Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Eight Legged Freaks

An interesting start to the evening - Philip was offered the long since departed Salmon Linguine (Phil's petition to Taylor Walker for its reinstatement is still awaiting a second signatory). This was despite his having ordered the Vegetable Tagliatelle - which was what the dish actually was!  Much merriment was had at this mix-up - as it was when Phil decided to recount the story in detail to each and every IBG'er who arrived at the pub thereafter.  

This was then followed by the amazing sight of Phil deciding to eat his food by sucking it from the plate whilst standing up. Ever seen the bit in Oldboy, when he eats the live octopus?  It was like that... but worse.  

Neil moved quickly to wipe the veggie juices from the green felt and to expunge the burning liquid out of Jon's eyes so everyone could move on to the games and to repressing the memory of Phil's eating habits.

Glass Road

With Tom keen to play his second game in a matter of days (Ed:  And why the heck not?  It's a thing of loveliness), he risked life and limb and was eventually granted permission to attend from his lovely wife, Louise. We were joined by similar one game veterans Amanda and Philip although with two weeks having passed since their first play you could be forgiven for thinking they'd never heard of board games at all, never mind Glass Road.

Tom won first player (Ed:  if only all games were that easy to win) and began weighing up suitable opportunities. Philip had spotted something and started collecting resources and Amanda and I went off to the Feudal Lord to give ourselves more building options. As it turned out, Amanda picked up the Mason’s Guild, giving her three points per brick at game end, something Philip had done very successfully first time out. Philip was still collecting resources and Tom was still oohing and aahing over the available buildings -  nothing too obvious was available.

As for me, with my vast experience, I picked up the Slipway and the Bath house which scored me nicely on wood and ponds built adjacent to it.  That both Philip and Tom were planning for the latter was particularly useful (Ed:  it was somewhat lucky for me as I mixed up the meaning of adjacent and congruent - goodness, the things us board gamers have to put up with!). Tom took recompense by picking up two buildings, each of which were worth four victory points at the end, and Amanda decided to use up all her bricks.

Once again I used my hard learned knowledge to play the Builder as my first card in the penultimate round. Genius, loads of resources with to build - all I needed was one food to pay my builder, and boy oh boy was he furious when none was forthcoming. You know what builders are like at the best of times.  To add insult to injury, Tom built the building I had been planning on! Live and learn, I managed to build the Coal Storage soon enough which gained me one more point. Philip then did his amazing final turn, converting no end of stuff into more stuff times lots, and looking pretty good as a result. Amanda had forgotten everything she learned first game, and more (Ed:  she didn't even have any bricks for the Mason's Guild - the magnificent fool!). A close game with no obvious building combinations.  The scoring was very close and despite my gaff I just held off Philip.

Editor's Note:  I love this game - can't wait to try it again.  Neil's nefarious stealing of my dream buildings did affect me but the real issue was planning a perfect final round and not taking into account the real problems that would happen if other players played matching role cards.  A strategy solely based on scoring for buildings without taking into account the scoring for glass, bricks and sand is just not going to win you the game when playing against experienced opponents, especially the mighty Horabin.

Final Scores; Neil - 23, Philip - 22, Tom - 17, Amanda - 12 1/2.


Not having given this an outing for some time, Jon fondly remembered playing this on the ferry back from Essen, and we were joined by Philip, who, it is safe to say, got so excited during the second game on the ferry that he threw up! Happy days.

From the off we all followed different life paths: Philip was going heavily into health, relationships and science; I opted for academia, going to uni, getting a PhD, becoming a Professor all the while picking up the yellow money/materialism cards - my life goal; Jon was busy early on rolling the worst dice combinations he possibly could. Took him ages to pick up anything - must have been formatting his CV rather than writing the bloody thing.

Neither Jon or I spotted that Philip had collected the three cards that allowed him to pick any health, relationship and science cards for one symbol less every time. No wonder he won by a mile.

Quite early on I opted for early retirement and although this gave me a free card each round when combined with my sole relationship card, I had peaked too early and obviously was festering in some old folks' home. Jon nipped in picking up a few good professions to gain twelve bonus points through one of the communal life goals, thus pipping me to second place.

So, what did I learn? Don't go chasing money. Get a career to make retirement bearable. And most important of all: get a life!

Final Scores; Philip - 78, Jon - 48, Neil - 46.


Three players. 45-60 minutes to kill – perfect for the much underrated area majority game, Mykerinos. This was new to both Andy and Sean, and Jon had forgotten Sean’s aversion to rules explanations. Hence, two minutes into the introduction, Sean was requesting “Let’s just start playing!” A nice idea – but not very practical if you don’t know what those little cubes do – or those tiles – or that map of a museum – or how to win the game. So Sean had to put up with Jon blethering on for the next five minutes about how to actually play the game...

Anyway, once started, things went fairly smoothly. Andy majored on Lady Violet tiles, which gave him extra cubes each turn. Jon also picked up a couple of these, whereas Sean didn’t get any early on, giving him a numerical cube disadvantage.

Jon and Sean were both placing into the museum to maximise their end scores, whereas Andy was choosing to neglect this element of the game in favour of collecting sets of patrons.  The game moves along at a fair pace, and it was soon time to tot up the scores. Andy had completed 2 full sets of patrons for 10 points, whereas Jon and Sean only had one set each.

However, Sean and Jon had both achieved the maximum room bonus for two of their patrons, pulling them ahead of Andy, with Jon having the right collection of patrons to pull off the victory.

Jon 62; Sean 54; Andy 41

Finally, Splendor, the wonderful new engine building game was also played by Andy, Tom, Dan and Sean.  Little is remembered other than that Sean managed to sit through the rules explanation without being distracted.  Dan won at a canter thanks to his aggressive acquisition of Stage II and III cards, with Tom and Andy trailing just behind.  Sean, however, was nowhere in sight.

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