Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Fall of Communism

On a frosty ole Tuesday night, the fair board gamers of Norwich gathered to do what they do on most Tuesday nights - talk bullshit and drink beer. Also, there was some gaming.

Over on one table, they became chaotic in the old world. At one time, a player of this game mentioned about someone entering his "sex pool". I did not enquire further as to whether this was Chaos in the Old World related or not.

Over on our table, we witnessed Jimmy, the Bond, Norwich reject Ali, Christine, Kevin and myself preside over the downfall of communist Russia, playing Power Grid on a map that resembled the CCCP. I was ill at ease in recreating such events. I even discussed with Ali potential power plays where we could have other players sent to the gulags if they became too powerful. I suggested that the government should be allowed to take control of all power stations and resources, and engage in a 1 player game, thus ensuring that no-one with delusions of Abramovich run away with a lop-sided victory. My somewhat leftist political leanings however were kicked to the curb by my comrades lust for filthy lucre. Disheartened, I reqeusted that the Bond gave me a recap of the rules, for it had been some 3 score years and ten since I had last played Power Grid. I didn't even like the blasted thing, all maths and calculators and whatnot. Matt did the rules in about 2 seconds. I was fairly sure the game was more complicated than that but screw it, I had a beer to drink.

So the game started, people claimed cities, and built power stations. I don't really know why I am attempting to recount the game, because I can't really tell you a great deal. Jimmy seemed to have a definite strategy which he stuck to (damned if I know what though), the rest of us kind of made it up as we went along. As the game pushed into the later stages, myself and Ali made a surge to put the game in an endable situation, with 12 cities each. However, the Bond and Jimmy were lurking and suddenly Jimmy plunked down 5 cities to get to 15. It was to be the final turn. Jimmy flicked the switch and FZZZZZZZZZZZT, Russia was alive with the sound of static. The Bond had long sinced been pinned into a corner and could only jack up 14 cities with his 15 stations, weak. Ali and me trundled in with 14 cities and stations each. Victory to the dude who knew what he was doing from turn 1. Me, playing on gut feeling and wishful thinking, carved out 2nd, Ali 3rd. On the outside, I was all post-communist bluster, fuck yeah, 2nd place in a maths game! Inside, a little piece of me had died, although this is only a game, I fear that it is subliminally trying to convince everyone that privately owned utilities are better than public. But fear not comrades, I will return ever stronger from this experience. The left will rise again!

Then Ali, Hal, Punk Rich and Me played the ludicrous King of Siam. SUKOTHAI! Ali kept saying that the game was awful, Hal wore a perpetually perplexed expression and Punk Rich kept rolling his eyes every time I broke the "no communication" rule, not intentionally of course, I was 3 pints in and enjoying myself too much. SUKOTHAI! Ali and Rich won when on the final turn, me and Hal couldn't quite engineer the board position in our favour.

And so we headed off into the crisp night air, drunk on games, and drunk on booze. On the walk home the Bond recounted the existence of a frankly ludicrous sounding game that I am fairly certain he invented on the spot involving being angels and creating the world. Fantasy gaming is alive and well!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Just a quick update for last Tuesday...

We were joined by Kevin and Christine, who came all the way from San Francisco to entertain us with Endeavour. I’d not played it before, but it’s seen table time at the Ribs on a couple of other occasions, but I was probably playing Chaos in the Old World. It’s an optimisation/area influence game on the more abstract side of the euro spectrum (the theme is world exploration and empire building). It plays quickly and is mostly tactical. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Jimmy won, beating me by one point. Crocker came last as he spent the whole game gearing up for a spoiling move to deny my victory in response to my dastardly attack on him during Caylus the other week. Curse you, Crocker [shakes fist in rage]. We finshed up with a few hands of Tichu, which I am growing more fond of each time we play. Anyway, welcome to Kevin and Christine; good to have you on board along with your shipping container full of games.

Beer: I was drinking Otter Amber. A superior brew from a brewery with a fine name. Balanced, slightly bitter with a hint of fruit and obviously amber in colour. I rate it an 8 and compare it with Endeavour as both are lovely.

TOMORROW: Norwich Board Gamers 5th birthday. Yes, we have been going for five years. A good excuse to get to the Ribs if you haven’t been for a while, as there will be cake and balloons, drinks and of course games. Huzzah!