Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Pleasure Pants - Get Them Whilst They're Hot

Another busy week last week with 39 people getting in for some gaming action. Any other time that would have been a record, had we not already pushed the bar up to 44 from the previous week.

James had a mini pre-game game for us all this week, with game mention Bingo. He's been threatening to do it for months, and so everyone was treated to a small bingo card with a list of games to cross off when they were called out. I think this is largely a reaction to somethings always being present in the game roll call session and James having a James like sense of humour. Elliot called out a bingo half way through the roll call, and won the prize of nothing whatsoever. Congratulations. Perhaps we should get a special hat in future. The winners hat. Design suggestions welcome.

Snake Oil ! Can I interest you in some pleasure pants ? Um. No.
Lewis had a new thing to try out with an intriguing name - Snake Oil, one of those card games that can expand to fit a whole gaggle of players, although, it did seem to run awful long. Lewis kindly forwarded on a report of the session for it, so we can hear what he has to say and find out what it's all about.

Right by the entrance to the Ribs, I (Weird) had somehow managed to gather a group of eight fellow players to try out the card game Snake Oil. This party game has players each getting an opportunity to assume the role of a customer, their role determined from a card from the customer deck - politician, newly-wed, caveman, hostage, and so on. How we're managing to sell things to these people I dare not ask.

Once the player decides on a customer role, all other players must try to combine two words out of the six cards in their hand to create a product, catering to the role in question, then attempt to pitch said product once prompted by the customer. In my instance of being the customer, I happened to draw the 'nerd' customer card, which led to the kind of mix of products you'd expect from any round, from practical combo's (a shower fan), to video game DLC (energy key), to the really rather creepy suggestions from the far side of the table (kiss monkey). Ech!

With a difficulty level on par with Cards Against Humanity, and given the entertainment value of watching someone try to sell a banana beard to... well, any kind of customer, I reckon any group can find quite a lot of enjoyment out of this game. It's not a game to focus on scoring, given how unlike Cards Against Humanity you know exactly who's suggestions are who's, but rather a game to see people try to sell pleasure pants to an insomniac.

I would personally recommend this game as a 4-player filler rather than an all-evening 9- or 10-player session. Should've known that before, but at least we know that now. Great fun all the same, and gg to Andi for claiming 4 out of a possible 8 points to win. Quite an inventor amongst us!

Their group then split into two tables for some Colt Expressing and Sushi Go-ing - and Lewis recommends that if you haven't played Sushi Go you really should, the food has faces. Which apparently makes it more appetising  / fun. Hmm. Note to self. Don't accept dinner invitations from Lewis.

Over on our table we cobbled together a game of Alchemists, where despite me forgetting to play the first half round, we did a fairly decent job of piecing together what was what. James somehow blasted away to a significant lead in this and ended up winning, despite only mixing 3 potions for the entire game. What ?! I had mixed a good half dozen, got master of the green potions at game end, but due to some early game spurious theory gambits could only limp in joint last with Pete.

There was much spluttering around the table of I Am Right, and You Are Wrong, and in what could be an early pattern, various Euro gamers believing they are infallible only to find out they have ballsed up their notes. James swore that the app had given him a wrong result, but on checking at the end, the app seemed to be bang on point. A glitch ? Or user error ? Sad to say, in my decades of imprisonment within the IT industry, in 99.9% of cases it's user error. A PEBKAC. Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair. Somewhat out of date these days given the swishy touchy mobile slatey kind of devices that are prevalent. But who knows. The potion app was struggling with the dingy pub lighting.

Concordia - NOT a game about cruise ship piloting
A short peanut flick away from us Hal got the much fancied 2014 game Concordia to table. I am beginning to think that Hal has very good taste in games, as most of what he turns up with looks interesting. Well. Except that drab blockade runner game. Concordia was nominated for a bunch of awards in 2014 ( but failed to actually win anything ), and is a game I have had half an eye on, wanting to see it in action. Despite Pete's humorous summary of the game being about piloting cruise ships as close to the coast as you dare ( which went straight over my head for 5 minutes until I realised what he was talking about ), the game is actually about commerce in the Mediterranean in the era of ancient Rome - short on rules, long on scoring opportunities.

Players get to wander around a simple board, building houses, collecting resources and trying to build some lovely scoring combination for game end - of which there is something of a point salad, depending on what you are concentrating on. The main thrust of the game is around your hand of cards, each of which is an action allowing you to perform something or other - producing goods, building houses,  buying more cards and so on. Hand management is a part of this game, as once a card is played it stays down, but, playing a certain card allows you to pick them all up again ( although crucially here it also triggers a scoring round for yourself the first time you play it, meaning that you have to be particularly efficient in how you play this ), and some cards allow you to copy other players cards.

It looks like a cool euro economic builder to me, but I failed to get a proper response from Hal's table as to what it was like. A general thumbs up was offered.

The table behind us started off the evening with a bit of Resistance Avalon, where I assume the evil doers took the game as after a while someone at the table put on their best theatrical voice and cackled loudly into the pub that the other players were all their unwitting slaves. Or words to those effect. It was all very Macbeth.

Downstairs the ultra classic Agricola was dusted off, and David has a brief write up of that for us.

Myself, chloe, owein, Richard and ewan played agricola on Tuesday.

It was a suprisingly close game with just 5 points between first and fourth place. Owein came out on top with a solid cover all bases strategy.

Ewan managed to make a mega pasture which used all but two of his fence pieces, which was pretty impressive.

I think it was the first time I've played a game at the club in which everyone knew the rules, which was refreshing. Especially as agricola isn't kind to new players.

Agric - things are serious when you have to stand up
to take your turn
Uh huh. Agric is one of those nice perennials that never gets old. Whisper it - I prefer it very slightly to Caverna. But I live in hope of some Caverna expansions coming along to mix things up a bit.

Elsewhere downstairs another Euro classic got spanked onto a table - Powergrid, or more correctly Funkenschlaaaaaaag, this time with the American map - which I couldn't remember ever seeing before. It actually took me a minute to realise what I was looking when I took a picture of an upside down Powergrid America map. Looks cool. Although six players with Powergrid is for me... gah. Too many.

Powergrid America
Another table was playing something else. Which. I cannot remember at all. It wasn't new, otherwise I would have taken a picture of it. A mystery game.

Fillers rounded off the evening for some. I got to play Artificium and like Sam the week before went from a lacklustre score all the way to a trouncing lead by way of chaining wizards. Other things were played. But I didn't check in on them. And people don't write to tell me of their sessions either. Hint. Hint.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The First Rule of NoBoG is...

This week the Ribs of Beef was full to the rafters as an epic 44 people turned up to partake of the NoBoG extravaganza. Personally I blame the inflated numbers on Mr Bond who advertised NoBoG Tuesday as #InternationalTableTopTuesdayEvening and offered free swag. On the other hand, if #InternationalTableTopTuesdayEvening isn't a thing, then it should be a thing.

Bondys promoted SWAG

The elevated numbers caused Pete to slightly panic* and give out the advice to newcomers that if they enjoyed themselves to remember not to tell their friends.

All very fight club if you ask me. The first rule of which is to not talk about it. If you haven't a clue what I am talking about, then your homework this week is to immediately go watch the 1999 film Fight Club.

Aside from Pete's comedy advice, it was great to see so many people down the pub playing games, and personally I had a great night, playing some new things, some old things, and introducing The Cow Game to those who had never heard of such a thing before - and were suitably delighted by it.

Chloe also pointed out that this week quite a number of gaming ladies turned up, by her count as many as ten of them, which marks another record for NoBoG. Back in the day, ten people would have been the whole of NoBoG, male or female.

Gah, a blurry shot of Mysterium and its screen.
Super low light level and a long exposure are to blame.
The G Man was in the house on Tuesday, and being the collector of the sometimes whimsical, he brought along a game called Mysterium, which after some wrangling, I ended up joining in to play. Mysterium - and I'm just going to go right ahead and assume you've never heard of it before - is a game best summed up as a cross between Dixit and Cluedo.

Funny vague artsy picture cards ? Check.

A murderer in Some Place with Some Murder Weapon ? Check.

Guessing who was where doing what to whom ? Check.

Unlike Cluedo however the game is a co-operative affair where everyone is trying to work together to solve the puzzles you are given - namely murder suspects. One player takes on the role of The Ghost, or, if you like, The Murdered, and it's their job to communicate to everyone else just who killed them and how.

Which would be lovely if the Ghost could just send you an SMS with the murderer's contact details.

Predictably things aren't so easy however, and instead the ghost must rely on sending dreams to the other players - who are allegedly psychics and sensitive to such things. Either that or they just have really vivid imaginations and a habit of eating cheese past midnight ( my mom always used to say eating cheese late at night would make you dream. Science ! ).

The dreams come in the form of cards with a lovingly artsy illustration, albeit random and often surreal. Spread on the table are another bunch of lovingly illustrated cards and it's up to the player(s) to make a guess as to what refers to what. Every player gets their own card to think about, with the end result being that the Ghost is going to tell you about X number of suspects, X number of murder scenes and X number of murder weapons, where X is the player number.

So you get into Dixit territory. A boy riding a bicycle through some woods ? Well clearly that
Mysterium ! It was.. the ghost boy with the candlestick !
indicates this magician chap over here. What ? The whole effort is further complicated by the Ghost only have a limited selection of cards to choose from each turn. So. The clues could be super vague.

The game is won if everyone manages to solve their person, location, murder weapon in a given number of nights, and after that, if everyone then manages to select the right person, location and weapon out of those that have been highlighted.

An interesting game. All about getting into the head of the person playing the ghost. And trying to find some connecting particular that links one series of pictures to another.

We failed for the record. The G Man kept apologising to me whilst handing me my clues. In the end a wolf was filling in for a unicorn, and most of the other clues were pointing at a small picture on the wall of one of the choices. As it was I actually did succeed in getting all my details right, but Pete and Sam failed. And so the ghost was not avenged.

Note to future murdered ghosts. Learn how to use email.

Small World, Chloe and David with some new NoBoGers
Meanwhile on the table over, a group of new NoBoGers learned to play Small World which came down to a very tight finish again, relying on a tie breaker to actually determine who had won. The game was given a thumbs up, and they liked the way that the races and traits made the game variable - they could see good replayability in it.

Behind them, an excited Jay Van Zee ( his newly annointed NoBoG street rap name, formerly known as JJ ) busted out a fresh from the kickstarter presses game of Shadow of the Elder Gods.

Given which name is a game that is contractually obliged to be about Cthulu type shenanigans.

Anytime you use Shadow and Elder God in some combination, you have to be talking about Lovecraftian Shnubbling, and Shoggotholling.

The Elder Gods of the Shadow Supermarket. See ? It's a game about a Cthulu infested supermarket. Easy.

Shadow of the Elder Gods. Aka Pocket Arkham Horror aka
James Mapp's Punch Yourself In the Face !
So what's the game all about... A co-operative game, players take the role of investigators, or just plain schmucks, who are wandering about the city of Arkham in a game of tentacle whack a mole.

Along the way you get to pick up things to help you fight off the nasties that keep cropping up, and hopefully by the end you will have enough experience to see off the Elder nasty himself. If this sounds remarkably like Arkham Horror, then you'd be right, it sort of is.

But it's condensed down into something that doesn't take between 3 and 6 hours to crank out and has wayyyy less of a footprint in terms of endless decks of crap. I like Arkham Horror, but it does suffer from early FFG designs of "Lets just make another deck of cards / pile of tokens / endless crap for that mechanic, and then we can big it up on the box how much crap is in here, and how much crap your money is buying - bargain !" which typically end up with you playing the Setup The Crap game for longer than you actually play the game.

I'm not sure how the game went down, it sounds pretty cool, albeit James who did play it spotted some dubious flaws he was less than happy with. A key component of the game is the Ring of Shadows, an item which allows you to tackle the unseen enemies that lurk beneath the seen ones and is the key to winning the game. The price of using this item however is a hit in sanity ( of course, no self respecting Cthulu game leaves out a Sanity mechanic ), and here's the issue. Certain random cards in the game will deal 5 sanity damage to the wielder of the Ring of Shadows. Which is enough for insta death. So. Draw a card. Die. Game Over ?

Are there mitigations to this ? No idea. But James was not a fan and stated that at least the game was short, and therefore wasn't too much of a pain to put up with before inevitably dying from the RNG insta death. On thinking about it more deeply he related the experience to be like punching yourself in the face. "Draw a Card, Punch yourself in the face that many times". I dunno. Sounds like a winning party game to me. COPYRIGHT !
Alhambra - vanilla style. Circa 2003

Away from the Cthulian Horror, Stu guided some people through the ways of Kingdom Builder, whilst the table over enjoyed a blast of classic Alhambra which I think was just the pure vanilla version - no expansions ( I tend to always play with the treasures and markets and yada these days... )

Downstairs Martin took some newcomers through the halls of Betrayal at House on the Hill, Hal gave a group a zip around Powerboats - which to my eye looked really cool ( I think its all those lovely hexes lighting the wargaming gene in me ) - and apparently played really nicely - a game all about managing your speed dice and trying not to ram into things from going too fast.

Power boats. Race around the islands and manage your speed.
Lastly, Darren got the new and sexy Xenoshyft Onslaught to table, yet another co-operative type game ( there were three and a half co-ops played this week - I am counting Betrayal as a half co-op ) which is a deck builder horror survival malarkey that sees your group of swaggering future troops defending your base from the evil alien Hive.

Marines versus Aliens you say ?

Yes. In co-operative deck builder format.

The very nice looking Xenoshyft Onslaught.
Which sounds in theory like a cool idea. What's not to like about the familiar Marines versus Aliens trope ( although I have to say, a bit like the whole zombie malarkey, it's probably getting a bit too done at this point ) ? No idea how this panned out. Tim noted it was very difficult to win. The game certainly looked gorgeous on the table - and surprisingly for a Cool Mini or Not game did not come with a bazillion miniatures.

After all that gaming a horde of smaller fillier games descended.

I got to try out Artificium on my table - a highly rated light euro resource manager filler, all about turning one thing into another for points. Sam languished in last for the first half of the game before showing off outrageously to overtake everyone and fall off the edge of the scoring because he was just scoring so damn well with an army of wizards.

We declared him loser for running off the edge of the score board and therefore having no score.

After this we changed tables up and busted out The Cow Game to some newcomers - where there were some interesting aberrant plays going on.

Sechs Nimmt. Well. The next move is certainly tricky...
Firstly, one of the newcomers managed to score an enormous 50 points in his single first round. 50. That has to be a record of some sort. It makes Tim's previous week Cow collecting extravaganza look positively amateurish in comparison. Also. We had a full board situation occur. Which I can't remember ever seeing.

Too many fillers to mention. Pickomino, flaschenteufel, yet more Cows, werewolf. Gosh.

Thanks to those who submitted something, David, Chloe, James, short or long !

*our veteran members can be a fragile bunch that are sometimes to be heard muttering about how it was all different in their day, when there was just chess, counting the leaves that floated down the River Wensum, picking peanuts off the floor and flicking them at Crocker and Settlers of Catan.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Some Like It Hot

Alas I was not able to attend this week, and Mr Bond also bunked off, so instead, the NoBoG minions were roused to do a sterling job of organisation and reporting. Ewan and Lewis provide their insights into the week, and I think Richard and Elliott can be thanked for the pictures. Thanks to them and Pete and Rich for making sure everyone got a game and fitting in the always turning up new people. Good job guys.

With Nobog this week lacking the usual firm hand of its leaders, you would have thought chaos would reign (several scenes of apocalyptic films come to mind, or the playing of munchkin). However this was not to be the case with Pete and Rich IV taking the reigns and managing to herd everyone into a game.

A total of 28 NoBoGers sat down to enjoy the range that was on offer. At the table I was on I [Ewan] managed to rope 5 others to join me in a game of Scoville; a kickstarted game all about chilli peppers and trying to breed/make the best and hottest chilli.

Scoville is the name of the scale that rates chilli peppers on their capsaicin content (this being the chemical that causes people’s faces to melt when eating a hot chilli) and was created by an American called Wilbur Scoville back in 1912. The game Scoville takes place in the fictional town of Scoville and holds an annual day of celebration to Mr Wilbur; awarding prizes to town folks who can breed the best chilli peppers or cook the hottest chillies. The game is broken down into a morning phase and, based on the actions on the players, can move onto the afternoon phase.
Scoville, with handy fields perfectly dug to fit a chilli

Within the rounds of the game players start off with blind bidding to decide turn order during the round. However simply competing for first may not be the best strategy over all. This is because there are three parts to the round, Planting, Harvesting and Fulfilment. Going first for planting will mean you are last for harvesting and as such makes being in the middle a viable option.

During the planting phase you are grabbing chilli peppers from the auction house and planting a chilli on the field ready to be harvested. This leads onto the harvesting phase, in which players move their farmer meeples round the field and attempt to harvest more chillies based on the two chillies you walk between by cross breeding.

The use of a reference chart will show you what colour chilli you get out of it. This is the fastest way to create and get hold of new chillies which can either be planted and score points if you are quick enough to be the first or make hotter chilli recipes. This movement can cover coveted spots and block others from getting them. The round ends with players fulfilling orders or making recipes for points and afterwards checking that the game either moves to the afternoon phase (where better chillies appear in the auction house and more orders become available).

Scoville - the blinds remind me of footie ground hoarding
The game overall is a point salad, with lots of ways of scoring points and having to do a bit of everything to rack up your point totals. Deciding where you go on the turn track is vital and does take a lot of thought, as certainly with harvesting and fulfilment, you end up being blocked and getting nothing at all.

During our play there was many a shout of frustration coming from Ed about incorrect decisions. There is a nice amount of planning and strategy and the turn based mechanic along with a nice theme (I grow chillies so am biased) is a real positive for this game.

However there is a little bit of downtime (certainly playing with 6) as everyone rattles their brains about what to do. But this could be helped with either more experience or maybe putting out fewer recipes (24 in a 6 player game) which can be a lot of information to take in.

The components are really cool and all good quality but certain colours can be hard to distinguish between the two.

Overall everyone enjoyed it, well almost everyone, Sam stating he could have been playing Netrunner this evening. Maybe a new challenge could be involved by players eating ghost chillies then having to play through the game would be interesting, and probably make decisions being made much quicker.

Lewis and Clark
Downstairs alongside our table, Lewis and Clark was broke out again, with Elliot shouting about his need for wood and wanting four skins. Personally don’t understand the laughter that followed, it is a real issue and should be supported as wood and skins seem to be important with in the game. Elliot also gave this game a thumbs up and it seems that Lewis and Clark is getting favourable reviews from NoBoGers ( although there was some grumbling from Dean via Owein about it being a foregone racing game halfway through, but that might be if you don't include the fix to the broken resource hoarding strategy rule errata ).
Lewis and Clark was then followed by a game of life boats, which personally have never played but have heard many a tale of it being very cut throat.

James, Jamie, Jonny, John (that totally didn't get confusing at all), Rhea and I [Lewis] partook in a fantastic emulation of the experience of gambling in Las Vegas, in Lords of Vegas. On this occasion, Jonny created a green Pacman casino (I'd go if that were a thing), odds took a beating with James attempting a 3-versus-1 casino reroll to reclaim the casino I had taken over, to no avail for James, and we witnessed latecomer John go from optimism, to joy, to dread, to victory... all emotions felt while in 1st or tied-1st place. Typical Vegas attitude. Twas a round of too many emotions to list. 
Someone suggested this as the perfect replacement for Monopoly as the typical family board game. 

The world would be a happier place... then again someone else suggested suicide was better too, which is hard to argue with. 
A few adjustments to the line-up and One Night Ultimate Werewolf, with the increasingly-popular Daybreak and Promo Pack 1 expansions, was broken out - in particular, a scenario suggested by the Daybreak guide called 'Information Society.' 
Round 1, Martin the Mystic Wolf's plan to hide as some sort of Seer collapsed quickly. Round 2, Martin and Davy's Werewolf plan of making me, the Seer, out as the Mystic Wolf fell on deaf ears. With two rounds belonging to the village, round 3 would surely belong to the werewolves, right? 
While the Doppelganger had been introduced in the previous round, it stuck around as the Daybreak favourite, the Curator, was also brought in. I, as a Doppelganger - and able to copy whichever other player I pick on, was overjoyed to find that Jamie was the Curator, and moreso later in the night when he had gifted me an artifact. As a Doppleganger Curator, it seemed rude not to respond in kind and give an artifact back to Jamie. 
Waking up to a surprised room, Jamie and I viewed our gifts to one another. 
It's usually at this point that you pretend to've obtained the Mask of Muting, like Jamie decided to, but now I had ACTUALLY received. Suspecting at least one of us to be hiding a gifted Claw of the Werewolf ( because we couldn't have the mask of muting  and therefore one of us was telling lies ) - and with me unable to legitimately defend myself - the village decided to slaughter both of us. Reveal, my Mask of Muting... and Jamie's Cudgel of the Tanner, meaning he'd stolen victory from both the village and the werewolves for completing the Tanner objective of getting himself murdered. WELL THEN... gg Jamie. gg. 

More scenario-based games of ONUW: Daybreak in the future for sure, especially since there's one called 'Total Chaos.' Yesss.

Upstairs the tables were turned in Marvel Legendary Villains, a game using the legendary system and seeing players play as the marvel villains against the heroes; who from reports ended with a very amicable draw all around.

Dead of Winter I believe also got the table but I am unsure whether the survivors won or simply became a walking smorgasbord for the ever hungry zombies.

We finished the evening with a few rounds of skull of roses, a nice bluffing filler game, that becomes very random when you don’t look at the cards you play as I tried.

International Tabletop Day !

Athena Games ( they can be found down St Gregory’s Alley ) are hosting International TableTop Day this Saturday. It's free entry, and fellow NoBoG'ers have expressed interest in attending, so you'll be sure to see some familiar faces! 

Details can be found at this Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/834116623327596/  

International Tabletop Day

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

NoBoG Consulting Detectives

"Elementary my dear Watson. It was Lord FiddleBottom, the fat dude, at the train station in the silly mask !" - something Sherlock Holmes never said.

There seems to be something of a minor trend going on at NoBoG at the moment. Quite a few deduction type games are sneaking their way into the pub, pushing NoBoGers to ask questions, shuffle around locations and employ thinking caps to work out who did what and where. Which is something of a nice change of pace. However, these games are also frustrating the crap out of Richard IV who seems to have something of an anti-knack with them - and who mysteriously also ends up playing them.

" The only way to get smarter, is to play a smarter opponent " - Revolver 2005 ( also Fundamentals of Chess 1883, but Revolver is way cooler and has guns and crazy paranoid schizophrenic people. Stick that in your pipe Fundamentals of Chess ! )

This week we had the brand spanking new*, ripped out of its cellophane Inkognito to play, a team based deduction game for four** which sees you completing a mission with your partner to win, before the other partnership can do the same.

Inkognito - move around the city and ask questions
However. You don't know who your partner is. And you don't know what your mission is. Hmmm.

Which makes the game either some hilariously*** alternate philosophical comment on the pointlessness of gaming...

Or requires you to ask questions and filter answers to deduce the facts of who is your friend and who isn't. And what you should be doing. And how you're going to win the game.

The key mechanic to this game is of course the deduction element, which in Inkognito is a question either about someone's identity or about someone's body type. There are some rules about how you answer a question, but the upshot is that the answer must include at least one true piece of information, as well as some incorrect information. Meaning repeated questions, or even cross checked questions will start to allow the process of deduction to churn.

The game also has a clever little mechanic that randomly determines exactly what mission the players need to perform - depending on who you are ( Lord Fiddlebottom, Colonel Bubble, Madam Zsa Zsa and Agent X ), and what piece of secret code you have ( one of four ) a table tells you what your joint mission is going to be - all of which are the variant of getting someone to somewhere.

So the game splits into two phases. The first prolonged phase is that where players move around the city, bumping into other players and asking questions to figure out what from whom, and then the second shorter sprint for the finish line phase of having worked everything out, you then attempt to shift someone to somewhere.

Inkognito's funky RNG.
Marbles pop out the holes giving you your actions.
The deduction element of the game has a good deal more variability in it than something like the very methodical alchemists. Depending what information you get back it might become very quickly clear who someone is in Inkognito, or you may end up having to ask a library full of questions to get an inkling. This is down to luck. There is also a good deal of head screwery that players can deal in, in so much that the answers you give out if thought about carefully can give the absolute minimum away in terms of narrowing things down ( or if you are unlucky this can backfire spectacularly ).

In a five player game, utilising the more direct ambassador to ask questions ( which will guarantee you know someones identity in a mere 2 questions ) is a far riskier proposition, as the ambassador is playing against you, and giving him that information can win him the game. In a four player game I would say this makes the game incredibly easy and extremely short.

For all that, the game is quite a fun romp around a city with a rewarding/frustrating experience of making your deductions and getting your mission done.

In our game it has to be said that Pete won - and fortunately for me I was his partner. My questions and answers were not giving me a lot to work on, whilst Pete on the other hand had fairly quickly worked out I was on his team, and then just slipped me a perfect info set declaring himself when I next asked him a question, thus pulling me up by my bootstraps.

Rich IV seemed pretty sure of who was who as the game got to its final stages, but, the eventual win did seem to surprise Owein and Rich, who queried whether we had traded info and got to where we were. My greatest ( and only ? ) contribution to the win was in manipulating Hal to move towards the destination we wanted him to be in, by placing his only "sensible" move in the direction I wanted him to go. Being a logical gamer, he of course obliged and allowed myself and Pete an easy task to push him just that little bit further for the win.

Sons of Anarchy. James is uniquely looks suited to this game.
He's one gang leather jacket away from the total package.
On losing, Rich IV declared "Fuck deduction games !". I think he enjoyed it.But possibly may still have been bruised from his thumping in last weeks deductiony Alchemists game.

Cool game. Very enjoyable with a great table of players. I managed to frustrate Hal by feeding him the same piece of information three times in a row. After this he threatened to just draw a large cock next to my name on his results sheet. Ah ha ha ha.

Elsewise, Sons of Anarchy the board game got its first show at the Ribs and Orctions got a somewhat more muted just before release second outing. But then anything that doesn't have Lewis in it is almost guaranteed to be more muted.

The opulently produced 10th Ann. Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride also showed up again in opulent form with the rather spankingly attractive 10th anniversary edition, which one way or another make it the bazillionth week in a row TtR has been played, but this time it was played by a whole bunch of new people to NoBoG.

James ended up scalping the win at Ticket to Ride, blasting the newcomers with his expertise - not an enormous surprise as I think he plays it just about every week, and is surely by now a Ticket to Ride savant. If there can be such a thing. They then busted out Dead of Winter, which is pretty good going, Ticket to Ride AND Dead of Winter in one evening, and again got to win.
Ticket to Ride. Look at that bits tin. Look at it.
Can you spell O-v-e-r-p-r-o-d-u-c-e-d ? Lovely.
I'm sure they are playing it wrong :p

Diplomatic Stu was fresh back from his travails down South, and being diplomatic got to introduce some new people ( and Tim, who is definitely not new, and therefore by definition old and dusty ) to the cave dwelling goodness of Small World Underground with a full table of five. I believe there was a crazy three way tie at the end, of which I am  not sure which way the tie breaker went. I think you have to play the game all over again until it's not a tie, turning the game into less of a test of random tactical placement, and more one of endurance.

A snuggle of gamers. Small World, Dixit and Inkognito upstairs
Lewis and his merry band bashed Dixit out to table, and failed miserably to beat the newcomer, so much for experience and cliquey gaming, and then went onto the narrative Betrayal at House on the Hill and lost again to the evil doing newcomer.


A few fillers finished the evening. A lovely game of Sechs Nimmt, Six qui prend, Category 5 or whatever you want to call it - I think from now on I shall just call it Cows, where the surely cheating Hal managed to score zero in the first round and 1 in the second round ( and despite picking up a few cards at the end won with a very strong score ), and Tim at the opposite end of the scale managed to collect nearly all the cows, ever, anywhere, even some that weren't in play. I believe he had a score of 40 in one single epic round. Owein got shoved out of second place by myself and Rich IV, and special mention goes to Stu who managed to collect a whole bunch of cows on the very first card play. Which takes extreme levels of skill to fail that hard.

Orctions. Caption competition for what Elliot is doing here.
Downstairs, Werewolf with a bazillion add on quirks also got a play, Lewis ended up putting in an artsy french mime artist play session, and the wolves finished with a pretty much convincing win - only slight suspicion being thrown their way. The newcomers at the table were - as so often happens with the social werewolf variants - blown away with it, and wanted to immediately play it again. Uh huh.

There was also a bit of pre Inkognito discussion about how Cluedo was the best of that ilk of games ( in comparison to say Monopoly ). Which was somewhat surprising to me - I don't hold Cluedo in particular esteem, it could be done so much better these days, but I did make the point that surely a remake with an app holding the murderous identity rather than a binary envelope which wins or loses you the game would surely be much better. Which got me to thinking about how much better you could make Cluedo all round for today. Surely a NoBoG group think design project. Pitch in your ideas for a Cluedo remake. Betrayers ? Active murderous player ? Secret objectives ?? Areas with different capabilities ??? Surely there's something in there between Betrayal at House on the Hill, Cluedo and Dead of Winter / BSG.

Oh and 31 players this week, if you're asking. Of which six were new recruits.

* Inkognito is actually a 1988 game, but as far as we were concerned it was freshly minted in its plasticky seals of goodness

** Although technically a four player game it does actually cater to both 3 and 5 players. 5 players adds a player into the role of the ambassador who is trying to work out who everyone else is before any team completes their mission.

*** Not funny at all unless you are into hardcore nihilistic existential absurdity of the universe philosophical comedy. IE not funny.