Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Return of the frakkin' Toasters

Monika bounced excitedly up to me clapping her hands.

"Did you bring it ???!" she asked with a big grin.
"Yessss... but... it's kind of late, not even set it up yet." I answered unconvinced
"Well, where is it ?! I will set it up. Quick !" she replied with boundless enthusiasm.

I gave her Battlestar Galactica and left her and Voitek to it whilst I made sure everyone was sorted with a game.

So this week, Battlestar Galactica once more sailed the deep black with just about all the expansions spread between five players - two of which were toasters, the evil cylons.

James is pushed out the airlock. Don't worry, he's not
human, he's a fancy hoover. With murderous tendencies.
I called Monika and James out on being evil from near the start - a few slips of tells made me suspicious, although Voitek also had a couple of slightly dodgy calls at the start of the game, but, to me, Monika and James were clearly Not One Of Us. And that despite me playing the ever suspicious Baltar, and Voitek playing the equally suspect Boomer.

Whatever it was, the case against James and Monika seemed quite compelling and Richard IV early on obliged the rumours by pushing James out of the airlock. There was a little debate about whether to push Monika or James out of the airlock, in the end it was James. We had made only a single jump of distance one, we had barely started, and one of our number had been spaced. Forcefully plunged into the pitiless vacuum to die a terrible death.

Richard cackled gleefully. One thing playing with Richard teaches you is that he loves a bit of chaos and disaster. At least as far as board games go, he is definitely in the "just likes to watch things burn" camp.

But in this case pushing people out of the airlock was good move. It turned out the rumour mill was right and James was indeed a filthy traitor - and thus no one was particularly upset. It wasn't a human we had ejected into the void. But more like a Henry Hoover. A Henry Hoover with a remarkable capability for conversation. And murderous plotting.

And then we didn't trust Monika either. Who shortly after revealed herself to indeed be another

Battlestar Galactica ... and a new table lamp !
toaster. And we still hadn't even got half way through the game. In hindsight the debate about whether to push one toaster out or the other toaster was moot. Any toaster would have been good.

You'd think having sussed out the bad guys would be a great help to us. It wasn't. Galactica seemed incapable of jumping more than a distance of one at any time. Cylon ships piled ever higher and were never dealt with. And then the boarding parties started.

At one point I was the Admiral, CAG and President. That's all the titles. Belonging to one person. At this point I was the most important person in the fleet, everyone else was a mere peasant and had to do as I said. On the other hand, there was no way I could successfully fulfil all three roles at once. The cylons joked that I was the only person left in the fleet, hence I had all the jobs. I just like to think it was my natural leadership skills being rewarded.

In the end the fleet was destroyed, we had barely got half way, supplies had run out, Galactica was almost critical with damage, and my epic reign as Admiral CAG President was a failure. However, I also like to think that such an important person as Admiral CAG President would have had an escape plan. And a personal escape craft. And unlike the rest of humanity made it away safely. Possibly with a hidden cache of champagne.

So looking behind the curtain a bit about what makes Battlestar Galactica tick, it seems to me that the jump cards have an enormous impact on whether the game runs short, long, easy or tough. Getting a set of 1 jump cards can effectively kill you, whereas getting a couple of juicy 3 jumps can make the going a piece of cake for the humans. On reflection, cutting all the waffle out, I think the game actually just comes down to that jump progress, and little else. It also has the capability to make the game go on forever. But you could argue you don't want to look behind the curtain of an FFG game. FFG games are to my mind notoriously random in design. Whilst I enjoy a number of FFG games I could never imagine ever calling one of their titles "elegant" or "clever". Long on bling, long on components and short on.... balance, playtesting and editing. Looking too hard at the Wizard of Oz just destroys the illusion. Better to ignore it and enjoy the show.

Alchemists and another of the lamps.
And a pretty new blue table cloth !
Elsewise Nate turned up again with a choice selection of good Euros, and eventually settled on Concordia. Elliott banged out Ticket to Ride again - Ticket To Ride Marklin - which apparently is different to Ticket to Ride in that you have passengers. That go on a journey and then die. It's very maudlin. I have no idea. We also had some Alchemists, Lords of Vegas and Takenoko, where I believe Lewis took the win by a single point.

And my copy of the ever excellent Mission Red Planet hit the table, with some evil shenanigans leaving Tim and his lucrative high worth area out of luck as Dean sabotaged his scoring efforts with a secret area card effect.

Seven Wonders, Smash Up and Spectre Ops also filled out the games first up, and there were quite a few tables with just three players. The extra space at the Mash Tun means we no longer are forced to play five or six player games, but can play whatever takes your fancy with small cosy groups.

Dominant Species
James also finally got Dominant Species back to table - he's being trying for a while. Pete got off to some game stomping initial move that James was most unhappy about, but despite this the wily Tom managed to win the day - with I think his arachnids.

As well as BSG this week I also had time for a couple of games of Cheaty Mages - yes, BSG plus fillers in one evening. Madness. The end times are upon us. I am pleased to report that I won embarrassingly well in Cheaty Mages. Not once, but twice. Just to prove it wasn't a fluke. I am the cheatiest of Cheaty Mages apparently. A sentiment Sean agreed with as he watched the table - I was not to be trusted. Shockingly libellous.

Apart from the games this week we also trialled out a couple of rechargable led table lights. Which seemed to do the job ok. Personally I wasn't terrifically thrilled with them, not entirely easy to get a well lit board and keep the light out of everyones eyes, on the other hand, when they were switched off you realised just how spoiled you were with them, and how crap the light was without them. As it stands I think the lights are pretty much perfect for our needs. Light in weight, portable, adjustable and offering a good light source for the gloom. Apparently one of the lights really helped with Alchemists, allowing the phones to pick up the cards without suffering in the poor light.

We've also got a whole pile of new table cloths - mostly in blue, with a red and purple one thrown in for good measure. There are now once again enough cloths for all tables - so you can spare your board games from the unknown vagaries of pub table residues and condensing glasses and instead treat them to the luxury of a felt surface.

As ever I leave you with the gallery.


7 Wonders

Lords of Vegas

Smash Up

Mission Red Planet... on a red table cloth. Fancy.

Spectre Ops


Ticket to Ride Marklin

44 if you're counting. A number of soliders down again this week. I blame it being summer and everyone swanning off for holidays. With the exception of Martin. Who was allegedly ill. I'll assume he'll be bringing in a sick note this week to explain his absence last week.


Elliot Symonds said...

Beautiful words again sir. Well written, captures the club, elegant, witty....*bows deeply*

Minitrue said...

Thankee sir! Not my best this week I feel.. sometimes I feel like I struggle with it. Consistency is the hardest of all things imo.