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



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