Sunday, 26 July 2015

Quantum Flux

Quantum theory states that you can never know a thing for certain until you observe it - and once observed you've changed it forever. In practical terms this sounds like utter bollocks. But without the boring details the science is sound ( kind of ).

That leads you onto the hilarity of Schrödinger and his cat. Schrödinger also thought the whole quantum state thing was bollocks too, and came up with a thought experiment where a cat in a box with some radioactive triggered poison could be both alive and dead simultaneously until you open the box and observe it to show how absurd it all was. It turns out however that the joke was on him as Schrödinger's cat is now probably the most famous quantum example in popular circulation.

At this point you're probably scratching your head wondering why you're reading a physics journal when you came here to read about the goings on of this weeks NoBoG.

Ah ha !

Counting heads at NoBoG is odd. I can do a rough count up of heads before we kick off and come up with numbers like 36, or 42 and think ah, a quieter week. After the games are sorted, everyone is seated and beginning to battle with their cubes, dice or accusations, I count up again and get... 57.

How does that work ? I blame quantum theory. NoBoG is in a state of quantum flux and it's only when everyone is seated does the superstate collapse.

You see. That quantum waffle was relevant.


This week for the fourth week running we had a record turnout, with an epic 57 people which included a whole slew of new people. Truly at this rate half the population of Norwich will have turned up to NoBoG at least once. The council will have to start putting us on the tourist map. There's the castle. There's the cathedral. And there's NoBoG.

Alchemists. Alina seems to be having a brain meltdown.
We welcomed back Matt and Alina who haven't been down to NoBoG in quite some time - and they got stuck in with the excellent Alchemists with its potion deduction malarkey and its smart phone interactivity. Like everyone they had a minor grumble about the dingy lighting as the evening wore on. The lower level of the Tuna has lighting that is "ambient". Good for snuggling, drinking yourself into a daze, making out, but not so great for reading tiny text on dubiously coloured boards. Adequate lighting is to be found on any of the mezzanine floors of the Tuna.

Alongside Alchemists, Descent 2 was brought to table - and one thing I love about the two long
Descent 2. Beer expansion not part of the game.
tables at the Tuna is that you get to observe close up two games at once - it's really quite a cool thing if you have some downtime you can look at what they're doing next to you. After much gaming was done, some of the groups collapsed and merged to play a very raucous game of Avalon Resistance with a triumphant Sam ( IV ? ) bellowing out he was the king and you would all follow his lead or greatness or something. I think that probably meant he had duped everyone as an evil doer.

Lewis cracked out the crowd pleasing King of Tokyo and hoovered up some newcomers plus some old hands - Sam admitted he had never played it, despite being one of our solid veterans. Sam and Lewis played nicely with the newcomers, Davey on
King of Tokyo ! Give us a wave Davey.
the other hand was having none of it, and destroyed the newbies because it just happened that way. I believe Lewis might have ended up winning this. They played Other Stuff afterwards, including Love Letter batman which descended into nothing but Bane impressions. I successfully guessed Lewis was Bane when he looked at his card and started doing another Bane impression. Helpful.

Darren brought along the much subscribed Marco Polo - this seems to have generated a fair level of interest and has a line of people wanting to play. It does look like a fun Euro, so I can see why - I want a play of this at some point too. Not sure who won that.

Marco... Polo ! Looking spiffy.
Pete had a very full game of Steam which was lovely in the summer sun, but as the light faded the board become a dingy soup of similar colours. One can only imagine that by the time Autumn rolls around we will probably need to do Something about getting some better lighting in. It's not terrible, and indeed is on par with the upstairs dinge of The Ribs, but, it would be a heap better with some good light. Portable, unobtrusive, rechargeable lights that last 5 hours are what is required.

Scoville, Ewan takes some newcomers through the game
Round the corner, Scoville and Caverna hit the wood, with rather oddly the beginner variant of Caverna getting a play - probably quite serendipitous as all at the table had either a single play, or no plays at all of that beast of dwarven farming. Ewan also got to take some new gamers through Scoville - whilst Scoville isn't anything like heavy euro territory, the game is challenging enough, particularly for new gamers, that it took them a good playthrough to get the gist of what the hell was going on.

Round t'other corner we had Classic Corner with Alhambra busting out alongside Settlers of Catan for some real old school but modern gaming. Elliott was pleased to note a win at Alhambra, apparently his first win in over a year at NoBoG. Competition
Alhambra, a lovely classic.
man. It's harsh at NoBoG. Don't let the laid back, easy going, non competitive friendly players fool you, the standard of play can be brutal. Also. RNG - random number generator. The more players there are, the less RNG shines upon you alone.

I had a couple of rounds of Dark Moon which was splendiferous, not as harsh as the other week, but still ended in some wins for the infected - I have yet to see the uninfected win this. The lovely Mr Bond was back with us this week and decided to get in on the Dark Moon action.

At some point during the first game I was rather rudely thrown into quarantine as infected despite not having done - much - wrong. At least not observably. No one liked me stealing a dice from good guy Bondy however. I explained it was a good move. They weren't having it. Jacob and Bondy voted me into quarantine. Martin abstained, but only because he didn't have the right dice to also send me into quarantine. ( I was indeed infected, but, bah. My logic was sound. )

Dark Moon. Best table in the house. Martin and Jacob
sitting on some damn comfy armchairs.
We then got to play Bring out Yer Dead and Get Bit, although I bailed out of Get Bit at the last minute.

I'll also let you into a secret here - we used the new table for Dark Moon, and without a doubt, on the upper floor, with good lighting, acres of space, swish seating, and a wonderful breeze coming through the nearby door... it was the best table in the house. But I didn't tell you that. It's a secret.

Lastly we have James who took some newcomers in hand to play some Robinson Crusoe and wrote up some speaky words for it with a submission ( keep those submissions coming people ! ). Settle back with some snacks and let James paint you a picture...

Whilst i had myself down on the marco polo list this week (with our trial, sign up to things) i realised i was essentially the 5th person subscribing to a 4 player game, so expected to be a reserve of sorts. Glee then when Pete said he was playing something else and i went down as a player.  Glee then turned to, well, more glee as it became apparent that three other people actually wanted to play Robinson Crusoe! And as this rarely happens i ditched MP (which i still really want to play btw..) and set up Crusoe with three new members (i think all three were new anyway).  Now, as people will attest to i am utterly rubbish with peoples’ names and forget them about 2mins after i have been told.  so i shall go with ‘carpenter’, ‘chef’ and ‘explorer’ after the roles they were dealt in Crusoe.  i, being the only experienced crusoe player, took the role of soldier.

Robinson Crusoe
For those of you that don't know Crusoe, it is a co-op game with six different scenarios (and a number of fan created ones online). The general gist of the game is survival on an island that seems intent on killing you, starving you, battering you with terrible weather..  I assured the group that NEARLY everything that the game would throw at us would be negative, but there are a few nice things that might happen along the way. 

Anyway, at the start of each round some event happens; as far as i know, every single one hates you. for our scenario (#1, the easiest) there are 12 cards. as its the easiest scenario, where the only aim (other than staying alive) is escaping the island by building a big pile of wood and setting it on fire, half the cards are toned down a little bit. in other scenarios the cards hate you even more, and in addition to stuff like reducing moral, food or making the weather worse, things like heavy fog makes it harder to do anything.

after the rounds first attempt to kill you, we all decide on who’s doing what for the day. everyone has two actions (morning and afternoon) that they can spread around the various actions.  you can go hunting, try to build something (good luck having the right materials though), you can gather food or wood, or you can explore.  you can use two actions to do one thing to (generally, not always) auto succeed (except hunting), or one action to have a bash at doing it, at which point dice are rolled. needless to say, the different characters are better at certain things.

each type of action (except hunting) has its own set of three dice that TRY TO KILL YOU!.  ok, well, one of the dice is a pass/fail dice with are 5:1 success for gathering/exploring, and 4:2 for building. one of the dice tells you if you wound yourself in the process, and one tells you if you have to take a card from an appropriate deck, and guess what; they mostly try to kill you.

Anyway, things got off to a crappy start and stayed pretty crappy throughout; but that's how this game rolls.  our chef decided to go out and salt all the earth around us in the first few rounds; by the end of the game there was hardly anything left.  our explorer kept hurting herself while exploring, and our carpenter kept building stuff that didn't look safe.  but a few lucky draws in the early game meant we got some bonuses every time we explored, and those kept us alive.  combined with a lucky find of some biscuits we scraped through to a point where we had build our wood pile and just needed to survive. 

the close call of the game went to our intrepid explorer.  During the very last explore action possible she managed to get stuck away from camp for the night. Being stuck out of camp is a bad bad thing in RC, and can easily lose the game if you are not lucky.  So the weather first hit the explorer hard, forcing her to ‘discard’ three wood and three food. being out of camp of course meant she had no access to the wood and food that we were discarding to avoid the same weather effects, and she took a wound for every one she couldn't discard. Then of course everyone needs to eat during the night or take two wounds.. again, no food outside camp. 

by pure luck this left our explorer one step away from death.  unfortunately this meant the next two rounds were spent with our explorer in bed, reading a bible to recover, while the rest of us collected wood, starved at night so she could eat, and built the wood pile.

by the time a ship came by and spotted our massive bonfire, all players were exhausted; but we had survived..   that takes my win ratio for the first scenario to 7:3 (winning).  and it is by far the easiest scenario.. im pretty sure everyone enjoyed it; and it reminded me why i need to bring it along more often as it’s a pretty good game.

i will need to print out some of my own scenarios next time.. they seem to be doing quite well on BGG now..

You can go check out some of James' custom Crusoe scenarios over at bgg

Cthulu. With Crusoe. On an island ? What a fantastic idea. That smells like an entire campaign !

Final thought of the day. We have too many people with the same name. I know in the past we have had things like Richard IV which is rather Kingly. But tbh, I am losing track of whether someone is Sam III, Sam IV, or who knows. I think we should start assigning nicknames to people. Perhaps they can be randomly assigned as you walk through the door. Your muppet name. Jedi name. Porn star  name. Wawa Skittletits.

As ever I leave you with the gallery.

Classic Settlers, Egyptian style.

Classic Steam.

Caverna. Everyone looks worriedly at me as I tell them they are playing the beginner variant.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Total Eclipse of the heart

For the third week in a row, this week at NoBoG saw a record turnout of gamers with 53 of them turning up at the Tuna to spread their wares over 13 tables. And what a splendiferous evening of gaming was on offer, even if poor Fletch had to squeeze onto one of the iffy tables.

Voyages of Marco Polo. Looks like a solid Euro.
I'll keep it short this week, as Pete and James have both posted a submission about their weeks experiences.

 Darren brought along the new and sexy Voyages of Marco Polo, a euro game with a mild point salad based around completing Marco Polo's journey and travelling from Venice to Beijing. Looks very pretty, and also looks like a pretty solid Euro game too !

One to get a play of I think.

XCOM. aka It's OK to be Xenophobic. Shoot to kill.
Rhea brought along the alien fighting earth defending X-COM - not its first visit to NoBoG, you can read that here - and the guys playing that managed to barely scrape a win in the most Hollywood of endings, coming down to the very last turn, make or break. Nice.

Caverna, Takenoko, Marvel Legendary and Dominions also made a return to the Ribs, and

Deviant animal antics - Animal upon Animal.
Fletch, Rowan and Andy also got into some weird if not downright deviant animal behaviour in the dexterity challenging Animal upon Animal.

I got to play the new and recently professionally produced Dark Moon, which had been doing the rounds before hand as the print and play game called BSG Express. As no surprise given its name, the game is based on a trimmed down Battlestar Galactica, the game of betrayal and pushing people out of the airlock ( if you have that expansion ). BSG Express cut all the extraneous fluff and fuzzy design elements ( it's an FFG game, of COURSE it's
bloated, if FFG produced Chess it would come with 652 pieces, 12 decks of cards, 10 dice, 100 money tokens and three boards and have rules that made you shuffle 3 random decks of cards between each move  ) out of the original to - hopefully - leave just the raw elements of keeping on top of problems in an atmosphere of justified paranoia.

Dark Moon, the game formerly known as BSG Express.
Long story short it works well, is brutally hard - although having played it since, it shouldn't be quite as brutal as we were playing it on Tuesday - and can indeed be finished off in an hour or so. In fact we played it twice. With room to spare for other games. Inconceivable !

If you want a dose of paranoid betrayal with a bit more structure than Resistance, and way less faffing than BSG, then Dark Moon could be for you.

Hal and Pete both got their prototypes played - Galaxy M101 and Unfeeling Creatures, and there was also room for some enjoyable and funny Avalon Resistancing, where we are still introducing a new wave of people into the basics of the game. ( There was a funny image post on our sister site IpBoG facebook page about Resistance... )

Onto Pete...

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Eclipse. No one seems keen on meeting anyone else.
We've all done it. Sometimes it's not or fault, we've just picked it up from somewhere or someone. We might have misread or misunderstood or just made an assumption. 
Rulebooks can be bloated and hard to follow and some of us are not suited to reading and understanding rules as written. Most of us learn a game by being taught in person by someone who knows it. Maybe they didn't know the game quite as well as they thought or maybe they didn't explain things that well.

Sometimes we get one or two rules a little bit wrong. That's ok. It can mean that you play a bit of a different game than how it was designed and it might consequently be a bit imbalanced but it's an honest mistake.

I've got a bit of a reputation for posting about rules errors in games. That's because, if we weren't sure about something, I like to read the rules and faqs to understand how to play correctly; and I like to share what I find out with the people I played the game with. I don't mean to shame anyone, but sometimes it can come across that way. Sorry.

I prefer not to learn a game from the rulebook by myself and I prefer not to teach a game to anyone else unless I'm really confident that I know the game really well. So, when I run a rules session, you can be fairly sure that I know the rules; with the obvious caveat that I might have fallen foul of one of the above issues and maybe I've got something a bit wrong ;-) .

Anyway. When I've done a rules session, you might think that I've got one or two things wrong and you might want to query them. A quick check of the rulebook can usually clear things up..., you might be fairly adamant that I am wrong about something and you might express that in a slightly strong way, perhaps saying something like "this is bulls#*t" or similar. However, that doesn't make for a pleasant gaming experience, and it might make you feel a bit awkward if, in fact, whadayaknow I was right after all..., it's the 10th time in the game that you've called me out on a glaring rules error, but it's the 10th time that it turns out that the rule wasn't entirely as you thought it was. Maybe you might consider that you don't quite know the rules as well as you thought. Maybe you might be a little more courteous when questioning what the correct rule is. We all make mistakes, but it's never nice to be called a dick.

Three of us sat down for a game of eclipse. I've played it quite a few times, one player had played it at least once before and, for another, it was their first game.

Eclipse is one of my favourite games: a streamlined economic/combat hybrid game with an extremely elegant system for tracking income and expenditure combined with a good old-fashioned dicefest. If you like sci-fi 4x games, this is the smoothest.

After some decent early exploration into the level 3 hexes, uncovering a supernova and a few discovery tiles, I was able to do some tactical bankruptcy to take a few extra actions and get into some fights with the ancients. I had missed out on the improved hull tech and settled for some shields which I added to my dreadnought and intetceptor blueprints. I was able to build one of each and sent them, along with my start interceptor, into the level 1 hex. Who needs upgrades or dreadnoughts though when you can just roll a double 6 with the first dice roll? I could have won that fight with just two vanilla interceptors.

Next turn I bought another dreadnought and interceptor and went after another ancient and then, with the help of some computers and an ancient power source, the galactic centre on the following turn. I resisted the temptation to attack my undefended and inexperienced neighbour, instead opting for some diplomacy.

Unfortunately, I had blocked off the only pathway between my two opponents. It might be a bit socially questionable (I do have some narcissistic tendencies), but I successfully arranged to step out of the way to allow one neighbour to attack the other. Surely this is the best-case-scenario in a 3 player game? Sadly the attack came to nothing as the missiles were all absorbed by the hull laden tanks of dreadnoughts that lay waiting. 

After one or two rules clarifications and the sad demise of my supernova at the end of round 6 we moved into the endgame and the inevitable final conflict. I uesd the artifact key to top up my science and quietly acquired the wormhole generators before moving into the undefended backyard of my turtling neighbour. He had a rather populous home sector with an orbital and all the advanced spaces filled but, after brushing aside the hull-only dreadnought moved in as a reaction, the neutron bombs made light work of them.

Sadly, the attack proved too much and brought on an effective rage-quit which was slightly toned down to an instant pass and non-participation in the final round, save a couple of reactions late on. 

Prompted by some less than peaceful comments from my previously benign neighbour, I made a preemptive move into his territory to avoid having my ships pinned in my own sectors. It turns out that I do (occasionally) break an agreement. I was able to lay down 4 starbases and fill them with hulls to defend against the flood of missle-clad interceptors and ended up winning all the battles.

I had won. A hollow victory against a new player and another who didn't know the rules very well. It's a great game though and I'm sure revenge will be had.

Phew. And then James.

Martin was rather keen for me to bring Scotland yard along this week. So I dug it out of deep storage and bought it along.  At first it seemed like we were the only two up for playing it but a
James hides under his hat for Scotland Yard. He still lost.
new guy turned up just as everyone was sitting down.  Apologies that I can't remember your name new guy, it is not my forte.  Either way we sat and chatted about NoBoG for a little as Martin did a rule session on some other game before joining us.  Luckily the rules for SYard are very simple and quick so we got off (mostly) without a hitch.  For those that don't know SYard is essentially the original ‘letters from whitechapel’.  Its very basic and the detectives simply more around london using taxis, buses and the tube. Bad guy tries to evade them with the same tactic..

anyway the first few rounds went fine for Mr X (me) as the detectives utterly failed to be able to pin me down.  Until I checked the rules and noticed that there is a 3-player variant rather than it being a 3-6 player game.  when it’s 3 players the good guys both have TWO detectives each.  so with some additional pawns making their way onto the board Mr X got utterly thrashed, and I'm still not sure how it happened.

anyway, ive not played it for a while but its simplicity is the biggest factor of the game.. very simple rule set, very tactical gameplay.. all three of us seemed to enjoy it anyway.  Now i haven't played letters from W, but i hear it does smooth out some of the issues that SYard throws at you if you play it a few times.. but i think i still prefer SYard to Specter Ops (sic) which seems to overcomplicate things which also making it reasonably obvious where the bad guy is if you just watch his pencil movements when he marks the map..

Next we played Alien Frontiers which hasn't hit the table in yonks (not for me anyway). i dice roll based game where there are not really any bad rolls.  the results on your dice simply dictate what you can do on your turn, and if you like a certain tactic then you can easily get cards that help you ‘bend’ your dice results to that end.  whilst in theory it is an area control game, i find that in a 3 player game there isn't much needed for control until the end game.. and with three evenly matched players (which the dice seem to do for you) the scoring can end up very very close at the end.. a good entry level game though i think.. maybe something that should hit the table more when we get new guys..  the new guy won..

As a final point - and I'll post this up on Facebook as well for those who are into that kinda thing - I know it's not everyones Cup Of Tea - I doubled checked this weekend that the Mash Tun were ok with us storing tables and chairs at the pub, as we used every game capable table in the house this week. Charlie has kindly offered us the use of the store room next to the kitchen where there is some space up the back. I will probably drop off a table this Tuesday - if anyone else wants to donate some suitable gaming tables or chairs, then please do so, and we can squirrel them away in the storage room.

Pics this week are mine, Monika has shirked her photographic duties and gone on holiday. Pfft.

As ever, I shall leave you with the Gallery.

Hungry panda, hungry panda, hungry panda ooh ! Takenoko.
Dominion with Beer. The best Dominion expansion ?
Sam. Legendary. Am I referring to Sam, his pose, the t-shirt or the game ?
All of the above of course.
Classic gateway game, Ticket to Ride

Another classic gateway, this one pimped up Egypt style, Settlers of Catan

A neatly ordered Caverna.
Animal upon Animal gets epic.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Raining Stars

Our second week at the Mash Tun brought fifty two into the pub for NoBoG, which needless to say is a new attendance record. This worked out to 12 tables of games - which is almost all the gaming table space that the Tun has. With half a dozen newcomers turning up, but a good deal more than that veterans not present. So fifty two is by no means a high water mark. Pete has jokingly suggested that newcomers are welcome to join in future, but must all bring a table with them as their one off joining deposit.

Longer games are definitely creeping into NoBoG now we have a bit more time and a bit more space, and this week we saw a double play of Forbidden Stars, the new hot game from FFG.

Forbidden Stars. And some very non grimdark happy commanders.
You're ruining the theme guys ! It's nothing but war !
Forbidden Stars is a 3X (?) game where you command a faction of military bad asses to go forth and expand your space empire, exploit resources and ultimately exterminate your foes whilst trying to grab your game winning objectives. So, collecting income from your territory, churning out armies and throwing dice at each other to eliminate those armies is the order of the day, like a lot of the more modern deeper rehashes of Risk ( or Risk itself if you insist ) have you do.

Forbidden Stars in very many ways - if not all - is simply a refinement and re-release of an earlier FFG game - Starcraft, and a lot of the mechanisms are exactly the same in both games. Something of a tidy up has occurred in the design of Forbidden Stars over Starcraft and of course aesthetically the theme has changed from Blizzards universe to that of Games Workshops Warhammer 40,000 universe of Eldar, Chaos and all the other grimdark gothicness. ( Ironically Starcraft the original video game started its life as a Games Workshop game, but Blizzard failing to come to an agreement with GW over IP dropped references to GW's 40k universe and came up with their own eye wateringly close, but not close enough to get sued variant. It's all the same. Dudes in power armour. Hungry aliens. Enigmatic other aliens in fancier power armour. Lots of space pew pew. )
More Forbidden Stars. Pete is lost in thought.

For my money, one of the fairly unique, elegant ( gasp ) and interesting mechanics that both games have is the issuing of orders to Do Stuff. A limited number of orders are placed on the board round robin style, indicating something is happening in a given area - however, the neat thing about this is that any number of orders can be stacked in an area, and the order they are stacked in is the order they are executed in - so player turn order if you like is determined by who placed what when. This means care has to be given about what order you play orders in - you'll need to do them back to front if you are chaining them - and beware others then putting on order on top of yours effectively getting the jump on whatever evil play you had in mind.

The game has some lovely production values and comes with a metric ton of plastic, bits, cards, dice and yada, enough to make any materialist board gamer very happy.

Both tables of this as the Tun said they enjoyed it, although David noted that there was some downtime for combat, and the game does run long - both tables managed to finish, but took the better part of 4 hours to do so for 3 player games. There is also some questions about its viability with four players ( the game supports 2 - 4 players ) as this would make it play very long and incur even more downtime for others. But it was a thumbs up from all involved.

I haven't played this so can't really comment wholly objectively ( I do own Starcraft however ), but to my eye despite it being overhauled from the unwieldy Starcraft, it still retains a lot of clunky inelegance evidenced in multiple decks of cards, dice, chits and the kitchen sink being brought in to realise what is in essence a fancy Risk - culminating in the sharp pointy end of combat having dice thrown, cards played against those dice, reinforcement chits thrown on top, and then working out the relative strengths of the models involved to get a result. The critical question for me remains whether any of that is really necessary to get you a deep and nuanced combat game, or whether its just a case of throwing more crap on the pile to muddy the waters ( and if you want to see an elegant but horribly deep and complex combat system, then look no further than old school heavy wargame ASL which proves far much more depth without half the crap - although it's no innocent itself ).

I would actually say something like Axis and Allies is a much better variant of this kind of game - less fiddly, more elegant and delivers the same kind of experience, resource earning, army building, territory conquering, tech upgrading, albeit you are stuck with WW2 - no fancy space pew pew.

Yeah that's right. I went there. I rained on the parade of the new game. But seriously, Starcraft itself was a cool game - if you could handle the endless fiddly crap of it - and Forbidden Stars has improved on this, and is no doubt a good game itself. Just some patience with fiddliness required I suspect, so it's probably much more down to the preferences of the players as to whether it's a great game than the actual design of it itself.

Betrayal at house on the hill !
Elsewhere in the Tun we had two simultaneous games of Betrayal at House on the Hill. You thought Betrayal was popular before. Oh boy. With fifty people it gets played with MORE THAN ONE COPY. It's a pity there wasn't a third copy to play really. Luke related his epic 3.5 hour game of Betrayal in which he narrowly pipped a win securing his victory where I think everyone else had failed. He was very chuffed ( they were playing against the doppleganger ).

Lewis played Smash Up and utilised some overpowered robot malarkeys to thrash his way to a win - helped by top decking a card at the last moment to secure the win. Ah. Top decking. The 'skillful' art
Lewis and Davey head up International NoBoG with Smash Up
of pulling the exact card you need from a deck of cards at the exact moment you need it - a great phenomenon in things like Magic and *cough* Netrunner. Yeah that's right. I'm raining on your parade too Netrunners. Lewis also had the honour of playing with our most far flung newcomers - a couple all the way from Australia. This seems rather a long way to commute for a weekly board game session, but clearly NoBoG is the place to be. Lewis thinks we should start pitching some International version of NoBoG. Well. We did have International Tuesday Tabletop Day.

Marvel Legendary. Heroic failure is nothing to smile about.
Ewan brought along Marvel Legendary, the deck building super hero capering co-operative game. Apparently it was on Tabletop this week, always a good move to bring a game along that's recently done the rounds on Tabletop as there is usually interest from some in playing what they see Wheaton playing. I think they had a quick success game of this, followed by an abject defeat.

I got to play the relatively new Bring Out Yer Dead, which is a lightweight euro that sees players competing to be the best buried family in the city. Uh huh. The game revolves around a very simple simultaneous hidden action selection which allows you to bury coffins into scored plots. Along the way you'll get to utilise special actions that mix the play up, get up to various shenanigans by bribing gravediggers to shift coffins, switch places, and also gain point riffing cards to get you in game scoring or end game bonuses. This is no brain burner by any means, but there is high player
Bring out yer dead. The finger pointing was not staged !
interaction, just about perfect information, and therefore a some planning and backstabbing that can be done. An easy inoffensive game, some think it could be garnering some awards attention, but I don't think it's quite at that level.

Other games - lots of them, too many to go into detail, but Dean brought along Myrmes, a much award nominated game from a few years ago all about leading your colony of ants to better... ant-ing than all the other ant colonies. Looked cool, missed playing it by a hair. Stu played the excellent Machi Koro followed by Camel Up, Hal got Spectre Ops to table ( which rather bizarrely had James seemingly doing a crossword whilst everyone else actually played the board game ) and before that Hal played his prototype, Luke got China to table, but
Ant action with Myrmes
lamented people didn't seem to be into its old school charm and vanilla Resistance had a couple of super noisy big sessions. I also caught a glimpse of Le Petit Prince - which I assume is based on the very cool book of the same name, the game of which seemed to revolve around building a planet ? There's a few other games in there I know I missed too.

Despite our high numbers everyone fit in nicely with room to spare, it didn't feel cramped at all, and everyone seemed content with the space, although Tom was ambivalent and noted it wasn't as cosy as the Ribs. Very true. But then fifty is hard to consolidate with cosy. Whatchagonnado. Although I think a few areas of the Tun are very cosy - it depends where you sit.

I will leave you with the gallery.
Roll Call - what games ya got ?

Hal's prototype, Unfeeling Creatures

Ankh Morpork


Machi Koro

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Mass Tuna

This week NoBoG was on tour again this time visiting - at least according to Voiteks presumably auto corrected text - Mass Tuna. For those of us who like uncorrected text we were all visiting the Mash Tun. Or perhaps we should just keep calling it the Mass Tuna from now on - it would certainly make the auto correcter happy.
A Mass of Tuna. Not to be confused with a pub in Norwich. Easily done.
Some old faces turned up, some new faces joined in, and after correcting my earlier count, we reached a total of 45 people settling in to play some game or other. Which is actually a record for NoBoG just pipping the previous 44 ( ... last month ).

Lower floor at the Mash Tun. Six play Waterdeep.
That sounds like an Enid Blighton book.
Lashings of Victory points for all ! Except Elliot.
I'm not sure if it was the prospect of being able to play longer into the evening, given that the Tuna closes up at 11.45pm to midnight, or whether it was just a mad gambit but Game of Thrones turned up on a table, and was enjoyed by a group of 5 ... and they nearly finished. Although Sam reckons they could have finished under slightly different circumstances. So that's a thing now. You can play Game of Thrones in a pub evening. Next thing you'll know people will be bringing Battlestar Galactica along to play as well. Preposterous !

Dun dun, duh duh, dun dun, duh de dahhhh.
You know the rest. Game of Thrones. Sam grins
a Lannister grin.
Sam reports that he had wanted to have a go of GoT for quite a while, so he was keen on getting to play and ended up enjoying himself and winning as the "nice" Lannisters. Nice ? In my world said Sam, the Lannisters were nice. Monika was quite happy in the first half of the evening where she was pleased to note she was winning GoT, only later resorting to taking propaganda pictures of herself being picked on and trodden down into a not winning position. Such is Game of Thrones. Fortunately the rules for the board game Game of Thrones unlike the actual setting do not include you having to "win or die". So everyone made it home ok, no heads were chopped off, goblets poisoned or such forth.

Elsewise a very keen Punk Rich and Hazel had setup their stall with Nations - arriving at 6pm just to
Pete dashes through the rules of Hansa for Luke, Luke ( Crocker )
and James. Unfortunately a third Luke could not be found to make
the table an all Luke experience.
be sure. They said something about shopping, but I think they were just dead excited about getting in first. They played with Chloe and David, with Punk Rich romping to a win by not just pulling into the lead, but then grinding everyone else face first into the board game equivalent of dirt ( brown wooden cubes ). Hazel noted he was a bastard. No one likes a winner Rich.

Crocker appeared from the vaults of NoBoG history to challenge Luke and James to Hansa Teutonica, where despite James bemoaning that Luke had 5 actions and an implicitly uncatchable lead, Luke failed to win. I'm not sure who did win. My money is on Crocker who always rather liked Hansa.

Colt Express, Bondy gives a wave
Big group of six took on Colt Express followed by Lifeboats for an evening of what must have been some pretty intense backstabbery and enemy making. Andy made it to his self confessed once a year NoBoG visit for this, and Mr Bond brought along Jen to introduce her to the finer arts of gaming betrayal and how to make enemies. If any of the participants were talking to each other by the end of the night then it must have been a small miracle.

Downstairs not entirely sure what got played, Hal played... something... with Martin.... ummm.... followed by Ankh Morpork. Lords of Waterdeep was on table, Elliot got mauled in this and came fourth out of six - and we welcomed back Clive all the way from Lowestoft after a long hiatus.

Round the corner, Elite Ed was back with us along with Dean and newcomer Ian, and they got to try out Nations the Dice game. Both Nations and Nations the Dice game were being played simultaneously.

Lewis and a thumbs up for Munchkin
Lewis insisted on playing Munchkin the table over, and Ewan got a full game of Pillars of the Earth, followed by some Resistancing. There was a bit of a panic for a bit as it turned out no one had brought Resistance - shocking - until newcomer John ferreted a copy out of his bag. Phew.

Lastly I played New Dawn, managed to entirely miss the gist of the game at the start, wander off randomly throughout the game to chat to people, but finished in a strong second
Darren sets up New Dawn. Replace the board game with an
I.T. presentation and you have a busmans holiday for Darren.
place behind Pete. Which if I could have rolled a six on a dice at least once in 3 rolls would have meant I would have won instead. Stupid dice. Pete picked on newcomer John and wiped a bunch of his conquests out, which was harsh, he ended on 10 points which I failed to diplomatically handle by
New Dawn with some idiot grinning inanely in the foreground. ( me )
exclaiming in loud surprise ONLY 10 ????!!!! Alas it was indeed only 10. Pete had cherry picked his good scoring places. Evil Pete. Pete ended on 35, myself on 30, and Darren 20 something. Pete opined that getting off to a good start and being efficient was crucial in the game. I disagreed and said I had pissed my first few turns up the wall, wandered off, and still got a hand in it. I secretly agree with Pete though.

We finished with a game of Hal's prototype which was all very good, a game in which each player has a key piece of information, with the solution to the game being the combination of all those pieces of information. Deducing what information everyone else holds is the game with a simple could it be this space, yes or no. Elegant, deductiony, helps if you really lock into your head what the possible rules are to exclude / include them.

Pillars of the Earth. And beer.
It was great to see so many old faces back with us, plus good to see newcomers again and everyone fit in with space to spare and enjoying themselves. I'll say for me that the evening at the Tun has to be one of the best NoBoG nights I've seen, a lovely atmosphere, a great venue and a fantastic bunch of people. The extra space and time make such a difference, and looking back at the Ribs it just makes me really wonder how on earth we all fit and coped !

Everyone I talked to enjoyed their time at the Mash Tun, although I did get at least half a dozen people comment on the lighting - for those sitting on the lower level, the light by the end of the evening was dingy - not an uncommon thing for a pub, but in my estimation it was no worse than upstairs at the Ribs. Always a tricky problem when navigating some dodgy euro board colours. Voitek has suggested head mounted LEDs, which would definitely give a thematic vibe to something like Saboteur where you play gnomish miners, and Pete has suggested the possibly more suitable but less fun table lamps.

The barmaid at the Tun reported that we enjoyed their beer - with the NoBoG crowd drinking half a keg of the fruity stuff - around 20 pints during the evening.

Votes are underway for determining where the NoBoG tour heads next - or whether it just parks at the Tuna and has done with it. It looks like the Mass Tuna is where the tour bus is going to finish up. At least for Tuesdays. Once we've settled that, the tour bus might start up for a second NoBoG night on Thursdays. But, who knows, another discussion to be had ! When, where, if.

Thanks to everyone for making our first trip to the Mash Tun go down well, thanks to the lovely Monika for her pictures, and thanks to David and Chloe for scouting out the the pub in the first place ! Great find !

I'll leave you with the Gallery - with some more pictures from Athena last week.