Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Et tu, Bingo ?

Once upon a time when I was but a whippersnapper, I would engage in an illicit ( too young to gamble ) game of Bingo all the while under the watchful shadow of my dual wielding, dozen card mashing, no prisoner taking Aunt. Its been something like 30 years since I have set foot inside a Bingo Hall, and whilst at the time it was entertaining, I haven't ever felt the need to return, sweaty dobber pen in hand.

But as scripture says, if You wont go to Bingo, then Bingo will come unto thee.

So it was this week that I got my turn at Augustus, a short game set in ancient Rome, with some fancy ancient Roman artwork, fancy ancient Roman characters and some vaguely ancient Roman symbology. But don't be fooled by the Roman thing. It's Bingo. But instead of calling Bingo, or possibly House, you call Ave Caesar ! Which to me is something a die hard actor luvvie might decide to shout out whilst playing Bingo - the word Bingo being far too pedestrian. Instead -  Avveeeeeee Caesarrrr ! *hand flourish*

The game has you completing cards by listening for your called out symbols which allow you to mark slots with the matching symbol. Complete all of them on a card and you get to stand theatrically and resonate Bingo Ave Caesar ! Sound familiar ?

There are however synergies of card scoring, sets to collect and a few risks to take - all overlaid with a weighted distribution of symbols to consider. But don't let those fancy words fool you. It's Bingo. With some Euro scoring to allow you to believe you are in fact playing something other than Bingo. With Togas.

A short game that won't tax you, a suitable title for filling in those warm up or wind down moments, pretty cool, even if it is fancy scored Bingo.

Nathan for his part was very chuffed with the game, declaring his win to be the first at NoBoG - a Bingo win. A mixed blessing.

Elsewhere this week, Agricola was played with a table of learners + Rich. But Rich failed to capitalise on his enormous experience and came in third of five, Martin instead clinching the win with some synergistic pastures and animals.

Kemet and Seasons were taken upstairs, with wily Med Ed claiming a decisive win in Kemet by stomping The Bond into the dry sands of the desert. Med Ed is rather keen on the game and always seem to do pretty well whenever he plays.

Some Tokyo Kingship and Resistance followed upstairs, with the Good guys chalking up a straight 3 mission victory win in Resistance, and the bad guys failing to spot Merlin for the follow up.

Back downstairs Manhattan project followed by Small World hit one table, and on our table Archipelago returned from the shadows.

A new expansion has just come out for Archipelago - War and Peace, which brings 40 new evolution cards to the islands.

On the face of it an expansion consisting of just 40 evolution cards is a bit weak. It perhaps would have been nice to have had a few more map tiles to increase exploration variation, and a few more victory point cards to change the scoring possibilities.

However the 40 cards still pack a punch and introduce a heretofore missing element to the azure waters - notably direct conflict and meeple death.

It's a fact in Archipelago that as you explore and expand you can never go backwards - once a meeple is on the map, it stays on the map. Buildings that you build in general stay with their owners. And by and large the colony only goes ever onwards and upwards.

Not so under War and Peace. The new cards bring in the capability to bully, steal and even outright kill meeples in an expansion that shakes up your expectations of what is possible, and sees players given the chance to be nastier than ever to each other whilst trying to maintain the semi-cooperative truce to keep the natives from rising up.

Iron is a key resource for all this warmongery and control shenanigans, and sees a welcome improvement on the strategic importance of this element - in the past it has been a bit of an also ran item.

We didn't get too far with our new and spikey game - the colony collapsed in two turns ( 8 actions ) as three very nasty crises hit in succession, emptied the market and ultimately doomed the fat and unwieldy colony before it had a chance to consolidate. Not a huge surprise given two of our players were new to the game, and of the three remaining, one was a separatist who had every reason to see the colony burn.

It was great to return to the Islands, and it should be fun to see the new cards get a proper stretch.

Stu has reminded me that this week and into next is the Norwich Gaming Festival, celebrating many things computer game related at the Forum. There will also however be a chance to play some board games - played on the Tuesday from 6pm onwards. Forum Cafe closes at 9.30pm so any session there would  be shorter and earlier than usual, but if anyone fancies popping along, they can see what's going on, computer game related or not. Otherwise it will be business as usual in the Ribs for next Tuesday.

If you are counting, we had 23 this week over five tables.


Jarryd van Zanten said...

Re: the Gaming Festival, there will be board game tables and demonstrations all day on Tuesday and Wednesday. I think ICENI games (or one of the other shops) are coming down with people and products.

I will be helping out and demonstrating on Tuesday.

For any of you lucky enough to have some time away from the grind, it would be great to have some familiar faces during the day to show off our hobby to the unwashed masses!

ALSO! I am co-hosting the gaming festival quiz night this Saturday at 7pm. It's going to be a game-themed, multimedia quiz-travaganza and won't just be about video games but also board games, traditional games and other game related activities (not giving too much away!). There could be a NoBoG team or three!

(£2 entry on the night, max 6 per team, prizes to be had!)

More info is online at

Mr Bond said...

Sounds good. Any of you regular NoBoGers planning on going during the day or having a pre-Ribs game?

Ewan Craig said...

Sounds cool. May pop along and have a game or two before ribs :)

Dean Bowman said...

I popped along today and saw a really interesting documentary about Journey and some other indie games. I'm planning to go straight there after work then maybe to the ribs for a gaming nightcap when they kick us out. Think it would be a good opportunity for NoBog to get out there and show our faces in the wider community and also show support for Norwich Indie Game Designers who have been organising some pretty cool stuff of late!

Treggers101 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Treggers101 said...

Ill probably end up going for most of Tuesday afternoon followed by The Ribs hopefully there will be a few tables of games up i can have a look at (and try not to suck at)

the question is do we have a shirt we can use as advertising? :D

drop me a line if any of the rest of you are going in at any point

Treggers/Rich IV

Sam Blackwell said...

I will be going by after work too. Will most likely then move on to the ribs afterwards.

Chino Moreno said...

Bingo is the type of game that can be played by anyone. :)
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