Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Going Postal in Andor

Players: Dan, Tomtoo, Gareth, Sarah, Paul D, Amanda, Jon, John, Noel, Alex, James II, Soren


Twelve players convened for an eclectic evening involving railway journeys, medieval squiredom, empire building, and... erm... the world's largest dwarf postal worker. Apparently he only rings just the once though...

Machi Koro Harbour (thanks Jon)
John and Jon were at a bit of a loose end at the beginning of the evening, and so a 2-player game of Machi Koro was decided upon. John had played once before, although not with the expansion, but MK is hardly Die Macher, so the game was soon underway.
Jon quickly built up a nice selection of 'single-dice' buildings, including a Cafe which leeched off John when he rolled a 3, and so he was able to take an early lead. However, John had started building 2-dice buildings, which put him in good stead when multiple dice were rolled. It was all getting quite close until John suddenly rolled a 12, and with a combination of 5 buildings that all provided handsome income on this number, he raked in 40 coins in a single turn.
Unsurprisingly he then built the airport, which would give 10 coins every turn that he didn't build, and the rest was Japanese dice-rolling history.
Machi Koro isn't half bad as a 2-player game - it's certainly shorter, although some of the cards lose their strength at lower player counts. Maybe 3 is the sweet-spot.....?
John won; Jon didn't

No Thanks (thanks Paul D)

 To start with a couple of games of No Thanks.

Sarah started well on the money front but took loads of high numbers in the hope to consolidate. Amanda took some tiddlers. Paul got away with one in the twenties and one in the teens. Dan got saddled with loads, but it didn't stop him giving advice to Tomtwo who rolled up for a look at what was going on. And there was some other stuff, but I remember Amanda winning the first game and Dan coming last by some margin.

Then we played again so that Tomtwo could join us and Dan justified his advice giving in the previous round by wiping the floor with us all. What can we learn from this? Don't get into an evening long poker game with this man. 

Seven Wonders (thanks Paul D)

Sarah started with the big guns, which rippled round the table to her right and she turned Dan from a peace loving hippy into a war monger via a willing weapons merchant in Tomtwo.
Paul based his strategy on his Hanging Gardens wonder which allowed him to play his last card in each era, but he ended up scrabbling for the money to pay for them to be built. Tomtwo and Dan both spread their considerable wealth around going for a balanced approach. Sarah continued to buy weapons and some purple and yellow cards. Paul went for the technology strategy, again because his wonder gave him an extra one at the end.

Dan took to spoils with his balanced approach, with the other three being relatively close behind.

Legends Of Andor (thanks Soren)

The kingdom of Andor was under threat of being overrun by baddies, so the king summoned his finest warriors - yes, as hard as it may be to believe, that was us, Alex the world's largest dwarf, James the archer, Gareth the wizard, and Soren the warrior.

Initially, we strolled around the lands picking up a few items and game rules along the way before a number of foes showed up. They were easily dealt with, but soon turned out to just have been a decoy and two other foes appeared right outside the king's castle with no way for us to stop them both from overrunning the castle. If just one more foe would reach the castle, we would be doomed.

Well, no problem, we handled the remaining foes and everything seemed to be under control - until suddenly the Andorian postal workers seems to have gone on strike, and the king demanded us to rush to one end of the lands to pick up a letter and to rush to the other end of the lands to deliver it while avoiding all the many foes who had popped up everywhere.

We seemed to be in trouble. Only possible way seemed to be to do a relay run. Alex went to single-handedly hold off some foes from reaching the castle. Soren rushed to pick up the letter and bring it back to Gareth, who in the meantime doped himself to the eyeballs on, presumably, Red Bull from the well, so that he could break the Andorian 7-hour working day regulations and rush through a narrow path cleared by James. Only one big foe left blocking a long detour through the mountains to the final destination in the woods. Gareth, James and Soren joined forces with little energy and time left and did succeed in defeating the big baddie, and Gareth managed to deliver the letter just in time with only a couple of hours (actions) to spare.

Hooray - we won.

Legends Of Andor is a good, co-operative, fantasy-themed, campaign/scenario-driven game that is not just the usual rehash of Pandemic. Interesting scripted challenges and need for proper co-operation. We all liked it and were all keen to play again immediately (the next campaign scenario), but real life plans had to postpone it.

To be conitinued...


Medieval Academy (thanks Paul D)

New to Paul and Sarah. Dan and Tomtwo, the seasoned academy graduate from previous games seemed to be going for the long haul with some royalty and charity points and a little on the dragon too. Paul started off by serenading the princess which worked nicely in the first two round, but then Sarah played every pink card she had and was unassailable here with the secret bonus points. Paul switch to try and tame the dragon and build up a big lead here, only to miscalculate Tomtwo's cunning as he was usurped at the last in this category, but Tomtwo had put all of his eggs in one dragon sized basket. Eventual totals revealed that Paul had come out on top, from Tomtwo and Dan with Sarah bringing up the rear, a result of too much time spent in the princess's tower.

Also played this evening:
Railways of the World (Jon, Noel, John, Amanda), Imperial Settlers (Dan, Tomtoo, and Sarah, no prizes for guessing who won), Discworld: Ankh Morpork (Alex, James, Gareth II, Soren), and a couple of games of Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards (pretty much everyone at some point I think!)

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 is your favourite artwork in/on a game...? If you had to select something to put in the Louvre (or the Tate) what would it be?”

Tomtoo: "Favourite artwork is a difficult question... Shadows of brimstone has some great artwork and drawings. Lords of Xidit just looks pretty with the amazing colours. Myth has a really unique art technique which I appreciate a lot and love. But maybe with a game that would look good in the Louvre or Tate, would be Fief: France 1429. The art looks like it came from the louvre. Probably because its a historical game..."

Paul A: "As for artwork, I'll perversely point out the board in High Frontier which is a thing of beauty and awe. And - once your brain grasps it - an incredible encoding of all the information you need to play the game that would otherwise require huge lookup tables.  Otherwise, I've always liked the slightly cartoonish "office noticeboard" look of The Manhattan Project"

Tomone: "Favourite artwork: Lords of Scotland. So iconic in its terribleness - it just fills me with nostalgia and good feeling. What a game."

Dan: "Good graphic design and thematic setting through art is a highly valued element in game production, so there is fortunately a lot of great art out there. Marie Cardouat's work on Dixit certainly deserves a mention for sheer inventiveness, and I really love how Adam McIver was so evocative of the fairytale Disney style with the card art in Council of Verona. Mateusz Bielski has done some really great stuff for Portal. But ultimately I'm going to cop out by favouring the GW run of 2000AD boardgames - Judge Dredd/Block Mania/Rogue Trooper - because the likes of Bolland, Gibson, Gibbons, and so many others just cannot be beat."

Jon: "In terms of best artwork, I find that Michael Menzel's artwork on the Stone Age board hard to beat. The detail is gorgeous if you ever take the time to look closely at it..."

Noel: "I like the map of Venice in San Marco, or any of the Railways maps, or indeed Middle Earth in War of the Ring!"

James: "However that doesn't stop me answering my own question... I'll split the answer in 2 as I like the look of a few dexterity games such as Fire and Aztec and some of the Gigamic games just look great. These can go in the Tate  
For the Louvre I'd offer 1960: The Making of the President that not only has cups of tea but also includes a cup stain from where the cup has been left on the board  
I love the cartoon art in Machi Koro. Finally I think the board of Tammany Hall is a masterpiece, providing both the full summary of rules as well as a place to play them... the perfect board ?"

This weeks question: "So we never seem to get many abstract games out at the club on a Wed night... lots of Ameritrash (thanks Dan) and the obligatory 3 hour Euros... but I don't recall seeing the GIPF games ever, or games like Ingenious, Blokus etc... so here's a chance to ruminate on this and also suggest your favourite abstract game. What abstracts would you play...?"

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