Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The one where Humanity fails again

A far more memorable evening with an unintentionally heavy Japanese theme this week, before we managed to blow it all up along with the rest of the world (again).


Imperial Settlers

 Paul A was determined to try this game seeing as it has become somewhat of a pariah at London On Board, and Andy was keen to join. Amanda jumped in to bring it up to a full compliment of four.
With this game new to everybody at the table except hardy veteran Dan the ultimate end result was not in much doubt, despite which there was a lot of mid-game competition. Things were fairly genial to begin with until Dan started to destroy cards and deals in the other tableaus, spreading the pain around as evenly as possible in a vain attempt to look inconspicuous. Andy's Barbarians were the first to respond, followed by Paul's Egyptians, both players naturally choosing to respond in kind by targeting the Japanese. Despite the increased heat, Dan managed to build both Dojos and started to exploit them for a ridiculous number of deals that allowed him to focus on completely drawing out his faction deck with a couple of monster turns at the end. Amanda initially struggled to get the Roman's building, but around halfway through she cottoned on to the value of drilling the faction deck and came back with a late surge of scoring that gave the boys a run for their money.

Dan - 130-ish, Paul A, Andy, Amanda - scores were in the 70-80 range

 Thanks to Noel for the following reports: 
Trains: Rising Sun
 A mix of cards came out that made a non board strategy viable which Noel pursued, just falling short of Dan II's more balanced approach.
Dan II 44; Noel 43; Jon 32; Phil 30


Thinky, highly rated, short 45 min euro from the 90s. Nicely produced and just enough game.
1st: Noel 1majority (+7) 2nd: Dani's wife 1majority (+2) 3rd:James and Dani (no majorities)


Noel brought his blinged out copy with a Canadian Inukshuk model for hunt leader. Fun as always, game shorted by other groups finishing.
Noel 6, Jon Dan II, Rachel and Phil II 5

On our Boardgamegeek guild page [] James has initiated an open Q&A session with a new question each week. Feel free to play along at home, and even if you are not a regular IBG attendee you are more than welcome to join in with your own answers!

Last weeks question: “What's your favourite expansion... is there a game that you never play without that extra card/counter/shiny dice that makes the game complete ?”

Peter: "Fave expansion...tough question: Pillars of The Earth. Not only does it allow 5/6 players but it makes one of the finest of all games even better. Only downside is that with four players the extra space it gives you is too forgiving, so you need 5-6. Although Village Port expansion is close: I would never play Village without it as it really pushes the game from excellent into a masterpiece, it is how the game should have been published on original release. Oh and Cuba el Presidente...again I wouldn't play without it and the game really should have been built in with it."
Paul D: "I think that two very recent expansions are my faves - easily: - Trains: Rising Sun - this lifts a good game into a great game by recognising some of the downsides of the original (the best strategy was often to steer clear of the board - which is what makes Trains different from Dominion) and not just providing more of hd same but by introducibg some different elements to subtlety coax players to use the whole game. Brilliant. Bring it along this week Jon, please. - Machi Koro: Harbour - this takes an already great game and adds more cards, but playing with more cards is an even more fun experience. The brilliance of this game is its simplicity and the expansion hasn't damaged this, which it might have done. There does seem to be a balance problem however, and so the cards should probably be seeded at the start else a runaway leader can be created, but I'm confident that this can be worked out and it's good enough to make sure it does. Not sure I'd play either game without the expansion any more and maybe that's the mark of a really successful one."
Tom 1: "Favourite expansions: - The various Peloponnes expansions are certainly a candidate - particularly the first (which includes the Sea) - Sentinels expansions are generally a must although Rook City is generally a bit of a stinker in terms of the villains. Infernal Relics is still my fave (although am sure that Dan will have his own thoughts!). - For Race, both The Gathering Storm (for the solo version alone) and Alien Artifacts (for the cards alone) are both essential purchases. - Tokaido's Crossroads expansion makes a great game even better without too much extra baggage in terms of mechanics. "

Tom 2: "My favourite expansion is probably scoundrels of skullport as I am not a fan of playing without it. Same with eldritch horror. Adds more of the same stuff to one of my favourite games! "

James: "my favourite expansions are those that add little to the rules complexity, or even can be played with no actual rule change. - Carcassonne - The River - who plays this game without this as the initial setup... and if not, why not ? - Kingsburg - the tokens that come with the 'To forge a Realm' expansion that remove the need for dice at the end of each round. This not only simplifies the rules but improves the game... win-win - Ticket to Ride maps - in general... small rule tweaks but different experiences. Perfect example of a great expansion. Favourite new map is probably Nordics. - Small World - ditto... all the extra armies are welcome... I'm still looking to trial the Necromancer Island extra though. - Fresco - one of the out of the box expansions that includes the purple, orange and gold paint cubes... not real impact on the rules, but a much better game - Speicherstadt - not the cards.. to many additional rules for beginners... I'm talking about the metallic shiny coins... - Finca - ok, these probably have the biggest rules impact from the list above. This is 4 little additions free with an older copy of spielbox, but they all improve the game in a small but meaningful way."
Dan: "Carc: the river must be hands down the all time champion of must have expansions, so much so it's now been absorbed into the base game.
I like Skullport as it gives the rather pedestrian base game a lift into more strategic territory, I couldn't imagine Waterdeep without it now. I also really dig the Suburbia expansion for the border tiles, for similar reasons.
I actually think Sentinels stands up fine on it's own as there is a lot of clever synergy between the base game decks, but it is very expansion friendly and addictive to expand if you are into it. Shattered Timelines is my personal favourite from the range.
I have a load of stuff for Flashpoint but other than the locked door tokens I don't think any of it does much other than put a bit more variety into the boards. Same thing with Small World, I picked up all the extra armies for a reasonable price so why not, but they aren't by any means necessary.
As an aside I will never touch another FFG expansion as they have a habit of wrecking the balance of their games while making the rules bloated, and also adding a heaving pile of indecipherable tokens that only get used one game in five. "

Tonio: "Fave expansion? I recently enjoyed the first expansion to Escape! Curse of the Temple. It's the sort of game that needs expansions to keep it fun as you get better at it. I thought the expansion to Lords of Vegas was a brilliant improvement."
Jon: "Carcassonne: The River - a definite addition to the base game
Vexation - don't play Transeuropa without it
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small – More Buildings Big and Small - more buildings made a great game, a perfect game
Kingdom Builder: Crossroads - adds more of the same without increasing complexity or gamelength - this should be the goal of every expansion...
Small World: Tales and Legends - awesome event-deck addition
And finally - Railways of Mexico, Railways of Europe and Railways of England and Wales - if you count extra maps as expansions, then these are the finest that money can buy...... "

This weeks question: “What is your most prized gaming possession ? What one thing do you own of a game nature that you value above all else?”

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