Wednesday, 22 October 2014

What year is it Noel...?

Players: Paul I, Tom II, Tom's friend, Neil, Philip, Dan, Natasha, Andy, Jon, Paul II, Noel, Tanya, Gareth II, Tonio
A fine turnout of gamers, old and new tonight. After his fleeting visit last week, it was fantastic to see everyone's favourite bearded, pseudo-Italian maths teacher joining us for a 'proper' session this week - with the promise of further attendances to come. Hooray! He even suggested that he might bring Adios Amigos along again (which Jon was excited by - as long as 'quick-draw Dan' doesn't play...)
There was also a rare visit by Noel's much better other half, which occurred as a result of a mix-up with dates on a Michael McIntyre ticket. No need to go into embarrassing details here, but suffice it to say that Noel and Tanya did manage to get the correct day and month for the gig, however....
Tonight was the first session post-Essen, and with Neil and Philip both turning up there was obviously going to be some new fare on offer (although grouchy-Jon insisted on playing something old and comfortable anyway...)
Early arrivees Jon and Paul set up a game of 2-player Sobek, but with Gareth and Tonio also turning up it turned into a 4-player game instead.
Jon shot into an early lead after the first 2 rounds, but then found himself the target of some bash-the-leader tokens courtesy of Gareth. Which meant that a large final-round haul of points by Tonio catapulted him into a winning position. Paul and Jon had promised to allow Tonio to win some games, as a means of encouraging him to come back to IBG more often, but I'm afraid this game had to be chalked up as a genuine victory, rather than a gimme....
The only thing about this so-called 'filler' was that it took ages to play (at least 45 mins), despite several encouraging cries of 'let's play speed-Sobek...'
Oh well, still a fine little game...
Tonio won; Jon 2nd; Gareth 3rd; Paul - way behind...
JamSumo (thanks Neil)
With the longest filler in the history of the club underway I gathered Dan, Tom
and Tom’s friend, sorry never introduced and I neglected to do so too, for the finger flicking fest of JamSumo.
In the Jam element you flick dice from a plinth with the objective of sinking it into the central hole of the board. Each player has six dice and these begin with a value of 4 each. As soon as one player has sunk all six then the rest add up their pips and the more of those you have the worst your efforts have been.
Sumo does the opposite really. You begin on the same level of the board and all dice begin on 3. You flick one of your die and must hit an opponent’s die or yours is removed. You’re trying to keep your dice on the board and scoring positively for remaining pips as soon as one player has been eliminated from the board.
It’s simple, fully interactive, beautiful and more than a little amusing. I love it!
The Castles of Mad King Ludwig (thanks Philip)
My second game, with me explaining the rules (although I had some help from Neil, who you'd have thought wouldn't want to explain them again after doing 9 hours straight at Essen). Other players were Arturo, Andy and Natasha.
The initial line up featured an underground room which no one could buy, so I naturally bought some stairs, and when I became Master Builder, listed the room at lowest price (it had accumulated 2000 coins by then). Unfortunately for me, Arturo managed a decisive combination by completing his foyer, taking stairs as a bonus, and completing a yellow room for an extra turn, allowing him to purchase the underground room from under my nose!
Meanwhile Andy had started with a Corridor which meant he could play and complete the Sewing room in one purchase for a net 10 points. This started a trend of Activity room collecting which kept him ahead on the scoreboard for most of the game.
Natasha focused quite deliberately on Living rooms and bonuses for Living Rooms- those he managed to complete scored many points, although it is tricky to complete them all. Arturo was more into Food Preparation and Sleeping Rooms. I picked up some of all rooms except Activity Rooms, with several Utility Rooms allowing me to collect several private Goals. I built a fair number of Corridor-Rooms, although not nearly as many as in my previous game.
Public Goals were most sleeping rooms (Arturo), most Activity Room square feet (Andy), most Underground room square feet (me, with Secret Lair and Venus Grotto) and most square rooms (Arturo).
Much to my surprise my Private Goals allowed me to squeak a win at 150 points, with Andy and Natasha close behind on 140 plus and Arturo only another 10 points behind them.
Stone Age (thanks Neil)
In the midst of time I used to hold down a job. Part of that involved selling
banking products to complete strangers and thus I had intense training in the arts of negotiation, influencing, assertiveness, product development, presentation skills, customer services and communications. Since zapping out of things in 2010 I’ve tried to leave as much of that behind as possible, let everything go, be a laissez-faire exemplar. No more.
After having five consecutive Christmas Days last week the exhilarations made me forget the severest toothache I’ve ever had and thus make my way to the Apprentice with a small selection of crackers. That I left myself open to playing Stone Age - as reasonable a game as it is - was gross stupidity on my part. I have lived, I have learned. No more.
The game passed me by somewhat. Inner turmoil pulling me around other than to pick up a few huts and some green laden cards. Paul in his first game scored very well indeedy. Gareth was tooling up and did some other stuff. Jon was commiserating with Brendan Rogers whilst stocking resources to hut up late in the game.
Gareth beat Jon by 1 point and I was about 7 or 8 further behind.
Kingdom Builder (thanks Paul)
As we were in the year 2014 not 2015, we were blessed with Noel and Tanya's presence. Tonio also graced us with a rare appearance, and so it was just like old time as Paul sat down to play Kingdom Builder with them.
Noel is usually a Kingdom Building fiend, so Paul knew he had his work cut out if he wasn't in for a trouncing, and so it turned out.
The victory conditions were Families (3 points for each settlement in the quadrant with the least settlements - meaning you need to get as many down as possible and make sure they're as evenly distributed as possible), hermits (1 point for each distinct cluster of settlements) and workers (1 point for each settlement next a castle or special hex).
The special ability hexes that we were working with were the harbour (move a settlement to water), the tower (add a settlement to the edge of the board), paddock (use a horse to jump a settlement two hexes), and an expansion which had two different ability hexes, which allowed a hex to be added to forest, and a really interesting one which allowed you to place a boat on water (with a real little wooden boat) that counted as a settlement, sail the boat three hexes along the water or remove the boat for future placement somewhere else.
The family and hermit points at stake meant that saddling up with the paddock was essential, and within the first few turns, we'd all broken in a steed and claimed this ability, which should have meant that no one got stuck in one area, although throughout the game Tonio's stallion refused to take the obvious path and so he did feel hemmed in for a lot of the time, meaning that our Italian friend suffered by only claiming few family points.
Conversely the other three managed a very even distribution, with Tanya scoring twenty four and Noel and Paul twenty seven points each for their evenly spread out tribes.
Noel was first to get all of his pieces down and had scored well in all respects and was neck and neck with Paul, scoring more on the workers but less on the hermits, and at the final count up, Paul was one ahead before the castles were counted. Tanya was a little behind, and Tonio was left bemoaning his stationary horse.
Whilst Noel had placed next to four of the five castles available, Paul had managed all five, courtesy of a sail up the river in the penultimate turn to a hex next to a castle that was otherwise completely surrounded by Noel's settlements on land. This gave Paul a narrow four point victory.
Final order (scores forgotten): 1st Paul, 2nd Noel, 3rd Tanya, 4th Tonio
Coup: Guatemala 1954
After a successful first outing last week, this game was brought to the table at
the end of the evening for some more bluffing fun.
Gareth agreed to play, but just as it was starting he enquired 'Is this like regular Coup then?' When the answer returned in the affirmative, his feelings of disappointment were obvious to all, although I'm not sure quite what he was expecting....
Tanya was the newbie who was treated kindly in the first game, and consequently won it.
Before the second game, Gareth saw something shinier across the room, so departed the Coup-ers, leaving just 4 to bluff and assassinate each other. The second game included a couple of interesting roles - the Army, who allows the user to assassinate a character from each other player, and the missionary, who can be sacrificed when needing to lose a character, allowing a replacement to be taken in it's place.
Noel took an early bath, after incorrectly accusing Jon (again!) but Jon followed suit after Paul decided that he was a more worthy target of a coup than Tanya. So it turned into a head-to-head, from which Tanya triumphed courtesy of the United Nations, which allowed the peace-keepers to protect her until she accumulated enough wealth to call a coup. Nice.
This game is definitely going to see many more plays at IBG (although probably not by Gareth...)
Also played tonight was Dan's new copy of Imperial Settlers, Nanuk and something else which I didn't see. A great evening's gaming - thanks to everyone who turned up!

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