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.


Elliot Symonds said...

What a brilliant write up of a brilliant club. Feeling at home in The Mass Tuna now as well.

Minitrue said...

Thank you sir, and I agree the Tuna is getting very homey. And I think it's only going to get better... I can see good things happening in future. I'm very happy we moved in the end, always the way, hindsight makes everything clearer.

FlamingJoe said...

Great as usual, although this blog always makes want to play all of the games that everyone else gets to the table.... so many boardgames so little time! >.<