Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Weedling, what a fantastic word!

So I couldn’t make it… Mrs Hora stole the car, put me on babysitting duty.  Ha, still managed to get in two games of The Three Little Pigs and an introduction to Trains too – the proper AEG version of course, no the tatty Japanese one.  


Anyway, in my absence I see that Philip, Jon, Dan, Tom, Dan II, Scott, Charlotte, and James attended the London Apprentice.  From submitted reports I see that all got to play apart from James.  Why pick on him?  What’s he ever done wrong?  1. buys too many Japanese games 2. buys too many games with sixteen cards or less 3. buys too many Japanese games with less than seventeen cards 4. doesn’t follow football 5. buys the card ‘Niall Horabain’ and uses it savagely.  How's that for starters? Snowdonia, Two Rooms and A BOOM!
For Sale, Machi Koro, got played, presumably by James, possibly on his own, good choice!!

Ed.  James found some time to fill in some gaps here, thanks James!!

Wasn't able to play Machi Koro as too many first timers were queuing up to play this small Japanese game....

...and speaking of football, did you catch the score on Sat...

We (Noel, Jen and myself) had a good game of Snowdonia, but didn't get around to a report, I think I won but we weren't really counting...

For Sale was a gap game while we were waiting for Spyrium to finish..,. what was missing from the report was that 3 games started at the same time, a euro-filler in Syprium and 2 heavier games, Snowdonia and Russian Railroads... guess which 2 games finished first ??!!? No points for guessing who was involved in the Spyrium marathon... whistle

Anyhow For Sale was probably won by Scott... that's usually how these things go. I suspect my slightly increased game-win ratio started probably around the same time that Scott dropped off visiting us so frequently... which makes for an interesting dilemma for me when it comes to encouraging him back !

Spyrium (thank Jon – whoops, missed the ‘s’ of thanks)

Tom, Jon, Dan and Natasha took a spin with this latest release from Ystari. Jon instantly demonstrated his levels of concentration and observation by remarking that he thought that all Ystari games had a ‘Y’ and an ‘S’ in their titles, but this one didn’t have an ‘S’. Hmmmmmm...

The game is played over 6 rounds, and players are placing workers to purchase cards which allow them to mine Spyrium (some sort of green crystals), convert them to points, and many other rule-breaking abilities. It has a novel mechanism whereby the 9 cards up for sale are laid out in a 3x3 grid with enough space between them to place workers between 2 cards. Players can retrieve a worker and purchase a card that they have placed next to at any point, paying the face value plus 1 for every other worker surrounding that card. However, once you have started to purchase cards, you can no longer place more workers, so do you buy that card that you really want, but waste 1 or 2 workers, or place all your workers and hope that no-one buys it before you get the chance.

There are a limited number of special ability / end game scoring cards, and it’s pretty essential to pick up at least one of these. Jon didn’t appreciate their scarcity, and failed to pick up any of them (not that he grumbled much about it of course...)

Dan picked up a fantastic combo that enabled him to mine Spyrium without workers, and churn it into points each round. Added to an ability that let him repeat any action each round, he had a good thing going there. Tom had a nice money-earning ability (+2 each time money was collected) whilst Natasha appeared to be picking up cards galore for some big end-game scoring. Jon however, plodded on with some basic Spyrium mining / churning, and tried to save as many pennies as possible for the one-off ‘big points’ cards that Tom had promised would turn up in the last round.

And so the last round occurred, and Jon indeed paid well over the odds for the largest points card available. Natasha mulled over his choices and Dan & Tom maximised their point-scoring abilities.

The dust settled and the points were actually very close, with Jon’s non-strategy managing to just overtake Tom at the last minute (for 3rd place!) And despite Dan having a phenomenal little Syrium-churning engine, Natasha had maxed out his mines and just pipped Dan for the victory.

Despite playing a bit over-long for what it was, this was a nice worker-placement game with a few interesting twists. Definitely worth a re-run to get the game-time down a bit.

Final Scores; Natasha (Dan II) – 83, Dan – 81, Jon – 71, Tom - 69

Russian Railroads (thanks Philip!) 

This was my 5th game of Russian Railroads and Scott and Charlotte’s first.

The engineers available included the take another single worker action man in position 4 and the double industry move in position 6. Otherwise they were all rail moves. Going 3rd I picked up a Coin and Charlotte a black rail move. Scott opened by taking both workers. I took 2 coins and later bought the first engineer (move any rail and score 3 VPs).

Both my opponents focused on the Kiev line and its bonus VPs initially, with Charlotte also advancing her industry strongly. Charlotte bought the second engineer (black rail+3Vps) and Scott the third (grey rail+5 Vps).

On the second turn I triggered the first St.Petersburg bonus, took the bonus Engineer card (and the 7VPs per bonus space scoring card) and spent all my remaining coins and workers triggering the extra worker on the Vladivostok track. Meanwhile Scott took the No.9 Locomotive, placing it on St.Petersburg, and Charlotte took the Black Worker.

Charlotte and Scott’s next bonus was the Kiev Medal and they were soon scoring it. Meanwhile I took the 5 industry move bonus which I needed to keep up with them. I also bought the take another single worker action engineer, giving me considerable flexibility. By using the double industry move engineer I was able to trigger my industry bonus and also take the Kiev Medal, a turn later than the others.

Scott bought both 5th and 6th Engineers and looked to be good for the 40 points since the 5th Engineer was the number 13. Meanwhile with the help of two number 7 factories I motored my way to the 4th bonus spot in round 5- taking Revaluation. In round 6 I picked up a number 9 factory, allowing me to take the extra engineer end bonus card and reach the end of the industry line. I also managed to reach the end of the Vladivostok line and get in the 2 white rail moves (having moved my natural rail using my two “move any rails” engineers).

Charlotte and Scott had also maxed their industry and were scoring 10 points more than me on their Kiev lines. Charlotte had managed to reach the “doubling” spot on the St.Petersburg line, but it was still only 16 points a turn. Neither fully developed their Vladivostok line- Charlotte didn't get beyond the second space with her black rail, Scott had a reasonable stretch of brown track. Both scored about 20 points on bonus cards and Scott had 20 more for 2nd most Engineer, but my victory was pretty clear even before scoring 68 points at the end of the game.

Final Scores; Philip – 365, Scott – 322, Charlotte - 312.

Mayday! Mayday! (thanks again Jon!)

It was the end of the evening, and time for another social deduction game - this time, one of the games that Jon brought back from Essen. This is quite similar to the Resistance, although with a bit more information available (or maybe the illusion of more information available...)

With 5 players there are 2 Infiltrators and 3 honest crew members. The goal of the game is to get all the honest crew members into the cockpit and fly the plane to safety. However, if any of the infiltrators weedle their way in, then the flight is doomed.

As it turned out Jon (no surprises there) and Tom were the infiltrators and were sitting next to each other . The basic deduction mechanism is that each player has 3 face-down cards in front of him - the good guys have 2 ‘good’ and 1 ‘bad’, whilst the infiltrators have 2 ‘bad’ and 1 ‘good’ card. At the start of the game, each player looks at the outside card of his 2 neighbours, and then places a token to indicate what he has supposedly seen. The fun then begins...
Jon had instantly been tagged by 2 ‘bad’ tokens by James and Tom, and therefore this meant that one or more of James, Jon and Tom had to be an infiltrator. James was convinced that it was Jon (of course), and Jon realised that his best bet was probably to try to take the heat and deflect it off Tom as much as possible. The fact that Tom had tagged Jon as an infiltrator was a good start in that direction.

Each round, someone gets to look at one card of another player, and then everyone votes on whether that player is trustworthy or not. At the end of the first round, 3 players will have ‘the benefit of the doubt’, and in the next round players must decide which 2 of these are ‘reliable’. Then, these 2 are whittled down to a single person who becomes the captain. He then chooses a second crew member, who then chooses the third and final member who will get cockpit access.

Natasha (Dan) and James had been selected as the reliable crew members, with James eventually becoming captain. The evidence was good that Dan was also a good guy, and was James’ pick to join him. 2 down, one to go. It was now down to Dan to decide whether Philip or Tom was the final honest crew member (Jon had long ago given up trying to prove his ‘innocence’...)

For some reason, Dan had been convinced all along that if Jon was an infiltrator, then so was Philip, and in the final discussion, James backed him up on this. Therefore Tom was selected, and the last noises that were heard were those of Philip dissolving into cries of disbelief, and Tom & Jon high-fiving...

This was a great end to the evening, with lots of laughs and heated debates. Say it quietly, but I think that I might even like this game a bit better than the Resistance actually...

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