Wednesday, 5 November 2014

No Planes, No Trains and No Automobiles

After all that NoBoG statistic compilation of what was played where, I had to go have a lie down for a week. And so missed last weeks blog.

Mr Bond was attending the Beer festival, turned up for half an hour at the Ribs to say hello, and then went back to boozing taste testing with a vague promise to be back for the fillers. Which he failed to materialise for. Presumably by this point he was asleep in a shrubbery somewhere between the festival and the Ribs with a happy beer blissed face. So he wasn't going to write a blog post either.

Before we begin, if you've been keeping an eye on other NoBoG channels you might have noticed Owein has launched his own board game retailing enterprise. Here in his own words...

For those of you who couldn't make it to the club this week, I am really excited to announce that last Sunday saw the Grand Opening of my online games store

King Bee Games stock a wide range of games at great prices, with an emphasis on middle and lighter weight games. If there is a particular game (or games!) that you are after that we are not currently stocking, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I can check whether I am able to source it from our suppliers and let you know how much it would be.

I am also happy to bring along any games you would like to buy to the club and offer a 10% discount on our normal prices. If there are any games that you are interested in, please drop me a line at and I can let you know how much they would be!


Last week we had a record equalling 33 turn up - 34 if you count Mr Bond who didn't play and was asleep in the shrubbery. A few new games were on offer - Fletch had a virgin copy of Planes on the table which regrettably no one seemed to be fantastically interested in playing. This is no slur on either Fletch or the game, but if you've been to NoBoG you will know that by and large everyone is so laidback / indecisive to the point that although everyone has turned up to play games, no one really is any rush to actually suggest or play a game.

Elliot also had some new still sealed game to play, and despite a great marketing introduction ( where it wasn't entirely clear if he was trying to sell it or play it ) the game met with little enthused response. If it's not Lords of Waterdeep, expect no one to have an opinion !

No planes. And no Ticket to ride trains. And you'll be lucky to find a game about automobiles.

At this rate we will be giving mandatory play orders to those who can't name a game to play in 30 seconds. Punishment games will include, Race for the Galaxy, Munchkin, Ticket to Ride, Hansa Teutonica and Advanced Squad Leader. You will play the one you hate / sneer at. Which should cover everyone. ASL for the newbies and pacifists. Munchkin for the hardcore Euros. Ticket to Ride for the wargamers. And Hansa Teutonica / Race for the Galaxy for the thematic Ameritrashers.

Pete too was grasping a new game, Igglepiggle of the Night Garden Lord of the Ice Garden, but whether it's Pete's unique silver tongue/weaselly diplomacy, his amazing spectacular ever changing hair or possibly the game itself, his new offering quickly found some players to give it a shot.

Lord of the Ice Garden.
Peter ( top right ) appears to be giving a shakespearean
monologue / epic rules explanation to set the scene.
And what a pretty shot it is, the game is a real looker, possibly because of its Kickstarter heritage ( which in my experience all tend to have bling to encourage you to spend your moolah on an untested prototype ), and also possibly because it comes from an existing IP of a series of Polish fantasy novels. However, unless you are Polish the chances are you will have never heard or read it, as I don't believe it has ever been translated from its native language.

Lord of the Ice Garden is an area control game between competing players, where combat is distinctly deterministic - there is no dice rolling or randomness here. Pay to activate your troops. Get what you paid for.

Players get to choose what actions they will take in a turn via a typical worker placement / action drafting stage, before enacting those actions during gameplay. Combat occurs, influence can be placed, which allows players to change the domination of an area. Resources and victory points are gleaned from what you control on the board at the end of a turn.

Pretty, pretty models. Fletch however is unmoved.
All that glitters is not gold.
The four different factions are asymmetrical with differing special goals to secure for a goal win, so if you like being a special snowflake in a game, this will appeal. The problem with very groovy and interesting asymmetry in games is the multi headed hydra that is balance. It is balanced ? Good question. Pete has played this two weeks in a row, and for two weeks in a row the same faction has won. The straight forward, smash you in the face, melee orientated faction. Whether this is a bit of group think going on as Pete suggests, or is simply a faction easily accessible to newbies who don't quite grasp the depth of possibilties, or is a genuine balance issue only time will tell.

For the time being almost everyone that's played it has liked it. Fletch in particular did not enjoy it. His game had an epic rules session where Pete spent so long going through rules to the new game that other tables had actually just about finished their first small offering. Long rules sessions can be tiring. I am terrible for them - I tend to switch off and daydream instead of listening. I think Fletch also made a few mis-steps and as is the nature of some games could never really recover. Uh huh.

Richard IV on the other hand gave it a big thumbs up. And as is his recent trend played the new shiny in back to back weeks. Richard is becoming the Leader of the Cult of the New.

Elsewhere I got to play Legendary Villains - another of the Legendary deck builder variants, this time spinning you as the bad guys against the disgustingly upstanding heroes. Although we seemed to be a rather modest group of evil doers as our all powerful most evil globally devastating plan for world domination and suffering turned out to be.... spoiling the X-Men graduation day.
Legendary Villains. Not so Legendary in our case.

I bet they don't make a film about that.

See Wolverine have to cope with removing TP from a tree ! Watch Professor X deal with annoying prank calls to Hugh Jass. Gasp in awe as Storm deals with a sabotaged PA system. Flinch in horror as Rogue checks for the evils of chewing gum on the seating.

Despite our very modest, some would say almost schoolboy level of evil plot, we failed to defeat Odin. Who apparently had something to do with the graduation day. I don't know. What do you mean it's unreasonable to expect a near immortal king to be mucking about with a school graduation day ? You know nothing. It was a super hero graduation day. With super cake and everything.

The game was cool. I was disappointed with the ending. It just all went a bit damp squib. No grand speeches or failures. Just a shuffle of cards back into the box. Serves us right for losing.
Castles of Burgundy

Nate brought out Castles of Burgundy, and prised Elliot away from his trains and settlers. Elliot enjoyed the game, didn't win. I suspect Nate might have won.

Betrayal at House on the Hill got a play, with something of a very awesome haunt about all the players being shrunk to the size of mice and hunted by cats. Very nice ! Which if you know your Neil Gaiman is something he riffed on with the excellent Dream of a Thousand Cats. If you haven't heard of it check it out, it's very good.

Betrayal at House on the Hill.
Other games were played. Ave Caesar. Lords of Vegas. Fillers. Family business. Tim brought along a lovely little filler that I hadn't seen before - Guillotine. A number of aristocrats are lined up for the chop, each with a point score, and the idea is for each player to execute as many points worth of aristos as possible. Cards are played to alter the queue order hopefully manipulating good aristos for yourself, and tanking everyone else. Set collection, special powers and a bit of screwing around is the order of the day, and the theme is comically great. I've put this on my buy list, and if you get a chance you should check out - simple and fun for all, including gameophobes.

This week there are no pictures. The camera was out of juice. Deplorable. We had 35 turn up - a record, but Elliot and Caroline went to see a film instead as no one wanted to play Ticket to Ride Marklin reducing us to 33. I take this as a personal failure - even after offering to play as a third, Elliot sadly declined, game clutched to his chest. Ah well.

Instead I got to introduce 3 people to Glass Road. Three people who had in fact never played a Rosenberg game before. That's right. No Agricola. No Caverna. No Ora. No Le Havre. Shocking. Which went down well. Secretly I would have preferred Ora and Labora - I have been itching to play it for some time. But given a choice between the heavier Ora and the more streamlined Glass Road, it was the Road which took the play time. Martin had a great start with Glass Road, whilst I had a terrible one. I managed to make ground up in following rounds - at some expense to Martin it has to be said. I had predicted new players scores to be something of the order of 15 or 16 and a winning score somewhere around at least 20. As it turned out Tim scored 15, Martin scored 18, myself 19, and Byron 23. The game was great, and seemed to provide just enough head scratching and thunkery to be a challenge but not an obstacle.

Lords of Vegas got another outing. Fletch had his first go of this. Enjoyed it. Noted there was quite a lot of dice rolling. The lovely Random Number Generator. Tim, Stu and Nicky joined forces to play Revolution. With an exclamation mark. Revolution ! Which seems like a nice game of blind bidding for control. Nicky humbled all competition with a face slapping win that saw her some 150% or so above the next player, and almost double the last two. Yikes. Well done Nicky. They then played some old school Ra.

1775 was played downstairs, where the upstart yanks were handed their marching orders by the courageous Brits, and the Kings Colony of New York remained. Although Ewan seems to think the Dutch won it instead. Lies.

The relatively new King of New York got a blast from an enthusiastic King of crowd, and all really enjoyed it. The maniacally grinning Lewis won. You can always tell when Lewis wins. He grins like a demented Victorian bad guy.

Dead of Winter got played. Not sure if the colony collapsed or not. A bunch of fillers. Incan gold. Sechs Nimmt ( where I went again from leader in round 1 and 2, to abject last place by round 3 ). Hamsterrolle. Cash and Guns. Avalon Resistance and classic Resistance. Classic resistance turned out to be a triumph of the bad guys. With all three bad guys going on the mission and tanking the two fails to lose. Epic. Myself and the two Sams were triumphant in our evil doings. Sam II played a great but very risky mid game play, playing a card that allowed him to see if someone has failed or succeeded the mission. Two spies and two good guys were on the mission. He chose the good guys card and revealed it was a fail. Risky. If none of the spies had put a fail in he would instantly blow his cover. Which given there were two spies on a single fail mission was not unreasonable. As it turned out a single fail was revealed, badly incriminating the good guy who had refuted he had included a fail. A masterful ploy that sunk one of the good guys, and by incrimination sunk another suspicious good guy. Leaving the ring leader good guy to completely trust two spies. Oh dear. He looked so confident in the last round too....

His sad little shell shocked face at the end was a picture. Shame the camera was flat.

*Cackles evilly*


James Mapp said...

also played on the 1775 table were Die Fugger and splendor.

Splendor is a weird game that essentially involves a gem based tech tree and very little else; but plays quite well (if i could only figure out what i was meant to be doing anyway)

Die fugger is a small deck of cards essentially; where everyone is trying to get trade goods down in front of them; trouble being that at the end of each round the prices of things will change depending on how many there are of each good on the table.. this often causes the most popular good to crash in price.. i think for the second time running everyone agreed that it was a pretty good, fit it in your pocket, type game..

Joshubuh said...

Dead of Winter update: colony didn't collapse (despite a suspiciously gun-shy weapons collector). Two zombified survivors, a late-game colony massacre and a surprise tool in the Gas Station deck left a successful scenario with just the barricade-happy Mayor completing his secret mission.

Had a great first time at NoBoG. Be seeing you all again soon!

Peter Chinkin said...

I posted some thoughts about Lord of the Ice Garden to BGG here if anyone's interested...