Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Blue Peter Badge.

A whore for attention, Tom decided to remake his cereal box game in an attempt to get his picture on the blog (see last week). He’d taken our cruel words to heart and so spent most of last week remaking ‘Holiday’. Hours of meticulously printing, sticking, cutting and laminating culminated in a far superior game than the crap he tried to foist on us last week. This one was ingeniously mounted on floor tiles and almost looked professional. Once again we poured over the components, which this time boasted 'pimped' pieces like a model plane, a miniature antique clock and funky, colourful dice. It was gaudy, to be sure, but it worked. Of course some NoBoGers are snobs and will only play the most finely crafted games that money can buy; Original Rich, Punk Rich, Phil and Crocker therefore shunned Tom’s magnum opus in favour of The Princes of Machu Pichu, but Stu, Lovely Rich and myself showed enough pity to humour Tom and play Holiday.

It turned out that this was a homemade copy of the renowned Sid Sackson’s 1973 family auction game Holiday. Players attempt to guide an aeroplane (see the model) around the world as the calendar (marked by the antique timepiece) progresses from day to day. Players hold a hand of cards, each stating a city and day-of-the-week combination. The goal is to have the plane reach each destination as close to their card's day as possible. The closer to the day printed on the card the more points are scored. The destination of the plane is determined by an open auction, with the winner choosing an adjacent city for the plane to fly to. It all ends when all players are out of money or one player completes all his destination cards. The premise of the system really appealed to me, but the overall implementation didn’t quite work as I’d hoped. The auctions were a bit mundane and the was very little negotiation. Maybe this is because we only had four players or the game simply shows it’s age, but I think a different type of bidding system (something like the trench-digger mechanism in Santiago) would improve the game. Still, for a homemade version of a 40 year old family game it was definitely worth an hour of my time. Good work Tom. Stu completed all his cards and won the game with 56 points. I came second with 54, Tom third with 50 and Lovely Rich trailed in last with 38.

The four of us then went on to another auction game by another significant game designer - Modern Art by Reiner Knizia. This one is pure auction and although professionally published doesn’t actually look much better than Tom’s effort. Modern Art saw regular play in the early days of NoBoG. It’s fallen out of favour recently, with some people feeling that the value of each piece of art being auctioned is too easy to calculate, but we still had a good time with it. And it’s always worth a laugh if everyone conducts the auctions in outrageous accents. I won this one convincingly, though I’ll admit I had a pretty decent hand.

We finished the evening off with a game of 7 Wonders, which ended in a tie for first place between myself and Lovely Rich. On the other table Phil aced Machu Pichu with a corn strategy and claimed his first win at NoBoG (his joint wins at Cosmic Encounter and Tichu don’t count apparently). Phil was very happy about this. A top night all round.

Beer: I had a couple of pints of Burns from Dark Horse. Copper-brown in colour and the taste, although slightly subdued, was definitely chocolate biscuits. I rate it a strong 8 and compare it to After the Flood as it’s good, but could do with a tad more flavour. And for the second week running I had a really lovely pint of Wherry as well – I think the Ribs might be storing it better as it was in excellent condition.

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