Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Winter Is Coming

And the Others stalk the lands...

Freezing fog descends upon the Ribs
The land of ice and snow is upon us and Norwich doth suffer under its harsh Led hand.

Whoever the Local Council player was clearly forgot to activate their Grit Trucks action this turn, as most of the main roads of Norwich were pretty diabolical - I passed a truck on the way to the Ribs, but had seen no evidence prior to this that anything useful had been going on. Dreadful turn optimisation, no victory points for you ! Snowbound ! A game of random weather, gritting trucks, icy roads and irate citizens. Coming to you soon !

And so with such a grim clime and hap hazard council player gripping the County only five hardy souls managed to make it down the pub to play some games. A heroic hardy huzzah to the fearless five - Jimmy, Sam, Moritz, Matt and myself. A berating blasting boo to the mollycoddled who sat at home.

But five as any gamer will know is a good number to have, and Jimmy had brought something new to entertain us with. Snowdonia - a game about building a railway up the side of the Welsh mountain, complete with weather the likes of which only Wales can bring. Rain. Fog. More Rain. And if you are lucky a brief spell of sunshine.

A worker placement game, players vie for a number of actions from resource collection to building. The game is more Caylus than Agricola - everyone working competitively on the same single track up the mountain and there is a certain jostling to lay that next piece of track, open up that station or improve a station - miss out and the opportunity with its victory points are gone. A series of cards adds flavour to the stock resource/build action mechanic, giving special one off capabilities that allow you to improve your turn ( better trading ratios, special actions ) whilst also giving bonus victory points for sets of achievements. These cards allow the canny player to get a bigger bang for their buck by adding extra victory points for things they already completed - getting a synergy of what you are doing combined with the right kind of achievement can be crucial to winning.

Some whimsical spins on the theme also add interest - given the game is set in not so balmy Wales, the weather affects how much work can be achieved, and in the worst case, all digging and building of track or stations grinds to a halt.

A pub features, where one of your possible workers can be perpetually found. Sod the railway, lets have a pint. By spending a precious coal resource on many of the trains ( of which you can only own one ), you can entice the worker from his well worn seat ( presumably by giving the lazy git a lift up the mountain ) and into giving you an extra action for the turn.

For those of you of a certain age you might be pleased to note that Ivor the Engine, yes, *that* Ivor the Engine features as one of the trains you can buy, giving you the nice capability to actually be able to work in the worst weather unlike everyone else.

A neat game, none too heavy, theme fits nicely, worthy of a game or three.

Jimmy won convincingly, despite my subtle points that Evil Jimmy was the one to watch for. I managed to avoid last. Just about. Huzzah.

Franks Zoo followed, Jimmy perhaps in punishment for his Welsh Railway Win was spanked into last place for the first round ( Quote -"bastards, yer all bastards !" ), but quickly made up ground to be within striking distance of a win as the pub closed - but Matt ended up the winner, a good haul of points only slightly marred by my very weak finish as his partner in the final round.

Table cloths ! The table cloths have a new airtight plastic bag in which to live - this is so that they can endure the somewhat dubious environment of the understairs cupboard without succumbing to suspiciously musty smells. I have also taken another two home to wash, so that with a bit of luck, all will be clean and well in the new lands of Plastic Bag.

Anyone putting the cloths away please remember to stick them in the new funky plastic bag - and seal it.

Half a bonus point for anyone that gets the two winter themed references at the start of the blog.


Mr Bond said...

Nice photo of the Ribs.

And plaudits for your dedicated work with tablecloths.

Eric Bresci said...

Glad to hear you had enough to play!

Jesus Christ though I'm not sure I would have been able to stomach welsh railways, however rainy.