Thursday, 15 January 2015

You Win Second Place in a Beauty Contest...

... in a lineup of one. So goes the Monopoly inspired joke. More of that later.

Did you know ? The most popular day of the year for holiday
hunting is January 5th. Just after lunch. One can only assume
this is because everyone is miserable being back at work after
Since Christmas the NoBloG writing goblins have become slack. Weekly issues are failing to get out, news is being missed, and all the while the slacking goblins have been eating the last remnants of festive chocolate, complaining about having eaten too much, and using their office time to search the web for cheap winter holidays. What can you do ? I have sent them all off to a recuperative post christmas blues tropical beach, and been forced to do my own typing in their absence. Pfft.

The last couple of weeks have returned to a busy pub of gaming with 34 people turning up on both weeks ( with a huge variance of *who* actually turned up in the differing weeks... should everyone instead decide to turn up at once ... ), with Resistance having a resurgence in popularity and returning to its regular-ish slot of end of night play.

Stu and Tom were with us this week, both of whom like nothing more than the meta game of the Bargain Bin Rummage. I think they must have some competition going on as to who can find the cheapest or most obscure game. In the past this has brought us classics from Giants, a euro game about shifting giant heads around Easter Island... and putting hats on them.... to Felinia, a game about sea going medieval cat merchants. That is to say, cats, who are merchants. Stand up on their hind paws. And engage in conversations about... fish ? As opposed to merchants who deal in cats.

This week Stu ( or possibly Tom ) had managed to dig a bit of serious retro gaming out of one of his secret bargain bins. Waddingtons Formula 1. Which with an initial release date of 1962 is I am going to guess, older than every single NoBoGer currently in irregular attendance.
Formula 1, Tom roars into the lead with a bit of
judicious picture taking timing

At first glance the game looks suspiciously monopoly inspired. A dice. Two decks of cards bearing an uncanny resemblance to Chance and Community Chest - except of course, here they are Pit Cards and Tactics cards. And a carefully measured track with spaces to move your playing piece around. There are no second place beauty contest wins here however - but instead varying advantages of moving faster, accelerating to top speed, careening around a bend without incident, or the reverse, missing a turn because.. well.. you have been subject to poor pit work. Such are the advanced game design machinations of the 1960's family game. If it doesn't have a random number generator lurking in a deck of cards, you are doing something very wrong.

Five enjoyed this hark back to a more innocent gaming age, with Caroline roaring across the finish in first place. And despite its age, everyone really did seem to enjoy it.

Elsewhere Mr Bond brought along one of his Christmas presents - Imperial Settlers, a full table of four spending the evening standing up and poring over the wording on cards. No idea who won. But seemed fun.

Lewis, Tom, Lauren and Andrew had a go with Takenoko, followed by Get Bit and Love Letter. Lauren was on the warpath and taking no prisoners, bashing her fellow gamers with expletives, threats, yells and anything else. She ended up winning Takenoko and Get Bit, although whether this was due to great game play or just banter intimidation it's hard to say. She took her losses on Love Letter hard. I think she wanted a clean sweep victory.

Downstairs Caverna was given a whirl, with it has to be said a group that was probably thrown to the
A busy Wherry Room full of gamers
lions. Just about all new to Caverna, and in some instances new to gaming. A trial by fire. I'm not sure how this went down, but highly experienced Euro gamer Guillame wiped the floor with everyone apparently. Hmm. We might have scared off some new people there.

An epic six player game of Lords of Vegas was on the table over, and over from them - I think Room 25 got another bash.

Upstairs I got to take a couple of completely new gamers on a tour of what's what, starting with Colt Express, of which the programmed movement seemed to at times really mess with their heads, before moving onto Sechs Nimmt, which as I suspected, they really warmed to and took a picture of it at the end so they could go buy it themselves. Scratching my head for easy finishers we settled for Loot Letter, which almost earned a ban from Mr Bond because it had Munchkin in the title.

Last week Bondy threatened NoBoG legal action against the players of Munchkin on the grounds of Bad Taste Gaming. Despite having taken photographic evidence of the deplorable activity and posting it to the NoBoG twitter feed, the threatened Official Letters of Warning have yet to be actioned. A lucky escape perhaps for the transgressors.

Lastly downstairs they had an epic game of Avalon Resistance - they were frightened off of using the new chiefs and spy hunters malarkey and instead stuck to swords and sorcery. Pah. Luke performed the tricky game intro spiel with morgana, merlin, percival and the kitchen sink and did a good job getting it all right. However. You could hear his brain whirring as he paused at each step, thought about it, thought about it again and his voice steadily slipped into BBC English. Watching Resistance can be nearly as much fun as playing Resistance.

Upstairs I got to enjoy a quick filler of Port Royal with Hal and Mr Bond. Stealing the win right at the end away from the many be-pirated Hal, Mr Bond declared the game to be awesome. Because he had won. With a strategy of... doing everything not particularly well. Except possibly capitalising on everyones failures more than anyone else. I had personally gone card draw crazy - ignoring victory points to.. I don't know. Show off with how many cards I could take ( which helped me not at all ). Hal had a very solid heavy pirate strategy. But somehow. Pushing his luck just... never... worked. Greed ! Without it, he could probably have won the game a good few rounds earlier. Fun game. Funny banter. Always a laugh with Hal and The Bond.

Port Royal is a really nice little filler game, a push your luck, build up a simple tableau, earn victory points piratey card game. It's not long enough or deep enough to become some card memorising synergy monster like Race for the Galaxy, and its shorter and less prone to breaking than Glory to Rome, but shares a few elements with those games... in a piratey themed way. And let's face it. Pirate themes are the best themes. You can take your Race for the Galaxy Uplifting species and.... uplift them. I'll stick to pirates.

Last week Mission Red Planet showed up for its quarterly airing. Newbies all. And for once I managed to capitalise on my experience, and romped to a 3 point hoarding win. We then had some Frank's Zoo. Which I totally failed at. Although it has to be said this was more to do with my partners than myself - both of whom flopped out in last place for zero points, and despite me finishing first in the last round, I had the worst score. Bah.

Suburbia was also on show. Resistance. And err. Other things. Like Munchkin. And Seven Wonders ( which James had never played before... ! ). And Tragedy Looper. And more stuff. Which I forget. And the goblins are all away at the beach. So who knows.

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