Wednesday, 20 July 2016

IBG gamers prove they are just big kids at heart

Contributors: Jon, Daniel

Ticket to Ride:Pennsylvania

OK - this was supposed to be TTR:UK, but as we were setting it up, we realised that it only took 4 players and we had 5. No-one seemed overly-keen to bail out, so the board was flipped and Pennsylvania it was. This is the 'stock' map, where each time you claim a route, you have the opportunity to take a share in one of a number of companies. Majority of shares at the end of the game score points.


- James cannot count. Up to 5. Period. 

- It was about 3 turns into the game before we realised that TomToo didn't really know how to play vanilla TTR. He came last.

- Tom1 and Jon annoyed the heck out of everyone with their Madonna impressions everytime someone said "Two Blue". Funny though, in a juvenile sort of way....

- The spread of scores at the end was huge. 200 down to 100. James won, after keeping and completing all 5 of his starting tickets, which also attracted the globetrotter bonus. Well played sir!


With Karuba playing on the other table, this other Haba release also got an airing, with Paul, Jon, TomToo and James II as the protagonists. We played the third scenario (get your adventurers into cities by game end, or suffer potentially massive minus points).

The end sneaks up on you in this game, and with Jon taking his final turn, he had 5 Adventurers in no-man's land, which multiplied by the number of Fog Monsters still at large, would have decimated his score by 30 points. He therefore spent his last 2 actions killing 2 Fog Monsters, netting him 14 points for the kills, a 7 point bonus for killing the most and reducing his minus points by 10.

After all this carnage, the scores were totted and were incredibly close, with only 5 points between the 4 players. It turned out that Jon's final battles had not been in vain, as he won - just. 

Paul and TomToo were fairly lukewarm about the game, but Jon is keen - especially as a family / gateway game. May have limited appeal at IBG though... :-(

7 Wonders

Could we fit in a 5-player game of 7 Wonders including a new expansion into the last 45 mins of the evening? With OAP's Jon & Paul being 2 of the players? You betcha (and with time to spare!)

The new expansion was the Great Projects (comes in the Babel box), which allows players to contribute to a joint building in each age, that will give bonuses if successfully built, and penalties to non-contributors if not. It seems to fulfill my rules for a good expansion - doesn't add too much complexity or extra time, but tweaks the base game enough to make it interesting. In fact, it turned out to be a game-winner for TomToo, who picked up 4 bonus tiles in the last round, each worth an extra 6 points for his Science. This resulted in Tom's 6 Science symbols being worth a mahoosive 50 points in total - catapulting him into a convincing winner's spot.

Everyone pointed fingers at each other (but mostly Jon) for letting him get away with it, but it shows that this expansion has introduced another nice subtle way of introducing interaction between all the players, not just your immediate neighbours. 

The regularity that this game is hitting the table is meaning that the game-time is dropping like a stone, and with 3 interesting expansions (Cities / Babel Tower / Great Projects) to choose from, this could run and run.....


A welcome and long awaited return for Paperback, or "Scrabble you can win with a shit vocabulary" as I like to think of it. I made a bee-line for cards that would increase my draws and quickly nobbled the first bonus card as a result. 

Tom managed to grab a handful of double letter cards and began to spew out his typical sixteen syllable thesaurus mangling words. Despite the grandeur of his garrulous gabble my short and sweet high money cards were paying better by the letter and allowed me to hoover up the scoring cards by the handful, including one of the big ten cent ones. At the end I had scored a magnum opus against Tom's potboiler novel (five stars from three reviewers on Amazon though!), meanwhile James (who was also playing, or at least he claims so) was content just to scribble in the margins.

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