Only Three Weeks to Essen!!
After last week’s turnout it was all about the new folk this week… welcomes to Paul, Tom, Jim, Arturo and his lady Trulli (according to Dan)! We’ve got this elaborate process f naming differentiating attendees by adding a number to their name, and this is no random process I can tell you. So, Tom, you’ll be known as Tom II (although he did offer to buck the system and go by Harrison, some all action hero actor we thought, just turned out that’s his surname), and Paul you’ll be Paul II, very papal. Despite being introduced as James, and with me struggling to remember how far along the road with those we are (it’s two, der!), Tom II was calling him Jim most of the evening so that’s good for us too. Intriguing that the newbies outnumbered the oldies, although it must be recorded that the quality of the latter was exceptionally high: Paul, Neil, Philip and Dan.
Just in case you’re not quite in the Essen spirit yet let me plagiarise Mr Snowdonia’s blog from during the last week. It’s entitled ‘Hot Goss!’
It's late September so it must be time to look through those Essen rumours, eh? For those of us lucky enough to pretend this is a job-of-work, there are just three weeks to go until we can lie down in front of the colossal snowblower that is Spiel and offer ourselves up for distribution.
Purveyors of all things cute and resin-moulded, Gorfra Games have just announced that they won't be revealing their Essen game, or accepting pre-orders, until 6PM on the night of the set-up day (Weds 15th October) and, even then, pre-orders will only be open for 20 minutes. Apparently, according to Gorfra's Co-Directors Gormiti and Frank (who bear a remarkable resemblance to The Proclaimers), this is
"simply to annoy the f*** out of everyone else at the Show when the 1000 copy printing sells out completely blind!”
When asked for his reaction, the chap at the next urinal asked me to not speak to him again because it stopped him from weeing.
Aggravation-seeking low-lives Shite Games have claimed this year's public show as 'their biggest one yet' and promise to shock the hobby world once more with the release of Oscar Pistorius: The Boardgame; OP:TB is a dexterity game where players are required to sit, cross-legged, on the floor and play Tiddlywinks with live-ammo until someone gets convicted of culpable homicide. Asked what it's like being such a bunch of twats, Marco Shitbag (CEO) replied: "Bunch of Twats is next years product".
Altitude-bothering, hairless component-fiddler Stefan Felled (no relation, not even Soundex) has signed a five game deal with The 1000 Piece Jigsaw Company to develop a series of Eurogames based on their best selling 'Cats Playing With Some Wool' range. Expect the usual 'point salad' mechanisms around an innovative 'Build the Edge bits first' action selection process.
With 2014 being the second year of Halls 1, 2 and 3; the Messe management are offering a nostalgia tour of the 'old Halls' for those who simply cannot cope with the way everything's been moved about. For €20, members of the public are shepherded through 'the old entrance' and left to wander amongst the plaster dust, torn Aluminium and discarded cigarette butts of the refurbishment work; dreamily they will be able to recall "...that's where Adlungspiele always exhibited...", "I picked up my first Zooloretto 'Show Special' tile from there" and "I vomited my oesophagus inside-out after a dodgy frikadelle in that atrium" etc.
Are you 'mad' for promotional gimmicks? Do you become an incontinent at the words 'Limited Edition'? If so, then this year promises a veritable prolapse of hard-to-get/straight-on-to-eBay goodies - here's a teasy taster:
o Power Grid: Nylon Rod - rub on your sleeve to make those Station auction phases truly electric!
o Russian Railroads: Engineer Putin - place one of your workers to borrow a worker from another player and then, when you have it in your play area, claim it's always been in YOUR colour and keep it...with tanks.
o Spamisado Mini: A variation on the popular 2013 giveaway 'Kamisado Mini', but made of reclaimed pork and ham.
o Obi Wan Hanabi: A new suit to add to the base game but, when drawn, you must face them TOWARDS you. If anyone gives you a clue during the rest of the game, you must answer "These aren't the cards you're looking for" or lose a life.
o Snowdonia: Dr Beeching - a new Contract card shuffled in to the bottom 10 cards of the deck that, when revealed in the card line, resets the game to it's original starting position. You think the game was cruel BEFORE?
That's all the steaming logs to have dropped from the Sewage Outfall of Essen news this week; tune in next week when we'll be asking Martin Wallace about his latest litigation battle*
*There's bound to be one. It's just a matter of time with Martin.
Greed (cheers Paul!)
Greed is fast becoming the starting game of choice, as it's pretty easy to pick up, doesn't take too long and has enough depth and variety to sustain multiple plays.
This week saw Neil and Paul sit down to play as they were the two early birds, but then Paul II arrived for the first time and Philip arrived so we turned it into a four player game. Then Tom and James sprang from nowhere, also keen to play, so Philip stepped aside gallantly to allow our new friends to join in, albeit with a cutting "I don't much like this game anyway"
So Neil and Paul were the only old hands at the table, although the new Greedsters were up to speed very quickly indeed.
Particularly impressive was James who within three cards had set up an engine by playing Thugs which meant that every additional Thug he played earnt him $30k from the bank. Ker ching!
It was a good move, but not quite good enough as Paul went down the a similar route as last week, pursuing a 'Holding' strategy, and set about creating Hearts and Spanners oriented businesses, thereby getting multiple dollar tokens for each play. He also played The Ritz, giving him five additional tokens, and then played the action that allowed him to burn 'a holding of his choice' and gain $15k for each token on it, giving a markup of 50%. Bye bye Ritz, hello $$$s.
And that was that.
Final Scores; Paul - 280, Neil - 170, Jim - 190, Tom II- 130, Paul II - 105.
Philip decided to sit out Greed and set up Nations instead, good man. It does require a little bit of setting up but then any monster of a game should do I guess.
Philip and I were up for our third outings with my combined scores not reaching either of the total VPs Philip had scored. I decided I needed to be a little more prudent and try and stay involved in every aspect of the game this time. Famine is bad. Too much military might isn’t good. No coal/stone is a disaster. No monuments is foolhardy. Battles are good, War likewise. Gold is crucial. Buildings and Colonies and Military too. And you need an Adviser of course. Blimey, no wonder I hadn’t coped very well previously, far too much to think about. [And that ties in nicely with my now completed MFA dissertation essay: The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Thinking. So now you know.]
The game. Tom took first player and accepted advice to buy himself an elephant. That it had much military might, and was the only military card available meant that this advice was unquestionably brilliant. From there he accepted the warrior gauntlet: battling, colonising and warmongering, and proceeded to set himself up very nicely throughout the rest of the game. Who said you couldn’t do well following a single strategy? Anyway, when he picked up XXX as his adviser and suddenly didn’t need to feed his military he looked as though he might be getting ahead.
On the other side of me Jim was prudently weighing up his options and his peacenik attitude soon came to the fore. He set himself up with an impressive amount of stability that meant he could comfortably cope in times of war. He was also garnering resource laden buildings and his foray into the monuments also allowed him to buy more at a great rate of exchange. He was also picking up knowledge on the book track, and thus earning some useful VPs come the end of each age.
Philip looked busy but I think it’s fair to say that the preparation and rules overview might have exhausted him. He tinkered with some resource gathering, only latterly got into military although pretty effectively, and picked up a few monuments although nowhere near the number he’d gone for in his last game. He did collect some additional workers which helped scoring buildings but then so had Tom and Jim.
Right, time to see how my ‘little bit of this, little bit of that’ strategy fared. I didn’t take any extra workers but did get amongst the monuments early on and picked up 2nd place, worth 2VPs per age on the book track. It was only at the end of the game that I suffered through an event but it only cost me 1VP. I found myself fairly zooming through the advisers gaining some great little bits of help at just the right time. My resource management was tight but I never ran short like in previous games, whew!
Unfortunately we found ourselves out of time in the final age so had miss out the final round of the eight. Looking at the final scores it could well have made a difference to the result but that’s the way it goes.
So, to the scoring. Jim looked to have collected quite a few VPs during the game but had lost a few in wars and events too. He scored 15 to my 16 here, with Tom on 12 and Philip at 9. Colonies were all pretty even but my monuments gave me a useful 5, Philip picking up 4 and Jim only 1VP. The additional workers brought them all back towards were I thought I might have had an unassailable lead with Philip and Jim scoring 12 each, Tom 10, to my meagre 6. Then it was down to the add up everything else and divide by 10 bit… all that gold, food, stone, military might, stability and books. Again pretty close with a spread of 5-8. Very close at the end but I squeezed through by 2 VPs. Very impressive first games for Jim and Tom though. They could be serious gamers chaps, be warned!!
Meanwhile, on the Dan and Paul hosted table…
Council of Verona (thanks Dan)
We only played half a full game of Verona, but what a great little game as it seems to godown well with pretty much everybody.
The funny/party game was a team game and good filler material.
In Robinson the island ate us, we all ended up frozen to death in a crazy tropical snowstorm, who would have thunk?