Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The one where they all get amnesia for roughly seven weeks

Stalwart readers may have noticed that it’s all gone a bit quiet on the blog front for the past few weeks. Fear not! We are back online again and temporary blogmaster Dan will fill you in as much as possible on the missing weeks.


As a new feature, 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!

The first question up is: “What do you look for in a game that makes you really keen to play it... and on the flip side... what puts you off before you've even seen the game in action... ?”

Answers will be posted on next weeks blog with a new question! As for game reports for 4th February, please read on…

Thanks to Noel for the following reports:

Medieval Academy
The potential of a Mayday Mayday or Nanuk closer disappeared with Phil, Arturo and Chris making for home although with Arturo's maverick quadruple bluffing technique perhaps that was for the best. As it was Jon, Dan, James and Noel narrowed the choices down to Council of Verona, Red7 and Medieval Academy. A fine selection of potential offerings but with sound endorsements from Jon and Dan, Medieval Academy it was to finish the night (well apart from Le Havre which may well still be continuing...)

Noel concentrated his efforts on twice scoring the full 12 points for service to the King and staying out of too much trouble on the charity front. He also ignored the Dragon slaying business as far too much hassle and passed these cards alternatively off to Dan and James who battled for the 17 points on offer, Jon wisely choosing to stay out of it and keep his 4 points for 3rd place. The jousting wins alternated between James and Jon with Noel and Dan picking up some scraps and Dan pulling a late surge on the academic front to just miss several -3 point penalties. James finally won the dragon battle but it was Noel and Jon who were contenders for the win, with Jon's final decision to try to pull ahead on the princess pleasing gaining him the service bonus but meaning he lost the 5 charity points (enough of that at work I suppose!).
Noel 33, Jon 28, James 25, Dan 24

Tonio left and Phil wandered in, looked longingly at the Le Havre table and settled in for Ora-et-Labora-lite with Artificium which requires you to chain your hand of cards to convert wheat to bread to ham to diamonds to banquets or knights or something. At the top of the converting pyramid of points were two peaks - either 8 points and a bonus that gained you more cards to potentially chain in that turn or 8 points and a bonus that sent another player back 4 points. The extra cards turned out to be a much better point gaining bohnanza - the other felt like the design meeting was running late and they had to shoot off for lunch so decided a 4 point deduction would be fine.
Gameplay was pretty smooth until 1 player gained their 5 card bonus (keeping 2) at which point it ground to a halt as that player decided how best to chain in their extra cards while the others looked on in keen anticipation (or checked their phones). Noel was able to get the 5 card bonus twice, Phil once and James not at all which was the critical factor in Noel's win. Nicely produced, short, but mostly pretty obvious and cant see this hanging around in James conveyor belt collection for much longer, especially when apparently it was the last copy in existence at Essen, signed by Mr Asmodee himself...get it while its hot, roll up roll up, you know it makes sense, bargain init..
Noel 74, Phil 65, James 57

La Isla
Noel had read some favourable reviews on La Isla as a gaming family's game he was keen to give it a go with James bringing along a copy hot from the shelves of a virtual Tonio joined them while Jon decided to eschew a Stefan Feld point salad for a more thematic euro on the next table.
The rules were pretty simple, take 3 cards, play 1 for a lasting special ability, 1 to take a cube and 1 to move the stock of one of the animals that formed the set collection mechanic. Play two cubes to place an explorimeeple (pimped) and collect points if your explorimeeples surround an animal tile which are worth points in game and end game with a set collection bonus.
Working out which way round to play your 3 cards was a nice exercise in setting up future moves and stacking abilities but player interaction, in this game at least, was very limited. There were several opportunities to block other players but generally you had to be fortunate to be able to do so and would mess up your own developing plans.
Nothing particularly eventful happened in the game, points were collected throughout and Noel managed to most efficiently surround his animal tiles and pick up the set collection bonus at the end to win. A bit too fiddly with not enough interaction for couples/gaming family but an ok 45 min euro for games night! 

Noel 73, Tonio 53, James 44

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