Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Rail Rage

Another week of lovely gaming at the Ribs where 29 assorted players gathered to push abstract cubes around abstract maps and score abstract points to obtain the abstract crown of best abstract winner title. Or to put it another way. We wasted time engaging in rituals of pushing bizarre things around nonsensical maps for no gain whatsoever. Huzzah.

But then in the Nihilistic Bear view of the universe, everything is a waste of time, so, a beer and a boardgame would seem to be one of the nicer wastes of time that you can get up to. At least before that asteroid hits and wipes everyone out ( you need to follow the link to get that ).

In less abstract nihilistic terms a good deal of the meeple manipulation focused around trains, making chuffing sounds, tooting horns, delivering goods and meeting the needs of passengers, all in a very model railway enthusiast kind of way. Trains seem to be a huge draw to the makers of board games with an enormous number of titles devoted to the iron beasts in a hundred often subtle variations. Compare and contrast the number of trains games, with say, the number of games about cars on motorways. 1,000,000* titles to... 0 ? There must be something about a train that a truck just can't replace.

This must irk James greatly who hates games about trains. No idea on his opinion of trucks. He avoided the stupid train games entirely and played Lords of Vegas instead. When I grow up I want to be a Train Driver Gambling Pit Boss.

Upstairs we had a bonkers six player game of the train chuffing Steam with half a table of newbies, on a five player map. The game was a bit long for my taste with six, but was enjoyable nevertheless and gave me good opportunities to leave the table for periods to chat with everyone else in the pub. Despite not bothering to build track in 2 out of 3 end turns, I scored very competitively and only ended up being pipped at the post by a stolen good to came in third, with Pete a single point in front, and Martin a single point in front of Pete. Very close. Sam came joint last with Guillame(? I think). Stu was somewhere in the middle. Pete played almost entirely non cut throat - a nice change of pace from his usual evil Steam antics - for the benefit of the new players. Or maybe he just couldn't find good ways to stick the knife in.

Downstairs they played the classic gateway train game Ticket to Ride, with Elliot presiding over the tickets and looking to dominate his table for a third week running.
The grin of a man destined to lap the loser on the score track
Alas it was not to be, as Lewis rudely waved to the lacklustre Elliot as he lapped him on the score chart - oh the shame -, and everyone managed to beat him - some in truly extravagant style. This caused a certain amount of Rail Rage in Elliot who got blocked, stomped, kicked and failed to make good on any of his tickets. The word Rage was apparent in everyones aftermath report. Clearly trains are not Elliots thing. He should stick to managing Wizards in Waterdeep. Less stressy.

Sam brought his kickstarter space ship flying sexiness Xia again, I am not sure who won this, but I think Richard the IV died in the very first turn by crashing his ship or somesuch. Brilliant piloting skills.

Xia - Legends of a Drift System
And a future warning about getting into the interstellar exploration business with Richard. Apparently he scored a point for his demise however. It must have been a particularly entertaining death. Perhaps he was piloting the stunt ship for the plutonium rock band Disaster Area. **

Elsewhere we had Betrayal at house on the hill, where Frankenstein met his doom. I think Frankenstein has met his doom before in Betrayal. Setting the poor fella on fire doesn't seem to be a terribly difficult thing to achieve. He's just misunderstood you know. No need to set him alight because he doesn't conform to a size zero super model size. But alas. The fashion police won out again, and sent his misshapen, no dress sizes for you body into the furnace, unwelcome and unloved. But heating the house nicely. Always a silver lining.

Lords of Vegas upstairs with James played out particularly cut throat and somewhat weird, as all three strip cards had disappeared by early game - making the strip lots far less valuable - the silver casino had almost exhausted itself without being built, and tussles over control of very large single colour casinos raged everywhere. Brutal.

Glass Road - a masterclass of Euro design
Nate brought along the ever excellent Glass Road, and played with a couple of people new to it - Hal and Nicky, both of whom gave it a thumbs up. For my money Glass Road is a masterclass in Euro design and is just about one of the best Euros out there. That's not to say everyone is going to rate it top of their list 10/10 - for personal preference reasons - , but its design is sublime, elegant and I can find no fault with it at all. Personally I really like the theme and how it works too, and would put this game on a Everyone Must Play This At Least Once list, and on a gateway to 'proper' Euro board games list.

Hal won this, although when I looked he had bugger all scoring opportunities apart from a pot of points for clay. The victory point buildings were not great, but eh, I would take a guess that the winning score was around 18 - not usually high enough for a win in my experience. Scoring can be a tricky and subtle thing in Glass Road. You don't have time to faff around, and sometimes what you spend in points to get points comes out as an almost net no gain.

Die Fugger
Follow ups we had some Fluxx Monty Python, King of Siam, Die Fugger and 6 Qui Prend ( aka Sex Nymph aka Sechs Nimmt aka Category 5 ) where I went from an outstanding first round of no cows picked up in first place, to a terrible second round of 34 cows picked up to come dead last. I blame Bondy and James who were distracting me in the second round and in Mr Bonds case offering terrible advice. Thanks to Guillame who corrected my poor pronunciation of 6 Qui Prend. There's nothing like having a native speaker at the table to correct your mangled pronunciation.

King of Siam
Pete being his ever sensitive self ( he has for three weeks in a row ( ish ) during pre game banter managed to sit at the same table as Elliot and bait his game choice describing them as not a game, no choices to be made, no brains required, don't you think they just play themselves etc ), described 6 Qui Prend as a stupid (French) name, causing mild exclamation from Guillame, Sex Nymph was much better, before back tracking to Guillame and making some excuse about it not being stupid because its French but because it doesn't have some dodgy double meaning.

Pete should be on the UN council. Or possibly a foot in mouth novelty contortionist stage act.

* Figures may be slightly inaccurate.

** Disaster Area employ stunt ships to dive into the local star as part of their gig repertoire. Obviously it's generally not good to be aboard them when this happens. Unless your name is Richard the IV. Or Marvin. Arguably it's not good regardless of your name. Understandable perhaps.

1 comment:

Mr Bond said...

Hey, I won Xia! With a nippy shipping ship.