Monday, 28 October 2013

Terra Prime - Homeward Bound

Eighteen was the number for the latest installment of NoBoG, with Terra Mystica, Terra Prime, Powergrid and Seasons up for play.

Pete was happy to get Terra Mystica out again and get funky with this Fantasy Euro that sees you building settlements and digging up land to turn it into different land ready for your particular Weird Race. New to the game Ed really enjoyed this modern and quite elegant Euro and was chuffed at placing second on his first try - good stuff.

Powergrid soaked up the numbers on table two - this classic Euro is doing the rounds with some of those that are not hugely familiar with it and is getting fairly regular plays at the moment.

Peering over Rich's shoulder, spying on his cards in Guildhall
Seasons had a repeat play again this week, which was then followed by guildhall which looked quite groovy.

There has been a slew of interesting shorter games down the pub of late - despite repeated popularity of The Resistance always squeezing into the filler spot - and it's nice to be able to dip your toe in the water and try out all sorts of wacky things.

The shorter games tend to be much pointier and more daring than your solid longer games - something about the speed of play allowing you take more edgy design decisions perhaps.

Lastly, taking to the upstairs of  The Ribs, five of us settled down to pilot our spaceships into the unknown void to bring back much needed resources to Terra Prime.

Terra Prime has a fairly simple premise - go forth and explore, exploit and win. Build colonies, blast aliens out of the sky, explore the dangerous outer territories and possibly shift some cargo back to base to earn those VP rewarding supply contracts.

Easy. Right ?

Except, this game tends to mess with peoples heads. It taunts analytical Euro Cube Crunching players. It sticks out its tongue at fine optimal plans for your turn, and it rudely gives you the two finger salute at your attempts to be clever.

Hard to say why. It could be because the possibilities of what you can do - and what you can't do, shift around like a slippery eel as each person explores, builds or possibly blocks space lanes. It might be because the oh so simple tile exploration actually has a lot of tricky permutations that are all too easily overlooked. Or it might be because we all suck.
Terra Prime in action.
Dean's hand is caught materialising in for his turn.

Whenever I looked at Bondy playing this, he was grimacing. I haven't seen him grimace so much over a game since he played Ora and Labora and was overwhelmed with information.

Bondy wasn't the only one feeling the pain - Matt was also wrestling with what to do, and in the end it was all too much for his sense of analytical pride to take. In hindsight, it was probably a mistake putting the ships mascot - Bubbles the Space Monkey - in charge of navigation and letting the astral simian fly around in meaningless directions. After a few turns of what can only be described as very sub optimal turns, Matt's ship, The Banana Express, ended up exploring the outer rim, hitting a bunch of asteroids, and losing all his VPs in the process. After mad Simian piloting, and Alina having stitched him up good and proper in previous turns, enough was enough and Captain Matt declared that there was no point in him playing any further and that he should probably go home.


Eyebrows were raised, and people paused to grok the homebound declaration.

Really ?

Bondy declared that in the entire history of NoBoG, no one had ever Gone Home after a bad start.


The empty Pilots seat of the Banana Express.
Captain Matt cut his losses and headed for home.

Captain Matt mulled over his options for a round, whilst everyone else made not quite so sub optimal turns. But alas, Bubbles the Space Monkey had already ruined Matt's chances of winning... and the mess the simian had left on the navigational dashboard was best left unmentioned. Cutting his losses Matt bailed out and went home, leaving the rest of us to continue on.

A brutal game ensued where everyone made horrendous choices. Bondy actually managed to fly his ship around in circles for a while doing *absolutely nothing* as he dithered from turn to turn about what the hell to do. Dean had the least crappy game and by the end was actually doing a decent job - so much so that he romped to a win some 20 points ahead of everyone else.

The evening finished as it so often does of late with a blast of The Resistance. I got to be Merlin this time. And things were going pretty well, until good guy Pete got carried away with vetoing quests, we ran out of time - and quest options, and the bad guys made sure that the end quest was stacked with evil lackeys. A pity, Pete had been doing so well... and Clive had well and truly been outed as a nefarious spy.

1 comment:

Mr Bond said...

Thanks for the update, John.