Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Groundhog Day

The week of Groundhog Day, and things seemed to repeat themselves at the Ribs.

Chaos in the Old World followed by Hansa Teutonica was the order of the day for Rich, Moritz, Sam, Dean and Pete - a dead repeat of last week, with Rich and Moritz obviously so keen they played it all again.

This week however Moritz was unable to pull off another Chaos win, and Rich as the brutal Khorne took the Defiled Crown to become the most low cunning God of the Old World.

Hansa was up next, and with Pete playing you really have to watch points and remember that the game is not called Hansa Peteonica for nothing. Alas the other players it seemed did not watch points, with agile Pete culling a massive number of tokens for an impressive city control and token win. Cool stuff, I think tokens can often be overlooked in this game, and if you can manage to not get competition for them they can really be quite powerful - plus likely pick up a string of controlled cities to boot. Pete trampled the competition with his final score and waxed lyrical about the finer points of strategy in the post game clear up. Once again he seemed to have followed the zen path of least resistance and come up trumps - and again, if you are counting, for the second week running the player with the most actions unlocked did not win.

Pete is convinced that actions are no real better than a bag or book - so long as you get at least your three actions unlocked. Myself I agree the book can be very powerful too, once you get to that whole book and instantly fill a route deal - so I think you have to have actions or book or a nice combo of the two, but bag, eh, not so much. Nice to have if it's there, otherwise don't sweat it. Maybe I am missing something.

Meanwhile Archipelago had an outing at the other end of the room - but instead of the somewhat seasoned veteran players that have clashed in the colony before, the table was pretty much a newcomer affair. Jimmy, Fletch, Shaun, Stu and myself took on the management of the new lands, and in what has to be the longest short game ever ( the short game conditions took as long as other medium game Archipelago sessions have taken ) the colony lurched off to a lop sided start. Cattle was the public victory point objective and thus progressed a mass of inland tiles full of cattle - but precious little else. Stone was incredibly rare - and with it churches and towns were largely absent, and an unusual mix of tiles meant that exploration was all one way - and choked. Population boomed and so did the realisation that keeping this mass of people happy was no easy task.

Deals were made, outrageous sums asked for and as the game went on the horse trading become more intense - and desperate. The dodgy deals and trades are a real ice breaker in this game I find, it engages people and makes them think, and there is a delicate balance of self vs community which I can't honestly say I have seen in any other game.

Shaun ended up the winner - a filthy separatist, he sat on his hands as the colony became bloated, and sitting on a pile of exotic fruit watched a pineapple crisis pass him by without lifting a finger. And so the colony ignited in rebellion.

Totting up the scores for the losers - had the separatist not won, revealed that I was leading, with Jimmy and Stu not far behind.


Moral victory goes to Stu who showed a great deal of civic mindedness and was without doubt the most helpful and generous of the colony leaders. Not that it was enough to offset the Separatist.

All enjoyed the game - Shaun especially who seemed most evilly delighted with his handiwork for the evening - and there were some calls to play again 'now I understand what's going on'. Ah yes. Archipelago and the wait wait, lets play that again, I get it now, followed, of course, by the colony crash.

Repeat no shows - No Bondy. No Phil. No Tom ( Tom seems to have been travelling the world as part of his James Bond lifestyle, Jakarta, then Iceland ). As for Phil I think he may have fallen into an alternate Anime Mecha universe and is busy fighting evil doers from his powered suit of armour - he hasn't been seen for weeks. Bondy is having trouble with tribbles.