Wednesday, 22 October 2008

We go up to 11

Another reasonable turnout this week with eleven. A bit of an awkward number but we sat down and played a 4 – 4 – 3 formation.

Jimmy, Matt, Andy and new recruit (whose name evades me right now apologies) all played a very close encounter of Wallenstein with Jimmy being victorious with a score in the high forties – all other players where in touching distance also accumulating forty points +. The cube tower always gets comments of interest amongst NBG goers who have never seen it and it remains a popular alternative to dice rolling.

Chris led an introduction to gaming with ticket to ride Europe a fantastic mid weight entry game but due to the interest on other tables this was the ‘3’ player game. Luke* and another person whose name I haven’t learnt (friend of Hal’s I’m sorry) played this moon classic and I don’t know who won…Neither do I know who won there subsequent games of en-guarde or metropolis as I am far to self involved too care or remember.

I taught Mexica to Hal, Ruth and Mark (now I may have remembered that correct….we will see). I felt the game went down well and Mark was particularly good for a first timer and novice NBGer. Ruth got some superb positions but fell off the pace and Hal was his usual steady self (when in doubt crushing Crocker - which despite his efforts failed in) no doubt a second outing of this game will be incredibly tight.

We then played Torres again some beginner mistakes and some dejected sighs but the game worked its way out to being very tight. Hal who was leading at the 2/3rds stage came last with Ruth being second and Mark winning. The kings favour being the tipping points of victory.

It was really nice to play competitive games with some new players and all racial slurs and Jack back stabbing aside some good socialising was had too.

Roll on next week.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

16! now we're legal

I had had such a bad day, playing a new game was always going to be a risk and after last week’s fiasco I decided I needed to play a game I knew well, a game I loved, a game I stood a chance of winning so I played Caylus.

Caylus is my favourite game, I absolutely love it. I cant put my finger on exactly what it is about it, but I think one of the highlights is that every turn you can do something, every go there is low hanging fruit and you can manipulate your own position playing solo whilst also competing and playing with others. I love games that have alternative paths to victory and we saw several strategies unfolding this time.

In last night’s game Student Luke* played a money strategy very well up until the last quarter where he missed a few opportunities and was surpassed by Richard (Mr. Big) who was hording goods to deliver to the castle. Rich could have acquired a slightly better position had he delivered more efficiently but it would have only made a dent in Crocker’s eventual victory. Punk Rich came forth with a building strategy and Lewis was fifth but was playing Caylus for the first time. Student Luke* and punk Rich had played before (was it 8 months back???) a classic game where Luke nearly won and punk Rich was dissed by a certain Jack ‘out of spite’ Shannon. Rich was not about to allow that to happen again so he vetoed Jacks participation this time.

Everyone announced this weeks gaming to be a success and joyfully compared the wonderful Caylus with the disaster that was ‘vampire: prince of the city’ (the new Kogge) We agreed that the game would play better if it got more regular outings.

We finished the evening with a game of Ra – a popular auction gateway game by Mr Knizia. This is one of big Rich’s favourite games, he led the rules and self confessed to not ever winning. He didn’t win tonight either narrowly losing to Crocker.

Both games attracted interest from pub dwellers (including feminine ones) eyes where turned both ways and our position upstairs raised our gaming profile and was necessary as 16 or so people had turned up and table space was at a premium.

Downstairs Dan won Confucius and other games were played that I know very little about. Me and Rich were mostly drinking blackcurrant and soda.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Would Capello Pick Leo???

Well Essen is almost upon us and pretty soon Jimmy will be arriving with a whole host of new games that will take a few months to whittle through and it being October and Christmas decorations are about so by the time Jimmy’s Essen fest is beginning to shrink to a manageable level no doubt the rest of us will have acquired the odd game.

So time is running out for a popular NBG favourite, he has been brought down to games club a record 99 times and is about to make his 100th cap. Will the perennial ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’ ever get played?

It was 2 Essen’s past that Leo was released and initially praised. So I rushed out and in a spending fit as befitted the time, purchased myself a copy. I brought to the complete angler and proclaimed how much I wanted to play it where upon Jimmy declared ‘oh its broken’ shaking his head in his vigorous definite way. I was distraught, would I ever get to play it.

I continued to bring it down and having previously vanquished a level 15 Dragon in D & D I had managed to acquire from the freed dwarfs a magical bag of holding. Which allowed me each week
to bring down my chosen games I wanted to play that Tuesday but also bring along Leonardo Da Vinci just in case.

Occasionally I would get it out and try and drum up interest and over time Jimmy’s anger towards the game cooled and he became tolerant and then agreeable to ‘giving it another chance’.

I was further encouraged fourteen months back when Jimmy kept bringing Kogge and then kept bringing ‘key harvest’. These games eventually getting played, but not poor Leo (currently ranked 180 on BGG by the way Cockroach poker is ranked 1169 and that’s amazing fun).

Now my bag of holding has been lost to the ravages of ‘no car’ a distant horrible land and I must bring fewer offerings each week. Once Leo turns 100 I’m not sure how much longer he can continue….. Please think of him as you play Taj Mahal.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Vampires Suck.

Proclaimed as a player character among non-player characters, the never understated Jack Shannon and his long suffering sidekick, Luke*, turned up on time this Tuesday. Whether this is a new trend cannot be confirmed, however, what can be confirmed is that Jack was packing a whole world of pain. Or should that be world of darkness? For Jack had brought Vampire: Prince of the City, the board game adaptation of White Wolf's popular Vampire role playing game. It didn't take Jack long to start peddling his wares and although I can't remember his sales pitch, it must have been convincing as he soon had a table full of eager Primogens ready to fight it out to become Vampire Prince of the City...

Meanwhile, I gathered a fine bunch, ready to slap the credit crunch firmly in the face and play the capitalistic Container. This was my first play of the game with a full compliment of five and it certainly plays best with the full number. Rachel bought her way to victory with $118, but was closely followed by Hal. I came in third just edging out 4th placed Dan (which I was fairly pleased with as I wasn't too far off the pace and tried a novel strategy of not buying any containers for the central island). Luke trailed in last with just $7 to his name.

Richard H was foiled at his attempt to get Combat Commander: Europe to the table. He'd played it last week and was given a lesson in war by Andy, though apparently they'd got some rules wrong the last time round so those results were declared null and void. Anyway, Richard, James and Chris played Torres and Atlantic Star. Someone, presumably, won both games, though I couldn't tell you who. So to satisfy us all, I'll say that James won a close game of Torres and Chris won Atlantic Star by a large margin.

Which brings us back to Vampire: Prince of the City. Crocker, Tarn, Richie and Jack were joined by newcomer Lewis** (who was thrust into the game without even a rules session). The horror that ensued was not down to the vampire theme, but because the game was declared to be "worse than playing hoopla with a tramp's cock". Ritchie destroyed all the competition and was eventually crowned Prince of the un-named city, declaring, in his victory speech "The best thing about the game, was that it ended.".

Beer: I had a pint of Deuchars IPA. I compare it to the MB Games classic Shogun (Samurai Swords), which I remember being better than it actually is
(though I have a feeling the beer might have been a bit off). 5 out of 10.

* Apologies to Luke. I realise giving you the moniker of Jack Shannon's sidekick is a pretty harsh put down, even in jest.

** Apologies to Lewis for not only making him play the most derided game in the history of the Norwich Board Gamers, but suggesting that he might be the designer of said game.