Thursday, 30 August 2012

Join In

If you are around the Norwich area, or can make it to Norwich and are free on Tuesday evenings, then why not come down to the Ribs of Beef, play some games, drink some drinks and meet a varied bunch of people with a good sense of humour and an interest in pushing wooden bits around a table.

New people are always welcome to come play and the NoBoGers are a very friendly laid back bunch that are not into rules lawyering or overly stressing about the evenings random entertainment. Although Jimmy has a rule that there is to be no extraneous talking whilst playing Saboteur. Gnome mining is a serious business. I on the other hand like the Saboteur smack talk.

Unlike most other clubs there's no membership fee, no complex list of rules that need signing in your blood, no pouting or hurt feelings if you can't make it or even just turn up once every year, and there's not even a need to own or bring a single game. So really, there's nothing stopping you from turning up at 7.20pm on a Tuesday and getting roundly beaten by Pete at Hansa Teutonica.

So if you've been lurking, or sitting on the fence, or have come in the past but have lapsed into some gaming void, come and join in and see what it's all about. Marvel at the NoBoG special levelling device. Purr in appreciation at the luxurious game-table covers. Partake of the pre main event table placement game - a tricky endeavour involving too many chairs, odd sized tables and a number of bystanders with only one space to manouevre in and out of.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Ninja Penguins

With the excesses of the long bank holiday weekend past, Tuesday once more rolled around to find a group of travellers stumbling hastily into The Ribs. Given an asylum choice between the Ecuadorian embassy and a pub with games, six of us chose beer and entertainment. No word on what the Ecuadorian Embassy was offering other than a long boring conversation with Julian Assange, who after some 80 odd days couped up in the building must be by now going slightly cabin crazy - and without so much as a copy of Settlers to pass the time.

Unlike the embassy, our group busied themselves Ninja-ing, designing space ships, plying galactic trade routes, fishing in the ice and building wonders of the ancient world. Which is a rather surprising and unexpected range of activities to find going on at your local pub. Usually its just drinking - which we also managed to do.

Another veteran NoBoGer turned up for the evening - Dylan - there must be something in the water, or the weather is driving them out from their usual hiding places as this last month or so has seen a rash of vets turn up to put in a celebrity appearance.

Dylan, Mr Bond and myself settled down to Galaxy Trucker, with Bondy struggling to get his ships completed on time, Dylan consistently confusing his cabins for cargo holds, whilst I serenely cruised  to a good lead come the end of Round 2.

In a suspiciously Hustle type move, Bondy suddenly turned things around in the last round, completed a spanking ship in record time and swept pirates, smugglers and slavers before him to rack up a huge amount of bounty and haul home an enormous cargo to boot. Dylan and myself could only trail in his exhaust picking up the odd scrap - and the huge armament of my ship mostly unused.

Meanwhile on table 1, Matt, Dean and Tim strapped on their Ninja Tabi and proceeded to stealth around the grounds stealing items and wooing courtesans for their clan. Actually I am not sure what wooing courtesans has to do with it, but those involved assure me its a necessary 'sacrifice'.

Tim was obviously going for the Best Dressed Gamer of the evening award, as can be half seen in the picture to the right. But despite his obvious evening wear flair he only managed to place last with Matt and Dean beating him in the contest of who has the blackest pyjamas. Dean who has described this game as his favourite most played game clinched the victory peppering his foes with wooden shuriken and fancy cards.

Back on table 2, Hey, Thats My Fish was setup for a couple of quick rounds of penguin mayhem. The dancing birds shuffled around the ice floe to visit horrible isolation death on their penguin foes, their cute features belying their brutal machiavellian manouevering. The savvy and noble red penguins lead by myself secured a nicely sized island of fish and forged ahead to a comfortable win in round 1.
Round 2 saw Dylans shifty and underhanded blue penguins become far too greedy, trying to hive off a large portion of the ice floe for their own selfish bellies. Not standing for that kind of fish piracy my noble penguins and Bondys hapless birds assaulted his position, and stopped his greed from getting out of hand.
Somehow whilst this was happening, my red penguins also managed to win a nice sized island chunk and contest a third group of ice floe, leading my forces to another comfortable victory.
Bondy once again disgusted with his performance, derisively slurred his score as Rubbish.

Finally, all six of us grouped up for a game of Seven Wonders, both heavily militaristic players - Dean and Matt, scoring well, with Dean romping ahead with a perfect military score and a large number of points for science to boot. Matt managed to secure half the gold reserves of the old world - a sum of 30 odd coins to hand, making up for an otherwise rather bare play area.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Embattled Bin Men of Bob

Nine this week, Rich, Moritz and Matt playing the well travelled Hansa Teutonica with Crocker suitably enticed to stay and join in before making a hasty departure.

Matt ended up as the most savvy of traders securing a civilised Hansa win, whilst on the other table, a noisy uncivilised game of Risk Legacy trash talked its way across the world - and heavily distracted me from observing the goings on of Hansa.

Game 11-ish in the Risk saga opened with some major nuclear polluting of the Americas - Pete's enthusiastic bin men turning up in the troubled continent for a few days of trash collection - the more polluted the better. Bring Out Yer Dead.

Phil's mecha and Dean's bears could not have followed refuse protocol correctly however - bins not at the kerbside, the wrong kind of trash in the wrong bin - as Pete's army of Refuse Technicians could not quite finish the job and pulled over somewhere on a deserted American highway for a tea break. Cue sad Pete.

With radioactive trash piling up, and both bears and mecha dying, the only sensible solution to the problem was more pointless war, ravenous bears wandering around America in search of picnic baskets and uncollected bins and Bondy's mercenary Europeans taking an American bear hunting vacation.

A ridiculous defence of the City of Bob by its embattled bin men saw the African hordes decimated - but not before they limped on into the American cauldron to wipe out the hibernating bears.  A struggling Phil broke free of the poisoned jungles of Petia to let his mecha stomp forwards and secure Phil's first win, the City of Bob changing hands once more to end the game.

Seas boiled, the land heaved and the end of days was brought forth, the mark of the unlikely win of Phil. America - now known finally, justly as Philtopia would see dark days ahead as the sun waned and a chill wind began to blow. . . . such is the cost of a Phil win. Woe be unto you all !

To finish off the evening, an eight handed game of Saboteur commenced, Phil was deemed to be a saboteur every game regardless of evidence and saw his tools broken before he could even play a card. Harsh some might say. But Phil has the definite look of a Saboteur.

Some particularly inspired and pre-emptive Saboteuring saw the player deck tampered with so that four saboteurs could be pitted against four miners and properly bring any excavations to a crashing halt.

A lot of smack talk and laughs later and Pete squeaked the win with 9 gold, Moritz and myself on 8, Bondy on 7.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Citius, Altius, Fortius

The London 2012 Olympics are over. Nine of us, inspired by the sporting values we've witnessed over the past two weeks, gathered to play games.  But for some reason we chose particularly vicious and cut-throat games. Yes, there was no respect, friendship or excellence on display on this hot and humid evening. Only games that inspired players to lie, cheat and connive were brought to the table.

Cosmic Encounter saw Jimmy, Rich, Pete and Phil threaten and cajole each other into carving up the galaxy. In fact rather than let planets fall into the hands of their enemies they were joyfully letting entire worlds be consumed. The death toll was horrendous, yet the greatest loss was their  morals and pride. Both were set aside as game drew to a close with a win for Rich, but only because Jimmy couldn't stand to see Pete win and with the skill of a Chinese badminton player threw the game.

On the other table I was enjoying the mid 90's classic El Grande with John, Moritz, Nicky and Tom. It all started off nicely with everyone adding their colourful cubes to the map. But it soon descended into a game of vicious reprisals as everyone chose not to improve their own board position, but to ruin everyone else’s. Rather than striving for excellence there was the battle to keep everyone pegged back and let mediocrity reign. Nicky just managed get ahead and finished as the least mediocre of the mediocre.

We then moved on to most depraved and nasty game of the evening - the dreaded Lifeboats. This is about surviving a shipwreck. But rather than helping each other in a time of peril,  the game pits the players against each other and urges them to commit despicable acts of wickedness and cowardliness. As the boats spring leaks and gradually sink, the players vote on which boats should move and when there is no room in the boat, who should be thrown overboard to the sharks. John managed to get a couple of his hapless sailors to safety, therefore, painting a huge target on his remaining sailors who suddenly found themselves in less-than-seaworthy boats. Promises were broken, lies were told and then there was the wretched begging and pleading, which mostly fell on deaf ears. Half the boats made it to shore, while the others were consigned to the deep along with the poor sailors. The survivors were totted up and it came as no surprise that the scoundrel Tom had won; his history of blackmail, low cunning and blood doping obviously giving him the edge.

Sir Chris Hoy would have wept.

Beer. I had some of Wolf Brewery's Lazy Dog.  A chestnut coloured bitter that couldn't be more chestnutty if it had be violated by a squirrel. Pete proclaimed it to be bang on, but I found it to be a little on the sour side. Nuts, tobacco and a dash of malt vinegar. 5/10.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Death Race 2012

Too long. Far too long. Since I was welcomed within the hallowed walls of the Beefy Ribs for several hours of foolery. Tonight I had in tow a colleague of mine, new guy Paul. New guy Paul had professed (confessed?) a desire to entertain himself via the way of the boardgame, having taken possession of a few such games himself and struggled to trick, sorry, persuade, anyone to join him in this trivial pursuit. I rocked up at about 7.30pm and Paul not long after. Introductions were made and I led new guy Paul downstairs to his untimely demise, sorry, evening of entertainment.

It so happened that there was 100 people who turned up to play games at the Bibs of Reef this evening, a new record according to games master, Matthew Bond. We had to split up into 3 tables. On one table they played Ascension, a card game developed by people who devoted their entire life to playing Magic the Gathering, or some such. On the middle table they foolishly attempted a game of Ages of Empire 3. Ages of Empires, do you see? I think they completed the first turn.

Whilst us 6, of which there were several people, did a game of Road Kill Rally. Road Kill Rally mostly consists of driving a car, very fast, and shooting, and maiming a.k.a killing. The rules were delivered by game owner John, and we rolled dice to see who went first. It was new guy Paul! What an introduction! New guy Paul was determined to get started with a bang, and accelerated his plastic vehicle to here before unseen speeds. I hope this is not how new guy Paul actually drives a car, or his insurance premiums will be bonkers. The thing with RKR is that when you start the game, you only see a tiny fraction of the board, so new guy Paul's frankly mental plan was a little wild. He went careening into a corner and I am pretty sure got blown up by someone else in very short order. And thus we proceeded to race, and blow up. Simon appeared to have the game down to an art form as he skilfully maneouvered his vehicle around the track at pace, rarely crashing, rarely getting shot, and generally using his super awesome super power to mitigate against any damage he ended up taking. He drove through pedestrian after pedestrian whilst the rest of us wailed and gnashed our teeth. John followed Simon round very professionally, rarely troubling the citizens who had strayed onto the highways and keeping his car in a generally acceptable position. So it was left to the rest of us, them being Alina, Tim, new guy Paul, and me, to obliterate each other into utter oblivion. Not a soul was spared, as a no holds barred blowings up was utterly indulged upon. Alina gleefully fired off death rays and Paul loaded up his car with an array of missiles and missile improvements. I was endowed with a flame thrower that I rather failed to use to it's full potential, and on the odd occasion that I did, it tended to wind up in a hail of blank dice and a depleted hand of cards, which left me entirely vulnerable to the following players joyful emissions of weaponary that tended to write off my vehicle in double quick time. By the end of the game, my poorly automobile had been reduced to twisted metal and burned driver on no less than four occasions. Nevertheless, it says much for my persistence that I tumbled across the line 3rd, some way behind the slightly bored looking Simon, and the highway code abiding John. The game was concluded at this point and we totted up. Simon was streets ahead, followed by Alina and then I think Paul, Tim, John, and me bringing up the rear.

And so it was. An entertaining little game but it felt like it could move at a quicker pace, given the violence involved. Still, not a bad way to spend your evening. Also of note was the glorious time when Paul went to the bar to bring me first a pint of Jackal, then a pint of Wherry, and then a pint of Jackal, not because I was drinking at an insane rate, but the first two being cloudy barrel bottomers that simply would not do. Super credit to the Ribs for putting up with my pickiness.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Rare Sightings

Greetings, stand in blog lackey John here reporting on the goings on down t' pub.

Eleven found their way to the Ribs this week, and in a curiously co-ordinated kind of way, three rarely spotted veteran nobog'ers all turned up at once, James, Dan and Crocker. You wait ages for one, then three turn up all at once.

Super Dungeon Explore
James, Dan, Phil and Bondy sat down for a trawl through Super Dungeon Explore with its groovy miniatures - Phil challenging all comers in the role of the evil dungeon controller.

Flame grilled heroes were duly served to a hungry dragon, barbecued do-gooders going down a treat before the dungeon returned to its peaceful malevolence under Phil's guiding hand.

Fun and stupidity were had - it looks like a blast "How does it compare to Descent ?" - Crocker
"They remembered to make this fun" - Dan

Hamster Wheel
After the burning and the suffering and the dying, Hamsterrolle was brought forth to balance precariously on the wonky pub tables.

Ora & Labora
On Table 2 Ora and Labora was brought forth once again for a four handed outing, and as before there was a lot of head scratching and doubt about just who the hell was winning. Matt, an early fancied favourite ended up in last place - his meta game of having endless flocks of sheep not paying dividends in the end. Moritz quietly building his monastic empire ended with a convincing win - one more settlement than everyone else and a nice mix of just about everything.

At the gloomy end of the half lit room Eclipse hit the table again after a brief hiatus of some weeks, an uneasy peace falling over the galaxy and its three would be rulers. Rich managed to grab the galactic centre and put in place some soft diplomatic agreements for everyone to play nice. I missed the end of this, but warships were moving and threatening towards the end, and I would guess the diplomacy did not last.

Let it be known that the perpetually lop sided table has now been 'fixed' with the application of the NoBoG Special Levelling Device - a plank of wood that lives with the table covers. The dawn of a future with even tables beckons. Suggestions for branding, decorating or defacing the Special Levelling Device to confuse the general public as to its arcane usage are being currently entertained.