Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Nope, not THAT sort of Curling

Contributors: Daniel, David

Three tables on the go last night, let's see if I can remember as far back as, erm, fifteen hours ago...

Lots of sitting around chatting until some bright spark said "Hey! Let's actually play a game?" and off we went with Royal Goods. It's funny in that it seems to require a lot of explanation in order to get a game going, but is really so compact and simple that it moves pretty quickly once you do get underway. Jon surprised himself by almost winning despite a very slow start and accumulating a massive hand of cards (thus dispelling his initial fears of only drawing two cards per round and not being able to produce or build anything as a result), but the joint honours went to Peter and Tom. Meanwhile, David, Raj, Alex, and James exploded some Kittens in 'that' Oatmeal game.

Next up I was off to Tracey Island yet again, with Tom, James, and Alex joining me in a comprehensive smashing of The Hood's mischevious machinations. We had an early game wobble with three consecutive space missions and Thunderbird 3 stuck in space due to John Tracey not only being a character in play but also last in turn order! It took some judicious planning and burning up of bonus tokens in order for Tom (playing John, our space hero) to prevent us losing the game before the first full round was over. After that we held the game in check without any real risk and motored on to an easy win.

Then the highlight of the night with the inaugural IBG mini all-comers World Championship Tabletop Curling event, or, err, IBGMACWCTCE. Tom strode ahead into the lead with a series of quick wins before James, the consummate Curling-sharp, stepped up to the plate claiming that he didn't really know how to play before totally owning both Tom and myself with a calm, measured performance. However, Tom once again rose to the top by knocking James off his pedestal with some startlingly aggressive play (it's not Billiards Tom!), and began to refer to himself as unbeatable. Despite, or maybe because of, Tom's mis-timed braggadocio, I then hit a golden streak where I simply could not be shifted from the table. We played many many rounds, mainly due to the constant calls of "just five more minutes!" from Jon and Paul, and this game just does not get old. Game of the year, I tells ye.

Some people then went home and, after slipping in a quick game of Codenames, we were left with CVlizations on one table and Medieval Academy on the other. For Medieval Academy we used the alternative boards for the tournament and it really is different; far more strategic as you have to consider the impact of playing both sides of the combat as well as maxing your position on at least one side. It also only resolves every other round so the rewards are much larger. I like this alternate board very much and I'm curious to try some of the other variants now. Other games? Jon and Paul played something about German Trams a couple of times, and there was a long game of something beige that strangely didn't look much like a Eurogame (I'm sure David can provide more details on that one?) Plus there was more Curling action between Jon and Paul, who looked like they were actually playing the game properly and with due consideration as opposed to our smash-up tournament earlier in the evening.


Started the evening with a game of Exploding Kittens with myself, James, Alex and Paul. You play a limited number of cards from your hand before picking up a card from the deck, if you pick up an exploding kitten you are removed from the game unless you use a defuse card which you start with or can steal from others. There's very little in the way of choice or actions to affect the game and it comes down to luck of the draw. I have the same sort of feelings towards this as Love Letter or Fluxx, where I like them as two player games as they are quick, pointless and fun. However when you add more players they aren't so much fun and they take too long.
As Royal Goods was still going strong we started a game of Codenames, Paul was the caller on my team and Alex was the caller on James' team. At one point I guessed Bugle for his clue of Dog, for some reason I read it as Beagle without thinking laugh. Despite my dimwittedness we still managed to comfortably beat James and Alex ninja

After that Raj and then Gareth turned up, I believe Royal Goods was still going on so we played another game of Codenames. Gareth joined my and Paul's team and Raj joined James and Alex's team. This was a thorough pasting as we guessed every clue Paul gave us as James and Raj struggled with some of Alex's cryptic clues. It really is a lovely game.
By the time we had finished the other table had wrapped up as well so we split off into three tables. Raj, Myself, Peter and Gareth started a game of Mercante. Each player controls a merchant house that has it's own unique ability with the objective of buying goods via auctions and then selling onto the open market. It's a straight forward trading mechanic, buy low sell high, however players can play event cards that can affect the price or even close certain markets. These they stay for a number of turns in the calender before they are bumped off by newer events. Raj and Gareth were dominating most of the early auctions and making tidy profits whilst Peter and I were going for the long game, hiring more agents and collecting more contracts. 

However Raj was unstoppable, reaching 80 crowns (one of the win conditions) about halfway through. We were all too busy concentrating on our own actions to really throw a spanner in the works and Raj was making vast profits from selling luxury goods at inflated prices. I fear my rules run through was a bit scatter gun so it took a while to get going although it looked like everyone picked it up quickly despite my best efforts blush The auction and trading works well with the event cards throwing in a bit of player interaction and theme to spice things up. However the Merchant House cards can tend to dictate on how you end up playing.

After that Alex and Peter headed home and we settled for another game of Codenames, with Tom, Dan and Raj on one team and Gareth, myself and James on the other. This was another clean sweep by us as we managed to guess all of James' clues quite easily.

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