Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Cake or Paintball? Tough decisions reign at IBG

Contributors: Daniel, Peter, Jon

Tom and I hastily built some decks in Deck Building: the Deck Building Game, then we went twice round the table with No Thanks! The second time was quite possibly the weirdest game of this I've ever played, despite some rigorous shuffling most of the cards came out in near-perfect streaks which meant a lot of them were grabbed without going too far round the table. I think Tom's only involvement in the game was to pass once, a really odd game.

Tom, David, Raj, and I got lost on a desert island in Robinson Crusoe. We were stuck there for all eternity (not a reference to the playing time, which went by at a fair clip) and despite the islands best attempts at murdering us with wild animals, starvation, and starving wild animals, we managed a comfortable win. 

We welcomed a new member to the club, Lucas, who jumped in on Sushi Go! with Jon & co. (and maybe something else after?) Meanwhile there was some deep thinking going on in Bruges, and some hot and heavy farming action in Agricola (Andy won again, after being summoned by the Magic Word in the forums. At least we know how to get hold of him in an emergency now, it's like a bat-signal only in the shape of a sheep).

Some table switching at the end, with Rhino Hero making an always welcome appearance followed by games of San Juan and Medieval Academy. I also snuck in a quick half-a-game of Soccer17 with Tom, a wafer-thin treat that squeezes a surprising amount of fun out of an achingly simple call-my-bluff mechanism.

James also decided to instigate the massive-multiplayer game of "how much cake can you stuff in your face" which seemed to go down well, but unfortunately the night was not long enough to be treated with Street Paintball: The Game (otherwise known as "throw things at Neil" or "reasons why you don't want to enter a mystery prize competition run by James")


The very beige and brown tones of the classic Goa was the game of choice for myself, Phil, James & Neil. Playing this reminded me how wonderful so many of the older games are and so deserving of more table time. Goa is pure class. I caught an episode of the Sopranos the other day, the first time since finishing the box set off many years ago. It oozed finesse from every pixel on the screen. It wasn't dated (except for the mobile phones) but timeless. Same with Goa. Our very own Tony Soprano, James, was in the expedition and plantation business, Neil was all about colonies and flag-sharing with James, Phil was into ships, Gold and plantations, whilst I was expeditioning the game away. It was a narrow victory for myself.


Welcome to Lucas – local boy who made his first appearance this evening.
Welcome back to Lord Lucan (aka Andy Ricketts), who turned up to whip everyone at Agricola.
Thanks to James for bringing along a rather large chocolate cake.
Sushi Go
Looking for a quick filler to pass time until the Agricola boys all arrived. This was a birthday present (thanks Noel!) and has been a huge hit as a family game. Really easy to pick up and everyone is involved at the same time, as it’s card drafting.
Lucas joined us after the first round and was dealt into the game without really knowing the rules – welcome to IBG, Lucas!
Despite not collecting any puddings (he is far too fit for that), Noel still managed a sneaky little victory. Love this game – it’s going to need sleeving at this rate……

Valley of the Kings
Lucas mentioned that he’d played Dominion before, so a deck-builder seemed in order. This is a great little game, and Paul assembled his artefacts and entombed them in the most efficient fashion to come out victorious. Keen to try out the stand-alone expansion, Afterlife, when I get the chance…

San Juan
This is the new second edition with the improved artwork and several new buildings. I have to say that I was already a big fan of San Juan, but with the new edition they have hit a total home run (which is more than can be said for the Blue Jays…) I love the colour artwork, and the new buildings they have added are perfect – not complicated, but give just a few more opportunities for scoring in different ways.
Paul had a flying start, building a Prefecture and one other building that gave him an advantage when picking the Councillor, and when he added an early Library, it all looked cut and dried. However, Jon got his own Prefecture to match Paul’s card collecting, and threw in a Black Market (use pre-traded goods to pay for buildings) to speed up his purchasing. David was meanwhile in a world of his own, bemoaning the fact that his Gold Mine was acting a bit more like a British Coal Mine in terms of income. 

With 3 players this game fairly rattles along, and Jon knew that he had to end it as soon as possible to prevent Paul getting his production engine going, so he built as often as he could, and snuck a few cards under the Bank on the penultimate turn. So he built a final 1-point building with Paul and David still having a couple of gaps in their portfolio, and won a low-scoring game by just 4 points. And it was all done and dusted in 25 minutes – bargain!

Coup: Guatemala ‘54
To round the evening off, a 6-player game using the expansion that Jon had picked up at Essen. This included the Anarchist character, who sets off a bomb and demands that each player must either diffuse it or pass it on (by declaring that they also have an Anarchist). One word. Carnage.

Neil decided to challenge Noel early on and found himself taking an early shower. James (strange that…) was targeted by several bombs and ended up blown to smithereens. Paul made good use of his Arms Dealer to gather much income, whilst Jon’s Politician promptly stole it off him. Philip’s Arms Dealer was a little less successful – he must have been selling air-rifles or something. 

Paul made the classic mistake of challenging Jon’s honesty whilst he had a bomb sitting in his lap. Jon proved to be honest (as always) and the bomb still exploded – so it was goodnight Paul, losing both characters in one turn. Philip was next to bite the dust, and so it was left for Jon and Noel to Duke it out. Unfortunately, Jon had both a Politician and an Anarchist (great combo!) which meant that Noel’s lonely Anarchist stood little chance, so he fell on his sword….
James complained (as usual) that an Arms Dealer and an Anarchist wasn’t a great combination. “No S***!” replied Noel, looking over his shoulder before tucking a Beretta into his belt for another day….

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