the tiebreaker of cards left in hand. Unfortunately for him he didnt quite make the tie breaker!

Scores: Jon 31 (4cards), Noel 31 (1card), James 30 (but 4 cards...), Tom 25


Welsh mountains were also climbed, but there is no report for this game.