Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Gaze deeply into my eyes, you mad apple-obsessed fool

Contributors:  Dan, David, The One and Only James

The evening kicked off with a big Greedy game, full of smack talk and finger pistols under the table. Meanwhile, James was positively quivering at the prospect of getting Cafe Melange onto the table and Paul A and I were happy to oblige, if only to see the smile that cracked open on his fuzzy little fizzog. Turns out that it's not a bad game either, a bit like Ticket to Ride but more of a puzzle angle to it (both James and Paul mentioned that it is also similar to Tobago, which I haven't personally played).

The game does however hang heavily on the choices that players make. I don't think Paul will mind if I use such colourful similies to describe some of his moves during the game as "schoolboy error", "like a blind badger trying to cross the M25" and "a fatal connection between head and rectum". Essentially, he handed me an enormously convincing victory in the space of only a couple of turns, although I will take credit for using some of the action cards to mess with the seating plans to my advantage. So it was okay, but I think the game can swing too hard if not all the players are on the same page and ultimately I'd rather play TTR for a similar feeling experience.

Then we played Sheriff of Velvet Bagingham, a game whose front cover just screams “this game is for wankers.” I hated it, right from the base principal that anyone would actively want to ‘be’ the character of the sheriff, a sneering petty tosspot who tries to bribe, blackmail and bully the other players who at the same time are trying to be conmen of the first order. This one l would set on fire before flinging into the sea.

Fortunately the evening picked up with a couple of rounds of Fake Artist. Having played this with the family a few times over the last couple of weeks (thanks again for the loan James!), I am firmly of the opinion that it’s actually better with a small crowd rather than a large one. The fake artists (Paul A and Tomtoo) won both games, able to guess the clue easily.

Elsewhere, the trail was tinned in what was described as a "quick and easy" Martin Wallace game (ho-ho-ho), the chaps seemed to enjoy it all the same. Up in the far corner the Arctic was Scavenged very thoroughly, and there was also Lancaster seen on the table as well as some other very similar-looking game that preceded it (I dunno, they both had a beige board and wooden cubes so could have been the same game played twice for all I know).


Arrived early with James II before Paul and Gareth and Sarah turned up and we started a quick game of Greed. It's a nice fast game with a bit of engine building. I went for playing as many holdings as possible mostly because that was what was being passed to me rather than actual strategy whilst everyone else went for something in-between. Gareth won at the end with 130k with me trailing in second with 109k and James, Paul and Sarah with around 90k each.

After that I jumped into a game of Tinners' Trail along with Andy, James II and Raj. I would never turn down a opportunity to play a game set in Cornwall and it also turned out to be a lovely Martin Wallace game. The objective is to auction off a plot of land so you can build your mine and then set about mining as much Tin and Copper whilst battling fluctuating market prices and a limited number of building improvements. The early auctions were a cut-throat business, in keeping with the theme, with both James and I overspending in the first round (a trend continuing from last week!). This immediately put us on the back foot and meant that James resorted to selling pasties at an alarming rate just to make money and he was also hampered by a lack of mines. Andy and Raj meanwhile were competing for the prime positions at the tip of the peninsula having more money to compete. I was forever running out of money so had to set myself up to make sure I could go first each round and thus have first pick of the building improvements which then allowed me to mine for free. It was a tactic that worked quite well especially on the last two turns which almost propelled me to victory. It ended with Raj on 86, myself on 79, Andy on 70 and James II on 59. After this I feel James has a new calling selling pasties. It's a lovely game and will try and pick up a copy for myself. 


Cafe Melange - really like this game as it's quick, not too hard to learn, tricky to play well (or in other words... quite random) and has a fabulous theme. Dan won by a landslide... I'd like to blame Paul but a landslide is a landslide... he's obviously spent more time in Starbucks than the rest of us and has perfected the art of optimal seating...

Via Appia - stopping to add another Paul we tried this mix of arcade attraction and family game... I really like this one... has a nice uniue method of adding randomness, some themeatically (is that a word?) rich gameplay and all over in about 60 minutes. Dna's already gloated about his last minute victory, but then again his strategy for 'shoving' the coins involved more table thumping than gently pushing......

Sheriff of Nottingham - Great to finally get a game of this after owning its predecessor Hart an der Grenze and never getting it to the table. the game plays as I imagined... bluffing and guessing and eventually someone wins. Our strategy seemed to a case of the sheriff accusing everyone, everytime, which probably highlights the lack of trust in the club (enough games of the Resistance will do that to you)... but doesn't really give the game a chance to work. Maybe some ruling about only being able to accuse 1/2 the other players each round might be better... Stlil harmless enough, if slightly disappinting after wanting to give this a try for about 3 years... Not sure who won this one, but hoping it wasn't Dan... 

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