Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Forlorn Frontiers

Another twenty six this week with six tables instead of five. A regular-ish number perhaps ?  The numbers might be somewhat stable but the player base is most definitely not - not in a raving bonkers kind of way, although we are bonkers accepting ( high fives to the bonkers people ), but in a turnover of people kind of way. Who knows, one day everyone will decide to turn up on the same day, veterans, veterans retired to lurkers, regulars and newbies, hold a popular referendum, and declare our independence from Scotland England Europe Cornwall Ukraine Norwich.

The peoples Republic of NoBoG. Or is that the Republic of the NoBoG peoples. Are we the peoples Republic of NoBoG ?? Fuck Off ! Peoples Republic of NoBoG ! Pfah !

This week Terra Mystica, Marvel Legendary, Alien Frontiers, Ticket to Ride Europe... and some others, possibly Alhambra... hit the tables.

Pete sallied forth with the Euro cruncher Terra Mystica and a mix of seasoned sharks and first time players. Pete took on a new race type for his play, the Giants, and ended up pleased with his handling of his oversized populace - probably helped on by the fact that he romped to a commanding lead, leaving Tom in second nearly twenty points in his dust. Everyone else limped along another twenty points behind Tom and thus concluded the odd shaped cube shuffler. The first timers looked a bit shell shocked, and Tom confided having fumbled his priorities in mid game, his minor slips costing him those precious game leading points.

Last week having embarassingly failed to do any good whatsoever whilst wearing skin tight lycra - it might be argued no good can ever come from wearing skin tight lycra at a board game night - Marvel Legendary got a second airing for another attempt at setting the world to rights. With a confident spangly boot forwards, the heroes took on... "The Training Mission". I am not sure if they randomly chose this, or picked it out of some desperate hope to succeed, but the plot involved was an easy trainer kind of plot.

Successfully seeing off this training day threat - the evil Professor Underpants Drops Litter in The Park - the team went on to tackle something a bit more serious... and failed. Again. I think the message is very clear here to our NoBoG Marvel players. Don't give up your dubiously disguised day jobs - Do give up wearing spangly cat suits.

Ticket to Ride Europe ( I think ) was played upstairs, a nail biting finish leaving a single point twixt winner and losers, which was then followed by Gloom.

Over on my table, Alien Frontiers had a blast, and proceeded quickly into an ill-mannered knife fight, attempting to screw everyone else over, break the game, or complain about choices made. You know things are going to be rough when before any dice are rolled, argumentative banter has broken out at length about the benefits of going last. Oh dear.

I'm not sure many enjoyed the game for the game - Owein in particular has sworn off the thing entirely in future - but the back biting knifery was enjoyed. And the game didn't break, despite being tested.

Skipping downstairs I got to watch a round of One Night - Ultimate Werewolf, which as you might suspect is another Werewolf variant, but played for a single round only.
Did you know ?
The original werewolf game was spawned out of a Russian University's Psychology department in 1986 as a game about Mafiosa with a heavy element of body language, psychology and social group dynamics. 

In recent years a slew of variants have been produced, including the NoBoG favourite Resistance, which all tinker with the original formula but keep the psych much the same.

Before its recent popular spate as a filler game, werewolf was - and is - a tool used by businesses and corporates on "team building days" to inspire teams, promote communication, and subtly check out employees personality strengths and weaknesses.

The main notable differences between game night variants and corp variants is the removal of the original game master non player role - gamers tend to be a better motivated and organised bunch than a group of employees wondering if they can go home yet.

After watching Med Ed get shot to pieces as a werewolf - and lose the game, I was invited in to play a few rounds myself.

The game plays much like many other werewolf variants, with a slew of character roles from precious Villagers, to sneaky troublemakers, dependable masons and evil werewolves adding spice to the original formula. Unlike other variants however One Night is played in a single titular round - of one night. After an initial setup of roles and players then performing their role actions largely in secret ( seers get to check out any other role on the table, troublemakers get to swap two roles and so on ), the group then gets to say who they actually are, and from their actions, logic and body language then argue about who is telling lies, and which player should be shot as a filthy werewolf. After a period of debate, everyone then simultaneously points at a player they are going to shoot / lynch / stone, with the player receiving the highest number of hits actually dying.

If no werewolves die, the werewolves win. Simple.

Cool game if you like your werewolf type games - the single round guarantees a real fast game resolution, on the other hand it does mean that in game information is limited and often comes down to a shot in the dark.

Managed to play a few rounds, ended up as the werewolf on the last round, and after seeing a slow claim of roles on the table - but the crucial suicidal Tanner being picked up very late ( the Tanner wins all if he gets killed ) and dubiously, I elected to play as if I were a not brilliant Tanner player and declare myself a Werewolf. Which I was. So I had just handed every good guy at the table a victory.

Of course few believed my tale of really being a werewolf and thus I was spared the gun. So for my part, mission accomplished. I then went onto spread doubt amongst some of the good guys.

Luke was my accomplice werewolf, and in a massive tactical cock up grabbed a role after everyone had debated about it, managed to draw the suspicion of most of the table and was promptly shot.

Where it turned out the Robber had switched his role with Luke, and the werewolves had been missed entirely.


Dinner, is on you. Correction. Dinner is you.

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