Monday, 19 December 2011

No Games this week.

I'm sorry to say that we are not meeting this week. The Ribs of Beef informed me this evening that the Wherry Room will not be available tomorrow (20 December 2011).  We have agreed not to meet next week either as attendance was likely to be very low. Therefore our next games night will be on the 3rd January 2012. 

Sorry for the short notice about tomorrow.

Have a great Christmas.


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

King of Tokyo

A feisty little game called King of Tokyo demanded our attention this week. Brought along by Andy, it served as an excellent way to end the evening after the main courses of Chaos in the Old World (a rare defeat for Khorne and victory for Slaanesh) and Olympos.

Serving up to six players, King of Tokyo is a dice game designed by Richard Garfield (of Magic the Gathering fame) about giant monsters ravaging Toyko and of course beating the crap out of each other. Each player is assigned one of the six monsters - ranging from the classic Gigazaur (Godzilla) and The King (Kong) to the more exotic Alienoid or the bizarre Cyber Bunny. Each turn, the player rolls the six custom dice up to three times, either keeping or discarding each die in turn. The outcome allows your monster to regain health, store energy, inflict destruction points, or whack the other monsters and possibly occupy Tokyo, allowing you to create more destruction. Once a player has inflicted 20 destruction points they win. Alternatively, a player can win if they are the last one standing having beaten all the other monster to death. Oh, and energy can be spent to buy extra powers/attributes for you monster, such as a spiked tail, regeneration, nova breath or the awesome extra head, which provides you with a seventh dice to roll.

The game is fast, fun and pretty silly. The push your luck element is nice, not just with the dice rolling, but also choosing when to occupy Tokyo - as the sole occupant of Tokyo bears the brunt of all damage inflicted and cannot heal, but also earns extra destruction points. We all had great fun. There was only one death - Tom's Child Friendly Alienoid got clobbered by my Kraken's spiked tail. Ultimately, Andy's Two-headed Meka Dragon won, by destroying the National Guard. Good times.

A brief mention for the new offering from Ystari: Olympos is another game from Jimmy's Essen haul. I didn't get a good look at it, but there were favourable murmurs from those that played it, especially Nicky who claimed victory.

Beer: After quaffing Naylor's Rudolph's Rocket Fuel, which was surprisingly light and pleasant, yet devoid of any seasonal merit (6/10), I had a pint of Elves Bells from the Wooden Hand Brewery. This was much more seasonal: a ruddy amber beer with toffee, biscuits, a hint of orange and spice. Tasted like Rolos. 8/10.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Quick update for the past three weeks.

We’ve been graced by another new member, Adam. He’s been twice. The first week he lost everything he played, but in the following session he had his revenge and won everything he participated in. An interesting fact about Adam is that he isn’t colour-blind.

We’ve played 7 wonders (three times), Sid Meier's Civilization: the Board Game (twice), Power Grid, Chaos in the Old World, Santiago, Caylus Magna Carta, Frank’s Zoo. As well as two offering from Jimmy’s recent trip to Essen; Trajan and Hawaii.

The festive season will soon be upon us. I’ll check with the pub as to whether they have any Christmas dinners/parties that will impact on our Tuesday meetings in December. I’ll post any clashes on here and on the NoBoG calendar.

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Lure of the Games

Halloween, and a weary traveller stumbles into the Ribs of Beef. He’s not sure why he’s here or how he even got here. He orders a beer, not really taking note of what the barmaid serves him. A twitchy faced man stares at him from his perch at the bar. So Jeff, for that is our traveller’s name, decides to take refuge downstairs, away from the prying eyes of the locals. “NO, don’t go down there!” shouts the barmaid. Alas Jeff doesn’t hear. He’s drawn down the stairs, into the bowels of the pub, as if some unearthly power had a hold of him. At the bottom of the stairs is a large red door from which he can hear howls of anguish. Still drawn, he cautiously opens the red door and peers inside. ARRRGGHHH! Unspeakable horror! He see’s Stu trying to wedge Tom’s Small World board under a table leg to keep the table straight. Oh my! Tom dances to and fro squealing at his tormenter. Next he sees Nicky placing her full to the brim drink perilously close to the edge of the Shogun board (the glass even leaves a ringmark). This is too much for Jeff. He turns to flee, but comes face to face with the hideous, shambling malformed shape of [insert NoBoGer of your choice here]...

OK, so it was November 1st and Jeff was already there when I arrived, but you get the picture. Jeff’s first night at NoBoG - all the way from America, though he’s now living in Thetford. Welcome Jeff (or maybe Geoff or even Djeph).

Jeff said he liked Fantasy Flight games and so Chaos in the Old World was the obvious choice. He joined a game with myself, John and Pete. It was an embarrassingly quick win for Khorne, who double dial clicked every turn and had won before even a single region was ruined. It was so quick that we even had time for a three player game of Hansa Teutonica, which was a much more competitive affair as I only just nudged past John and then Pete in final scoring.

Jimmy had been to Essen and rolled off two games that none of us had seen before: Hawaii and Die Burgen von Burgund. The latter was chosen by Crocker, Tom and Stu. It seemed to be a hit with Luke and Stu and I’m sure Tom enjoyed it as he won.

Phil’s copy of Shogun had finally arrived and he settled down with Diane, Nicky and Moritz to battle for control of Japan. It ended with a win for Phil, who clawed his way back from a dodgy start by initiating a non-aggression pact with Diane.

Beer: Wolf’s Werewolf. This is a seasonal premium bitter. Chestnut in colour. Slightly malty, hint of biscuit and pretty quaffable. Nothing exciting, but very good. A bit like 7 Wonders – there’s nothing overly unusual or different about it, but it does the basics very well.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My Hovercraft is Full Of Eels.

Another month has almost slipped out of sight. October 2011 will be remembered for the unseasonal weather, the death of Steve Jobs and Muammar Gaddafi and here, at NoBoG, Andy Malcolm’s most unlikely win at Power Grid. But that was last week and this is this week...

We had only one confirmed casualty from the Norwich Beer Festival. Jimmy had fallen in the line of duty; taken down by the relentless ale. Rich and Crocker are both MIA. And no one has seen Lovely Rich for a long, long time. Offically he’s been sent on a classified mission, but rumour is that he’s ‘gone native’. If you see the lad, send him back our way. We miss him dearly. But never fear! We have new recruits. John has been with us four weeks and coped admirably with everything that has been thrown at him. And then last night saw the arrival of reinforcements from Germany; Heike and Maren. Welcome.

So, three tables last night. Pete ambitiously brought down the latest incarnation of Sid Meier’s Civilisation (or simply ‘Civ’), it’s far better than the poor effort from Eagle Games and thankfully much shorter than the Avalon Hill version from 1980. Diane and Tom signed up to this one and were still playing when I left a few minutes before time. I think it can certainly be played at the club, but with a rules session it will always be a rush to finish.

On the middle table I fumbled my way through the rules for Hansa Teutonica - Young Pete, Heike and Maren were the bewildered pupils. In the end it came down to the wire as I beat Pete by 1 point, who managed to connect the red banner cities. We also played Monty Python Fluxx, which is a tedious game if it wasn't for the outragous accents and the fact it provided the title for this weeks post.

The other table slapped Alien Frontiers down on the baize. Diane won, though Moritz came close to overhauling her lead at the end. And then they succumbed to Phil’s whim and agreed to play the ridiculous cooperative game Red November – all about gnomes trying to save an ailing submarine. From the sound of it they had fun trying, but ultimately failed; with most of the gnomes burning to death before sinking to the bottom the ocean and a watery grave. Harrowing.

Beer: Woodforde’s Admiral’s Reserve. They’d pulled out all the stops to bring this fine ale to the Ribs. Chestnut coloured beer with almonds, sultanas, a deep sweetness, but still light enough to be quaffable. Like drinking a delicious fruit cake. 9/10.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Suffolk Board Gamers?

Do people in Suffolk play games? Seems inconcievable, but Nigel Foden is giving it a go. He's setting up a regular gaming group in Woodbridge. Just in case any of our regulars have a free Saturday afternoon we have the details below. Best of luck Nigel.


Woodbridge Area Gamers

Ever heard of Strategy games, Eurogames, Designer games?

Board games have moved on since you last played Monopoly - come and experience modern board games with a friendly local game group.

Games played include Carcassonne, Pandemic, Alhambra, Dominion, Blokus, Power Grid – all with friendly fellow gamers on hand to demonstrate new games

Family friendly – with games to suit all ages

Next sessions at Woodbridge Library (drop-in, first session free):

Saturday 8 Oct, 1-5pm and Saturday 12 Nov, 1-5pm

Contact: nigel (at)


Preference for repeated plays?

We’ve not been very adventurous of late. Unusually for the club there has been a lot of repeat plays with a few games getting played on consecutive weeks. I always remember Tom mentioning that he’d been coming to the club for six months and had yet to play a game twice. This was back in 2007 and there certainly seemed to be a new game on the table every week. Of course there have always been old favourites; Power Grid has regularly been hauled out of someone’s bag at 7.30 on a Tuesday. It benefits from being owned by quite a few attendees so there is a good chance someone will have it. It’s one of those rare six-player games (along with Cosmic Encounter) so is the obvious choice when we have six players - usually preferable to splitting into two groups of three, as good three player games seem to be a rarity. Re-playability is boosted by the plethora of expansion maps. And finally it’s a great game – OK, so that’s rather subjective, but I can safely say that the majority of the club regard it very highly and the remaining few are willing to endure it. So, if Power Grid is the old stalwart, who are the new pretenders?

Chaos in the Old World

This game had a spate of plays at the beginning of 2010 when it was introduced by Richard Harding. It got played five times in the space of two months as Punk Rich also bought it. It’s seen a resurgence this summer as the Horned Rat expansion was released and Phil added it to his collection increasing the likelihood that it’ll be available to play (also Phil’s other games are uniformly awful or ridiculous – so it’s the only game he has that we’ll play). It perhaps shouldn’t see as much table time as it should as it absolutely needs to be played five (or four without the expansion). However, it has a nice mix of styles - the core mechanisms are clearly from the Euro mould, which are then jazzed up with kickass dice rolling, funky miniatures, and the chance to shout ”BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!”. This appeals to my taste in games as I gradually shun the ‘mechanisms for mechanisms sake’ of a lot of games out there. Punk Rich, Phil and Pete clearly feel the same and one of us will suggest it almost every week.


This has displaced Age of Steam since it came out a few years ago and although has regularly hit the table it’s seen more play over the summer months than most. The old Age of Steam split opinion and there were certain gamers that wouldn’t touch it with the proverbial bargepole. Like Power Grid it benefits from having a number of expansion maps, which keeps it fresh. Good with four or five, there is now a core group of players down the club that know how to play Steam and the game only improves with more plays. As another one of my favourites and also one of Jimmy’s there is a good chance it will make the journey to the Ribs on a regular basis.

Hansa Teutonica

This has been played on four separate evenings at the Ribs; twice in a night on a couple of occasions. This is definitely a pure Euro with a theme so wafer thin you could feed it to Mr Creosote all night long. This cube shuffler is eminently playable, with a raft of choices and a feeling that you’re not just playing the game, but actually playing your opponents, which is often lacking in this type of optimisation game. Crocker waxed lyrical about it a few weeks back. He’s the only one of us that owns it and with Luke coming to the club less frequently this could easily see more play if others decide to buy it, especially as it looks like it will scale well between three and five players.

Popularity and player numbers are obviously the biggest deciding factors with regards to which games get played on a given night and this has always been the case. Perhaps the change isn’t the games, but NoBoG itself. With the most stable group of regulars we’ve had for a long time we are now able to explore games we all know rather than teach or learn new games. One thing the three games I’ve mentioned have in common is that they all get better as players become more experienced. With strategies to explore, and blocking and countering being a big part in all three, everyone is improving at the game and everyone’s experience is getting better each time – leading to the game being requested again the following week.

Or maybe there just aren’t as many good new games coming out?

Friday, 30 September 2011

More of the same.

Thanks to Dan: the greenest of the Dans for chivvying me along and getting me to update the blog. And for making use of the Norwich Board Gamers Guild on Board Game Geek. If any of you frequent both BGG and NoBoG then I suggest you join the guild – it’s awesome. As I mentioned there is a prize waiting for Dan next time he’s in Ribs on a Tuesday night.

Repeated plays this week. Chaos in the Old World with the Horned Rat expansion was played by Moritz, Tom, Punk Rich, Phil and myself. This week saw Phil’s Khorne slaughtering their way to victory. It’s the third time in a row that Khorne has won, but the first time we’ve seen it done with a points victory. We finished with a game of Citadels, which Tom narrowly won.

On the other table Jimmy, Nicky, Diane, Dylan and Pat played Steam with the Mid-Atlantic United States map (Railroad Empires in the Civil War Era) from the new expansion. This was won by Diane.

Beer: I had two contrasting experiences: The first was Pirate’s Gold(en Piss) from the Wooden Hand Brewery in Truro. A golden ale with a claggy honey sweetness and a sharp, feral finish. The second was Ringwood’s Fortyniner, a tasty premium bitter which tasted of autumn – apples, raisins and sweet malt, but with a nice bitter finish. Fortyniner is like Agricola as it tastes like a satisfying harvest (8/10) and Pirate’s Piss is like Pirates of the Caribbean Monopoly if it had been urinated on by a tramp (3/10).

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Hansa Teutonica

Last night we got to play Hansa Teutonica TWO times and still finish before 11. We started at about 8, did a rules session and finished the first game by 9:30 ish. We agreed to give it another go. What was really great about this is that Hansa Teutonica has various routes to success and each player in the second game adapted and or changed how they where playing resulting in a whole different set of criteria being important between the two plays.

Hansa Teutonica has a few basic actions, at its heart its not a very complex euro, yet it works extremely well and at the moment (at least as far as im concerned) has a lot of depth. In our first game it was the 'bonus' tokens and there pursuit that brought about the end of the game. In game two it was the VP track and the board looked completely different.

Pete won both games, narrowly ahead of me each time. In the first game Pete went first and got an increased action point machine in gear VERY early. Pete was more successful than most of us at utilising the favourable blocking strategy that sees an alternative way of getting pieces on the board. In the second game I had the more favourable board position but circumstances conspired to having me fall short again.

Hansa Teutonica gives players the ability to improve most of their starting actions allowing players to be 'more efficient'. One of the only stable issues is cube placement which costs the same for everybody. Getting cubes on the map is expensive, so using them wisely is crucial. For the most part we are playing this game in typical euro style and I feel one of the great things about this game is its scope for alternative 'ideologies' or at least 'tactics'. Everyone knows I enjoy Caylus and without a big debate virtually all I like in Caylus is present in Hansa Teutonica but in a very different and engaging way. Yes its a resource managment game, but its also a game where every player changes the landscape so it cant be played in a vacume, unlike many games where an obvious path to success is contested. Two weeks ago when Rich, Pete and I DID compete over what appeared to be the obvious we came 5th, 3rd and 4th respectively.

Various members of the group have yet to play it and I still have the expansion to pull out after the first board gets 'overplayed'. Right now
Hansa Teutonica is in my top 5 games and possibly will be in the top 3 after future plays.