Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Trolls, Trains, and Strawberries

Players: James, Paul D, Jon, Tom, Dan, Andy


Tom: "TROLL didn't benefit from a number of false starts as myself, James and Paul D were first halted by a fundamental rules error (guess who was rules explainer) and then the appearances of Jon and Dan.

The game itself was in a similar push your luck/bluffing vein to Welcome to the Dungeon but I think actually pulls off what it's trying to achieve slightly better than that title. However, at the same time, it is both a lot drier and quite a bit slower and ultimately is dwarfed by the insurmountable brilliance of the Blue Lobsters of Diamant. I won."
Jon: "usually the sort of semi-blind bidding game that I like, but perhaps not helped by using James’ patented method of teaching a new rule every 5 minutes…
This isn’t a terrible game at all, but it reminded me of ‘Felix the Cat in the Sack’, which is a lot better to play, and much nicer looking."

Tom: "By the time that Dragon Teeth Washer (aka TROLL) had finished, Andy had turned up and we commenced a six player of Pictomania following the triumph of last week. It didn't quite zing like last week. Having discussed it with Dan, it has to be played at a greater speed with less time spent on carefully considering the options available as this leads to errors and hilarity. Nevertheless, there were still several laugh at loud moments such as Paul's abominable effort in drawing "shoes". Luckily, my picture of "Sensuality" wasn't saved for posterity - "rub rub".

Dan was victorious this time around - pipping me by two points. Paul's drawing skills didn't help him, James was often the black sheep and Andy spent far too long on drawing his meisterwerks."
Jon: "great fun, and I prefer it when the words get harder and more abstract, as it encourages greater lateral thinking and head scratching, rather than a mad rush to throw tokens at each other. Shame that no-one appreciated my efforts to draw a car ‘jack’ to clarify that my drawing of a bird was in fact a sparrow…. But it was nice to see that James thinks that a ‘bailiff’ is someone who locks prisoners in a cell…"

(thanks Jon)
This hasn’t been played for some time, but Paul, James and Jon were all keen, so out it came, this time using the NE US map. James chose his starting position first, and plonked himself in the South East, next to a nice large mountain range. Jon took the South West, next to some juicy remote locations, whilst Paul took the North East, surrounded by a nice combination of cities and remote locations.
James’ plan soon became clear – lay rails in the mountain ranges, and then use the Mining Trains (worth one coin for every rail you have in the mountains) to buy some Skyscrapers (4 points each). Paul was laying track and building stations, with the intent of stretching out into the North West and collecting a route bonus along the way. Jon was trying Noel’s ‘minimalist board building’ strategy, and picked up train cards and Control Rooms (draw 3 extra cards) to cycle through his deck and aim to build Skyscrapers.
The Mining Trains (combined with a card that essentially copied the Mining Train) started to pay enormous dividends for James when he’d built his 7th rail in the mountains, and although he didn’t have that many points on the board, he started to hoover up the Skyscrapers. Jon saw what was happening, and as his deck was starting to clog with Skyscrapers and associated waste, he decided to buy up several irrelevant cards to end the game, before James could take the last 2 Skyscrapers. As Paul was about to lay rails into a remote location and score at least 7 points (including a route bonus) and James would almost certainly have built skyscrapers and possibly laid rails into a 5-point remote location, this proved to be a judicious move, as he ended the game just ahead of James, who was only a few points ahead of Paul. As usual, it’s all about timing, with very little room for error.
This was a great game, with some cards that synced beautifully for some lovely combos, and it wrapped up in under an hour. Perfect!

(thanks Tom)

Dan, Andy and myself tried out my new copy of Elysium, fresh from the Expo. I had managed a two player game with James at the Expo and it hadn't quite sung but it was heartily impressive with three.

Dan went for the dick family, Poseidon, stealing from Andy and myself every which way and raking in VPs for himself thanks to his early acquisition of the Lords of the Sea card. Andy in the meantime was establishing a nice money generating engine (thanks to Hesperatus) and attempting to link this up with transferring cards into his Elysium with the assistance of Hades. I, in the meantime, had acquired the very helpful Charon who gave me two VPs every time I transferred two cards into my Elysium. This coupled with a couple of VP generating Zeus cards saw me in the lead in terms of VP chips.

Whilst this was going on, I had established a healthy lead in terms of a 2 value collection with Dan and Andy getting end game bonuses for the 1 and 3 value collections respectively. All of these collection were two way battles with the family bonuses disregarded until Dan acquired a full Poseidon family at last blush.

At the end, the scores were very close with Andy taking the win thanks to an astonishing 12 VP end game bonus from his 1 value collection which contained three different Gatherings (each of which awarded him 4 VPs, for 4 different families in that collection). I was 4 points behind and Dan 2 points further back. Will certainly be brining this back.

Too Many Cinderellas
(thanks Jon)
First time for me, and we played 3-player. Seems ok – feels a little bit like Council of Verona for some reason, but without the subtleties of that game. It’s got the voting mechanism from ‘King Up’ which is always fun when 2 people use their ‘No’ votes on the same card (as Paul & James did twice running…)
Fake Artist Goes to New York
Tom: "Thanks to us ending at the same time as the other table, a five player game of A Fake Artist Goes to New York was arranged with Andy exhausted from his previous artistic efforts. I have been interested in trying this for a while now and it was a highly enjoyable experience. As James described it, it's a visual version of Spyfall and, in my opinion, is actually the far better game. It was mentioned that a downside is that one player won't be involved in a particular round but I think that I had just as much fun watching the others trying to draw "Bee" and guessing myself who the spy was. I'll let Dan tell you all about his social experiment!"

Jon: "Spyfall meets Pictionary. Much hilarity and not as straightforward as it sounds. If someone can come up with an app so that you don’t have to have one person sit out each round, then it would be perfect."
Dan: "Some more highlights from Fake Artist:
The clue was Bee so James goes ahead and draws... a Bee...
My picture of the London Apprentice sign being reinterpreted by Jon as someone attempting to leap from a window... not sure what he was subconsciously trying to tell us about his thoughts on drawing games...
Is it a Carrot or is it a Strawberry... only Tom can tell us...
And finally, confusion reigned when I gave everybody the clue "spy"... including the spy..."

Super Rhino
Tom: "To close off the evening, Super Rhino which was a big hit as always. In fact, I do believe that a certain rhino may be finding a new home in the Wooden residence very soon"
Jon: "OK, I admit it, I was hooked after one game and definitely need to pick this up. It’s so rare for a decent manual dexterity game to be in such a small box. Kudos to the designer…"

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: "Did anyone else spot the announcement that Days of Wonder are going to be selling copies of Small World Designer Edition from their web site next week... at the low low price of $450 (plus P&P)... I mean it looks fabulous, but that's a lot of bagbagbagbagbag

So the question is this...

Is there a game that you'd love so see produced in a 'deluxe' edition like this...? And then, if it was available... how much would you be prepared to pay for it !??

Dan: "Well obviously if they produced
in a luxury format it would have to sell for One Million Dollars..."
Neil: "I think I'd go for a deluxe version of Hawaii. You get the whole island obviously.
Or maybe a decent Ticket to Ride collection, would need to be a damn sight better than the 10th Anniversary Edition though!
Tony Boydell has a wonderful box for his Agricola.

I think I would sell the Mrs for a 'Rosenberg Chest of Games', and I'm not suggesting she's cheap before you ask.

It's only money you know..."

Tom: "In terms of deluxe editions, I'm really not sure. Space is at a premium and more often than not I value economical box size and pound-for-pound gameplay over a ritzy looking behemoth nowadays.

That being said, the big version of Rhino Hero that James was talking about on Wednesday does sound fun... "

Paul A: "Deluxe editions I'm usually immune to. I mean, the deluxe TtR is lovely as is the deluxe Hanabi but I can't really see my way to spending money for "lovely". My sole purchase in that space has been buying the supersize map for High Frontier, and that was more a question of functionality more than prettiness. "

James: "Who wouldn't want to play this
I'd like someone to bring out a deluxe version of Tumblin-Dice, perhaps with a 'out of bounds barrier' so that Phil's miss aims don't disappear off the back of the table and into the Thames...
Tikal could look fabulous with 3D tiles... imagine building the towers up with sculpted pieces instead of cardboard.
Lastly I'd love a copy of Deep Sea Adventure with bits like this...


Noel: "this 3d Version of Notre Dame is very cool:
Jon: "In terms of deluxe versions, I always liked this version of Rallyman. Merely an ok game, but this homebrew board design is preeetttty.......
Tash: "I am one of those gamers who couldn't give a continental jam tart what their games look like or even (to be honest) what state of repair they're in. I am called the "Beer spiller" by some gamers, which probably gives you an idea of why it is that my mother once memorably said to me:
"And that's why you don't deserve nice things."
On the other hand, if there was a chance to spill a pint of beer over the $450 Deluxe Small World ... I'm your man for that task."

This weeks question: "One Step Away from Greatness - With so many games to try and so many new ones coming out each year, those that don't quite cut it are soon to be consigned to the trade pile and largely forgotten. However, some games come within a hairs breadth of being great.

So, what would you choose to do if you were asked to redesign just one part of one game that would transform it into a keeper?"

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