Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Three plus three is twelve

Players: Gareth, Sarah, Jon, Dan, Paul D, James, Dan II, Andy

Another great night, a lot of fun was had with prancing parades, crafty Cathedrals, delirious dreams, and trans-Asian trading. We also witnessed the undersea equivalent of Bungee Jumping, which has to be a first for IBG if not the world.


Ahh, I remember that bit of Alice In Wonderland so well, when all the core characters decide to clone themselves ten times over before forming a long orderly line. And who says that filler games don't have theme? A bunch of us played this to get the evening started, scores ranged from terrifically wonderful to hilariously bad but the eventual victor is sadly lost to posterity.

Marco Polo (thanks James!)

Ok, so it did play in just over an hour with 2 players on my first game... wasn't expecting this to be a 2 hour game with 4...

Apologies out of the way, Andy, Paul, Natasha and myself all dived into one of the hot games of the month, from the designers of T'zolkin a lighter, dice worker placement game about exploring the far east and bagging camels (no, that' not what you think that means Jon)...

This games most striking aspect are the unique player roles. When Dan heard about the dice element he was skeptical about the luck element in the game.... however one of the player roles gets to pick their dice results rather than rolling... a natural fit to cover Dan's skepticism... Paul could avoid the costs for using already selected actions, I gained additional resources from the market and Andy had an extra dice for the game... very powerful abilities. This feels to me like one of the key motivators to reward additional games and the roles will require different approaches each game.

So as the the game itself, turned out to be an interesting journey... I jumped out to a commanding lead mid-game due to completing lots of contracts due to my easier access to resources. Dan and Andy were both exploring while Paul seemed to be specifically targeting certain cities. In the last 3rd suddenly Dan scored like a zillion points in 1 turn and we ended up neck and neck.. Andy and Paul were struggling to keep the pace, I'll admit I'm not sure the extra dice ability is as good as it sounds.. but haven't played the game enough to really know for sure. Right at the end I managed to turn in a few more contracts and ended up ahead by about 8 points or so... but it went from feeling comfortable for me to a nervous last few turns... trying to max out points at the end is quite a brain burner.

For me I enjoyed it although not sure how the others felt... I think there's a risk that you can be limited in options towards then end which doesn't help... Paul got a bit stuck this way. Dan and me took totally different routes to scoring and were close, which is promising for future re playability... as I already said, I'm not sure the extra dice gives enough of a benefit, but maybe I'm wrong... felt like Andy wasn't able to do much with his advantage.

I think the game though is really solid... and easily the best new game this year (post Essen)... wouldn't surprise me at all to see it up for some of the big awards later this year



 Two plays of this long-absent but much welcome game of un-co-operation, general confusion, and pictures of spiders. The first was a two-player endeavour between Jon and Dan with Jon playing two investigators, which plays surprisingly well as there is a stronger unspoken dialogue between the ghost and the investigator. It's definitely much easier to be the ghost without people interfering in each others interpretations of the dream cards (not mentioning any names here *cough*spiders!*cough*). A fairly easy victory all told with only one refresh of the dream cards.
Paul joined us for the second game with Jon taking over spooky duty, once again we got right to the end but with only one opportunity to guess we chose the wrong suspect.

Deep Sea Shrimpy Bungee Jumpers Are Ok!

This one is fast becoming a club favourite as an end of evening game; veteran James took a tactful approach plunging not too deep and quickly coming back up with a single treasure in hand. Everybody else went crazy like a bunch of bag-ladies with brand new shopping trolleys and found themselves struggling to survive with any treasure. Both the Dans did some remarkable undersea bungee-jumping, diving down only to immediately come back up empty handed. I managed to acquire only a single level 1 artifact for all my troubles which was decried as the equivalent of shrimp fishing in this game. Revealing our tiles at the end of the game it turned out to be an ex-shrimp that had climbed up the curtain and joined the choir invisible. A rather tragic end to the night, but I shall forever treasure my brief moments with "Bubba" and remember him always.   

Jon mentions that he only realised halfway through the game the reason why everyone was rolling remarkably low totals with 2 dice, and why he could ever roll more than a total score of 6 - there were only the numbers 1-3 on each die.... "Despite this, I think I might have won the game with a remarkable final desperate dive. But I might not have. Who cares - it was fun anyway!"

Also played this evening: Catan: Germany Edition

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: "Imagine you're standing in the upcoming election on behalf of the Board Game Party.... what would be in your manifesto ?"

James: "To start this off I'd make it an offense for any other activities to be arranged on a Wed evening that could conflict with club night...

Also, any company found scheduling meetings on Thursday mornings at 9am, or similar will be fined severely... "

Neil: "Tighter controls at ferry ports: all Japanese to be tested thoroughly before being allowed entry.
Moratorium for mythological, fantastical games: hand them over to any council dump during the month of June. After that the police state will hunt you down and you will be convicted.
The rebranding of The Monopolies Commission to 'The Feld Academy'.
A new structure of education taught completely through board games: History - Through the Ages, Geography - Ticket to Ride, Sports - Subbuteo, English - Council of Verona, Maths - from 6 Nimmt and For Sale through to advanced Feld, etc, etc."

Paul A: "If you elect me for the Boardgame party, I will ensure that truth in advertising is enforced for boardgames: piles of miniatures can no longer be called "theme", those launching Kickstarters will be forced to admit if they have no idea what they're doing, game manuals will have to meet minimal standards of English and comprehension. "

James: "Prior to any game of Small World there will be a referendum whether Jon should be gagged for the duration of the game.
If I'm elected I'll also pass a law that permits upto 1 incorrect rule to be acceptable when covering new games for the first time...
2 incorrect rules would go on record, but not result in any further action.
3 incorrect rules - you're out ! (...or forced to proof read the next Phil Eklund game...)"

Soren: "I would tax empty space in game boxes - that should sort out both the economy as well as the housing shortage."

Dan: "So if we vote for James he has to throw himself out of the country?
My ticket is the same as the one I had in my recent abortive bid for the world presidency, which is the promise of free Beer, discount balloon rides, and a two-day working week for all. Like any good politician my steering wheel only does u-turns though, fair warning!

Tash: "Vote for me and I will:
1. Increase productivity and wealth exponentially across the Dominion by holding massive numbers of Festivals.
2. Refocus our Trains industry on its true #1 priority: efficiently disposing of toxic waste
3. Skyrocket national wealth by producing vast quantities of much-needed Indigo thanks to our new forced labour "colonists"
4. Give everyone in prison a chance to escape if they can reach the car park and then roll 20 or more on 4 dice
5. Outlaw the use of Wet Nurses and Chamberlains in the farming industry, as an anti-competitive practice "

Jon: "Vote for me and I'll abolish:
1) All cube-pushing games over 1 hour long...
2) All fantasy-themed games (special dispensation for Small World)...
3) All space-themed games...
4) Cards with too much text and too many icons on them...
5) Any Japanese game... except Trains... or Machi Koro... or String Savanna...
6) James... "

This weeks question: "I have a friend who loves Monopoly... I'm very keen to get them into a game of Agricola but I know this is too big a leap in one go. Create a boardgame path that takes my friend from Monopoly to Agricola in, say 5 games (or whatever works for you) and share this below." 

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