Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Sharks in the Water

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this week, the blog is the size of a small novel.

What happened to May ? May was a blur of gaming - for those of you who attended NoBoG, you will already know this. For those of you that didn't then you can imagine that parts of Norwich slipped into a gap in the space time continuum, only to finally reappear several weeks later, beer drunk, bar snacks consumed and games played.

First off some possibly important news. The Ribs has declared that there may very well be a darts farrago kicking off in the near future held every other week on a Tuesday night and laying claim to the front half of the pub.

On busy NoBoG nights this will straight up mean there is no space in the Ribs for some of us. As we have trialled the overflow of Take 5 before, another pub like establishment a very short walk down the road and they seem to be amenable to us turning up, I propose that we just do that on Darts nights. This may mean you want to think twice about ordering an early pint at the Ribs if it turns out you have turned up only to then decamp to another pub.

It's not certain if the darts extravaganza will be a thing, but if it is, I or someone will make sure to warn people which week is dart week so you can be prepared for downing a pint in 10 minutes or just not bothering until you know where you are sitting.

Enough of that. Onto an admittedly highlights version of what has been going on down the pub in the last three weeks. We'll start with Ewan.

This week I was the table for A New Dawn; which is the follow up to Among the Stars.

In a New Dawn you play an alien alliance officer charged with exploring, researching new tech and sending out ambassadors. Hoping to colonise abandoned space stations or planets in a very 4X'y way. Competing against other players over limited resources.
Overall the game was enjoyable and the different aliens you can play all have their own unique feel. Not only in their special powers but in the tech available to them. As we found through our play through there are some power combos.

I can't remember who won but throughout a hard fought game In which I felt i wasn't doing well and at least I ended up not finishing in last place. Was so involved with the game I forgot to take a picture or more notes. But New Dawn is definitely worth a play if you are into 4X space themed games.
I've got you covered Ewan - New Dawn in action.

Looked cool when I walked past it. I'd like to give it a go myself. Then we have some words from Tim.

For our fist game we played Smash Up. On the night, I took to describing Smash Up as a Deck Builder without any building during the actual gameplay. Players start by choosing two teams (or races) from the selection, and combining their separate decks of cards. Our group became a four way battle between Ewan’s Time Lord-Zombies, Adam’s Dino-Ninjas, Guillame’s Super-Ape-Plants and my own band of Steam Punk-Robots.  Each turn sees the players playing one Minion Card and one Action to one of the five open ‘Bases’. Each base has a different Break point, and scores differently dependent on how much power each player contributes. What eventually transpired was a situation where it looked impossible for anyone to best Ewan and his really annoying, they just wont leave you alone, Time Lord Zombies. I had the last turn of the round, was closest to Ewan on points, but could see a way to get over the line without feeding him what he needed to win. I took quite a while (sorry) to figure out if I could do anything, eventually just playing a ‘Draw Cards’ action out of desperation. Who should I draw, none other that the female mechanic, hence forth known as Kaylee from Firefly. She allowed me to rummage in my trash for a steam-punk minigun with which to power-up my bots and  surge to Victory!

After Smash Up, Rich IV joined us fro a game of Get Bit, which sees Robots desperately swimming away from a shark in order to avoid getting eaten. Needless to say, Kaylee worked her magic and my bot emerged as the last Robot Swimming, narrowly getting away whilst Guillame’s poor mechanoid was crunched to pieces.

To end the night, we played a few rounds wild-west dice shoot-em’-up Bang! The Dice Game. I was one of the Outlaws both times, and died quickly both times, having revealed myself to be a little too eager to kill the Sherif. What can I say, Kaylee never did like guns.

Power boats !
Myself over the weeks I've got to play Power boats an *almost* old school family game with it's dice to move mechanic which was funny, cool and mildly infuriating all in one ( Punk Rich won this despite failing spectacularly in the first race and instead of actually competing managed to go off on a Broads Cruise with Hazel in a leisurely exploration of the map ),  and a good few hands of the classic Tichu, which doesn't get played enough anymore now that Jimmy disappeared from our midst years ago.

Tichu is great. If you've never played it, it's a bit like a chinese version of bridge with tricks played reminscent to poker hands. If that makes any sense. Groovy, but the kind of strict four player limit ( to play the proper Tichu ) makes it surprisingly tricky to get to table.

The very nice Machi Koro. Martin won from nowhere.
Stu also kindly taught a bunch of us Machi Koro which is a game I have wanted to try for a while but never quite got round to. Everyone agreed it was a fun simple card game, and as Stu initially described it, a bit like Settlers of Catan without the board. Buy cards. Roll dice. Earn money from the cards with a matching dice roll. First player to build all their special cards wins. Simple.

I'd give this one a big thumbs up personally, and definitely a great gateway type game for those board game shy types. Despite me urging Martin not to calculate his turn as it was just "far too complicated" and better to just roll the dice again, he calculated his turn and ended up the winner. My
Machi Koro Aerial Shot
feeble social engineering had failed to net me an opposition mistake.

Libertalia also made it to table having recently aired on Tabletop. Libertalia has made it down the Ribs on a number of occasions in the past, and it's a pretty solid fun game. Rather surprisingly everyone at the table knew the rules - either having played it before or watched the tabletop episode - so we got off to a quick start where it has to be said I was picked on relentlessly and came in a very comfortable last. Guillame was first pursued hotly by the treacherous Sam who after assuring me he wouldn't pick on me then killed a valued member of my pirate team. You were the only one worth killing he lamely defended. Curses to ye scurvy dogs the lot of you.

You can check out Tabletops own playthrough here, complete with outrageous pirate talk.

Keeping a nautical theme we also played Lifeboats, the game of sinking lifeboats and voting to see who goes in the water. Getting tipped out of the boat into the water is instant death for the poor sailor so chosen, there being presumably sharks in the water. Myself and newcomer Heather forged a very strong alliance at the start and did really well, with poor James found in a boat on his own receiving most of the "bad luck" dished out by everyone else. He had a very glum face at one point. I cheered him up by saying he'd probably go onto win it - a prescient call as it turns out.

Midway through the game I had no choice but to turf my erstwhile bestie Heather out of the boat and from that point on things went positively tits up, the great allegiance breaking and Heather swearing vengeance forever.

Uh huh.

I ended up with a reasonable score, but James was the winner, although he was picked on at the start he came through in a triumph.

Finished with Cheaty Mages. I won by an embarassingly large amount. It was all rather spectacular.

Hal flexes his game design muscles and brings along his own game.
Hal apart from bringing such cool things as Powerboats also brought along a game of his own invention. Off the top of my head this brings the number of game designers in our midsts to half a dozen. I didn't stick around to get much of a gist of the game, but it seemed to be a deduction thing, working out where or what something was.

And finally, a beer report. It's been too long. Ewan reports...

Had a nice pint from Wolfs Brewery called For Fox Sake. A beer with a witty name, dark and fruity and very easy to drink.

Thanks to the lovely Monika for the pictures. The decidedly less lovely me supplied some pictures too. I'll leave you with the Gallery.

Six player Caverna. Hardcore !

Cas$h n Gun$ - Lauren ended winner as this I think

Batman Love Letter. Possibly the best Love Letter variant ??

Wherry Room at the Ribs

Bamboo ? Gardener ? Panda ? Must be Takenoko
Lords of Vegas
"Jazz Hands !"

Lords of Waterdeep

David Chloe Tim and Ewan playing what looks like a Legendary variant

Lifeboats, the vengeful Heather pouts

Punk Rich, Hazel, Pete, Rich IV and Hal partake of Hal's game

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