Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Norway the lads

Played tikal again last night. This time I gave the rules session to new Rich and…..drum roll…….Stephen and Harry. Stephen has virtually finished his phd and the pair where gaming at the club for the first time in ages (though possibly soon to depart to Norway). Punk Rich started the night with a game of race for the galaxy with Pete but Pete was more interested in the Norwich game and soon Rich found himself playing Graenaland with James, Jimmy and long haired Luke minor. Graenaland was last played when the club was at the complete angler so probably three years ago. At the time I remember the game being enjoyable but suffering greatly from positive feedback. I dislike games where nothing matters till the final go but excessive positive feedback makes certain games (*cough* settlers of catan *cough*) tough to play.

Tikal was enjoyed by most again although this time it lasted too long for me. Down time was an issue again but this game at least has proper choices that warrant time to think. Harry came closest to winning and new Rich put on a big score at the last but I just managed to squeak it in the end. Poor stephen was off the pace but had started to carve out an area and had the game lasted a bit longer would no doubt have been back in the running.

So thats it for me for some time now. Im not around for a few weeks, in fact I will only probably appear once or twice more before Christmas. More celebrations no doubt. But its good to see a steady supply of players turning up. NBG regularly gets two tables of good gamers and fresh new players through the door on the odd occasion. Punk Rich is coming regularly as is new Rich and Pete drags himself down to the ribs most Tuesdays. Ben is a regular now and when uni is on Jack and Luke are often down. Hopefully Hal (or whoever it happens to be this year) will promote NBG to the freshers and you never know we could be inundated with mini Jimmys or even better multiple Jacks. This of course will never happen as our members are quintessentially unique in almost all aspects, we can but hope. Game on.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Matt had been threatening to play VOC for some time and last night he got his wish, James, Luke, Tash and Jack joined him in a game that saw them effectively colouring in pieces of laminate. After almost 3 hours nobody won, or the game won…. and it had come down to the fact there hadn’t been enough purple or something. It all sounded quiet bizarre especially as Luke and Shannon shouted at each other for not understanding points of the compass or for taking duff deals. Still a good value purchase from Essen a few years back as I’m sure matt could use the box as a doorstop or paperweight or something.

I played Tikal with Jimmy, Rich and Pete. The lead swung between different players but right at the end Jimmy got an awesome score, Pete played last and was able to squeak to victory. Both me and Rich ended up off the pace paying the price for lack of final diversification. This is a superb AP game that can take a while between turns. It suffers if players take too long to make decisions or to crunch numbers and last nights group played this game at a regular pace. We finished in a reasonable time but occasionally players thought carefully before acting, a nice and necessary compromise and all players enjoyed the tight competition as a result of sometimes considered and sometimes haphazard play. Tikal has more confrontation in it than I would usually like, players compete for majority in regions, but as the board is seeded and improved by the players themselves it often boils down to judgment calls at critical times and those battles that result. Players can avoid conflict but that seldom wins the game and the balance and timing of a turn is critical. Score early and it could be cheaper, score later and you may score more. The rules are relatively straight forward and like so many euro games once playing they all fit into place. We all felt that Tikal was a superb game and like always wondered why it always seams to be ages since it last got on the table. I still need to play Java again (last time was 3yrs+ ago) and mexica, the more accessible of the mask games works well in our group. Torres sometimes also gets played but recently we have been avoiding AP games. Hopefully we will dust down another such gem next week.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Life without Jimmy & Ben

Stress levels where at an all time low as container (Matt, Rich, Pete, Rachel & Jack) and Ys (Luke, new rich & Chris) where played last week at the ribs. Im saying nothing as to the underlying causes of such a trancal atmosphere......Jack was almost well behavioured. It seams the effort needed to almost do a days work coupled with a lift in an extremely dog hair ridden car had caused Mr "kiss them guns....dont call me *uck wit"..Shanon to chill a little. He did manage to break the game and completely run out of money but who cares. Chris won Ys by a squeak and then we played Ra where I got the rub of the green and cleaned up a few times with plenty of monuments. Chris had a large amount of nile tiles and kept managing to flood them and was racking up a score but my bidding tactics and aquistion of strong bidding tiles for later rounds stood me well hurah for experience over novices. I doubt I will get such good fortune if we where to play again. For sale was started and abbandoned, the pub was empty and we left well before 11 this week finishing ridiculosly early!!!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Ben is in the house of virgins

Last week I played the Princes of Machu Picchu with Ben, new rich and Devs Brother whose name escapes me at the moment. New Rich slipped off the pace having played a blinder last week he did not aquire enough cards during the game. In the end the VPs went fairly evenly with the cards. Ben was third, I was second and the newbie won! Well played. I enjoy princes of MP, its a resource management game with a good level of interaction as other players choices and order of choices dictate the winner much more than in some other games I like. After Devs brother and I played a couple of games of battle line which I managed to win to gain back some pride.

I don’t remember what Jimmy played with Rich and Bondy......and so to tonight

Last Week - Hello New Rich

Jimmy taught Rich, Pete and me Phonecia which I very much enjoyed and it got a reasonable table reception. It had been an Essen release some while ago and was high on my radar but had slipped down my want list as no one I knew had played it and despite good initial feedback the game had gradually got a more tepid response. Not from us. An interesting turn mechanic linked to an auction that after your go you could no longer compete in. An engine building game where limited resources are auctioned in the middle while the money you receive is linked to your position on the game board. When you improve your village you increase your income for future rounds or acquire VPs (or combinations of each) its very easy for the newbie to underestimate aspects of the game or to pay to much for mediocre goods. Positive feedback is also an issue and these elements stop this game being great, however if we play it often enough these aspects should make little impact in a good group. Jimmy won, timing his last dive for the line with perfection. Had the game gone another round I’m sure things would have been different. Rich was in a strong position but was not acquiring enough VPs, Pete was at least one round behind having in hindsight spent poorly early on.

Matt taught El Grande to a group containing new Rich, Ben and others but I don’t recall who. Ben won and Rich came second. They also played Basari which New Rich won and we played St Petersburg. I won st Pete ahead of Jimmy who got some bad luck which made up for him piping me to the post in Phonecia.

The Norwich Car show

An automobile contest. No we weren’t drag racing instead we had two tables playing the relatively new Martin Wallace game. I played with Chris, Rachel and Captain John. Jimmy led a table with Matt, Rich, Ben and Peter following a ubiquitous rules session led by Jimmy, the twist being the size of the crowd.

The game got a mixed reception, I loved it as did some others, a few hated it and others where indifferent. So not much to gleam from that. It’s typical Wallace fair, some engine building, some resource management. There is interesting interactions as whilst you play much of the game solo in the decisions that you make and the costs involved, there is a limited ‘market’ for selling cars and you only know partially what that may be. There is a negative element to the game which adds consequences rather than interaction, other players opening or closing factories effects your liabilities in relation to others which amongst shroud players is interaction and as players choose their ‘roles’ for a turn this avoided the feeling of playing in a bubble, at least for me.

In our game I really thought Chris was on a winner, He read the first two rounds perfectly and came unstuck in the third when his cash flow dried up. In hindsight had he invested a bit more here I think he would have romped home in front. I played very much the reverse angle, I invested loads of money, spending ridiculous amounts and getting big returns but the difference/profit was not convincing me. I acquired lots of negativity and spent out my supply of helpful white cubes by halfway and I had to bend my strategy accordingly. In the end I won the game on our table amassing a fortune, but i’m not convinced this was down to tactics or mere opportunism.

Our Four player game finished around the time the other table got to the halfway point so we played Pickomino and sat and waited........and waited...........and waited.......and waited.....and waited..............................