Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Navegador: A Beekeeper's Tale.

Cuba finally made it to the table. It has been on the brink of play for well over a month since Rich sold his spare copy to Phil, but this week we had the numbers and Rich was willing to teach it. I say teach it, I'm not sure if he actually did as he walked to an easy victory over Phil and Nicky. Alhambra was then given a rare outing and saw Phil claim the win.

Meanwhile Jimmy, Mike, Tom and I sailed east with the game Navegador. The game is inspired by the Portuguese Age of Discoveries in the 15th & 16th centuries. Players take actions such as contracting workers, acquiring ships and buildings, exploring the seas, establishing colonies in discovered lands and trading goods on the market. For some reason the box lid depicts Jimmy dressed as a beekeeper.

Jimmy won a fairly comfortable victory by specialising in factories and workers, I came in second by also concentrating on workers, but opting for colonies. Mike came third with what looked like a balanced strategy and Tom, who to be fair hadn't played before, languished in fourth by not really doing enough of anything.

There was debate as to whether Navegador is the best of Mac Gerdt's Rondel Games; Jimmy thought that it clearly was, and while I still favour the slightly flawed Imperial - mostly because of the theme - I think Navegador is probably the more accomplished design.

We finished off the night with a few hands of the Chinese card game Tichu, which has become a favourite closer with some of NoBoG. A good win for myself and Jimmy over Tom and Mike.

Beer: Blakemere's Bobby Dazzler. It has the tagline Blonde, Spicy, Arresting - alluding to the blonde woman on the pump clip, who I doubt is a real enforcer of the law, especially in the skirt she was wearing. It was certainly blonde in colour. Not really spicy, but it did have a little bite. Arresting? Once again going a bit far, but this is certainly a very good golden ale, with a good head, a hint of wheat, a hint of citrus and a bitter finish. I rate it an 8 and compare it to 7 Wonders as it's a great session beer, which you can keep going back to all night.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

NoBoG News

Let it be known that the cupboard under the stairs at the Ribs of Beer is damp. As a result the boxes of lamps and leads are being stored by myself and Crocker. The green baize remains in the cupboard, but is now in a special protective vessel – the NoBoG Bin Bag.

In other news, we now have a guild on The NoBoG Guild can be used for discussions, questions, ideas and general murmurings. It also has a calendar function, which I’ll keep up to date – so you can check whether games are on at the Ribs of Beef.

And finally. This Tuesday saw myself, Phil, Pete, Nicky and Crocker playing Steam. We tried the USA side of the map. Much of the game was a two-horse race between myself and Pete. I took an early lead on the VP track, but to the neglect of my locomotives. I got a decent headstart, but alas, it was not enough. I was eventually reeled in by Pete with his superior engine range, which he cranked up to six, while I languished on a range of five. Three points in it, and although the others were a little way behind, they were making up ground by the end. As always thoroughly enjoyable.

There is no beer news this week.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

You Dirty Rat.

Rich bought his horned rat. His horny, horny rat. It’s an expansion for the much loved Chaos in the Old World, if you must ask.

The Horned Rat expansion adds a fifth player in the form of the Skaven and their verminous god the Horned Rat. The new faction plays slightly differently to the other chaos gods as it doesn’t place corruption on the board, instead the Skaven can score points when a region is ruined by placing unit’s in the region, where each unit counts as a corruption token; thus piggybacking the other players hard work. By not directly adding corruption the game is still balanced, but the fifth player still interacts with the ruination process – and is encouraged to throw units into contested regions. The Horned Rat player also has manoeuvrability and sheer weight of numbers on their side, so is a tricky prospect for the other powers. However, the four original factions have not been overlooked and benefit from new decks of power cards and upgrades.

In our game, Phil was honoured to draw the horny rats. Rich was Slannesh, Lovely was Nurgle, Ryan took Khorne and I was the magical Tzeentch. Unfortunately, we were slow to get going and time conspired against us. By 11pm I was within 1 point off the 50 point wining total, but was pegged back by Phil who stopped me crossing the line by re-arranging his clan rats - moving them into the ruined region and denying me four winning points. We wrapped it up there, but both Punk Rich and Phil were due to get the winning dial clicks on the next turn, with Phil being in a superior position. So a win for the Horned Rat, but a very close win, which leads me to believe that Chaos in the Old World is just as good with five as it is with four, but takes slightly longer to play. Huzzah!

Banished to the other table were Tom, Stu and Luke. They played Java, the second game of the Masks Trilogy. This a real beauty of a game with thick and satisfying tiles. It’s also, like most action point games, a bit of a thinker. Luke took victory with the most fame points at the end of the game.

Beer: This is the only bit that Tom enjoys so I’d better keep it up. I had two new beers and I can’t remember their names or the brewery names. One sounded like it was from New Zealand and one had something to do with Coopers, but not the Australian Cooper’s. Both were weak, pale, refreshing, but ultimately bland. I rate them both a five.