Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Build up to Essen

So, I booked the hotel last October, never one to leave these things too late, you know? The Horaholiday for summer '14 saw us checking out the hotel again, making sure it was still there and the like. Here's number one son;

And so I've been keeping away from the online stores and trying not to succumb to sundry enticements to buy another game - James, you're the perfect temptress. My list for Essen is divided into pre-purchases including a number of kick-starters, then 'I GOTTA HAVE ITS' which number way too many, and then there's stuff I intend to, but most likely won't, play before I buy. Time will tell.

More info available on the Geek, my very own geek list which actually made it onto the front page briefly, I Can But Dream.

As it was I had to make do with gaming away from the club this week due to baby Hora turning 12. Here's us recently in the Czech Republic;

Many thanks to big bad Jon for the write up this week, sounds a little different but interesting nonetheless. James and I played two games of Letters From Whitechapel early in the week, Jack won both times. Friday saw a great trip to the Dawsey's and the introduction to me of Tumblin' Dice, top fun, Twin Tin Bots, purgatory, plus Greed, an additional to the Horawishlist, and the Name's the Game: Paul, which worked well in fact and which Paul won.

Anyway, over to Jon: Some form of gamer-related crisis in West London left the IBG'ers decimated with only 6 hardy souls remaining - Philip, Dan, Jon, Dom, Paul A, Jeroen, so it was quality over quantity this evening:

Valley of the Kings

Jon's newly-sleeved (courtesy of the very generous Mr Horabin!) was brought out to start the evening. It was new to everyone, although all players were familiar with Dominion which helps.

This was a very strange game. For some reason, everyone was finding it difficult to generate enough purchasing power, which was probably related to the lack of entombing which was occurring. Jon was trying to play some cards which caused everyone to discard or sacrifice cards, but seemed to come across the other players' Offering Tables every time. There was also a concerted effort by more than one player to use their Shabti to sacrifice juicy cards from the pyramid, which further reduced the amount of time available to get an engine going.

And then, Paul suddenly uttered - "Oh - there's only a few cards left, and I haven't started entombing yet!" And then began a frantic scramble to get anything possible into everyone's tombs. Jon had entombed the most cards, but they were mostly worth only 1 point each. Philip had only 5 cards, but with a 4-card set, he scored 17 points. Surely that measly total wouldn't be enough to win? Well, despite Jon getting close, it wasn't close enough, and the less said about Paul and Jeroen's sparsely-furnished tombs the better. Let's just say that they wouldn't be likely to end up on Lara Croft's radar anytime soon...

Final Scores: Philip - 17, Jon - 15, Jeroen - 7, Paul - 5.

Jeroen left at this point, leaving only 5 players for the rest of the evening. And the unanimous decision as to play;

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

This is a fantastic game, that Jon had played with Dom a couple of weeks ago (Ed: was I not there too? hey? all that bloody effort cycling to Brentford, pumping the tyres up, in the rain). It's a kind of 'choose your own adventure' experience, but is much more open-ended and deductive. Players take the role of Sherlock Holmes' sidekicks, and a charged with solving some form of mystery in old London Town. 

They are provided with some background to the case, a map of London showing hundreds of locations, a directory (which identifies the location of numerous individuals and businesses) and a copy of a newspaper for that day. And away you go! Players decide which locations to visit based upon the evidence they collect, and then consult the game manual to find out what happens at each location. The idea is to try to solve the case by visiting as few locations as possible, with enough information to answer a number of questions posed at the end of the manual. 

Unfortunately, it's impossible to provide any detail of the case that was played without giving away major spoilers, but suffice to say that there was a murder, a lady, a jewel and a hideous code. Fantastic!

The 5 would-be sleuths pondered for the best part of 2 hours, before arriving at the correct solution (albeit with some help from Sherlock Holmes himself along the way). They didn't tally their score at the end (based on accuracy of solution and number of locations visited) but it probably wasn't very high, considering their 'visit as many locations as possible' strategy!

This is definitely more 'experience' than 'game', but if you're up for a couple of hours of head-scratching, discussion and amateur sleuthing, then this will be right up your alley.

(Ps this has almost instantly become one of my favourite games - it's elementary...)

BTW - the pub is changing hands this week, with Adrienne and Simon moving on to another pub in Isleworth. Adrienne has briefed the landlord that we meet each Wednesday, so hopefully not much (if anything) will change. Here's wishing A&S all the best for their new establishment.

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