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?