Wednesday, 16 March 2016

It's adventure time! Don't forget to pack the Gin.

Contributors: Daniel, John B, Neil, Paul D, Jon

Coup in space and a crowded Tumbling Dice championship were on the go early on, followed by a whole bunch of stuff. Adventure land, or Adventure time? Isn't that a cartoon or something? Anyway, it's the airiest of kid's games; turn over cards, hoover up some tokens, and occasionally roll some dice. There will be VPs at the end. Also not Japanese, which is an oddity for James. It was pleasant enough, although there were a couple of times I thought I was in danger of falling into a coma with all the repetition involved.

Council of Four, played by four, Philip probably won? Everybody else dogpiled into Automobiles, the box looked like Trains but the game was something else entirely.

A few rounds of 'Dixit in Hong Kong' I'm personally not convinced that the traitor element adds anything to the format but the game itself was fine. We were led astray by the machinations of 'Pliko' James, who misdirected us handily from the murder weapon and it all went downhill from there. In the second game I was put into a difficult corner as the murderer and had to tilt at the most obious yet wrong clue on the table to prevent being outed. Jon eventually ended up correctly pinning the crime on me, but it was so very close as he was torn between combinations on Ken's tableau and mine. Third go around and Ken was the murderer, and despite the rest of the group correctly identifying both clues with exactly the right logic they decided to guess at pretty much anything but that combination. A bad day for CSI all told then.

Followed up with Quadropolis on one table, Ginkgopolis on another, and Airships (no polis I'm afraid) on a third. "Alan" not-Tom, "no, the other one" John, and DLT Tom joined me in the high and mighty pursuit of Luftschiff manufacturing. I got things off to a fine start by grabbing the easiest airship, only for John and then Alan to successively steal away the bonus token with their own builds. Intent on showing the lads how it's done I then bought a new hangar despite completely forgetting that I already had one in play, which made for a totally wasted turn. Alan made a half-hearted attempt at getting the Hindenburg going but nobody else wanted to follow so the effort petered out quickly. John looked like the best shot to steal victory as he was amassing quite the fleet, but my canny purchases from the market gave me a top-quality company packed with the best staff and latest innovations, and a lot of VPs as a result. I took the opportunity to end the game with the last airship build as soon as it became available and despite failing at the first attempt it was a cinch the second time around. At the final counting, I had enough points to pip John into second place and took the honours. Tom went down in flames whilst Alan suffered a slow puncture.

A welcome return for Diamant maxed out to eight players finished off the evening, we had lots of fun. Tom is the new Gareth, he nearly broke one of his high heels in his rush to scarper out on the first turn, but still managed to take a close victory. It must be a couple of years since this last got played at the club, and we ought to make sure it doesn't gather dust for so long in future!


James compared Quadroplois to Between Two Cities, but personally I think it’s a lot better. You also get two significantly different versions of the game, the base version and the expert version. Having said that neither of them are that heavy.

The base game runs four rounds, you buy up to four tiles each round and place them in your city. To get a tile you place one of your architects (You have four numbered 1 to 4) which determine not only what tile you can get (You count along the row or column you have placed it by and get the tile in the position that matches your architect) but where you are allowed to place it in your city (You need to place it on a row or column with the same number as the architect used to acquire it). There are six different building types (Eight in the expert version) and they all score differently.


Despite Jon saying that his first play of Ginkgopolis left him thinking it was too thinky for him he managed to get lumbered with a second game, maybe he was just worried about defending his first play, 2 point, victory? The box says 45 mins, we took nearly two hours for the first game but managed to crack through in just over the hour last night.

So you draft some cards which you can either a. exploit for resources, building tiles or VPs, or b. use them to build, new areas or taller buildings. You're looking to get area majorities and there are bonuses to be gained from helpful engineers and each building you grow skywards. I think it plays smoothly, everyone stays involved throughout and by holding onto 1 card each time your draft the randomness is hugely lessened.

And then Jon won again. By 2 points, 2 freaking points, again.  


Tumblin' Dice

I took the opportunity to bring along a Tumblin' Dice set that was made for me by my Dad, inspired by Jon having created one with his father. His is pine from an ikea wardrobe, mine is MDF with some stuck on images of dice. And my Dad included 6 sets of five dice, instead of four sets of four. All six slots were taken for this first game of the evening and so it made for the most dice in one game of Tumblin' Dice that I've ever seen.

One would maybe think that it'd lead to crowded steps, where the MDF couldn't be seen for strategically placed dice, but for the first few rounds most of them just went off the end of the board, leading to comments of the board or the dice being a touch too small. Jon also insisted on sending all of his dice down the same channel on the right and watched countless cubes tumble off to oblivion over on the 3 and 4 steps. Neil managed to position his cubes quite well, only to find that everyone was out to get him and almost all of his purple dice on the 3 and 4 steps were knocked off by his fellow tumblers.

Paul claimed victory, although it was his set and it could be claimed that he had an advantage due to being the only one to play with these dice and board before. Either way, lots of fun and it will be back.


As it's already been noted, the game box is branded identically to AEG's trains and also, although I haven't seen it, to Planes. Trains gets a lot of love at IBG, especially with the Rising Sun expansion, although Planes suffered from terrible reviews so I'm not sure it's ever made it to the table. And they're all by different designers, so the common thread seemed to be the 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' theme. John B had played three times so far and convinced four other board gamers to join him to simulate the Daytona 500 indy car race.

The race track is made up of four lanes, each split into many slots, with the shorter slots being on the inside of the track (which take the cars a shorter distance) and the longer slots being on the outside. These slots represent the gears of the car and are coloured differently, from white on the inside, through light and dark grey to black on the outside.

Players have bags of coloured cubes, some of which are white, grey and black, which allow the players to move their cars and some are other colours which are for special abilities, and some are brown to represent 'wear' (for Trains players, this is the equivalent of 'waste' cards - i.e. they are given to you when you travel a long way and they clog up your bag). Wear cubes can be discarded, so it's a case of careful bag management, attempting to get a good balance.

The mechanism for playing is that each player pulls seven cubes from the bag, and uses them to either move or buy other cubes. So a bag building game instead of deck building.

And the first to complete three laps is the winner.

It seemed to work very smoothly. John B sped off to a huge lead being the first player and pulling some great cubes in the first hand, so it soon turned into a case of 'catch the leader'. Part way through Paul managed to overtake him temporarily, only to be left in his wake. Tom was in Paul's wing mirror vying for second, whilst 'Midlands John' and Neil were slower to move through their gears.

But as the game progressed, things started to even themselves out and as the end of the third lap was in sight, Tom and Paul had both overtaken John, and were fighting it out for the lead. On the last pull, Paul managed to get the better cubes and so roared through the checkered flag first.

I would be happy to play again as I thought it played really well, and I don't think the world of gaming is too full of good racing games. Helped by my victory, of course.


Tumblin' Dice
Rigged board. Magnets or something. Paul's dad is a hustler...

Deception: murder in Hong Kong
Loving every play of this. Ken having 'spoiled food' and 'cake' in his clues, rather made him the chief suspect when James indicated that the murder took place in a supermarket. Turns out it was in fact Dan's seasoning that was the giveaway, which I managed to pluck out of thin air at the death (excuse the pun). Looking forward to playing this with 6, when you add in a couple more roles...

Adventure Land
OK - I admit that it's lightweight fare, but that's just what my tiny brain appreciates. It gallops along and doesn't have too much opportunity for AP. And the fact that I beat James by a single point (after collecting bonuses for collecting the most gold and beating the most fog creatures) made it all the sweeter. Good times....

Worst name for a game by a country mile. I played it with Paul & Neil the other evening, and despite winning, felt that I had played appallingly but got some lucky card and tile draws at the end. I was happy to play again to see if the luck factor was as big as I suspected, however Neil threw in an extra couple of variant rules (keep an extra card / score double for having all resources in an area) which definitely made it more strategic. And I still won, so make of that what you will.... 

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