Tuesday, 28 January 2014

"The next card will be a 17......."

Players: Jon, Paul, Simon, Mark, Neil, Philip, Gareth II, Dan, Barry, Amanda, James

11 IBG'ers turned up tonight, including first-timer Simon, a second appearance from Mark and a welcome return after a bit of a break from Barry. I think he's been keeping a low profile due to the extremely poor performances from his football team, Fulham, but with more than one Yeovil fan, and a Tractor-Boy at IBG, he needn't be too ashamed. (Come to think of it, Noel has been conspicuous by his absence recently, and he's a ManUre supporter - hmmm...)

Anyway, enough of football. Tonight saw another outing for the latest hotness that is Lewis and Clark, some mail being delivered by German stagecoaches, and nothing being delivered by some Japanese trains. Oh yes, and a game of Diamant characterised by some very suspicious card-dealing that made us all wonder if we were playing with Dynamo..... 

Big Points

Paul had brought his work colleague (let's not flatter Paul by calling him a friend...) Simon along nice and early, and Jon joined them for a quick abstract game, that bears a passing resemblance to Quandary / Botswana. Players collect tokens along a pathway by moving coloured pawns of corresponding colours - and at the end of the game these tokens are worth differing points according to how quickly the pawns move along the path. So, do you put your eggs all in one basket, and only collect 1 or 2 colours, hoping for a jackpot, or spread your bets, knowing that some will be worth very little?
Jon went for the former strategy, collecting mostly blue and purple tokens, which turned out to be worth a fair number of points. Paul picked up a fair number of white tokens, which, because he had collected at least one of every other colour, were worth 6 points each. Simon picked up a few blacks, which gave him extra turns which he used to good effect.
The game ends quickly - and the scores were tight, with just 3 points between each player.
Jon 37; Paul 34; Simon 31


More quick card-laying fun, with the game about building totem poles. James
picked up some healthy erections (?!) whilst Paul managed to confuse his active cards with his score pile, resulting in him having to play the last round with cards selected randomly by the newly-arrived Amanda. And yet he still managed to achieve an unbelievably low score, that could probably be bettered by playing cards blindly all game (maybe that's what he had been doing...?)
Anyway, James won, although his victory was questioned on the basis that he was sitting to the left of Paul - a well-known advantage in any game....
James 72; Jon 61; Neil 56; Simon 50; Paul 24

7 Wonders
A welcome return to this fun card-drafting game, that plays 6 players in well under an hour very nicely. Simon was new to the game, but James did his best to lift the fog of confusion that can often occur in one's first game.
Jon and James ensured that they had enough military might to score heavily with their armies, whereas Paul and Amanda picked a more peaceful path. For some reason, money wasn't really an issue for anyone during the game, with coins actually running out at the end (mainly thanks to Gareth hoarding 36 coins).
Paul went big with Blue victory points, with a few culture cards thrown in for good measure. He failed to score at all with his Wonder, needing one of every resource in his tableau - which he fell short of by 1. He also built an illegal duplicate blue building, but James felt sorry for him and allowed it to stand...
James racked up a fine collection of yellow Market cards, scoring heavily with them, whilst being able to pick up resources cheaply throughout the game from his neighbours. Amanda was the only player to major on culture cards, but didn't quite pick up enough to receive full benefit from them - maxing out at 17 points. Jon and Simon were the only players to lay down Guild cards, picking up 9 points each from these. Jon was also able to use his Wonder to copy the effect of Simon's guild for a further 9 points.
The end result was a bit of a 2 horse race between James and Jon, with Jon just squeezing ahead by a couple of points.
At the end of the game, Paul bemoaned the fact that James has so many Markets, allowing him to purchase resources cheaply. It was then pointed out that Paul had actually passed most of these to James during the course of the game...
Next week, we have decided that it is only fair to toss a coin to see who gets to sit to the left of Paul...
Jon 62; James 60; Gareth 47; Amanda 37; Simon 32; Paul 30

Thurn and Taxis (thanks James)
A welcome run-out of this classic game, new to Gareth, and semi-new to Amanda. A brief rules overview and we were off... I had decided to take a slow route this game and just try to get the best cards going each round rather than aim for any set... I'd also decided to try the end game tactic of building the 3-4-5-6-7 routes in order. Dan was first to collect solid points with a couple of sets while Amanda picked up the first 6 route bonus...
By mid game I was pondering my choice of strategy and feeling out of it with only 1 bonus while Dan was looking good having been first to claim the set of 9 routes and several other bonus's. Gareth was finding his way for his first game, while Amanda was looking to pick up the large bonus for the grey region. However I did managed to keep up progress of being the first to the latest carriage card.
Then, towards the end of the game I saw an opportunity that if it worked would put me in with a chance... I could look to complete the 7th carriage card while at the same time finishing a couple of regions and taking both the 9 set bonus and a 7 route tile... a long shot but things started to work out for me... it also helped going before Dan and thus being aware of what he needed I was able to scupper his plans... I got no pleasure from this of course as I have nothing but the greatest respect for Dan, but you gotta play to win... :)
With the last round looming I saw my chance, and managed to pull off what I think would have to be my greatest final move in this game ever, claiming about 20 points in bonuses across several tiles... Dan however was still looking smug as we counted the scores (you know that look he has... yes, that's the one...) and a little confident as he'd already run the numbers before my move...
We counted scores... and... horror, the horror... he had 1 point more than me...
...and then the gaming angels smiled and I realised I'd missed a 2 point bonus tile from my last hand... Dan's look turned from glee to something not un-similar to Freddie Kruger while I claimed  my unexpected victory in a calm and very subdued manner.
Final scores were me ahead of Dan by a point. Amanda came 3rd and Gareth last, but I suspect he'd do a lot better next time out...  It didn't help that I'd forgotten to mention the rule about losing points for any left over houses... although that didn't make much of a difference at the end of the day it probably didn't help.
Great game again of T&T... I always wonder why we don't play this more often... especially with Dan :)
And now, for 2 different reports of the same game - of course, the ubiquitous -

Lewis & Clark (thanks Philip)
Can't remember names of cards. Nor in some cases what the cards did,
especially the 3 strength I bought near the beginning of the game and never used face side up (it was too busy powering my movement card). I didn't trash many cards this game.
Neil had a slow start, falling behind with his first camp and taking time to build some extra spaces for Indians. However, he picked up the permanent +2 Water character and the Canoe+Horse for 6 movement (in either medium) character and in one single turn he moved 24 spaces. Well he would have moved 24 spaces if he hadn't hit the mountains and been forced to stop. He then camped and unfortunately hit Barrie's camp moving backwards.
Barrie had been taking a more conventional Canoes and Buffalo route up the river. I had added the +5 water for 3 different resources character into the mix and thereby taken the lead, marching into the mountains with a Buffalo and 2 Horses- getting the Horses took a lot of Indians.
Indeed all game after the first water stretch I was reliant on Indians whom I was putting on the board to gather resources and turn them into Horses, and then recovering with my card. Neil had a card which allowed him to take Village actions- and Barrie had one which allowed him to take them if Indians were there, so were less dependant on putting Indians in the Village- they preferred using them on cards.
Neil and Barrie's camps kept being entangled, although on one occasion it was due to a miscount. Neil's 6 move card proved its worth again although the first move was only two spaces as he got out of the water. With 2 more horses and a Buffalo I entered the second water area and shot to its end with my +5 water card. Barrie, now using a Horse=3 on land or 3 on water card, and Neil were not far behind, indeed Barrie now landed on top of me and went into the second mountain range.
However I was now able to finish the game with another 2 horses+buffalo followed by 5 on the water combo. Barrie was in second place- he had put together 4 horses but in his last move could only spend one of them as he had (temporarily) run out of high strength cards and Indians...he wouldn't have won had he spent three though.
The 5 on the water card, which turns the raw ingredients for a horse into more movement than you can get from a horse, seems a little powerful. The permanent +2 on the water card seemed less impressive- but maybe if you use it with weaker movement cards it comes into its own.

And now, Neil's take on the game...

Lewis and Clark

Three player game with Philip, Neil and Barry; great to have you around again!
Philip’s game explanation was as impressive as ever, and because there’s little advantage in going first in this race game we managed to get Barry’s scout to drop first of course. Anyway, Barry had listened well and picked up some early resources and added a useful recruit to his team. Philip seemed to start moving straight away, and I, well, truth be told, didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Had I really won this game last/first time out?? First camp saw my scout zipping backwards, which would have been fine if I was building up for an impressive sprint along the river… that happened but not before the others were in the mountains and working their way through them comfortably.
Philip was certainly concentrating on keeping resources tight and collecting and then using a mass of Indians from time to time. Barry spotted the wisdom in doing this and also picked up some large helpings of Native American assistance. I’d realised by now that I still didn’t have a clue what I was doing, strategy... what the hell’s a strategy? And then I picked up two good recruits; Sacagawea who’s great for picking up village actions free of charge, plus Old Toby who finally got me shifting along, all a bit late, but nevertheless vague respectability was forthcoming. Philip was suddenly out of the mountains and was sat on the perfect recruit, Cutssahnem. He paid up three resources to move the final 5 spaces and past Fort Clatsop for a pretty comfortable time setting up camp and claiming victory. If only I’d woken up earlier! Barry had a good first game and knowing him he’ll be serious competition for Philip next time.
Trains (thanks Paul)
Jon and Paul had 'Trained' quite a few times so far, Mark had played Dominion
before, but deck building games were new to Simon.
The cards that came out were a strange bunch, including all three that allow someone to build on different terrain without paying the extra bonus (river, mountain and city), the Ironworks giving more cash is used when laying track and something that asks you to name the next card and if you get it right you can use it. There were no 'in game' scoring cards, meaning that all scoring would be counted at the end.
Simon started in the west of the board and began a campaign to lay as much track as he could from the outset.
Jon was in the North West and decided that he was happy only laying four rails for the majority of the game, a few more at the end and concentrated largely on getting a high scoring hand with lots of skyscrapers.
Mark began in the middle of the board and started to face up to Jon in the North and Paul in the South, spreading in both directions quite quickly.
Paul began hoping for a quiet life without any encroachment, but Mark soon put paid to this, and he realised that he'd not have enough points on the board unless he extend his reach.
Paul and Jon concentrated on their engine, picking up as many limited express trains (the highest scoring trains) as possible. Jon used his to pick up many of the aforementioned skyscrapers, whilst Paul split his between high scoring yellow cards and spreading out on the board.
Mark decided that the most profitable route was to piggyback off Jon's area in the Northern Osaka suburbs...
Simon was well positioned but didn't find the cards came out to allow him to enter the remote bonus spaces.
Paul got the card to allow him to spreads across cities on the cheap, so snaked across Simon's existing cities and stole the three pointer Simon was eying up from under his nose. He also benefitted by drawing the ironworks alongside his lay rails cards on several occasions, which gave him a bit more money in each turn and allowed him to hold onto Jon's coat tails.
Simon brought the game to an end by taking the last card in the fourth stack to be used, and the winner before the scoring took place was very difficult to predict. Jon had clearly collect many more yellow scoring cards than anyone else, but his sparse board action wouldn't add much to it. The yellow cards were counted first so Jon took a commanding lead, but after the board was totted up, Paul managed to get his nose in front. Just.
Paul 54, Jon 50, Simon 38, Mark 36

No Thanks (thanks James)
So a filler while we waited for 10 minutes for the neighbouring game to end (no, not Lewis and Clark, that was going on all night... but Trains...) It transpires that 10 minutes in a game of Trains is similar to the 10 minutes that BR tell you a real train will be delayed by before it turns up 45 minutes later...
Early stages saw a few high 30's picked up by Gareth and myself... both of us positioning for a few freebies and some cash. Due to the luck of the draw I managed to get the best outcome from this. Dan was collecting some adhoc numbers in the 20's but not sure why really... However a few more good cards (for me) came up and I was soon rolling in money while the others struggled... This game has some interesting tactical decisions when there's a card you want as you want to get the most $$ but need to time the pick up for when there is no cash left... this backfired a few times on us this time round as money was short...   actually money was short mainly cause I had most of it, which I hadn't actually cottoned onto as something to take advantage of.
As the game drew to a close it was looking good for team Sinden, I had some nice runs and a wad of cash... Dan's numbers were (like Gareth's) looking dis-jointed.... and as scores were counted I won by a landslide... :) Little did I realise this would then form the basis for some rather retaliatory game play in the next game up...
Pickomino (pronounced Pick-OM-ino) (thanks again James)
A nice find from a charity shop this and great components... there's definitely
something to be said for a game that 'feels' good to play and the bakelite dominos give this a sense of quality even if it's packaged in a cartoony box.
Dan, Gareth and me gave this a roll (pun intended) after the game of No Thanks and soon discovered this was a game of nasty, nasty shenanigans... something definitely suited to Dan and my usual playing techniques. You roll dice, you push your luck to get the dominos, but, if you can roll the right numbers you can steal dominos from other players... which immediately became the true challenge of the game... who wouldn't get more pleasure taking points from another player rather than from a common pool ?
So... for some reason Dan and Gareth both ganged up on me (well that's my excuse for doing badly)... I'm guessing due to my previous victories at No Thanks and Thurn and Taxis... oh shallow people that they are... and between them it made for a close finish as the last tile was taken.
To tell the truth, I can't remember the score, I think Dan won... but it could've been Gareth... I'm kinda hoping it was Gareth but I have a sinking feeling it was Dan... ok, lets just all agree to pretend it was Gareth ok... it definitely wasn't me, that much I do remember.
Final scores, lots to Gareth (probably)... slightly less to Dan ;) and for me just about enough points not to be embarrassed but with no chance of actually threatening to win...
Will need to bring this along again as it's all done in 20 minutes but there's a neat game in there.

The evening wrapped up with a fun couple of expeditions down the mines - except, we had forgotten that we were playing with master magician James, who can apparently manipulate a deck of cards any way he chooses....
This was first demonstrated as he stayed in the first mine by himself, despite dangers lurking at every corner stating confidently - "Don't worry, I'll just stay for one more card which will be the 17." Which it was. And there were many suspicious looks cast in his direction.
And then there was the next mine, which James was still dealing cards for. And lo and behold - 7 (yes 7!) danger cards turned over at the top of the deck, so nobody could score any points. There were many more suspicious looks cast in his direction.
Except, that James now relinquished his card-dealing responsibilities and passed to Philip - who immediately drew 5 more danger cards in a row. The suspicious looks continued to be cast at James though, as if his magic powers had somehow transferred into the less likely entity that is Philip. Anyway, James won the first game by a landslide, and so a re-match was called for, with Philip retaining dealership responsibilities.
This time, it was Jon left in the mine by himself and decided to invoke James' special powers by declaring - "Don't worry, the next card will be a 17." And it was. And this time, no-one knew who to look at suspiciously...
Suffice to say, Jon won the second game by a similar landslide, and everyone was left wondering what the heck had just happened.....

And so another fun evening at the London Apprentice drew to a close. Dan and Gareth had been playing Sentinels of the Multiverse, but we have no details about what happened, except that they seemed to be having a good time!

See you all next time for more suspicious shenanigans...

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Let's go exploring......

Players: John I, James, Scott, Charlotte, Andy, Philip, Gareth II, Jon, Paul, Neil, Dan, John II, Steven

It was a very warm welcome to newcomers Steven and John tonight. Steven was picking up games purchases from James (of course), but John is a local (well, Hounslow..) so hopefully we'll see him some more in the future (especially as, in the fine tradition of IBG, we let him win his first game!)

 Tonight saw the relatively unusual occurrence of the same game being played at 2 different tables - the latest love that is Lewis & Clark. And to go along with that exploration theme, the other table decided to venture out into the desert not once but twice - in search of a mythical flying machine. And did they find it? (They're not called mythical for nothing you know...)

A quick little card game to start the evening off, courtesy of Paul. A game of totem poles and ‘native Americans’ (hereafter called ‘Indians’, as per Lewis & Clark), hand management and bluffing. Players have the same decks of totem cards, which include 5 ‘caps’. Everyone picks 3 cards to play each round, and then lays them down in order, creating a maximum of 3 totems between them. Anyone can cap a totem at any time and score the corresponding points – but only if they elected to put one of their precious caps into their hand at the beginning of the round. Throw in some Braves and Squaws for a few rules wrinkles, and you’ve got yourself a pretty neat 15 minute game.
As no-one was quite sure what they were doing, they all played almost identical cards in the first round – low value totems and no caps. Thereafter, it was a case of attempting to guess when a high-value totem might be available to cap – and having the appropriate cards in hand to take advantage.
And it was newbie John II who found himself in an unbelievably good position – only one totem available for all players to place their cards, and only John having a cap to take the points. It was this one totem that probably won him the game, but with James not far behind. The less said about Jon and Paul the better…
John 73; James 65; Jon 43; Paul 35
6 players needing something quick and fun to play at the beginning of the
evening, so it was time to bluff and assassinate in equal measure.
The game was new to John II, and he bravely tried to call out 2 other players early on - but failed! As usual, there were about 7 Dukes declared around the table, so coins were mounting up fast. Jon used his Ambassador to choose a couple of characters, but was then immediately Couped and lost his Captain. However, he then claimed that his second card was also a Captain - would he have chosen 2 Captains?
Jon took the opportunity of having 7 coins to Coup James and take him out of the game, so it was down to Jon, Neil and newbie Steven to fight it out. Jon was using his Captain, which Neil eventually (unsuccessfully) challenged, but as Steven had been using his Duke, he raced to 7 coins and took Jon out for the win.

Peloponnes (thanks Neil)
It’s been a while since I played this and inbetween times I had bought myself a copy and collected no less than 8 expansions from the designer Bernd Eisenstein himself at Essen last year.  In fact, it was one of the funnier moments as he produced more and more bits and pieces from numerous different areas of his stand!  Nice man.
So, Jon was ready to remind Paul and I how to play and teach it to our newcomer John II – sounds like a pope!  And just as that was all sorted Peloponnes addict Dan arrived.  To make sure I’ve remembered some of this let me recap the rules; you bid on a tile, either land or building; you pay any cost or mortgage your building, then take the one off benefits to increase your population, your resources and/or your money.  Then you collect your regular benefits and it’s time for the disasters to be unveiled.  You know what they are, you have reasonable indicators as to when they’re coming, you can buy land or buildings to protect yourself from them… but they still bite your arse!!
Dan was playing speed Peloponnes adding to the rumour mill that he only goes home early each Wednesday to practice Peloponnes.  Jon seemed to be doing a little of this and a little of that, not making the strides I guess I was expecting.  Paul was collecting resources and had a fair few building/land points too.  I concentrated on buildings and tried to keep my population growing but was a little short of resources truth be told.  John II was finding his way through his first game, some aggressive bidding perhaps cost him in the long run.  
Those disasters.  To be fair we got rid of a couple early on that had little effect. The rest hung around, that big black cloud on the horizon, and then it erupted.  My population was decimated – the origins of this word come from the ‘dec’ bit, and it therefore means to reduce by a tenth although modern usage is more the inverse, and that’s certainly where I was coming from – I lost 6 of my population in one go, game over!!
Scoring is the genius lesser amount of population times three or buildings plus coins.  I walked the buildings side of play although everyone had scored well; 22 to 28 points.  Population however, was handled poorly by me and John II with only Paul and Jon scoring higher than their buildings.  As ever, well it is his game, we let Jon win and it was close between Dan and Paul for second.
Jon – 26, Paul – 23, Dan – 21, John II – 12, Neil – 12.
Lewis and Clark (thanks James and Scott)
(A joint effort this one - James’ comments in italics, Scott’s in normal  font)

I went with my strategy of the first game I played, getting a card that used just wood to move in water ( ditching my Lewis movement card because this historical necessity was just slowing me down), followed by a nice mountains move based on all goods I was holding and a second water movement based on cards in front of me. My lean deck and synergy of cards not needing to transform my wood in to anything else proved the winning strategy.

---Sitting to the left of Scott I could see that he was setting up an engine using lots of wood... I'd decided to try and replicate my strategy of last week, but with a bit more thought involved as opposed to a random process while we were all learning the game last time out. I managed to pick up early a good resource gathering recruit, and also the card giving access to on-board Indian spots without placing Indians... I thought this card was overpowered last week, so had high hopes when I picked this up early this time out.
We all felt there should be some penalty for ditching the Lewis or Scott cards given the name of the game...
Oh, and did I mention yet about giving Scott a few 2nd chances early in the game when his internal computing powers hit a few bugs... it s a good job we're all so nice hey Scott :)

Charlotte had a discount for buying rafts and used that to propel her up the water but mountains were a bit trickier, however she seemed to always produce her goods at the right time and she never seemed to help me with colours showing, she was hot on my tail by the end and only a couple of moves away.
James had an expensive travel itinerary but made use of many Indians to do his hard work and keep his boats loaded, he got off to a slow start and the turn order with Charlotte cost him to go back one space further than he had hoped in the mountains which prevented him being close but still he was not far behind.

---Whereas last week Neil went to the move small, move often approach I was trying to ave up for big moves and in one turn managed to leap about 16 spaces on the river... however the mountains started to impede progress and despite getting a good recruit to help out I had a few turns lost while fiddling around the first mountain stage.
John mentioned something about sticking with Clark as he knew where he was going and unfortunately the odds seemed to be against him and didn't get a great set of cards to press ahead, just about getting the deck going and in to the first mountains as the game came to a close.

--Towards the end it looks like John was always struggling to keep up. Scott and Charlotte were setting the pace and I felt I was in with a shout, but was going to run out of turns... and as it happens when Scott managed to produce one big final turn Charlotte was about 3 turns away and I was probably a few more. Trying to finish the race at the same time as finishing your current deck is something to aim for and Scott has this sorted perfectly to end the game. The hand management aspect of this game is an interesting one, and not something I've really focused on in the 2 games so far... recognising that it's better to rotate the powerful cards quicker and ditching the starting set is probably a good option, and something I'll focus more on next time round.
Fun game, I feel like there is a lot of luck in the card combo and if you fall too far behind there isn't much you can do, it's a nice game though and enjoyable every now and then!

-- I'd agree that John didn't have a lot to work with, it's probably best to play this game simply from the start and to just decide on a strategy based on the recruits available in the first few rounds and then just hammer them. The game is ultimately a race game and although getting a nice engine going of cards is something personally satisfying, it's not going to win many games... both games so far have been won by the person most focused on the end goal... which is interesting to me as I enjoyed the game as I'd played it and felt like I'd have been happy to continue longer with a different objective. Perhaps a way to consider it is as a game of Dominion but with the winner being the first to 25 points...  or perhaps not... whatever... it's a good game :)
(And the only thing we know about the other game of Lewis & Clark was that Gareth II won, Philip was second and Andy and Steven came elsewhere!)

Forbidden Desert
Game 1; 5 players; 1 newbie (John II). Dan bravely strode off into the desert in search of missing flying machine parts, oblivious to the parched cries of help from John and Jon who were already dangerously low on water. “We need your expert Navigational skills to find water,” they cried. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!” replied Dan with a grin. The sun beat down. John and Jon were burnt to a crisp. The explorers lost the game in record time.

Game 2; 4 players; no Dan. Neil was the Water Carrier (or ‘Camel’) who kept everyone topped up with water. Exploration was methodical and was going well. But then the sand started to build up. And the sun started to beat down. And the storm level was growing. Jon had got down to his minimum water level. Should the players use a precious Jet Pack to transport him to the safety of a tunnel? The deck was reshuffled and 1 card was left to turn. It’s a very low possibility that it’s a ‘Sun beats Down’ opined Neil. “Let’s risk it…”
The moral of the tale – never take Neil’s advice regarding odds. (Or maybe don’t let Jon shuffle the deck).

Nauticus (thanks John)
Four intrepid shipbuilders (Charlotte, Scott, James and John) gathered at the
London Apprentice to see how many ships they could build and how many goods they could ship during a play of Nauticus.
The game last five rounds and each round 7 of 8 possible actions will be chosen. The main way to score points is to build ships and ship goods.
The first action of the game was build holds, which immediately showed the players the main thing you have to contend with.  With buy actions there is always a free choice but anything you get for free goes to your warehouse and you then need another action to move it from your warehouse to your shipyard. So paying for things is better? It's quicker, but money is very tight.
So all the players splurged and bought lots of hull pieces. Then it was a case of trying to complete them. Scott who seems to be able to pick up most euro games in a matter of nano seconds soon had two ships built, which gave him bonus actions which could have snowballed into a runaway lead. Surprisingly this did not happen as Scott seemed to slow down a bit mid game giving the other players a chance to catch up.
When you complete a ship you get one reward for each mast on the ship and this is a very critical part of the game, as money is very tight it was proving a popular choice to take 7 coins as a popular benefit.
Meanwhile all the players were starting to collect cargo, but by a twist of fate it always seemed to be the coffee or fish goods that were free or low (1 coin) cost, so everyone was collecting the same two goods.
Around the middle of the game John became the first (and the last) to build a four hull ship. This was a big deal as points for ships of 1,2,3 and 4 hull are 2,8,20 and 35.
Towards the end it was realised how many points were available from the crown action. Although the action had been chosen earlier the players had used it as a cheap pass. (If you don't pass at least some of the time you forfeit points.) It was only actually used on the last round and as everyone scored 15 points from it (the max) it really did not make a lot of difference.
Soon five rounds were over and it was time to count up the points. Scores on goods delivered were pretty even and it was the ships that made the difference. John's big ship scoring 35 turned out to be the difference. James was one part away from finishing an 8 point ship, with which he could have taken 3 points as his bonus to steal the game, but was left wondering, what if?

John  105; Scott  99; James  96; Charlotte 90

Kingdom Builder – with Nomads expansion (thanks Paul)
We even managed to tempt Neil to play Kingdom Builder when there were two other games of Lewis and Clark occurring simultaneously at the other tables - how decidedly unlikely.
The terrain cards to come out this time were the paddock (jump a settlement already on the board two spaces), the harbour (move settlement already on the board to the water), the oracle (place an extra settlement onto the same terrain that is drawn) and the gardens (from Nomads - place an extra settlement on 'flowers'). The Nomad ability allowed three extra resources to be placed on 'desert'). The scoring cards drawn told us that we'd be scoring for all settlements next to a castle or city, the highest of the least populous of the quarters of the board and during the game points were scored if the original three settlements were placed in order.
The in game scoring made for interesting playing as we were all acutely aware that if we didn't place in a row of three then we'd be slipping behind. John and Paul kept a 100% record of this all game, although with drastically different results by the time the total scores were totted up.
Jon got the nomad to place three desert tiles. He also struggled to add any settlements in the fourth quarter, amassing zero points for that mission.
Paul realised early on that he'd missed out on any abilities that allowed for any extra placements to be made, so he had to rely on his cunning and guile in making the most of the limited numbers that curl place down. He failed miserably, meaning that he had less settlements down, and also that his settlements also never made it to quarter number four, equalling Jon's zero points.
John managed to lay everything down in rows of three and also spread out nicely across the quarters.
Neil managed to get some settlements down in all quarters, and used the special abilities to throw his settlements down on the board in record time, shocking Paul as he still had almost half of his left! Not quite enough to beat John, but sufficient to trounce Paul and Jon.
John 46, Neil 42, Paul 35, Jon 33

The start of the evening saw early (love) birds Scott and Charlotte play out some games of Balloon Cup and Cribbage (yes really!) - apparently Charlotte crushed him at both!

See you next week, for more of the old (Neil) and new (Paul winning a game)...

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Flicking good fun.....

Players: James, Neil, Gareth I, Gareth II, Barry, Andy, Philip, Jon, Paul

It was a very welcome return back to IBG to founder members Barry and Gareth after a long period away, although Andy was a bit disappointed to walk in alongside them and therefore received a slightly less enthusiastic welcome as a result. Don’t worry Andy – we’ll get the balloons and bunting out for you next week…
James was doing his usual games-selling thing, and had persuaded some guy to cycle all the way over from Brixton to pick up a stack of games. Therefore we had the opportunity to play some of these games for the last time, which was probably just as well, as we discovered that one of them had several pieces missing, and another was a cracking manual dexterity game which we will probably never get the opportunity to play again. Never mind – I’m sure that James won’t be able to resist picking up another ‘bargain’ copy sometime…..

Blueprints (thanks James)
...or the ever expanding game...
So first there were 2... Neil and myself looking to pass some time whle Jon and Paul finished Agricoling... We managed a round of this, that Neil won convincingly, with my building looking more council house than Taj Mahal.
...Then Gareth (II) showed up...
So we started again with 3 (them's the breaks Neil)... Gareth's first time with this game and as ever gracious teachers Neil and I showed little mercy in the first round and I managed to nab the gold prize, while Neil took some bonuses
... then Phil showed up...
We decided that given Phil usually wins games with maths involved that a 1 round advantage in a 3 round game was about right, so we carried on into the 2nd round, but with 4 players.  This time I remember coming 2nd, I think Phil got the Gold... and a few bonuses were shared.
Last round is a bit of a blur in my memory, but I picked up the all 'clear' dice bonus and scored the silver.
A full set of final scores were not recorded for future game historians, but I do recall I won with 10 points, and I think Neil had 9... Phil was obviously saving his mental powers for the upcoming game of Lewis and Clark !

Jon and Paul arrived early at the pub, and decided to have a go at some animal-
rearing whilst waiting for everyone else to arrive. Paul was also supposed to be buying the expansion for this game from Jon, but had somehow got it mixed up with the base game, so no deal ensued (nearly as bad as Jon getting the 2 expansions mixed up at Essen, which is how he ended up having an extra copy of the original expansion to sell in the first place!)
Anyway, Paul took an early expansion tile with the accompanying fences, and was first to fence in a nice big area. Jon picked up some early horses and a stall, and started breeding, leaving the fences until later. He also built a Joinery, allowing him to build a feeding trough for 2 wood before each breeding phase, and a carefully positioned Large Extension, which gave 2 points for  each adjacent building at the end of the game.
By this time, Paul had started breeding plenty of cattle and sheep, and was looking to upgrade both his stalls into stables for extra capacity. Jon fenced in a newly acquired expansion tile, but had limited his livestock to horses and sheep only, with only a couple of cattle thrown in for good measure. Knowing that he wasn't going to score big animal bonuses, he chose instead to upgrade his cottage for some points at game end.
As usual, the game feels like it ends 1 round too soon (although Paul genuinely thought it had!) and when the scores were totalled, it could hardly have been closer, with Paul's menagerie having just pipped Jon's building-site to the win.
Yet again, a whole lot of game packed into 30-45 mins, with the expansion buildings giving each game a slightly different feel. Top stuff.
Paul 40; Jon 39

Carcassonne the City (thanks Paul)
Gareth I had stated on the blog that he'd like to play Carcassonne. Jon brought Carcassonne - the City, a similar variant to classic Carc. Gareth I hadn't played this before (er…actually you had, Paul – ed), and although the rules were the same his disappointment was palpable.
The first tile down was one with a building in the middle and one segment of road leading from it. Paul spotted this as a good opportunity for what in classic Carcassonne are farms, although are called something different in this, and within a few turns he'd committed himself with a valuable meeple tied up in a field for the rest of the game, which was not normally a strategy he'd recommend, but the roads stayed away and the farms kept coming. With each new one he mentally rubbed his hands together and hoped that no one else noticed. Jon was the first to place the city gate and soon after used the walls to hem in a couple of Gareth's farmers, and so poor Gareth was handicapped for the rest of the game. Jon also picked up some good early points with his towers and positioned some men on walls which picked him up good points. Both Paul and Gareth warmed to the walls more slowly, but later both picked up some hefty scores for the walls, although by the end of the game Jon was the only one to have used all of his towers.
Paul spotted Jon positioning himself to muscle in on his field first and Gareth a little afterwards. he didn't manage to keep Jon out, so placed another farmer to regain the lead in his monster field, but just before he was about to execute this plan, Jon scuppered it and ensured that he shared the spoils.
Paul picked up points late on in the latter stages of the wall and with some late fields that had a surprising number of farms and this allowed him to take a narrow victory.
Paul 151, Jon 147, Gareth 92

Lewis and Clark (thanks Neil)
Wow, what a game!  It looks great and game play is certainly on the brain-
burning side of heavy for sure.  Saying that, it’s a race game, pure and simple.  The first one to the other side of the States is the victor.  How you get there is via an incredible combination of worker placement, deck building and player interaction.
You begin your expedition in St Louis with 6 character cards and 1 Native American meeple (hereafter ‘Indian’).  Amongst the cards you have a commander, an interpreter and four resources specialists.  On your turn you have to take one action, either play a card or place an Indian.  You then preform the action; collect resources, trade resources, move your scout forwards, or increase the capacity of your expedition.  That’s it, simple!  As well as the compulsory action you can do two other things at any time during your turn; recruit another specialist – card, or, set-up camp.  Still straight forward, no?!
So what makes the decision difficult?  Well, you need to be building your own plans every turn to maximise your hand and Indians of course.  Timing is everything, you don’t want to be trying to move up river with boats full of resources or Indians, you’ll end up going backwards.  When you make that decision to camp you have move your scout back one place for every card left in your hand, and one place back if you have 4 to 6 resources, or an additional place back for every resource over 6, AND, one place back for every Indian in your expedition apart from the first one!
Next is the card play.  For each card you place face up to action, you have to add ‘strength’.  Now this can be another card, and each ranges in strength from 1 – 3, or using Indians, up to 3, or a combination of card/Indian.  The good news is you then get to do the action multiple times; once, twice or three times, it’s up to you.  The extra good news is that if you want wood, you play your lumberjack who gives you one wood per strength AND you collect wood for every other wood simple on the cards you and your neighbours has played in front of them.  Man that’s a lot of wood… now, if only you had capacity to store the stuff, and that’s another dilemma.  In fact that dilemma is something you have to consider when you play your cards, you don’t want to help your competitors by giving them more stuff do you?  Hell, no!
So, to our three man game… Early on Philip went resource chasing and setting up a crew of useful explorers including Joseph Gravelines who gave a 2 furs discount on recruiting, and Cut Nose who added one movement place through the mountains.  James did a bit of this, a little bit of that, you know what he’s like.  I decided to go racing off and picked up Pierre-Antoine Tabeau who helped me gain canoes, good man!  When it came to our first camping I’d moved up 7 places, James 2 or 3 and Philip had gone back 1 place.
After that I continued with my movement quest keeping resources to a minimum.  Philip continued to build up his expedition numbers and resources, and James, well he was still doing some of this, a little of that.  I soon reached the mountains and Philip had leapt forwards into a comfortable second place.  James, now what the hell was he doing?  He had loads of Indians, had expanded the size of his expedition but wasn’t gaining much ground.
And then I realised I didn’t actually have any means of passing over the mountains.  It’s all fine and dandy having canoes but your only way over the top is by horse.  And I had no Indians to get any horses with, Philip made sure of that.  I perused and cursed and then spotted Weuche, recruited this chief and he allowed me to move my scout through the mountains based on the number of equipment badges in everyones’ playing areas.  Off we go!  By this time Philip was moving forward step by step and you’ll never guess, James, well he’d actually started to get his shit together as they say.  He’d recruited Sacagawea who allowed him to use the Indian village actions for free, and was also managing his resources and Indians much better when it came to camping.
Too late though, I’d got over the mountains and the stretch of river left needed a little planning but neither were going to catch me.  Not sure who finished second in the end, I think James may just have sneaked it.  And they were gaining by that time too but it was never going to be enough.  Can’t wait to play again.  Great fun!

With Gareth threatening to leave early, Paul pulled out this manual dexterity oddball, which was enough to keep Gareth around!
Players take it in turns to place different sized blocks within a giant hamster wheel, and the first player to place all his blocks successfully, wins.
Gareth did his level best to defy the laws of gravity, Paul suffered a critical block-collapse to put him out of the running, and Jon managed a skilful block-drop from the top to the bottom of the wheel to win him the game.
Completely novel game, and a great way to kill a few mins if you've got a steady hand.

As James was selling off a large number of games at the end of the evening, he
had a good selection of 'weird and wonderfuls' to choose from, including this manual dexterity game that no-one had heard of. It was originally brought out by Jon, Paul and Gareth to finish the evening off, but as the other tables finished, it turned into a 6-player fun-fest.
Basically, the game consists of a small square 'arena', which contains several zones. Players each have a wooden disk, and take it in turns to flick this around the arena, attempting to hit each other's disks, or stop inside a certain zone, as dictated by a set of 'goal cards.' Whoever completes their 8 goals first, and returns to the start zone with exactly 2 of each of 3 coloured gems wins the game.
If you take into account that Philip and Neil's flicking skills are legendary, as well as the fact that the game contains a wooden stick that can be moved around the arena to create a very effective barrier, you have all the ingredients for 30 mins of flicking fun.
The game drew to a climax, with both James and Jon needing to visit only 1 more zone and then get home to win. James managed his shot, which meant that Jon needed to use his turn to cannon into James and send his disk across the other side of the arena, to have any chance of winning. And so, with a stunning one-in-a-million shot, Jon managed to...miss James' disk entirely, rebound off the side wall, catching James coming back and sending him within millimetres of his required destination to hand him the victory. Awesome. Cue much mirth.
And after the battle had ended, and it was generally decided that this was a great flicking game, James sold it to his late-arriving games mule, and so it will never be seen again. Sob.
1st - James; 2nd - Jon; 3rd - Paul; 4th - Neil; 5th - Gareth; 6th - Philip

Also played tonight was Through the Ages, which as usual lived up to its name, and was cut short with a turn or 2 to go. I believe that Barry and Andy conceded defeat to Gareth II, but it just looked like a mish-mash of hobbit cards and coloured plastic cubes to me…

We look forward to seeing everyone again next week – with a promise that all will receive an equally warm welcome…!!!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Welcome to the friendly Dystopia.......

Players: John, Paul II, Scott, Charlotte, Philip, James, Dan, Jon, Tom, Gareth II, Amanda, Mark

A nice round dozen IBG'ers tonight, including a welcome return to Paul from LOB (James must have been doing some more dodgy dealing to tempt him along...) and a first appearance from Mark, who has the unfortunate claim of knowing James from work. (Don't worry Mark, you'll soon make plenty more friends at IBG and can ditch James altogether....)

There was a complete Smorgasbord of stuff played tonight - old classics, old games that have been reprinted, and the obligatory totally new games. There was even a game about building a Dystopia - which the ever-reliable Wikipedia tells me is "a community that is in some way undesirable or frightening." Must have been a game about forming a Boardgames Club I guess.....

For Sale
Early doors  - time for a quick go at this classic filler, which was new to Mark but everyone else was an old hand.
The first 2 sets of properties came up with little difference between the top and bottom values, meaning that some bargains were snapped up. The rest of the selections were more spread out, Philip bid ridiculously high for the ‘30’ rather than the ‘29’, and for some reason Charlotte called Jon “a dick” (add that to the long list of things that Jon has been called at IBG…)
Anyway, when the cheques had been distributed and counted up, the scores were pretty close, with Scott just pipping Jon by $1k.
Scott 49; Jon 48; Charlotte 46; Philip 41; Mark 40; Dan 38
What the Food!? (thanks Tom) John B had brought a copy of his new Kickstarter filler game, What the Food!?
 and managed to rustle up four willing participants in Gareth II, Amanda, Paul A and yours truly (Tom).
In this game the players take on the roles of ringleaders in a high school cafeteria food fight (rather than fighting food as per Cryptozoic's risible effort of a similar name).
Each player starts with the same hand consisting of a mix of three basic action cards plus three fight cards (food, topping and condition).  This is barring one additional action determined by the players' starting characters.  For example, I had been designated as The Shark capable of "hunting" other players.
Five cards are placed face up from the deck in a central market.  This market therefore consists of a random mix of action and fight cards which can be acquired by way of a variety of actions.
Each round, the players nominate one other player who they wish to attack. Each player then choose three cards from their hand and placed face down in front of them before being revealed in three separate phases (i.e. ducking with your second card will not help you if your aggressor chooses to throw a rotten jacket potato topped with pinto beans with their first play).  The players start with zero damage tokens - the game ending when one or more players acquires ten or more damage tokens at the end of any round.  Accordingly, there is a balance to be struck between diversification of actions, acquiring fight cards, avoiding damage and causing destruction to others.
So the game itself:  with everyone unsure as how to determine who best to attack various spurious reasons were invented, normally "you're attacking me..." or "let's form a nice triangle".  This soon gravitated into the slightly more cultured strategy of "bash the leader".  Luckily, at around this time, I had one damage token in front of me whilst Gareth had none (the others all having two or more) which resulted in numerous arrows pointing his way.  Of the numerous action cards that he had acquired, Gareth's only real defence remained the basic duck which he performed in the first phase.  Unfortunately for him, an airborne package of food, topping and condition was launched his way by me immediately afterwards resulting in four damage to him.  What the food!?
This coupled with other taunts and pranks pulled on Gareth by other players saw Gareth pass the 10 token threshold.  Since non-one had chosen me for their food based assault (other than Gareth's own small effort), I emerged triumphant from the rubble of the cafeteria clutching a celebratory bourbon biscuit from the tea trolley.  Huzzah!
Tom - won.  Gareth, John, Paul A and Amanda - Lost.

Expedition: Famous Explorers
This is a reprint of an old Wolfgang Kramer game, which was brought along by Paul II (or it might have been John….) Anyway, Paul did the rules explanation, which is remarkably straightforward and the game was soon underway. The board is a map of the world, with routes and locations printed on it. Players have 9 location objectives (5 of which are secret to them) which they must visit during the course of the game. There are also always 6 common locations available which any player can visit for points. The trick is that the players are together on 3 expeditions, and can make any expedition move where they want, which leads to much groaning and gnashing of teeth, when the expedition that you had carefully directed towards South Africa suddenly takes a right turn and heads instead for Venezuela!
The games moves along at a steady lick, and it was fairly obvious that Amanda was going to be the explorer to catch, as she was visiting her locations at a steady rate. Jon picked up several of the common objectives, but suffered from several minus points at the end of the game due to not having been able to visit his non-secret locations.
John did a good job of picking up a number of tickets (which give players extra abilities), whereas Paul seemed to have trouble directing any of the expeditions in his desired directions! (He bemoaned the fact that he had been unable to visit a location that was only 2 away from the starting space, until he was reminded that he himself directed the expedition in the completely opposite direction at the start of the game!)
All in all, this was a fun little game – think TransEuropa with some rules – which played quickly and had enough decisions to keep it interesting.
Amanda 19; Jon 12; John 9; Paul 6
Carcassonne (thanks Tom)
I will keep this brief to spare myself too much fully due humiliation.
James's work colleague Mark had come along, presumably as a result of James's entreaties rather than cosmic coincidence, and was sporting a stylish blue bag full of Carcassonne goodness.  Unfortunately for me, this included:  builders; cathedrals; rivers; giant meeples; and happy pigs wearing ribbons.  As someone who is still barely able to comprehend scoring for farmers, I was pretty much doomed from the offset so it was always going to be a three horse race between the other competitors Mark, James and Dan to see who could best take advantage of my "sub optimal" plays.
When Mark started citing the likely probability of particular tiles appearing it looked pretty bleak for James and Dan but, through nefarious tactics, schemes, and good looks (???!!! - ed) James triumphed in the end was also able to set up a lovely new barrel & ribbon business - very much in demand in medieval France.  The loons.
James - 123;  Dan - 115;  Mark - 97;  Tom - 96 (or 72)
The Scepter of Zavandor (thanks Philip)
This was my second game of Sceptre and Gareth's first. Scott and Charlotte were a little more experienced. I was the Kobold, Gareth the Elf, Charlotte the Fairy and Scott the Witch.
I opened by buying an Opal and a Sapphire. Charlotte started an immediate auction and bought a spell book. In the following turns Gareth bought a Spellbook and I, having reached the penultimate step on Knowledge of Accumulation, started an auction on the +1 knowledge artefact- Charlotte out bid me but I was able to buy its twin at cost. Scott and Gareth split the Crystal Balls between them.
As we headed into 10 points I was leading, with Charlotte 2nd and Gareth last- but Scott deliberately hang back and was soon in last place. Charlotte and Gareth were collecting Emeralds. Scott bought 2 of the Emerald items. I bought a Belt and later a Wand and kept collecting Sapphires- soon I had 8 Sapphires for 44 income a turn, though by then others had almost as good from other sources. I lost a couple of Opals to Magic Mirrors, before buying an Elixir and starting to collect Diamonds. Scott also bought an Elixir. Scott and Charlotte bought masks, although Charlotte paid a lot more for her mask than Scott did. I bought one Ruby item and Scott the other and about this point Scott shot into the lead by buying his first Sentinel- the Sapphires Sentinel. Since I'd been collecting Sapphires I was displeased- also I felt nowhere near buying a Sentinel.
Scott had invested in Knowledge of Artifacts, which together with his Mask and his last place had given him a massive discount on the Sentinel. I belatedly invested in Knowledge of Artifacts and also the fairy's track (which gives you cash), after freeing up a knowledge chip by buying a Shadowcloak (Gareth bought the other one, Scott lost a Sapphire each time, which meant he was no longer in the lead, which suited him well). Gareth and Charlotte also went for Knowledge of Artifacts- and Knowledge of Gemstones, and Knowledge of Accumulation. Gareth never reached the end of his starting track (Knowledge of Energy Flow)
Charlotte also built a Sentinel (2 VPs per completed Knowledge track). Gareth and I came up slowly. In the penultimate turn I moved to the second space of the fairy track and bought a Medallion, paying 116 in a nasty auction with Charlotte, putting me on the last space and with plenty of cash coming for the last round. I think Gareth had earlier bought the other Medallion...and that turn Scott bought his second sentinel (points for artifacts).
In the final turn me and Gareth bought Sentinels- Gareth the Emerald one and me the Diamond one. I was also able to buy a Diamond. But if I'd had 5 Dust more I could have bought another Diamond after selling 2 Sapphires, for one extra VP.
The final scores were something like:
Scott, Me, Gareth 44 Charlotte 42. (the numerical values are estimates but relative position is correct).

Euphoria (thanks James)
So a game named after the emotion it's hoping to elicit when being played... in
contrast to Pants! Card Game.
John brought this along and Paul and myself were both keen to get involved... just the vanilla edition from John B, but luckily Neil wasn't around to show off his kickstarter special edition with all the fancy meeples.
The game is your basic worker placement fare, using dice as meeples with an interesting twist around needing to re-roll each time you re-used the dice and wanting to avoid high numbers. Players were working together to build markets and dig tunnels on the board between 4 factions, while grabbing resources. The aim being to use the resources to earn places to put one of your (10) stars and the first to place all their stars would be crowned the winner. A very busy looking board, but not too much actually going on once you got your head around all the icons and options. Players start as one of 4 factions, which gives a slight advantage in some aspect of the game, and can gain another mid/late game... this gives an element of teamwork in some areas to accelerate the use of the 2nd faction.
So early on John had the upper hand being the only one to have played before... I have a theory this is why he always brings lots of new games to share ...(Neil, you might want to try this strategy to improve your win ratio... oh... you already do...!!!

Paul and myself were feeling our way, I was basically trying to copy John given I really didn't have much of a clue about strategy. Getting resources seemed to be the best option.
Then John decided to start building a market and dropped hints I should join him in order to shut out Paul... never one to turn down an offer to screw over another player (although it's more enjoyable in games with Dan) I accepted and the first market was finished with Paul looking in from the outside... Star's were dutifully placed and Paul then had to spend a few turns getting into the market to remove this disadvantage.
At this point we realised (I say we, probably just Paul and me) that for each 'star' area there were only places for 3 stars, so once full, players had to move focus to another part of the board to place more. I started to get a feel around this time how the game was meant to play out as I started to look to how I could use the resources to ditch stars... the game seems to start as a resource gathering exercise and the accelerates into a quick end game of ditching stars as quickly as possible while spaces remain.
By now I was the only player without his 2nd faction in play, but managed to get this sorted. John also decided that ganging up once against Paul wasn't enough so offered once again the chance for me to help out in another market.... and of course I did (I was only following orders Paul, honestly)... This market also opened a window of opportunity for me as I could see a way of placing 3 stars in as many turns and putting me within a turn of ending the game... John was suddenly aware of this, but a little late as we realised I could end the game on my next turn. I say realised - I was helped by a rule that Paul and me hadn't understood correctly... it's an age old strategy at the club with new games for a few important rules to be 'omitted', a level to which I'd never stoop to myself... In this case though I'm glad someone was paying attention !
So the game ended quite quickly after a slow start when Paul and me were trying to make sense of it all... I think we took about 90 minutes for a 60 min game, which seemed right for the first time out, but I'm sure would be quicker next time.
If I'm honest though I wasn't bowled over by the game, I love my worker placement games, but I like the actions to have some kind of theme behind them. This felt a little too abstract for me, similar to Russian Railroads. Glad to have given it a go though, it's one of the current 'hotness' so it's always worth seeing what the fuss might be about.
Thanks for bringing it on John; and Paul, I can only apologise on behalf of John for his less than friendly demeanour in the game itself... Perhaps you should both have a game of lifeboats next week at LoB guys, a chance for retaliation !
James - 10, John/Paul not 10..
Dan and Tom were experienced pros at this game which was new to Jon. Fairly straightforward in terms of gameplay (2 actions per turn) but plenty of text on the cards to keep track of.
Tom shot into an early lead by picking up some bonus dominations, but Jon pulled back into it by using an ability that let him swap his lowest influence cards with Dan and Tom’s highest influence cards. He did this twice running and gained enough influence to dominate the required number of Ages to end the game.
Maybe Tom & Dan were being nice to newbie Jon – or maybe he just played a superior game! We’ll let you, the reader, decide which is more likely…..
The consensus seems to be that this is best as a 2-player game, although 3 player seems to work OK too.
Jon won; Dan & Tom didn’t
The Little Prince
This is one of Tom’s acquisitions, and a fine little filler it is too. It’s a set
collection game, made up of some nice tiles with whimsical art based on the Little Prince story. As should be expected, Jon was stitched up by being given 3 tree tiles (which meant that they were all turned over and didn’t score), although he managed to recover by picking a scoring tile that gave him points for each turned over tile.
Tom was looking good for the win until Dan also stitched him up in a similar fashion. Jon had first choice of the last 3 tiles, and chose one with a rose on to give him an extra 14 points (although he also lost points for having the most volcanos).
The points were totted up and (after a recount) Dan & Jon had tied for the win, with Tom languishing in last place again.
This is a lovely little family-friendly filler, and has certainly moved onto Jon’s wishlist!
Dan 36; Jon 36; Tom 25
And that was it. In 3 1/2 hours we had circumnavigated the globe, built dystopian societies, erected castles in Southern France, constructed entire planets, and done something with witches, fairies and elves which we won't mention too much. Just another regular Wednesday evening in West London then...
See you next week!