Friday, 23 May 2008


Tuesday 20th May 2008.

We were half way through a game of Pit when there was an almighty crash from upstairs. Now Pit is a loud and raucous affair, yet the sound of destruction from the bar could easily be heard over the shouts of "TWO, TWO, TWO. TWO? THREE. ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE. TWO? FOUR..."
"Oh no" said Luke "Do you think that's Jimmy?"
We stopped and listened a while, fearing that Jimmy had arrived, ten minutes late, and that
Luke's little prank had gone horribly wrong. I imagined a wrecked pub, dead barmaids in a pool of beer and the diminutive Scottish man (although apparently he's not Scottish) standing astride the carnage. However, we needn't have feared such calamity - the bar staff were being unusually clumsy that night and had dropped heavy stuff on the floor (I don't think we enquired what it was in the end) . Luke discovered a text message on his phone saying that Jimmy wasn't coming and we finished the remaining rounds of Pit safe in the knowledge that the bar staff would not be able to launch Operation Jimbo, and that there would only be five in attendance that evening. We moved onto the main event...

The League of Six! In a world where crime an injustice rule, six superheroes come together to vanquish... actually it's about tax collecting in 15th century Europe. No superheroes in sight. We'd played this before and I'd done really badly as I'd miscalculated the need for guards (actually, I didn't think I had done that badly, but Ollie assured me that I'd probably lost). This time I over compensated and ended up with a hand full of guards instead of none, but it did allow me to actually compete for regions and points. James flew out into the lead, but at the expense of collecting 'people cards' which would earn points at the end of the game, Luke, Tarn and myself made up the pack, whilst Ollie languished at the back, but had a big grin, a handful of 'people cards' and a plan which he was hoping would earn him the full 27 bonus at the end of the game. You'll be pleased/dismayed to hear that his plan didn't quite come to fruition and he fell short of the eventual winner. A one sentence review (just for Ollie) : Nice mechanisms which make a competitive and confrontational, yet somewhat frustrating game.

As the evening started to draw to a close, Luke pulled out Felix: The Cat in the Sack, and talk moved to the dumbing down of GCSE exams and relative merits of prostitutes in Russia and Brazil. James fervently argued that the Brazilian girls were the way forward whilst Luke stuck up for his wife's homeland and said the whores in Russia were second to none. And that was that. We cleared up, agreed it was good to see James and Tarn down the Ribs again, and predicted a loss for Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Oh, and I won all three games. Cue the victory dance.

Beer: I was mostly drinking Adnams May Day. An excellent pale ale with hint of fruit. ABV 5%. Seasonal April & May. 8/10

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Rock Solid

What difference a week makes, eight last night saw us splitting up into two fours, Rachel, Adam, Chris and Jimmy played Taj mahal followed by Tichu. Ollie, Tom, Luke and Jack BS Shannon played Stone age and then Pandemic.

As usual the pandemic took control and despite a valiant attempt to cure diseases, the game kicked our arses. I don’t have a clue what happened on the other table though I got the impression Rachel may have won one of the games this could be entirely false? Maybe someone could comment with an accurate report.

The real revelation was Stone age which I enjoyed immensely. It is not an amazing game or a game full of interesting or new mechanics, it just does this style of game very well. In the beginning I was wondering if there was anything a player could do that wouldn’t give victory points, this list seemed to be endless. And as is typical the elegance of the game is only richly appreciated once you are playing.

Stone age is a game where strategy (or is it tactics – I forget) takes a back seat, there is very little long term planning (some…but little) on your turn you just choose the most rewarding thing on offer and hope that next turn you will be left with your second or third choice without someone else taking it. An ability to roll with the punches and change horses in midstream is a must, but there are enough rounds for you to do what you want, even in a bad situation there is always something worthwhile taking. Stone age takes many features from ‘pillars of the earth’ but is a completely different game, the placement of workers on features has a Caylus vibe but far less long term planning is needed and this game is a lot more far and evenly balanced between experienced and newbie gamers. This is completely my type of game (even with the dice rolling), rudimentary analysis, placement timing, resource management, brilliant. I need to play this again ASAP. I regularly enjoy games but this ranks highly for me. I look forward to playing it again, and with a bit of luck, on its second play it should play much faster.

Toodle pip