Sunday, 24 April 2016

Crafting brews with a furious Dracula

A much smoother NoBoG this week. With the upstairs at the Tun all sorted (ish), far less furniture hauling going on ( but still some ), the serious business of gaming could proceed without worry. And what a great week of gaming it was !

Fury of Dracula. Pete reprises his role as the Count.
Third edition Fury of Dracula was back to table again this week, and this time game owner Hal actually got to try his own game out for the first time pitting wits against the wily Count Peteula. The game ran long again with Pete managing to fairly easily elude his pursuers, mostly first time players allowing the arch vampire to slip between the cracks of pursuit and ramp up points to a victory. I suspect splitting player turns into two turns of one action each, compared to the old variants of doing two things at once can push the game long if you have players that like to think about it. Nevertheless the 3rd edition seems like a solid game, and if you've been on the fence about it in the past, this edition is definitely worth a look.

Brewcrafters. David blasts to a win with all the assistants.
David brought Brew Crafters along again, this time managing to secure a good win by picking up a strong set of synergising specialists and ingredients pulls meaning he could brew the complex beers without breaking a sweat ( particularly neat as everyone else had focused on self sufficient yeast production meaning he could reap a whirlwind of benefits from a glut of unused yeast on the market ). Richard IV tried the not entirely easy to pull off mass production of shit low requirement ale, but failed to get any hops infusing extra victory points in on the action and coasted to a lack lustre finish. This game continues to get a good buzz about it, and more interested eyes are turning its way when it is in play.

Also upstairs Isle of Skye got a request for a play, my copy seems to slowly be doing the rounds and for good reason. I think in hindsight Isle of Skye has to be my top game of 2015, it ticks more good design boxes than you can shake a stick at and hits something of a nirvana of a very nicely thought out light to mid weight game. Co-designed by Alexander Pfister, this designer is starting to be one of my favourite designers - he also did Port Royale, Broom Service and Oh My Goods ! amongst others. You can read up my initial run through of Isle of Skye in the earlier NoBlog post here -

Talking of Oh My Goods ! that I enjoyed last week but slated for being a raw RNG fest, it seems I am not the only one that thought that as a 2.0 set of rules has been released for the game that sees an overhaul of the mechanics designed to mitigate a lot of the unmanageable randomness in the game. As well as that a few tweaks on top of the RNG handling ( mainly to nerf the power of the ridiculous take an extra card building ) promises to make the game a much tighter and satisfying experience. Alex Pfister has defended the first set of rules as being "more open to casual gamers" and that the second set of rules is more for the "experienced euro gamer". Mmm. Ok. Sure. Although I kinda suspect the first set of rules are just plainly not that good - casual gamer or not. The 2.0 rules certainly do not bring in any further complexity to the game. Just ways to mitigate the RNG ( by discarding and refreshing your hand - something even the most newbie of casual players would appreciate doing instead of being stuck with a hand for the entire game that you can't use ).

I look forward to giving Oh My Goods ! another run - this time with the (proper?!) 2.0 rules.

Funnily enough, after Isle of Skye I played Port Royale. To make it a Pfister evening. A Pfister evening ? Hmm. Doesn't sound the kind of evening you have in polite company. Anyway. It was great fun. Mick managed to trawl the unlikeliest of odds by failing to score a single game winning point in his own turn - instead going bust - and seeing Chris gleefully securing the win instead.

Betrayal at House on the Hill. Part of Bens send off.
This week also saw the old NoBoG favourite Betrayal at House on the Hill return in style with two simultaneous games of this getting to table. Ah. It's like the old days back at the Ribs. Betrayal played every week, sometimes on two tables in parallel. The slightly awkward passing of the ostracised played out in the badly lit bit of the pub in the stairs / deck / corridor reading up on their scenario rules for just what kind of a betrayer they are.

Of course Betrayal savant Luke got in on a game, by his own reckoning he has not only  played all the scenarios, but played each of them multiple times, and also Ben got in a game after requesting it as his final NoBoG game. As previously noted, Ben, one of the intrepid Mice and Mystic regulars, was due to head off to Japan at some point and that time has finally come with him departing to stay over there for the next four years to make interesting observations about water. He managed to squeeze in a couple of games of Coup after Betrayal followed by possibly one of the best sessions of Secret Hitler I've seen, fascist turning on fascist and Hitler getting confused by all the fascist internecine fighting going on shooting one of his co-conspirators ( Ben as it happened ) in the face. This marks the second time that Pete - as Hitler - has done far too awesome a job of appearing liberal and has harmed his fellow fascist team. An awesome game, and a great send off for Ben.

Old school with Carcasonne
In some news that's sure to excite the hardcore Betrayers, it's been recently announced that a new expansion of Betrayal is out soon with a new set of 50 stories and some extra tiles including a roof area for the house. Which is about time !

Elsewise on Elliot's table they were getting all old school with Carcassone ( *cough* the inferior version of Isle of Skye ) and Lewis put in a hugely theatrical turn whilst playing Aye Dark Overlord ( which is as rare as Hen's teeth to try and obtain these days - I think Martin might have brought it along ) as the Overlord, chewing out his minions over why they had failed.

I think we might have found Lewis' true calling. Dramatic Dark Overlord.

Sheriff of Nottingham. Lewis is digging being the Sheriff
Which is possibly slightly better than Secret Fascist. Maybe not. Prior to this Lewis had been warming up his theatrics with a game of Sheriff of Nottingham and really getting into the part of Sheriff.

James got another play of Village, his £3 bargain bin charity shop find, but has come to the conclusion that the game is just "alright" and will be putting it on his trade list. Still at £3 you can't go wrong. I can't remember anyone ringing the praises of Village, it did seem however to be an acceptable Euro when it first came out. I've never played it, all I know is you can score points by killing people.

Upstairs with Terra Mystica
Lords of Vegas and Terra Mystica were also back at table, Terra Mystica continuing to sustain its renewed NoBoG life, and Nate was with us again for a second week running this time playing Mombasa. Which. Bizarrely enough. Is yet another Alex Pfister game. All Pfister. All the time at NoBoG !

This week was also the inaugural week of NoBoG Mondays where we started trialling NoBoG on a second day of the week. Despite the weight of democracy coming down on Mondays as the choice day of the week, only six hardy NoBoGers turned up on Monday for some gaming. Six people on two tables was all very old school NoBoG. Back in the days where you didn't need to wrangle people into games, or do shout outs, organise people or find tables and chairs.

So Monday was all very civilised. Richard IV finally got his epic set of all things Dominion to table - where he proceeded to do the dickish tactic of making everyone mill through their decks via Saboteur, and over on the other table they played Terra Mystica.

We finished up with some fillers of Divinaire ( which, naturally, I won, because I am always the bestest psychic of them all, and Richard IV managed to finish on negative points thus giving him the very firm career advice that psychic was not in his future ) and also Pandemic Contagion. Pandemic Contagion was new to me, a competitive quick filler from the Pandemic world based on you trying to infect ( instead of cure ) as many places as possible, and grab more victory points than everyone else. It was an enjoyable game, but to my mind the game is, if not broken, then almost not a game. Your choices are not well balanced - there is a single obvious strategy to adopt, and final gameplay is a very arbitrary slam dunk kind of gameplay where you can wrap up scoring cities in a single turn. The game practically plays itself once you are fully invested, and you can't help thinking that the game needs some serious tweaking to give more meaningful choices a chance, and is kinda broken the way it is - for casual players though who aren't looking at optimising their choices, it's arguably a nice game. Woe betide any serious gamer who sits in with them however.

Next NoBoG Monday promises to see more people turn up. If the irregulars of NoBoG are to be believed. Plenty of people were either a) surprised there is now a Monday to play on, and of course I will turn up on Mondays now as they are better suited for me and b) fell asleep at some point before 7.30pm and missed the start. All very Boom Town Rats sleeping the whole day through.

Some more table and chair money was generously donated this week, and with expenditures on a total of 14 new chairs and 1 table this week, the NoBoG fund stands at £68.53.

More Betrayal. With apparently some Love Letter and cutlery thrown in. Luke is getting desperate to keep the game fresh.

Lords of Vegas



Sunday, 17 April 2016

Lights, Tables, Action !

This week there was something of a stir in the lands of NoBoGia.

Upstairs at t'Tun
Following on from last weeks burrito based bedlam, new upstairs space at the Tun had been cleared for use, and the cry had gone out for all NoBoGers to quest* in search of tables and chairs. NoBoGers responded in marvellous fashion, scouring classifieds for items, driving around Norfolk to secure bargains and putting in some time as amateur furniture movers. New Table Tuesday thus arrived with some tables and chairs already delivered, and a bunch more turning up on the evening, all of which got hauled upstairs into the labyrinthine depths of the Tun.  Perhaps I am biased, but I don't think you'll find a more friendly helpful community than that of the Norwich Board Gamers, from the regulars to the most scarce irregular. Awesome.

Light in the Dark, upstairs at the Mash Tun
In the end we managed to obtain five tables for this weeks use and some fourteen or so chairs. . . which wasn't enough chairs, we had to grab chairs from anywhere we could - including the Tun's staff only area "office" chair - whilst leaving the majority of the ( unused ) seating alone in the main area of the pub.

A fairly busy 51, 52, 53 turned up this week to see in the new tables, and every single usable table we had was put to good use ( only Hal's slightly wonky loose bolts table not being used ), oddly enough split five tables downstairs and five tables upstairs.

The space upstairs is ample for our forseeable needs, there's a need for more chairs - which we are halfway to resolving - and the lighting in places is very dubious. For those who had never been upstairs there was some surprise at the space available. Potentially we need more tables but only to cover Peak Gamer - which might be moot as we're moving to a two nights a week trial format.

What was played this week ?

The end of Time Stories. Figuring out the last puzzle.
I got to finish of Time Stories with Darren, Alfie and Hal where we finally put the first story to bed after a six week hiatus. During this session, without going into too many spoilers we learned that Hal will do anything to please a naked lady. Fortunately we ignored his happy trusting nature of naked ladies, took a different path and went on to win the game - with an epic score of zero. There was once again much discussion post game about the cost of the game versus its amount of play, whether the need to buy the base game was there once you'd cleared the first included story  ( the conclusion was you didn't need to buy the base game at all ), and the design aesthetics of the first story - dead ends and wasted time versus a need to not have players become complacent about never being able to fail. Despite the involved conversation about the game, everyone really enjoyed it, and I got the impression that the game if nothing else is a really unique and interesting experience for all involved - and for that reason alone is a must play for any half serious gamer.

We finished with a nice condensed euro filler of Oh My Goods! which to me is like a compressed Imperial Settlers without any dicking with other players. An interesting little resource management / synergy game, and I enjoyed it a lot, but whilst on the surface it has a lot of good nods towards euro goodness, player interaction is zero and ( a fixed limited ) card pull plays a very large part in whether you're going to be competitive or not. If you're being critical the game comes down to whether you pull the right two cards at the right time or not - and have some luck with resource pools available. This trend of super condensed euro fillers is really interesting, but I think is a difficult nut to crack without falling into just busy work hiding a big ole RNG engine. Still that being said, I'd really like to have a another go at this filler.

Pete enjoys vamping around Europe
Over in the corner of thematic gloom, Pete got the first play of the third edition of Fury of Dracula, the deduction based cat and mouse game of hunting Dracula across Europe. The third editions sees a number of shakeups, a changed day night cycle, a removal of dice and a bunch of minor tweaks. Without the vagaries of the much maligned dice melee thus becomes a good deal more predictable, and whilst in theory the removal of dice brings the game more into a modern Euro sensibility, it can mean the combat can seem on observation a little contrived as you can reasonably work out the outcome of any rock paper scissors type fight - great for Dracula if he's crunching his escape numbers. Pete for one likes the tweaks the third edition introduces and gave the game a big thumbs up.

Brew Crafters with a mad mix of Beers available
David busted out Brew Crafters for the third week straight - and Brew Crafters games seem to be popping up here and there in response to it showing up at NoBoG. David rather cruelly put newbies of Voitek, Monika and James through the paces of a bunch of advanced ( and pretty hideously tricky ) beers. Richard IV won this by sticking to a basic collaboration for points strategy and brewing nothing but one of the few non tricky beers repeatedly. Given the rest of the beers on offer this was almost certainly a sensible strategy.

Guillame brought Shakespeare along - Sam muttered it was surprisingly good, very Euro. I don't think he was amazingly thrilled with its Euro-ness. And James table, probably the hardcore player table of the evening with Nate, Tom, and Nicky played Istanbul, and something else I forget.

Busy downstairs, four tables in shot, 26 people !?
Downstairs was a huge filler night as two big tables of party / social games were the order of the night, Mafia de Cuba, Secret Hitler, Resistance and something new to me antidote, which at a quick glance seemed like a nicely themed up simple deduction game.

Ben had a third large table of players, hosting an epic 8 player game of Robo Rally which to me sounds utterly mental. Everyone really enjoyed their experience however and they even managed two games of it, the first game a bit of a training run through on one board and the second one a more proper run over 3 boards. Crazy.

Lords of Vegas, Quadropolis and a finishing game of Thunderbirds were also going on downstairs, and Tim has some pictures and something to say about Quadropolis.

Being the yearly ‘New Game’ from Days of Wonder, I came to Quadropolis with Ticket to Ride front and centre in my thoughts. Having enjoyed many games of of the ten-years-plus old classic, with a wide variety of people, my hopes were set high. Being reminded that DoW also produced Smallworld did nothing to lessen that. I should perhaps have instead focussed on DoW’s Five Tribes, a game at the heavier end of the ‘Brain Crunch Spectrum’(TM). I have never played Five Tribes, but the reviews I have seen indicate that it is nowhere near as simple as Smallworld, let alone Ticket to Ride. After one play, I would put Quadropolis somewhere between Smallworld and Five Tribes.

The game consists of four round, with four player turns in each. A player has four numbered Architect tokens and plays one per turn to select which building from the central stock they will construct. The different building types score in different ways based on how they are placed in a players city, so careful thought is needed about every action.

I definitely enjoyed playing this with Ewan, Simon and Matt. The art style (and probably thoughts of Ticket to Ride) made me think I would get away with using my brain a little less than was the case. I certainly won’t say no to another play in the next few weeks, and if it stands up to repeats I may get my own copy.

Jarryd showed off his progress with the NoBoG app this week. It's coming along nicely, events are displayed where you can check out what games are available to play as well as adding your own games into a list, all of which hooks back to the BGG API to automatically include box art, number of players and other details about your games.

Next week we are going to trial Monday NoBoG or as Joe has christened it, Ultimately Inferior Night, as well as the regular Tuesday night. Moving to a two nights a week setup has been something kicked around for quite some time and is the single most requested NoBoG thing as some people just want to game more, and others can't make Tuesdays. Thursdays would I feel have been a better day, but from a pub night point of view Monday is a no brainer as if pubs are mostly dead on weekdays, then they are doubly dead on Mondays.

It remains to be seen what will happen to player numbers - will Tuesday numbers reduce ? Will Mondays be super quiet ? Will both days end up busy ? Who knows.

Diceni - one of the many gaming type conventions going on in Norwich this year - is also rapidly approaching, and we're going to go there and play some games with any passers by that are interested - or just amongst ourselves if the crowd is more of a watching type of vibe rather than a participating one.

As ever I leave you with the gallery.

Lords of Vegas

Robo Rally 8 player


Beer + Secret Hitler - NoBoG style


One of the strange half rooms in the Tun. This is the bar outside the upstairs larger room.


The final fight of Fury of Dracula requires everyone to stand. It's in the rules.

Some of the labyrinthine stairs and corridors upstairs at the Tun. It's like Hogwarts without any of the class snobbery and more 1970's decor.

Seriously, possibly the best ever thematic lighting for a game of Fury of Dracula ever. Pete doing his best Translyvanian count bit. If Translyanian counts started wearing hoodies.

David (left) wrestling with the choices of Brew Crafters. Richard IV ( right ) hoping no one will notice his single beer collaboration strategy.

* Elliot's words. He was questing with his son Bilbo and fellow NoBoG regular Sam in something of a very Lord of the Rings vibe. But for tables, not evil rings. Elliot should probably change his name to Frodo. Or possibly Aragorn. Or maybe the crazy dude covered in bird poo - Radagast.

Friday, 8 April 2016


Not much of a gaming blog this week. And few pictures. Disgusting. You just can't get the staff these days. I will say however that I got to play Onward to Venus, a somewhat sneered upon Martin Wallace game, and managed a triumphant win as the glorious Germans. My win was probably helped along in no small part due to avoiding looking like I was any kind of threat for the lead, entirely ignoring the largest source of victory points on offer, and slightly stirring the pot against those who seemed to be doing well.

Onward to Venus chaps !
As it turns out, no one was doing quite as well as I was. Who knew. Onward to venus occupies a somewhat uneasy place for some gamers stuck between a very mild Euro and a very mild Ameritrash style game. It's a fun game. Which for some starts heads shaking and tutting about frivolous "fun" games and the RNG inherent in dice, and delights others with its ridiculous rollercoaster ride of cursed rolls and luck. The theme is one of steampunk Victorian era space exploration, sending out your plucky soldiers and Jules Verne style spaceships in order to go conquer the planets of the solar system for the glory of your colonial power ( the British, Americans, French, Germans and Russians ). Veeps are earned by having the most "influence" on a planet ( the most income from mines and factories ) as well as a smattering of other small veep income opportunities ( bagging big game for instance ). The game is driven by what things crop up on what planets, and your flow of income and troop numbers. Troops are jetted around the solar system to go lay claim to things, which earns money to buy more troops to jet around the solar system. There is an art to managing your cards to screw others over, or helps yourself out, and the worst excesses of dice RNG can be mitigated if you're careful.

A nice game, a bit of wackily themed fun, something of a change of pace from your more cerebral titles.

Mice & Mystics was played along side me. I got to listen to one of the Ben's reading out the story of the brave mice. It was lovely. LOVELY. Like story time. I'm not sure if I made Ben slightly self conscious as I listened attentively to his telling. The mousey team of the two Bens, Sam and Joe managed once again to beat all the odds and centipedes with ease. Joe has become quite dismissively complacent about the whole thing and now scoffs at the game being at all hard. Quite the change of tune.

Over at site two... yeah... that happened.... over at site two, the Mash Tun, Brew Crafters got another play - David was so caught up thinking about what he did wrong and right the first play, he had to go out and buy the game to get some practice in. And then promptly brought it along to NoBoG. I get it. The game is very like that. If you like your Euros, this game will have you thinking about it the day after. And wanting to correct your first time brewing flaws. Pete managed to score an epic and intimidating 88 points on this being his second game. But afterwards admitted to having totally cheated to get that score and breaking the rules about farming and brewing timing.

Elliot pleased with his win at CoM. Voitek ignores his delight.
Elliot finally won a game of Champions of Midgard. He was chuffed. Look at his chuffed face. The official NoBoG Twitter Ghost in the Machine was however not so impressed, and commented that it was about time given how many times Elliot had played it. Burn.

Other things were played. Some Resistance. Some werewolf. Some Secret Hitler. Sam's best Secret Hitler insult of the evening was to accuse Alex of having a daterapey kind of face - which made him a fascist. He also insisted on having Wagners Ride of the Valkyries playing for the latter half of the game. Perhaps we should just have a regular piece on the best Sam insult of the evening.

That's it for directly gaming related stuff. Be off with you.




Still here ?

So, something of an introspective this week about NoBoG. Just me talking about my experience. But maybe it's an interesting insight. Maybe it's not. If you're a regular member of NoBoG then you'll probably know some of this already. If you're an irregular, then you missed stuff. And if you're an interested lurker.. well.. this is probably all news to you.

Story time !

Call it coincidence. Prescience. Shrewd management. Or a sixth sense for impending doom. This week my unease over the last month about space at the Mash Tun, the NoBoG pub of choice, suddenly became a very real and immediate problem and the group was forced to split between the pub and Athena games just across the way.

Over the last 5 weeks -with the exception of last week - space has been on the edge of being a problem at the Tun. Just one of those things. A popular month of Tuesdays ? Were we attracting more people into the pub ? Did the news article or TV bit do anything ? Random ? Would it just go away ? Tricky. And not a little annoying because the Tun was so big, with plenty of space to grow into, and yet, a series of unfortunate things had conspired to take all that space away. No tables for you. No upstairs expansion room for you. Meh. A lovely initial setup that had slowly deteriorated to the point of being a problem.

As I got Easter out of the way and managed to regain the use of my hobbled foot, the first thing on my NoBoG agenda was to go have a chat with the Tun and see what was what. For one thing just the courtesy of asking them if they were happy with us ( which I think ended up inadvertently setting off a mini panic of paranoia in the NoBoG ranks ), could we do anything better, and for another thing, what was going on with the busier Tuesdays, could we start another day, reserve tables and blah.

Interjected suddenly into all of that the Tun announced late last week that they would be hosting a new caterer for evenings and lunches - and pretty much the whole week barring Mondays, food would now be available. The pub used to play host to Harbercue in the latter half of the week - Thursdays onwards ( and one of the main sticking points of having a second NoBoG day on a Thursday ) - but for whatever reason they shut up shop a good few weeks ago, and as far as NoBoG went, we never saw them on Tuesdays.

Reaction from the NoBoGers about food on Tuesdays ranged from doom to glee. There'll be no space now ! To. Not over my game components you don't ! To. I can stuff my face and game, wheee !

Realistically however, I knew food on a Tuesday would just exacerbate an already borderline space issue into possible outright craptopia. If  nothing else we would end up losing the kitchen end tables ( which for many weeks has been our get out of jail sure fire overflow seating areas ), and probably end up a table or two short.

But who knows. Maybe no one would come. Maybe they genuinely just wanted to target NoBoGers to serve food to ( as the dude who had approached me last week alluded to ). Think. Positive.

Uh huh.

As it turned out, on the Tuesday evening, the Kitchen area tables became entirely off limits. We've paid rental for this, these are our tables, was the reply to a couple of NoBoGer requests to see if the tables were free. Mmm k. And the long tables at the front of the pub were also off limits. Reserved. You can't use them this evening I was told as I got to the bar.

That didn't stop Lewis putting his games down and throwing a gaming cloth down. Ah. Lewis. We've been told we can't have those tables. No one told me he says somewhat put out. I know. We only just found out.

So tables.

All told the table space at the Tun available for games reduces by half.

Charlotte had suggested I could talk to her on the evening we were gaming there. I felt it was far from ideal. The pub would probably be busy. I'd probably be busy. And no chat would happen. But I took it. Let's have a chat. On Tuesday. And as it happened. The pub was busy. And I managed to get a few sentences exchanged, and that was that. The pub overtook any kind of sensible conversation. And I got busy. Uh huh. I'll come find you later said Charlotte, and we can chat. I left the bar.

Are you alright, said Eliza in passing to me. You have a stressy face on.

Issues I replied.


I can see exactly what's going to happen here.

I'm going to have 40 odd people buying a drink and then wondering why they can't fit on a table. Some will game. And some will just quietly fade into the woodwork to not be a bother. And shit.

I know this tune. It's called too many people at the Ribs. And it's shit. And people don't have a good time. I'm now flitting around like a blue ass fly. Thinking. Counting. Athena. Courtesy. Do it now.

I left the pub and headed to Athena. Hopefully Jamie was about and I could have a quick chat with him, and see if it was ok to overflow some games and gamers to his place. I felt it was the courteous thing to do. And Jamie, ever the nice guy said of course we could game at Athena. It was always good to have people gaming at the store.

Back to the pub. Counting heads. Counting tables. Five people per table. Now six people per table.

Of all the times I've been here said someone to me. This is the first time I haven't felt welcome here. Like the pub isn't welcoming.

I know. It's like a car crash in slow motion.

Now Seven people per table. Right. I told some people we would be splitting to Athena this evening. Joe immediately headed off with his Mice and Mystics group. Initially unbeknownst to me. Shit. Where's Joe. Where's Ben. Where's James. Am I counting them. Am I not counting them. Have they got the arse and gone home ? I got Pete to text James. They were off shopping for Athena supplies. Ok.

Everyones here. Game roll call is chaotic. Because I don't know who the hell will be gaming where. Screw it. Everyone call their games. Then decide where to play. In the midst of this, an older guy looking a bit lost, a newbie. I went to talk to him whilst game organising chaos ensued. Rescue him from being new. He had a new game prototype he wanted people to look at. And could I look at it. A train game. I chatted to him for a bit. Duncan from the Games room had sent him our way.

Of all the nights.

I got Pete to talk to him - tell him about the end of month game designer play testing malarkey. And left them to it. I had to bail. Priorities. I needed to sort out people that had no tables.

Pete helped me sort out the stragglers, but that left a group of five or so without a game, without a table. They were a bit dejected. No space they said. Pete is doing his best, points out the craptastic totally mis-matched tables pushed together, at different heights ( like 10cm height difference.. you'd need a whole army of NoBoG Levelling devices for this craptasm ) , different everything, with a cloth thrown over them like some ramshackle half assed excuse. You can game there he says. - No -. He doesn't want to game there says Pete half mockingly - Don't make me out to be a Prima Donna, that table is bullshit. - I should get a T-Shirt with that on he says.

After some negotiation with Pete - he wanted to play Archipelago.. or even Brew Crafters, I took the group off to Athena to play Onward to Venus.

And Athena was great. And relaxed. And we had a good time playing. And why don't we always game here came the question. Better light. No hassle - Because people like the atmosphere of a pub. Because they like a beer. - I'd rather game than beer - But some people would like to do both and hit gaming nirvana. We talked a bit about space. And searching for venues. And how venues quickly become scarce when you are talking about sitting 50 people. We talked about Athena and it's still off limits bar. And whether there ever would be a bar. Probably not demographics considerations wise.

You can't please everyone is the comment said to me. That's a comment that's been said more than once over the last few weeks. But that's it isn't it. You aim for the impossible of pleasing everyone is my reply. I think we achieved it with the move to the Tun. And now... aim for the impossible again.

Back in the Tun after we had finished up at Athena, various people chatted to me. Not very welcoming is it, said one person. And echoes of that from others. I mentioned to Pete how relaxed it was at Athena and the question came up why we don't game there. Because it closes at 10.30pm and we can't play longer games said Pete. Fair point. Issues. Issues. Issues.

I think some NoBoGers managed to just about entirely miss any hassle or drama. Which was good. And some didn't. I guess it depends where you were standing. Hopefully. We didn't seriously turn any people off. Hopefully. There are some that would say so what in mercenary fashion. Not the attitude. Friendly and welcoming is what NoBoG should be about.

I checked to see if Charlotte was still at the pub. No. Gone home. Shift over.

I realised that next week would be pretty much the same shit show. Particularly if our numbers picked up from the relatively light weight barely 40 we had this week. 40 these days is quiet.

I asked if Charlotte was in on Wednesday and if she was indeed the right person to speak to. I needed to sort shit out, and sort it out asap. If the Tun was no longer capable of catering to us all, then some fix would need to be arrived at. A move. A permanent split. A different day. Whatever. I found out that the upstairs room was being used at no cost by the Salsa group - and they weren't buying drinks either. Luke one of the bar staff at the Tun said that if it was up to him, it would be crazy to lose us as a group because of space being taken up by people that earned the pub nothing. But it wasn't up to him.

After the evening there were some comments amongst NoBoGers doubting whether we were a good thing for the pub. Did we drink enough. Did some people take the piss and bring their own drinks. The pub was a business. They had to do what was right for them. Perhaps some said, it was a not so subtle message for us to get lost.


I am loaded for bear. My thinking has come round to the point that the Tun is a lost cause, barring some less than likely fix. Or some weird half and half, early hours gaming at Athena, late hours gaming at the Tun. Meh. So. A chat. Which is now, given the evening before, a good deal more pointy than it was. Diplomacy. Clout. And the art of employing it. Or not. But really. This shit doesn't work anymore. And the Tun did not do well.

The last time this shit happened and I was this peeved, we ended up moving venue.

Deja vu. But different circumstances. The Ribs was an inevitable thing coming.

It crosses my mind that at times NoBoG is like a bloody job. A man management stress job.

I time my appearance at the Tun to coincide with what is hopefully a short lull.

Charlotte is in good spirits. And we have a great chat. I explain to her that space has been tight, why are Tuesdays so busy. She doesn't know, but she agrees Tuesdays have become more busy. With food on for Tuesdays, space is now a problem. We just don't fit. Not good. The problems of whether you have people buy a drink - and then have nowhere to sit. Doesn't work. I came looking for you in the evening she says, but you weren't here. Yeah I say, I left, I went to Athena - some of us were gaming over there. Do you know Athena and Jamie ? Jamie is a good guy. We can game there. The point hangs meaningfully for a second.

We discuss the Salsa group. She echoes what I heard yesterday. Pretty much word for word. Makes me think if it hasn't already been discussed. The Salsa group make the pub no money. Bring their own drinks. Happy to have them, but, push comes to shove, they've been told they'd have to leave. She says they don't want to lose us. We're regulars now. And it's good to have us in the pub.

I don't have to say much more. We agree that expanding upstairs would be a good idea, keep the tables on the upper levels, and if more space required, we can go upstairs. But there are no tables - just some shitty ones ( her words ). Theres no music. And no bar.

I'm kinda surprised by the result. It's pretty damn good. From my perspective. Perfect. No more space hassles.

I ask if they have any issues with us. No issues ! The number of people that have asked me that recently ! You're all paranoid. Should we have issues ? You guys are no trouble.

We talk about other days. Because. Fuck it. I'm here. And I know (most) people are keen on a second NoBoG day. What would be your ideal solution she asks. Thursdays ! We talk about different days, Mondays are ideal for the pub, Wednesdays are ok. Thursdays are probably bad.

We chat about other stuff. Chit chat. I leave and go hit Athena up. Buy some games, Jamie is there which is good, I chat to him for a bit. I am conscious of trying to keep everyone happy.

I realise we need to organise some tables and chairs and the chaos of all that crap. In a week. Less than a week. I post up a summary of the outcomes of everything to the NoBoG Facebook group.

Charlotte pings me. The Salsa group have been told. You're ok for Tuesday. And let us know which extra day you want.

Exhausted. Weirdly.

Like a job I think. But no pay. Mad. For the umpteenth time I consider retiring from NoBoG. Eh. Maybe tomorrow.