Tuesday, 11 August 2015

A good deal Bigger, and a whole lot less Smaller

Quite a few soldiers down last week, with a final tally of 39 making it to the Mash Tun for some gaming. Whilst once upon a time 39 would have been a venue bulging number, at the Mash Tun 39 is practically off season.

Pillars of the Earth, the gloom begins to deepen...
Tom, Stu, Nicky and Ewan settled in for a game of Pillars of the Earth on one of the Tuna's front tables, but as the evening wore on, the dingy lighting became even more dingy as one of the low light bulbs had blown, turning their corner of the pub into something of a blackout. I believe Hal has a prototype game you get to play in the dark with mobile phones, but other than that, probably not a great light level for gaming. They eventually found a better lit table to continue their gaming on.

I've still not played Pillars of the Earth, I feel it's something I am missing out on - need to get a play of it.

For myself, last week I brought along All Creatures Big and Small, which if you don't know is another Uwe Rosenberg game based along the whole Agricola / Caverna vibe, but for two people, and somewhat simplified down from Agric. Having played All Creatures with Punk Rich, I
All Creatures Biggerer And Not so Small. 4 Player prototype.
immediately liked it, thought it would be an excellent stepping stone for learners to get to Agricola, but lamented it was only for two players. Why ? Cue some math, a few printed cards, and I expanded the game up to 4 players ( with the help of the two expansions available for the game, and another copy of the base game ).

I tried this out with Pete, Hazel and Punk Rich, and the game pretty much held up as a four player game. Tight, but not too tight, although I pretty much tanked - bad choices, or limited choices, hard to say, but given I was mostly first in turn order you have to say it was probably bad choices !

Pete won this with some amazing horse synergy and something of a meta bet with Hazel that you could indeed get more than 12 horses by game end. Thumbs up for all concerned, so, All Creatures Big and Small is now a good deal bigger, and a whole lot less smaller. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who hasn't played Agricola but wants to, or any Agric or Caverna fans.

Rokoko - time to get your fancy pants on
After that I was very pleased to finally get Rokoko to table which I think is a lovely Euro game. Rokoko is a game all about tailoring outfits for the swanky parties of the aristocrats, you'll gather supplies, hire workers, and either sell your outfits or hire them out to display the wonder of your works in the fancy balls. It has to be said that the theme often gets a bit of an eyebrow raise - really, a game about making dresses. Pfft. But, look past that and the game is a very good solid Euro, offering you a multitude of choices and ways to earn your points for a win. Like any good 'proper' Euro, luck plays only a very small factor in the game, and instead it will be your choice of actions - and the interaction with your fellow players, that will determine the greater part of your victory.

Pete won this again with a monstrous cash to victory points scheme, which in hindsight is perhaps a
Game of Thrones
flaw in the game - the cash to victory point action seems far too powerful. Admittedly I've only played two games of Rokoko but in both, this action slam dunked the win. Nevertheless, a really nice game, and if you're into your Euros you should check this award nominated game out.

Elsewhere Small World hit the table, Dead of Winter, Elliott brought along Ticket to Ride along with his compatriot "The Butler" ( I think they come in the same box as they are only ever seen together - not sure whether it's a special event expansion or what... ) and Game of Thrones made it back again - and this time actually finished. That's right. Game of Thrones ended up finishing in a single pub evening. There were some shouts and yells whilst this was being played - I refused to believe that Game of Thrones could be so exciting - and everyone had a good time, although at one point James looked particularly worried / shell shocked when I think he was attacking Sam.

The very tricky Aquasphere. Possibly the crunchiest Euro of them all ?
We also welcomed back Nate last week - was good to see him, he hasn't been down to NoBoG in some while, and he brought along Aquasphere - amongst other things - another game I really like. Luke was looking for a game with zero luck - or very limited luck, so I directed him to the uber crunchy Aquasphere, after which he gave the game a thumbs up. Huzzah for Nate being back, and Huzzah for getting Aquasphere to table. I only managed to convince people to get it to table once in the many weeks I brought it along.

Also Joe has a report writeup for last week too, which apparently he wrote on the walk home. How he didn't get runover whilst obliviously crossing a road I don't know...

This evening I took on the challenge of Legendary Encounters... As a plucky, light-hearted, yet ambitious researcher, tired of her years rattling the test tubes, and looking for adventures I joined my fellow crew mates Sam (scout), Andy (merc), ollie (medic) and Sean (gunner) as we ventured forth on the ill-fated Nostromo in search of fame glory and a close encounter with a perfect organism, to ultimately blow the crap out of it and hopefully escape with our lives... Or at least my life

Legendary Encounter
From the off things seemed like they were going pretty well, with half of the first objective covered in the first few turns, sadly that was not to last long. As the genetically superior aliens began flooding the ship we got closer and closer to annihilation. Thankfully, as we completed our first objective we had a little luck with the cards and the aliens began to thin a bit. Through the second objective we seemed to be coping with the influx of increasingly powerful foes nicely, although a couple of people were did seem to be a bit low on funds, and with mainly pricey people to recruit we suffered a bi of a blockage and a fair amount of cash went unspent.

Sam was looking a bit worse go wear having taken a lot of little hits, whereas Ollie was in a similar state having taken a couple of big hits. But all was ok and we dragged our sorry band through to the third and final objective - taking out the trash. (And by trash I mean hideously powerful ultra-alien, who has to be pushed through an airlock). As we started we were looking in pretty good shape (notwithstanding everyone carrying a few injuries - but hey we'd just battled our way through a horrendous shit-storm of aliens... So, swings and roundabouts we looked on top of it).

Then came the agony.

Everyone was suffering a bit from hands clogged with useless minion fellows and even a liberal sprinkling of helpful sergeants the tougher aliens of the end game started to take their toll. With Sean losing his entire hand, followed by me with only half a hand things got real.

One of the twin-mouthed nasties made it through to the combat zone and from there we were toast. First, Ollie the medic went down, then the Nostromo seemingly disappointed by our inability to get shit done decided to self-destruct taking me, Sam and Andy with it. Thus, leaving Sean the lone gunner, presumably hanging by his now heavily-bloodied arms to the remnants of the ship, surrounded by aliens trying to make the best of his near-fatal injuries, facing the perfect organism standing in the airlock.

In true hollywood style it was was set up for a grandstand climax. Sean showed some great skill in only picking strike cards which rinsed his hand, meaning he got to live a further turn, but sadly his lack of cards meant that he was completely obliterated by the swarm of super aliens that had managed to infiltrate our ship. RIP Nostromo.

All in all a tense, atmospheric experience. That said, I can't seem to shake the feeling that deck builders aren't my bag - I have played dominion about ten times and never enjoyed it, I bought pathfinder, played it once and found it to be an RPG completely lacking in RP (and if I'm honest could find much G either!) Before playing I was considering buying it, and I'm still on the fence - the atmospheric theme is really immersive. I'd definitely love another play, but am gonna hold off buying as i'm not sure how much legs the deck-building has for me.

We then got a bit back-stabby and had a couple of games of one-night werewolf, followed by some Avalon which ended with a ballsy traitor victory with the first 3 missions failed!

Sounds great. I also kinda agree with Joe about deck builders- I get the same kind of feeling myself, although I find Dominion to be a fairly laid back, don't have to think about it, easy social kind of game - at least the way I play it. Legendary Encounters looks like a whole  heap of fun however, the Legendary series are ok - I appreciate the theme, the game is ok, the Aliens version however seems to me be really well suited to the game mechanics. Who knows. Maybe I just like Aliens a whole lot.

Fillers finished the evening. I even think there was some epic Resistancing going on for over an hour.

Finally, I've managed to lay my hands on a couple of table lamps for this week. We'll see how they do. If they're any good I will pick up a couple more. Rechargable, portable and with six hours of lighting time, they should be just the thing. We shall see.

As ever I leave you with the Gallery.

1 comment:

Elliot Symonds said...

Extra light would be VERY good news indeed.