Friday, 23 October 2015


Some of the goblins from the statistics and accountants department have bothered to turn up to work lately, and thus, there are a handful of new stats to gawp at, and ooh and aah over like a fireworks display, if  your local cold invariably wet november park was a spreadsheet, and the small packages of cardboard filled with explosives were excel cell equations. At the very least, you won't freeze your ass off staring into the sky by looking at the NoBoG stats, and are unlikely to attract a tutting bearded man muttering about Earths precious resources and it all not being very green. Who knows where you are reading this page though - it's feasible you could read this whilst at a fireworks display and combine the negatives and positive all in one unbelievable experience.

But anyway. Stats.

How long have NoBoG been resident at the Mash Tun ? How many weeks since we left the Ribs ? Saving you the mad historical back paging and counting on your fingers and toes, we've been at the Mash Tun for 17 weeks, and were last at the Ribs 19 weeks ago. Nearly five months. Give or take.

Here's an attendance stat for the last 34 weeks, IE, comparing the last 17 weeks at the Tun, to the 17 weeks before hand. The dates are shown for the Mash Tun weeks. The previous 17 weeks runs from the 3rd March to the 23rd June.

Blue is first 17 weeks. Green is second 17 weeks. Click on it to enlarge.

As you can see, an unmistakable increase in numbers. But that hides a lot of logistical issues in there. Any number in the 40's at the Ribs was a significant issue to squeeze everyone in, and forced large player games only - and it was not unusual for us to lose players due to overcrowding. At the Mash Tun everyone fits in nicely. I think this chart pretty much demonstrates the growing pains quite aptly - as numbers suddenly consistently spring a good 50% higher in general week on week after the move. Of course we generated a lot of noise and interest during the Tour discussion, which no doubt pulled in more curious people, but, I think this probably mostly shows the effect of not having people uncomfortably jammed in. Some people can cope with that, others will choose not to have to.

A series of 3 month snap shots next.
The 37 dip was around the end of the school summer holidays. Clearly an unpopular day for going to the pub and playing games. Charlotte at the Tun noted that the whole week in general at that time of year was pretty dead.

The transition period. The NoBoG tour, shortest ever tour.

At the beginning of the year, NoBoG numbers are half what they will be by the time we get to October.

What that looks like combined together.

And finally the entire stat range... well... ever since I started bothering to count and record it anyway. Which actually isn't that long relative to the length of NoBoG history but long enough to capture the upswing in board gaming / NoBoG popularity.

Last time I did this, Elliot asked if I could track more number things than just people that attended. The only thing that I have half heartedly tracked as a result of that request is the Male to Female ratio - Elliot thought we were getting a broader appeal, to which I can say on average it's about 1:8. So if you are sitting on a table with seven other guys, the chances are, you're a gal. Just to let you know in case no one told you that. Last week it was 8 / 52. Which is 2:13, or 1:6.5 if you want to get funky.

I don't always track the ratio tbh, and it seems faiirrrllly consistent. So. Pfft.

If. And it's a big if. You tracked things a little more tightly. Age. Job. Household disposable income. It would no doubt be the holy grail of all juicy stat lines for say, board game publishers / retailers. I don't recall ever seeing stats like that personally. Would be interesting.

That concludes our stat run, hopefully you found it mildly interesting !

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Show me your war face !

Here's what the iconic Timber Wolf Clan Mech thinks of your neatly optimised Caverna farm. 11.6m tall and 75 tons of bad assery conflict resolution management. I see your Room for a sixth dwarf, and raise you double Long Range Missile 20's and a searing blast of lasery death. Eat it dwarf !

*cue stirring sci-fi movie music and ubiquitous deep gravelly voice narration man*

It is the year 3050 and mankinds brightly burning golden age of technology and mass colonisation of the stars has faded into distant memory. The stars of the Inner Sphere of human colonisation now burn with a different fire, that of constant punishing internecine warfare, giant death dealing machines dropped from the sky to burn rival factions to the ground, the spiralling chaos and destruction eroding knowledge and progress and threatening to plunge humanity into a new dark age of ignorance.

Enter into this cauldron of conflict, interlopers, the Clans, genetically engineered super men, children of a long forgotten exodus past the boundaries of known space, returning from the depths of the void to bring with them technology and an art of war, kept, maintained and pushed far beyond that of the Inner Sphere. Like a searing knife through an underbelly of fat, the Clans and their awe inspiring battlemechs push into the worlds of the Inner Sphere, planet after planet falling to their ferocity and their militaristic culture of the single minded dedication to the honour of combat.

Nothing it seems can stop the advance of the Clans onslaught, and on a world which suddenly finds itself on a new and unexpected frontline of a clash of cultures, a double lance of desperate Inner Sphere mechs prepares to hold the line at any cost against the initial probes of the invaders. . . . . . . .

Woo ! So with that said, this week I dusted off some serious old school clunkery in the form of Battletech - which god help me is now some 30 years old - and brought it along to NoBoG to grind some people into the dust and make them appreciate all those new and funky elegant game mechanics and not having to perform constant to hit math in your head. Ah yes. 80's game design.

It's been forever and an age since I took Battletech out for a run, and wasn't entirely sure how a five six player game of it would fare. For sure Battletech can take in its stride almost any number of players ( the box boasts 2 - 20 players, but tbh, there's no reason to stop at 20, I think they just picked that as some random arbitrary number to print ) and scale up to the ridiculous, but the question comes down to how much of your life do you want to dedicate to this particular play session. Old school games, particularly old school war type games do not care for your suggestions of keeping play times under 12 hours.

Given all that, I decided to pre-cook a scenario, pre print out all the sheets required, only leaving the players to decide which side they wanted to be on and which of the mechs they were personally going to pilot. 7 IS mechs would take on the might of four clan mechs in a breakthrough scenario - the clans looking to bloody the nose of the IS and then dismissively push on through into enemy lines and off the opposing table edge.

Old school Battletech. Very shortly that Warhammer
is going to lose it's head.
And so to the game. Clunky. Chewy. Laden with math. But somehow... compelling... and interesting... and narrative. The two hour mark sailed past, and finally the mechs were beginning to properly kick each other. A hapless Inner Sphere Warhammer rolled into view, fired off it's two impressive Particle Projection Cannons only to then suffer a withering round of return fire as most of the Clan Mechs targeted it and proceeded to melt its armour off. In a final coup de grace as the firing round finished, my Timber Wolf after unleashing a barrage of missiles, levelled it's ER Large Laser at the IS Warhammer and in a single shot blew its head clean off - leaving the pilot nothing more than a dissipating red mist. First blood - mech down !

Over on the left flank, the impressively heavy and weapon laden IS Battlemaster in command of the IS forces failed in successive rounds to get a lock on the fast light Clan Mech circling it and was left out manoeuvred and out classed by a mech a third its weight. An apt lesson in the dangers of leaving your big heavy weights isolated and at the mercy of agile foes. One of it's few successes was in shooting the light mech in the face with its "ass gun" which in the words of the IS team was not so much an actual hurt as a hurt to ones pride - no one likes taking a shot in the face from an ass gun.

As time wore on and everyone decided to call it a day, a final effort by the IS team to nail down the annoying mech chewing on the ass of the Battlemaster failed, and Joe wading hip deep through a lake decided to unleash hell, fire off every weapon on his Blackhawk, and proceeded to sear through arms, legs, and torso of a nearby IS mech, literally melting one side of it down to scrap in a single turn. Second Blood - mech down !

The game ended, the clan mechs with an array of damage, but nothing too alarming, and the IS mechs, two down, and others battered. A victory for the Clans. Good stuff. Richard IV came over to watch the last part of the session - just as the Warhammer lost its head -  and declared it a great spectator game.

Enough of stupid robots. What else was going on in the more traditional modern board gaming haven of the Mash Tun ?

The charming kickstarter Cauldron.
Elliot had just received a kickstarter goodie in the form of Cauldron, and set about giving the game it's inaugural playthrough in a group of five. It looks like a cool game, one I entirely missed seeing on Kickstarter, although Elliot implied that it seemed to be a little slow to get going as there was much effort, but little scoring. The game is certainly very nicely presented, and it's theme seems strong. Looks like a fairly simple gather resources and spend affair, but sometimes simplicity makes for a great game. I definitely want to give this one a go.

Downstairs on the long tables we had not one, but two groups of Dead of Winter, with at least one group ending in a win for the survivors as American James failed to sink the colony as a traitor, and could only stand back and somehow unwittingly aid the camp in surviving the zombie apocalypse.
Dead of Winter. No Sparky ? Pfft. For shame !
You can't trust James in a game of One Night Werewolf - he's usually a play acting Tanner - but it seems regardless of role you can actually trust him in Dead of Winter. I was nice and kept helping them along he confessed in a confused tone.

Hal brought along the rather fetching Inkognito once again - it's been quite a while, and got a returned Mr Bond to join in and ponder whether he was in fact Lord Fiddlebottom.
A ponder about whether he was a general Lord Fiddlebottom, or whether he was Lord Fiddlebottom in the context of the game remains unclear. It seems wise then given such lack of clarity that it is best to avoid having Mr Bond stand behind you whilst for instance waiting in a queue - better safe than sorry. We'll have no Lord Fiddlebottoming here !

The visually intriguing and mentally deductive Inkognito
After that, in an alarming sign of game breeding, TWO games of the fox game that is actually a cat game were played simultaneously, no doubt the nefarious work of having Tom and Stu split onto different tables to spread their foxy catty card game ways to the masses. And yet still I can't remember the name of it. Lukando. Lukado. Or something. FOXCAT game. Whatever. We once again agreed to disagree whether the game was about foxes or cats, but could entirely agree that it was a game about something that liked lurking around your garden at night. Reassuring ? Not really. Putting it that way it now seems like a game about stalkers....

A very full Machi Koro setup
Mark and Maya also returned to the Tun for some gaming, with the ever delightful Machi Koro, the game of simple sim city-esque synergy building. If you haven't played Machi Koro then you should - it's a great little Euro game with bundles of character and a nice laid back no hassles no high stress optimisations required kind of game. A bit like if Agricola was actually fun to play instead of being some stressy angst filled journey of feeding your family and deciding when and how to expand. I love Agric. But then again I also love dark miserable things. And Agric, if you squint, could be some bleak Ingmar Bergman film about the pointlessness of existence and the struggles of life on a - swedish - farm. Machi Koro is the opposite of that. Like if Disney remade the Seventh Seal. You just know that Death would end up breaking into a cute song and dance routine - probably revolving around how much he liked Chess*. But I digress. Machi Koro. Play it. It's cool.

Lewis and Clark go exploring.
What else. Lewis and Clark was in the house. Monika wanted a go of this, and David obliged, always happy to get his Lewis and Clark exploring on the go. No idea how that panned out. We also had some Suburbia, some Avalon Resistancing and some Divinaring plus Kingsburg and Ticket to Ride !

Last but not least, Pete brought along the wildly extravagant, debatably unnecessary and visually unbelievable Cthulu Wars. Cthulu Wars is something of a famous, or perhaps infamous game for many reasons. One is its cost. It costs a fortune. Relatively speaking. There are some small countries in the world that have gone to war, sued for peace, and made war reparation payments and still haven't gone to the expense of the cost of Cthulu Wars. Secondly, and no doubt related, is the nature of some of the miniatures in the game. To say that they are large is like saying that the universe is "quite big". Indeed if you didn't know better and happened to walk past the game, you might be forgiven for thinking it was not some miniature game, but instead some bizarre childs play set, albeit one that had far too many tentacles, gnashing teeth and questionable orifices. Fisher Price My First Cthulu Playset. The third thing Cthulu Wars is famous for is its ridiculous premise. Cthulu. Wars. It's like some mad marketing group think session where they slam some popular things together in the hope that it will be randomly popular and sell like hotcakes based on some ridiculous search engine zeitgeist. Like. Ferrari doughnuts. Or possibly. Steampunk Dogs ( actually, that's kind of good... goddammit, maybe they have something after all ).

The mighty Cthulu Wars !!
But is the game any good ? That's the question. Or indeed, does it even have to try to be any good having transcended such silly things as game mechanics and entered in a Plan 9 From Outer Space zone where it could be so bad, it's actually good. You can hide a lot of problems in a game by giving it 9 inch high Cthulu "miniatures". I use the word miniature tentatively there. They are anything but miniature.

Well the good news is that the game is pretty good. At least that's the feedback that Rich IV gave, and Pete was also pleased with the evenings game session. Richard explained it as somewhere between Risk and Chaos in the Old World. With some weird ass power shenanigans going on. Such as. Having to decide in one minute what power penalties everyone would take, otherwise Pete got to take all the power. So. Some weird ass kitchen sink mechanics thrown into the game. And it has a mild case of slippery slope runaway mechanisms. But we can probably forgive it that. A lot of classics do that too.

The mind boggles all in all. But this game, Cthulu Wars, demands to be played. It cannot be ignored. It is the superlative of over produced miniature games. A touchstone, an icon, an event all in its own right. At the very least, when someone starts talking about, have you seen that ridiculous game with the enormous miniatures you can say, seen it, I've played it ! And bask in the awe of your gaming peers.

With a bit of luck I'll get to have a go of Cthulu Wars next week. I'm pretty sure my painting nervous tick will start to twitch, and I'll surreptitiously look at how you could lovingly paint the wee beasties up.

Right. Enough of my blathering. Off with you. Go do something productive. Or look at the very short gallery first, then go do something productive.

Ticket to Ride. Samantha was very pleased with herself and her green train domination.

Kingsburg !

Suburbia, and some pretty hefty water development. A good few water goals on offer.

* Apologies if you a) don't know who Ingmar Bergman is or b) know what the hell the Seventh Seal is. The imagery in that case made no sense whatsoever. Suffice to say then that Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish film director that made lots of films about being miserable. Or more precisely, being miserable in Sweden. And ended up being quite famous for being a miserable bastard**. And the iconic bit of Death playing a game of chess originally comes from the Seventh Seal. You can imagine Disney completely dropping the misery and gloom of that film and replacing it with some snappy Tim Rice song and dance number. Chess, chess, ooh, I love it *jazz hands*, I can't wait, to make the final move, the killing blow, ooh ooh, *flourishing dance kick*. Uh huh. Hopefully never coming to a cinema near you. Unless you subscribe to the infinite realities quantum tosh, in which case, somewhere out there, in the infinite reaches of the multiverse, someone is eating popcorn and watching death do a song and dance number about chess. Gah !

** Don't get me wrong. I highly rate Ingmar Bergman. And Seventh Seal is one of my top ten favourite films.

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Girl that's driving me mad, is going away

Yeah !

Ticket to Ride UK. A Norwich First !
Last week was post Essen week at NoBoG, an event where the committed adherents go on pilgrimage to Germany in pursuit of gaming Nirvana. Or failing that a suitcase full of new game purchases that they can trade away in 3 months after the heady glow of Essen fever has faded. In the dusty annals of NoBoG history, once upon a time Jimmy would have been the chief Essen adherent, returning with many laden suitcases and armfuls of gems to play, but alas he has long since lapsed into the Hall of Fame and hasn't been seen down t'pub in many a generation*. If you have never experienced Jimmy giving you a withering look as you failed to pick up a rule the first time around or arrived late, you haven't lived.

But I digress. Regular NoBoGer Elliott did make it to, and back from ( with suitable missed ferry.. tsk.. bad worker placement optimisation there ! ) Essen with a haul of things, one of which he got to play on Tuesday - the new and sexy Ticket to Ride United Kingdom ( although using the word sexy in conjunction with British Railways is pushing your luck ).

Poor old Athena, one of our FLGS, is still waiting to demo its copy of Ticket to Ride UK, but if you want to be right on the pulse, NoBoG is clearly the place to be ! ( If you are interested in some TtR UK, then Athena's special preview event is on Sunday 25th October, more info can be found on facebook Ticket to Ride @ Athena , or, just turn up to NoBoG as well for an all you can eat Ticket to Ride buffet ! Promise there will be no soggy overpriced sandwiches. )

Elliott seemed rather excited about the prospect of getting Ticket to Ride on the table at the Tun,  despite having no pieces on the table - clearly this was the expert Blind Ticket to Ride variant, where each player must keep the board state in their head.

Eventually they did bust out the pieces, had an enjoyable game and Elliot didn't mention which position he finished in ( we'll assume last )

Lovely. The game introduces some new "tech" mechanic which promises to bring a little more to think about to Ticket to Ride than the standard, not sure how this pans out, but it's still Ticket to Ride, beloved by the multitude.

Space Dudes ! Pew Pew edition ! aka Imperial Assault
On the next table over, the regular fortnightly Imperial Assault group got their groove on and attempted to once again best Imperial David, with Owein giving up his spot to allow Fletch to kick some Star Wars ass. The rebels lost this one - they all ran out of time, which in the words of Pete was a shame, as he was enjoying wookie smashing his way around, and it seemed inexplicable to him that after a certain amount of time the rebels all gave up and went home for tea. One can only assume the Rebel Alliance is a keen observer of French union work hours, and knock off promptly at 5pm, princesses in distress or not.**

On Her Majesty's Service
My table I got to introduce the overly bling On Her Majestys Service to Tim, Samantha and Mark, and despite me trying to backstab the leaders as much as possible, there were just too many, and Samantha swept to victory in a late game double turn cunning move. Tim was impressed with the bling, took some photos, and this week actually remembered to send them to the blog.

Afterwards we had a game of the not much seen Divinare, which is a favourite of mine that I like to use as a gateway game. Divinare is a marvellous little filler game for up to four that is filled with deduction, bluff, some knowing nods, nudges and winks, and a little sprinkle of ass hattery. Simple in execution, Divinare portrays itself as a competition between mediums who are keen to prove they are the better psychic than anyone else present.

Divinare bathes in the blinding light that is Tim
They do that by predicting the total number of cards at the four different coloured tables and by playing cards to match their tables. So. Guess how many cards of each of the four colours are in everyones hand. Some card passing goes on, and there are some wrinkles about when and what kind of prediction you make, allowing you to neatly stitch other people up, bluff, or succumb yourself to some chicanery and either lose face with bad predictions or be forced to withdraw.

Firefly returned to the Tun to entertain a group of five. Not sure there were too many Firefly fans playing however, as there seemed to be some confusion about just what the "Serenity" was, and whether this was actually a game about Firefly at all. Shocking. There was also talk of having "warranties out", which in the end was not about insuring your spaceship from breakages and repair bills but turned out to be the decidely less reassuring "warrants" and being pursued for nefarious deeds. Competent captains all round then - no Mal Reynolds here.

Caverna, with Rebel Owein
Owein shirking his duties as Rebel Scum went and joined in for some Caverna farming action instead, presumably where he went on to sulkily service his uncle's moisture vaporators with power convertors from Toshi station. Or some other nonsense sci fi words. I have no idea really what went on there apart from the usual digging, farming, and snuggling with animals in the snuggle cavern - this actually exists if you've never played Caverna, I'm not making that bit up. And from the looks of the picture they were playing in simplified learners edition Caverna. Pfah !

Elsewhere we had Takenoko - everyone is keenly awaiting the chibi expansion for this with moar pandas - Game of Thrones once again - you can almost take it as read now that Game of Thrones is being played at least once a fortnight - Epic spell wars thingie, Carcassonne, Blood Rage - for an epic third/fourth week in a row ? - and Tom and Stu made a very laudable theme evening with some Bean Feasting, Bohnanzing and other bean related games, but bailed out at the end to play the Foxes which
Takenoko + Beer
isn't foxes but is really cats card game.

There were of course some end of evening Werewolf games, James had a rather unlikely game as a drunk who became tanner and then managed to win by being the person chosen to be shot - you can check out the write up for that from James on his blog

I leave you with the gallery. Thanks go to Tim this week for his photos. Remember, if you have photos, a funny single liner, a write up, or would just like me to shut up for a bit, you can send in a submission over here !


Blood Rage

Umm, Beanfeast ?


Epic Spell Wars

Game of Thrones ( no beer spills this week )

An empty Divinare table setup. I am embarrassingly far ahead.

Hoots mon, it's John Brown from OHMS

Mr Fox loiters with some gas mask person of ill repute

Pretty Shiny Things - OHMS

* A NoBoG generation being around 6 months by my unscientific reckoning. This is the minimum space of time someone new can turn up, attend regularly, then not bother again, thus never coming into contact with the "next generation" of NoBoGer. It's like dog years. Or something. It makes some of our veteran NoBoGers over 700 years old. Listen. It all makes sense to me ok ?

** A friend of mine related a recent story about someone breaking down in their car whilst in France. A swift call to the AA and local Francais repair man is out on the scene inspecting the engine. An hour later with a muttered cinq heure he packs up his tools and drives off - leaving the broken down car still broken down. Cue phone call to AA again. He buggered off at 5 ! Well that's not very good says the AA. We'll get a recovery vehicle out to you. A short time later an apologetic call from the AA. It seems that as it's now past 5 o'clock, there are no recovery vehicles available to pick you up. We'll get a taxi out to you and put you up for the night. Apparently the taxis do actually work after 5pm in France.

Next day, the car is picked up, taken to a local garage, and they arrive to see what the issues are. After a short chat, the mechanic declares it to be lunch, and buggers off leaving them none the wiser.

Très bien ! Liberté, égalité, fraternité ! ( only during office hours )

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Ordeals of Walker

Business as usual last week at the Mash Tun, a comfortable 53 NoBoGers were in attendance to get their gaming groove on, Bondy failed to appear after promises to the contrary and Tom Ist aka International Man of Mystery and suspected MI5 agent turned up after a fair hiatus to challenge all to Blood Rage. I can only presume his hiatus was down to International Travel once again in pursuit of his cover job of piloting submersibles around various bits of ocean floor.

The fearsome Blood Rage ! Look at those bloodthirsty players !
Stu ended up winning Blood Rage - but once again, who knew, we are left to contemplate that all these calm seemingly courteous Norfolk dwelling people actually make excellent blood curdling vikings. Pete declared his strategy in the game had been on focusing on infrastructure - in a game that tells tales of blood letting vikings and rewards you for epic deaths - which just goes to show you can take Pete out of the Euro but you can't take the Euro out of Pete, and Tom declared the game stupid in so much as he completely fumbled two turns of which the game lasted three or so. A bit of gamer projection going on there. But all round thumbs up for Blood Rage again.

They finished with a card game about collecting foxes, which looked anything like foxes to me and appeared to be cats. Stu assured me they were foxes - despite having no muzzles to speak of - and that they had a cunning look to them. Yes. So cunning in fact that they appear to have disguised themselves as cats. Tom redeemed himself by winning the fox / cat game, with Nicky disgusted at coming a dismal last.

Meanwhile Lewis was excitedly bouncing around with Smash Up Munchkin edition, a game that promised to be the mash up of both ( Smash Up Mash Up Munchkin ? say that quickly 10 times ) for which he was looking to recruit some seasoned Mash Up players to test out the new more involved game.

Smash Up Munchkin - the ordeal aftermath. It was fun ! No. Really.
Some three and a half hours later they had finished the Smash Up Mash Up - so the new game seems to have inherited the length of Munchkin - with exhausted faces all round. There seemed to be some self assuring going on post game that they had indeed enjoyed it. It wasn't particularly convincing. Lewis however was very pleased with the game, although, even he I suspect knew it was a bit of an ordeal, like some mythic endeavour of the gods, the seven trials of Smash Up Munchkin.

Luke took some newcomers away to give them some rootin tootin, bullet shooting, punch flying shenanigans in the ever excellent Colt Express, which all enjoyed, and I got to sit down with Broom Service again where I finagled my way from last place into game winning first place by end game.
Broom Service and a win for me. Which I think we can all
agree is the only important thing here.
I'm on a roll with Broom Service - undefeated. I am the bravest witch...

We then got to play the epically backstabby Lifeboats, where some first turn treachery saw me thrown out of a boat to drown, and Andrew was the continual victim of having no spaces left to climb back into and having his sailors drown.

It was all very funny. Unless you were Andrew. Then not so much.

Lots of other games on offer, which to be frank, I only half noticed, I think there was a game of Keyflower, and some ninja assassiny type card game, and possibly two games of Castles of Mad King Ludwig again, and even some classic laid back Dixit.

Things wrapped up pretty early this week, most of the pub emptying out before 11pm - light weights - which only left a small group of us to play a bit of Werewolf until the witching hour. Good fun.

Charlotte has a request for us, for those using the top mezzanine "best table in the house" table, can you fold it up and put it away after you are done - it lives just around the corner. The poor girl is half the size of the table and has trouble wrestling with it every week. Failing that, just let me know and I will put it away.

As ever, I leave you with the gallery, lots of pics from Monika this week ! Great work.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Truckers

Another fine evening of gaming last week, but truth be told, I can't say much about what was going on, I was chilling playing a relaxed game of Isle of Skye, Guillotine and then Take 6, plus fannying about with camera settings. So. This week there will be waffling. If you've ever seen the Fast Show with Paul Whitehouse and his bit with the old man in the chair, you'll know what to expect.

Formula De - time field distortion
A noisy full table of Formula De was played out beside us, I have no idea what track it was, but it looked good fun. I really like Formula De, but, and it's a big butt, it plays way too long for me for what it is. It takes forever and a day on a big track with lots of people, when all you're really doing is rolling and moving. Don't get me wrong, it's also a fun game, and in a campaign over several tracks with some serious minded people it can be another kind of groovy all over again. But yeah. Time.

1990, when my innocent self was still in the grips of schooling, I made my own formula 1 racing game, not exactly a million miles away from Formula De, except my version played in about 30 minutes. It proved to be very popular for the other sixth formers, who when given a choice of doing academic work / revising, or racing tiny cars around a track, picked the latter. Like shooting fish in a barrel ! Of course, me being me, shortly after I binned the whole thing and forgot about it, and now occasionally lament I did that, and try to remember exactly what the rules were.

In the grips of some madness of experimenting with to be honest, far too complicated camera settings, I tried to take some artsy pictures this week, with some long exposures and the like. Turns out, 30 second exposures of Formula De do not end well. 10 second ones, eh, somewhat better.

In other parts of the Mash Tun, Messrs David, Sam, James and Voitek decided to crank out the quality game of Galaxy Truckers, the crazy endeavour of assembling some form of cobbled together
Galaxy Truckers, League of Gentlemen style
spaceship, followed by taking it out into the galaxy to conduct your trading, looting and racing without it falling to pieces. I have to say watching them assemble their ships, they were by far the most, relaxed, polite, gentlemanly space ship builders I have ever seen. The spaceship assembly part of the game is something of a race against time against your fellow players - firstly to grab the bits you like, and secondly, you only have a minute to finish when the first player declares finished.

But apparently that was not of concern for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Truckers who you imagine ply their trade routes in smoking jackets and slippers. I didn't actually hear it, but I'm sure there was much conversation during building along the lines of, "No no dear chap, you take that part, honestly, it looks better on your ship anyway" and "Excuse me, but I think I may be nearing completion of my vessel, but I will sip on my tea instead of finishing to give you chaps a good crack at completion." . Clearly they've never played with Sam "Numbers" Blackwell who delights in creating half finished ships in record time just to watch everyone else fail epically.

Blood Rage, Ragnarok is upon us
Nicky brought along a new kickstarter binge, the gorgeously over produced Blood Rage, a game all about Vikings and Ragnarok and securing yourself the best combat death ever.

As the tag line goes Life is battle, battle is glory, and glory is ALL.

Now. If you know Nicky, you might not immediately associate her with bloodthirsty, kill or be killed all out Viking blood fests - her calm and friendly exterior revealing little of the Valkyrie inside. But that's where you'd be wrong. Which just goes to show, you never can tell.

The epically epic miniatures of Blood Rage
The game looks fantastic - of course, it's been done by Cool Mini or Not - and has been written by Eric Lang ( Chaos in the Old World, X-COM amongst others ), and seems to be winning fans. Nicky has promised to bring the blood letting along again this week, so, if you have a moment you can gawp at the fantastic miniatures, or if you're lucky, even give it a play.

A double dose of Castles of Mad King Ludwig was also on offer, one game drawing out into a somewhat lengthy affair with some dubious card recycling going on, Punk Rich was back in the house and found himself a quiet corner to hide in with Hazel and Dean where they got themselves wrapped up in Nations.

David and Chloe brought Imperial Assault along, where presumably they found the droids WERE the ones they were looking for after all, and have signed up to an every other week campaign of Star Wars ground based pew pewing. Looked cool. Although I hear some grumbles that playing the Imperials is something of a boring experience.

King of Tokyo stomped around the pub too, plus some Orctions gaming, and once again Mafia de Cuba got hauled out with a full table of 12 and some crazy shenanigans which proved to be very fun. Me and Sam nearly got away with both declaring to be drivers - despite that meaning there were one too drivers many - but Hannah belatedly pointed out our lie to Godfather Kieran who promptly ratted out Sam - an actual driver - then me - a diamond thief. Curses. Well played Sam though, he backed me up right to the end. If it wasn't for those meddling kids....

Thanks to Monika whos picture of Galaxy Truckers I purloined this week. My own picture succumbed to a 30 second over exposure madness.

The lovely Isle of Skye

Nations in the Time Out Corner

King of Tokyo and a trio of cool T Shirts

Imperial Assault. These ARE the droids you're looking for.

Castles 1

And Castles 2...

Another shot of the lovely Blood Rage miniatures

More blurry shots of Formula De for you...