Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Forty Two

"What do you get if you multiply six by nine ?"
"Six by nine. Forty Two."
"That's it, that's all there is."
"I always thought there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe."

Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent on the supercomputer Earth.

Busy - Dead of Winter, Lewis and Clark and Kemet
My hunch that last week was going to be more quiet turned out to be utterly wrong. So much for hunches. And eventually we had 42 people attend, including a post Netrunner playing G Man and Pete.

James with a mind to bringing some titles more suitable for any board gaming newbies that turn up brought along Thief of Baghdad, a classic Queen title that for me has a feel not a million miles away from the other Queen classic Alhambra. Whether it's because of the simplicity of shooting for your colours, or the fact that the publishers are the same, and therefore the production values are very similar, or that it has a similar theme going on, who knows.

The game is very easy, play colour cards to get your thieves onto table, or shift guards and thieves about - get enough thieves in an area and you can steal the treasure. First to X treasures wins.

Thief of Baghdad. A nice early era gateway Euro
Myself, James and Nicky gave the game a run - about as far away from newbie board gamers as it gets ( you know you're in trouble when James is the youngest person at the table ) - and had a blast playing this old gateway game. I spent too much of the game dicking with other people - I like screwing with carefully laid out Euro plans - and James was somewhat intent on doing the same to me. Nicky sensibly concentrated on getting the game winning chests of treasure, and ended up pilfering her quota of stash first and taking the game.

A lovely light little classic game, very much in the early euro era, and probably something you could bang out with the family and those that are not conversant with the edgier reaches of board gaming instead of say playing Monopoly.

Rally Man got on a play on the other side of the room, leading me to immediately want to custom paint the tiny cars, and Ewan has a report on how that went with some pics from Tim.

Tonight myself (Ewan), Owein, Tim, Hal, and new comer Heather sat down to put the pedal to the metal in the racing game Rally Man. Rally Man is a game about getting the fastest time over several rally circuits which are created by the players.

Each turn players choose how fast or careful they want to go round the circuit by choosing a number of dice representing the gears they want to either go up in or go down in. The gear the player finishes their turn with earns them the time assigned to that gear, so finishing in 5th gear equates to 10 secs while finishing in 1st equates to 50 secs. However you can’t expect to stay in 5th all the way round as there are plenty of tricky corners that require slower gears in order to go round safely; so careful planning and thinking ahead is required to get the fastest time overall.

When rolling the dice it is all about managing luck, as if you roll 3 hazard symbols it could spell a nasty crash and not only more time added on but also damage to your car. You can choose to roll all the dice at once; giving you some nice bonuses in time saved but could be more likely to crash. So with all that in mind the 5 rally drivers took to the wheel of their cars and sped along over 3 circuits.

During the first circuit I tried to save some time and take a short cut over the corner and suffered a puncture which would have led to the slowest time if it weren’t for, as she became known as the entertainment crew, Heather crashing; adding a minute onto her time. Tim finishing the fastest with a respectable time of 1 minute 46 seconds, with Owein and Hal not far off the pace. Onto the second circuit which was both longer in distance and a lot more strenuous hair pin corners. This circuit showed us its dangers with all but myself crashing at least once; Heather managing to puncture 2 of her tires (how the car actually passed the finish line is a mystery) and Tim damaging his car by crashing into a tree.

All of this allowed myself to not only catch up but to over take the leaders and come in with the fastest overall time, closely followed by Owein and Hal. But it was all to play for in the final circuit, which introduced snow on the tracks. Tactical decisions about whether to switch onto snow tires or stick with tarmac (each having advantages and disadvantages).

It would soon become apparent that those drivers, who switched to snow tires, although slower on the tarmac, were able to speed along the snow as if it wasn’t even there. Heather crashing again, and Tim struggling with damage on his car from the previous run in with a tree, both struggled and overall finished in 5th and 3rd respectfully.

Coming into this circuit it was my race to lose and with Owein putting in some fast times the pressure was great. However keeping my cool and flying over the final jump across the finish line it was myself who blazed into first with the fastest time overall of 8 minutes 24. The crashes of the previous circuit had there toll on the others with Owein finishing with a time of 9 minutes 45.

Overall Rally Man is great racing game and the theme comes across extremely well with lots of tension at every dice roll. Managing the risk with the dice rolls and forward planning (with a little luck) is what this game is all about and a game that everyone seemed to enjoy.

Punk Rich was back in the house this week after a prolonged hiatus, and their table chose Nexus Ops to fight over - which is an ameritrash dice rolling bonanza with skirmishing aliens. Basically Axis and Allies on a really small map with an Alien theme. Or if you've never heard of that, then Risk with bells on.
Nexus Ops. Beware the treaties of Rich and Pete

I felt a little sorry for Hazel having to put up with the shenanigans of Rich and Pete, I suspect she'd probably have liked Thief of Baghdad a bit better, but they all seemed to enjoy themselves, and afterwards they joined us for a game of Spyfall.

Downstairs Sam I put Kemet on the table, with Med Ed returning from his jet setting to join in - if I recally correctly Med Ed always seems to get in on games of Kemet, and is rather a mean hand at the game. Next to them Lewis and Clark got played Joe has some words on what they got up to

This week myself, David, Elliot, Tom and guiilame attempted to reenact Lewis & Clark's trek across America which had never been done previously by anyone, ever... Honest. Elliot got wood, LOTS of wood. But I managed to pull of the victory by harnessing pure beef power (with a little bit of horse in the mountains, but if its good enough for tesco...)

Then we played a couple of quick hands of coup, I won one and David won one (I think, or maybe it was Tom). Not sure I really like coup, its ok, but I think its over just as you're getting started, might have to try it with reformation at some point to see if that improves it.

Uh huh, I will chime in and say I don't much like coup either - it's ok, but eh, I dunno, takes a bit of a werewolf recipe, mixes, comes up... short. There's just not a whole heap of cleverness or deduction, it's a pure bluff, which is fine, but there's not many dimensions to the bluffing either. You could argue that Mascarade has exactly the same problems, except the key feature of not knowing who you are either injects a lot of humour and double bluffing into the game.

Lastly Dead of Winter clawed its zombie way through the cold, I think they managed to tank the colony once and so started over again - but that wasn't looking too rosy either when I looked.

Peeking over the shoulder of Lewis at Munchkin
Castle Panic also got a play with Chris bringing it along and getting a reasonable table of 4 together.

And possibly the longest ever game of Munchkin was to be had - a 3 hour marathon session of munching, of which Sam was branded the winner. If there is such a thing after 3 hours of munchkin. I think technically everyone is a loser. Sam was the least losing of the losers perhaps. He didn't look entirely chuffed with his win it has to be said. I suggested some T-shirts should be made with "I survived the 3 hour Munchkin game" emblazoned on them.

The Exclusive Munchkin T Shirt. Available nowhere.
Some other fillers made their way to table, Port Royal was squabbled over - Nicky won this too, giving her a clean sweep of wins for the evening.

Finally we finish on The Gallery with thanks to Monika for the extra pics - who seems to think that the Ribs of Beef landlord has made it into Dead of Winter. Cue soothing gallery music.

Dead of Winter - debating who to eat next no doubt

Rally Man

Lewis is happy with his munchkinning

Lewis and Clark
Chris and Lauren laugh at dying things in Castle Panic

Kemet, Sam looks disconsolately on his Egyptian forces
Dead of Winter trucker or Ribs of Beef Landlord ?
Sparky as ever kicking ass and taking names

Previous weeks, 32, 36, 39?

1 comment:

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