Wednesday, 1 June 2016

There can be only one... or maybe as many as nine...

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Contributor: Daniel

Gazza, Shazza, and Philazza got in an early start with Drakon. The rest of us started to file in and seemed content just to hang out and chat until we hit critical mass and started playing games.

John B settled in for a long night with a five player bash at Millenium Blades, a game about playing the game of playing a game. Yo Dawg. It involves wads of money instead of individual notes, which is odd when they could have just used higher denomination notes, and even odder when it's used to simulate buying cards for a CCG which is more likely done via PayPal in the first place. It's supposed to help the players feel like they have loads of cash which is not really 'in theme' with people who spend all their money on CCG cards, unless they are aiming for wish fulfilment here. Can't wait to see the dice game version of this one.

Up at the other end of the room Dan, Tom, and Phil joined me for a slightly less muted evening that began with Mag Blast, from which point Tash and Tom will henceforth be known as the two jerks - Jerk One and Jerk Two - for concentrating their efforts in blowing me up on the first turn. The upside was that I then had the time and freedom to fling abuse at them for the rest of the game, cementing my place as Jerk Three, or big daddy jerk if you please.

Anyway, we then played Quartermaster General, a game about running a supply chain network which is a welcome change from my day job of running a supply chain network. I was handed the double threat of commanding both the UK and US, and Jerk One donned his hirsuite Stalinesque moustache as my dodgy Russian allies. Phil put on his slightly smaller moustache as Hitler, and just like Christian Bale aiming for an Oscar nomination he then piled on 300lbs to also lead the Italians. Jerk Two carefully avoided any racial stereotypes as the Japanese, completing the axis powers triumvirate. Jerk One clearly became less of a jerk as the two of us managed to power through to a win.

Next up was the highlight of the evening, a titanic struggle for the ages as Phil and Tom matched wits in what will be referred to with future reverence as the Rivals on the Isle, or maybe the Griever on the River. With their brows set in manly furrows, the two opponents sneered and growled across the table (either that or they are just coming down with colds). Each raised a hand and then, with steel in his voice, Tom attempted to out-psyche his opponent. “Rock!” he cried, then once more in an excitable tone “ROCK! Go for rock!”

Phil calmly returned a cool impassive gaze, completely unruffled or simply not paying much attention, perhaps distracted in the moment by solving some unimaginably complex equation with the raw power of his mighty intellect or thinking about hanging out the laundry when he returned home later that evening. Not to be dissuaded, Tom upped the ante further by narrowing his already knotted brows to the point where he was squinting down his nose. This time he spoke in barely a whisper, “Rock, I tells ye, go for rock”

Then, the moment came. The choice of tactical decision weighed heavily on their shoulders, a labyrinthine conundrum that could not be solved by simply clefting it in twain with pure mind-power. Should Phil follow the obvious lead and go for rock, or should he double guess Tom’s puny attempts at mind games and double bluff. Unless, of course, that’s what Tom wanted him to think, in which case should he double-bluff the double-bluff and double-bluff himself by doing exactly what Tom wanted him to do but secretly didn’t want him to do. Inconceivable!

With this huge pressure hanging over the combatants they raised their fists to their highest reach before bringing them forcefully downward, crying out in harmony as if some ephemeral release, almost religious in nature, had occurred between them.

“Ro!” they cried, before raising their gnarled and lumpen hands once more. Down they came again, faster and harder than before, with another cry that reverberated the very walls around them.

“Sham!” they yelled, rattling screws loose in the furniture, two arms once again quivering the air with the raw energy pulsating all around this very spectacle. Finally they swept down again for the third and last time, the mighty roar shaking the foundations and creating a sonic boom so deep that people in the next town mayhaps felt slightly uneasy for a brief moment.

“Phil, you pillock, why didn’t you pick rock?!?”

And so closes this chapter on Tom’s incredible victory, a bittersweet ending as he then announced his intention to immediately retire from formal competition with a one hundred percent win record. A true legend in the annals of rock-paper-scissors. Pay-per-view highlights with detailed expert analysis will shortly be available online, wherin the great many questions you no doubt have will surely be answered.

After that we played Exploding Eggs & Empires, a short filler that plays well but which was not to my taste. It was a bit like 6-nimmt mixed with Brave Rats, or a bit like Romans Go Home according to Tom – one of those games that’s a bit like other games and not at all like itself, but unfortunately is a bit like other games that aren’t very good. I admit that I switched off fairly quickly during this one and started playing random cards in the last two rounds with variable results - minus twenty something the first time and plus thirty something the second time, which was the highest score of the round and more than I got when playing with proper intent. The dodgy stumpy-legged generic fantasy artwork and nonsensical setting feel a little bit desperate in begging you to overlook the gameplay. No, I don’t think I’ll be playing again, but others seem to like it so I expect to see it continue doing the rounds.

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