Sunday, 10 May 2015

Viva la revolucion

Che Guevara - the Argentinian who became arguably the poster boy for the Cuban Revolution
And ironically spawned a massive capitalist enterprise of T Shirt selling.
On Tuesday revolution was in the air at the Ribs - and before everyone starts arguing about whether they're friends anymore, and what colour you're sporting - we're not talking about the business as usual election that took place in the UK this week, but rather the presence of GMT's Cuba Libre game, which pits players against and possibly at times with each other in the Cuban Revolution of the 1950's.

Cuba Libre is part of a series of games from GMT - the so called COIN series - that through a spread of different times and places, play out a balanced but asymmetrical struggle for power. Simple in execution but tricky in practice, the games are all about shuffling your cubes, eliminating your enemies cubes, grabbing cash/resources, and timing your operations all powered by a random event card system.

Cuba Libre - Viva La Casinos !
In the case of Cuba Libre the action takes place on a relatively small map depicting Cuba and engages the forces of the government, 26July ( Castro & Che ), the criminal Syndicate, and the anti communist rebels of Directorio.

Not only are the forces asymmetrical, but what you can do in a turn is also asymmetrical - although, largely if you squint at it similar - split between the Government and Everyone Else ( insurgents ) by and large ( the syndicates do get to build casinos which no one else can ).

A few simple actions that you can choose from in a turn - which the basic set amounts to moving, training new dudes or attacking enemy dudes in some form or another - is complicated by the fact that you are never quite sure who's turn it is next, or if and when you will next get something to do. There are also some special actions you can take - if you're the government you have the luxury of an air strike - maybe, assuming the US is still lending you support - or if you're the insurgents you might care to infiltrate somewhere and switch out government forces for your own dudes.

Another main staple of the game is that of the event card - which tells you who might get to have a stab at taking an action this turn as well as describing an event that can be played. If you've ever played Twilight Struggle, then you'll be right at home with the cards that have a spot of flavour text of a real world event, an optional event that a player can take, or failing that just engaging in some default actions for your own faction.

The different here between TS and COIN is that there is no concept of a hand of cards to beat your opponent to death with ( or grimace as your own hand beats you to death ), but rather a central, unpredictable game event generator.

Hal took a group of four through their paces with the game, and to his credit actually managed to finish it by closing time. COIN games have something of a repuation of playing long, albeit Cuba Libra is the simplest and quickest of the lot ( Andean Abyss, the game before Cuba Libre is slotted at a mere 6 hours play time, which can also run long... very long.. 9 hours or more long, depending on who you have at your table ). They played with the minor tweak of Easy Mode being on, speeding up the game and requiring less thunking ( which is simply the option *not* to reveal the next card that will pop up before it pops up ).

James called foul about having the living crap kicked out of him at game end, but, this is very much in the spirit of a COIN game and I think Hal and Rich IV ended up in something of a tie - although by my reckoning someone should have won, just a lesser win, as there are very specific tie breaker conditions. I can't recall if this means the historically accurate win for July26 occurred as I have forgotten who was playing what. ( Post Edit : If you look at the photo, Rich IV and Hal were the syndicate and the government respectively, so history was overturned and Cuba got to stay as a lovely corrupt Mob Resort for Rich Americans ). As the saying goes, "It matters not who won or lost, but how you caused the pain.". Something like that anyway.

This is what happens when no one sends in a report.
We have to mime what went on.
There were no reports sent in this week, so, it's all me. I was tempted to have a text less version of the blog with just pictures of board games, and various sad faces of street mimes appearing. An interpretative street art performance of the NoBlog if you will.

In celebration of FFG announcing a reprint of Mission Red Planet, I got the original version to table for a group of five and commenced a very enjoyable somewhat backstabby, somewhat evil session that saw Jason swipe the lead from my very respectable score with his ice bonus.

Tit for tat astronaut killing and femme fataling began to set a pattern, and the game saw again one supposedly innocent area of Mars become a bloodbath of treachery and far too many visitors.

Awesome game, we then followed this up with some Spyfall - the game in which a single spy tries to figure out which location everyone else is at, whilst everyone else tries to figure out who's pretending to know where they are.

Mission Red Planet - a squabble erupts over Mare Serpentis &
its lucrative hidden bonus card - which turned out to be a bluff
Ben II managed to win this at game end over the course of four rounds, the weirdest question of the evening being "So, if you had a wish what would it be ?". I'm not sure what that tells you about anything, apart from, "I'm not good at asking deductive questions".

Whilst we played Mission Red Planet, Tim took a group to play Citadels, which bares a very close resemblance to MRP in its main mechanics.

This was a group who had never experienced Citadels before - which to me is like saying, No, I've never played Settlers of Catan before, what's this wood for sheep pr0n I keep hearing about - with all ending up agreeing that it was a cool game.

Citadels with the newbie Citadel players
No idea who won.

Pete played a busy game of Steam - after I had poached a player from his table to prevent the madness of six player Steam - which left downstairs playing Lords of Vegas - with another full table, and in my opinion equally crazy at six players and Elliot and his table playing a bunch of things including the frantic  Escape - The Curse of the Temple.

There were some squeals and shouting going on as I passed Escape, plus some mad dice throwing. Which all looked to be thoroughly engaging.

Some of the other usual fillers were in attendance. Guillotine. Things. Stuff. I don't know. Here, have an artistic street performance of the fillers that were played at the Ribs this week.
Jacques mimes his interpretation of "Saboteur"

Thought for the Day : Did Che Guevara ever wear a Che Guevara T Shirt ? And could you have a Che T Shirt of Che wearing a T Shirt of Che wearing a T Shirt and thus end up with some infinite mirror malarkey T Shirtness going on ?


Hal said...

I checked since, and Richard did win. Ties in victory margin are broken in order of factions: Syndicate, then Directorio, then 26 July. Whoops, forgot that.

Minitrue said...

Ah ha, well done to Richard and his corrupt casinos then ! The altered history Americans will be pleased, and we'll get to skip a rather uncomfortable missile crisis...

Joe said...

bleugh forgot to send my notes in >.<
We had a discussion about various bladed weapons while playing betrayal which I lost as traitor because I wasn't sane enough :(
Then we played a bit of escape which we lost, then won
And finally eight minute empire which was won twice by people who weren't me...
not my finest perfomance