Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Humanities last stand, take two

Deep Sea Assholes was doing the rounds in the early evening, so Dom and I decided to play our own filler game of, erm, Space Hulk. Dom had risked permanent back injury by lugging his enormous third edition box along to the club, but what a beautious thing it is to behold! Quite possibly the most blinged-out game around, take that CMON! We set up for a pretty straight-forward mission where the marines have to carve their way through the Genestealer hordes in order to douse the escape pod control room in flames so that the completely-not-like-Geigers-aliens-at-all-just-a-coinicidence-honest cannot board them and land on a nearby populated planet. Why they couldn't just sit in their goliath space fortress and blast the escape pods from a safe distance is a mystery that only George Lucas could answer for, although 'because Star Wars' probably doesn't work as an excuse here.

Anyway, Raj rolled in a little too late to get involved in any of the other games so he jumped in with us on the principal that two minds can surely screw things up twice as badly as one, and with a cry of "for the Emperor!" we faced off against Dom as a team. Our game plan started off well, and Raj's unnerving ability to roll hits on almost every roll not only put down a veritable horde of bad guys, it also allowed our heroes to wedge their ungainly armour into some form of recognisible formation. Things went very quickly downhill for us from there as both our point men went down in a flurry of bites and razor-claw strikes, exposing our sole flamer unit who was vital to mission success. As the marines can barely fit in the narrow corridors we had a heck of a job reversing some of them out of the way to allow for a new formation, but try as we might we couldn't quite keep our defensive line in effective shape. The end result was the inevitable massacre of mankind. Or maybe not, as the Emperor, in his ultimate wisdom, later sent in a new contigent under the guidance of Tom. Hopes were raised as the furry one marched his troops into the blood-stained hallways, proudly boasting of his assured triumph. Thirty minutes later, it was all over for humanity again. Oh well, at least we tried.

Other diversions for the evening were the now obligatory end of evening game of Rhino Hero, a tilt at Sushi Go!, and Sentinels had a double showing. The first was an ultra quick bash at Baron Blade in Freedom Tower as David and James were both on the clock; it's not the most satisfying or challenging set up for the game but a good introduction all the same and quick to play. We then progressed onto the equally inept Gloomweaver who we dispatched with similar ease.


 James B, Gareth, Sarah, Philip, myself and TomToo started the evening with a six player game of Deep Sea Adventure. Everyone had played before so we plunged straight into the race to see who could die the fastest. Gareth, James and Philip all played it safe returning home at just the right time to leave the rest of us floundering. Some last ditch heroics weren't enough to save James B or myself so it was left to Gareth to win with Philip in a close second.

Following that I convinced Gareth and TomToo to join James B and myself for a game of Homeland: The Game, a hidden traitor game that is often described as Battlestar Galactica distilled. The roles are split between a Terrorist who wants the world to burn, a Political Opportunist who wants the world to burn just enough before saving it and Agents who want to save the world. New threats appear every turn and players can combat these by playing hidden 'intel' cards that either help or hinder the threat. As a Political Opportunist I set about trying to help the terrorist straight away by throwing in as many bad 'intel' cards onto threats as possible. I feel I got away with this for at least half the game until I made the mistake of throwing away a powerful positive card that raised suspicions. By then though I was confident of victory, I was sure there was no terrorist and the other three were agents. When it came to the critical juncture where three imminent threats would decide the fate of mankind imagine my surprise when TomToo opts out of helping defeat the most powerful threat as he announced his evil intentions as he snatched victory from us all as the hidden terrorist. I thought I had screwed up just enough missions and then expected the rest to save us before announcing my victory so TomToo did a great job hiding his true role. I really enjoyed it, I don't watch the show but the theme works well with the mechanics and it feels easier to hide your role than say Battlestar Galactica or Dark Moon.

To end the evening James B and I jumped into a quick game of Sentinels of the Multiverse along with Dan, Raj and Gareth. I think most of us chose our heroes based on names rather than abilities so I ended up with Captain Cosmic. James B and I only had time for a quick intro game but it was enough to defeat the mad scientist and save the world. This is something I would want to play again now I've had a taster.


It had been far too long since the perennial favourite Railways of the World had been brought out at IBG, so it was time to dust off the trains and track and dive right in. Jon & Noel were joined by the suave Natasha (sharp suit and bottle of wine de rigueur) and Sarah, who was a newbie to the game. Europe was the map – and long was the game!

Noel won the first auction and started out in Northern Europe, whilst Natasha went for a service bounty in Northern Italy. Jon couldn’t bear to be parted from Noel, and so built right next to him, and Sarah chose Southern Italy for her starting point.

Jon took a card that prevented anyone else building into Essen, which forced Noel southwards. Natasha expanded up into Russia and Sarah scrambled up into Southern Europe and then down into Turkey. Noel and Natasha both grabbed early bonuses and were soon streaming ahead on the points track, with Jon and Sarah lagging far behind. Noel built westwards into Spain, where Natasha failed to follow him, whilst Jon now struck out Eastwards for the Paris-Constantinople bonus. Jon had some long deliveries paying off now, so the gap was beginning to shorten, and he deliberately urbanised to extend the game by one more round.

It did eventually end, however, and even when Noel’s numerous Bonds were deducted from his score, he still came out on top, but only just, being 4 points ahead of Natasha and 1 more from Jon. Sarah brought up a gallant last place, surely wiser after her first experience of the Railways system.

Despite its length (150 mins) this was another great game, and if only Natasha hadn’t glugged that second bottle of wine, he might just have won….. 

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