Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Return of the Saboteur

Eleven this week, Moritz bringing along newcomer Tina to join myself and Pete playing Steam.

And free glasses to all ! The ever excellent Ribs of Beef were undergoing a Glass change as the NoBoGers assembled, and very generously the old set of fine offerings were made available to all comers - quite a few people went home with a nice set of beer glasses tucked into their game bags.

Onto the games. Whilst Pete showed off the capabilities of his Googly Androidy NSA phone and how amazingly it tracked his entire life ( he has his own personal data share at the friendly and obliging NSA HQ ), Sam brought forth Kemet to entertain Bondy and Rich, neither of which had sampled its tumultuous delights.

This seemed to go down well with Bondy giving it a big thumbs up as he surged from a lacklustre position mid game to take the win with an unmitigated bloodthirsty approach, optimising all forms of warfare. I think this game has the favour of all that have played it - and I still personally think it's a better, less "up its own arse" version of Game of Thrones. I love GoT - the fiction, but the board game rendition to me is far too long for what it does.

Kemet fixes the overlong bit twiddling of GoT, but otherwise keeps a lot of other things in the same ballpark. Of course GoT has the advantage of players that turn up with loving rose tinted spectacles of all the fiction going on in their heads. I suspect if the roles were reversed, and Kemet had a GoT theme ( tricky thematically given the churning death rate of armies ), and GoT had a Kemet theme, GoT would be lumped down as an average Diplomacy rehash.

The Village turned up at the other end of the room - not the M Night Shama-lama-dingdong version of dudes running scared in forests ( no spoilers ! ) - with Dean teaching Nicky, Tom and Stu how to shuffle their cubes and train up their villagers to be noteworthy citizens. A Euro with an interesting time mechanic, your family members can be sent off to undertake certain tasks, and as time ticks ever onwards mortality takes its toll and removes them from the board.
The successful dead laid to rest in the village book. Hmm.
But this isn't a bad thing, what you lose in resource gathering you gain in final VP - as your now deceased family member is either remembered in the village chronicle - earning you VP - or ends up in an unmarked grave ( no VP for you ! ).

The first to leap wholeheartedly into their graves are remembered and earn VPs, those that come after however only face anonymity, in a first come first rewarded death race. Hmm. Not sure what this game is saying.

With a bevy of approving nods and awards this game ticks the spot for Europhiles, although isn't too far removed from The Usual cube shuffling ( apart from the cool race to the death mechanic ).

Having put away his NSA approved device, its camera no longer able to secretly record the goings on in the underlair of the Ribs of Beef, Pete had a quick run through of Steam for Tina, and we all got down to shuffling our cubes on our train routes. Despite Pete getting off to a rocky start, his wily skills of deploying a game changing grey route whilst I was watching the antics of the Village paid off handsomely, and with some perfectly optimised late game timing he romped to a convincing win. Newcomer Tina put in a great performance and came in second, leaving me to third and poor Moritz who struggled with Pete at the start - but unlike Pete failed to break out at the end, brought up the rear in last.

As all games finished just about at the same time, the stage was set for perhaps the most epic game that the Ribs had ever witnessed - an eleven handed bout of Saboteur 2. Alas, Nicky, Tom and Stu departed, leaving us with a mere 8 to dig through the rock in search of gold. Some evil last minute final round role swapping on my behalf netted me joint lead with Rich at game end. Sam then played King Maker and stole a gold from Rich, leaving me out front as bestest miner/saboteur/gnome in the pub.

I staggered home with imaginary gold stuffed in my pockets, and not so imaginary beer glasses grasped in hands. Huzzah.


Alfonso said...

Wow, free glasses. I can't believe I missed that. Both Kemet and Village sound good and wouldn't mind giving them a try when I'm back next week.

Minitrue said...

Aye, free glasses, I was easily pleased with my array of fine beer containers. Chuffed even. You missed some nice stuff, if that kinda thing floats your boat.

Mr Bond said...

I don't see it as free glassware, more like being awarded a Chalice of Victory!