Weekly Gaming 18/02/2014

I’ve had a nice week and I’m glad to be sharing about what games I got into over it once again. Halesowen of course is in a separate post so check that out too if you’re interested!

Friday

Friday was the UoB tabletop society as usual. I got there a bit late as they’ve closed the car park by the guild where it’s held so I had to head home and walk instead (I don’t mind the walk, but arriving later sucks ^^). On arrival there was a seemingly quite intense game of power grid going on, with as many spectators as players, so the first half-hour/hour was spent socializing.

I suggested Euphoria initially, but there wasn’t much interest so we went to another great option – Ticket To Ride: Europe. In TTR you collect sets of cards in 7 colours to be able to place train routes across a map. In this version you also have 3 ‘stations’ which can be used to make use of a blocked train route at the end of the game, but you essentially lose 5 points each time you use one, making them best avoided if possible. As the game was coming to an end I had to make a decision on using a station or drawing cards, as there didn’t look to be enough turns left to complete my biggest route unless I drew a rainbow I went for the station. When we scored up, the top end of the scores were fairly close, with my being exactly as many points behind as I could have gained by taking the gamble and drawing those couple of turns later (Someone else drew and there was indeed a rainbow train!), bummer! My girlfriend Grace took home the victory that I was so close to matching ^^.

Following on from TTR, we played Among the Stars as we had a limited time remaining. We had a full complement of 6 players for this game, a first for that count (I think 5 may be the highest before, but maybe it was 6 then too). I didn’t include any expansion content or player abilities to keep things easier for new players and to stick to the time limit. Most players just managed things as they went along, as it’s pretty difficult to strategize for your first game, and even harder with 6 players as you never know what cards you’ll get passed to you. Greg focused on immediate abilities to rush for both the ‘first to 50’ objective and by extension, the ‘most immediate locations’ objective, along with good use of cards that’re unbalanced by higher player counts (Will have to watch for that in future games), everyone else was fairly spread out as I remember, and the 3rd objective went to waste as me & Grace tied for least power reactors.

It was a good day, followed by a bit of a rest on Saturday, where lots of video games got played and we didn’t really find time to get out and about. Sunday however we…well you’ll have to wait for the next section in 3…2…1…

Sunday

On Sunday I visited my girlfriends family in Leicester where we had something of a games day. Her Uncle really likes Dixit after I introduced it months ago and was interested in playing it more as well as trying some other games, and I was more than happy to oblige! I bought a variety of games along – Dixit, Qwirkle, Ticket To Ride, Forbidden Desert, Steam Noir: Revolution, Belfort & Euphoria along to play, with all but the latter 3 (The most complicated and so only there if people really wanted to) getting played.

First up was Dixit, a bluffing game played with absolutely gorgeous cards in a race to 30 points. Each round has one player as the ‘storyteller’ who picks one of their 6 cards in secret and says something about it. Everyone else picks a card and puts it in too, with them then being shuffled and placed out in front of everyone. Players then vote to try and guess the storytellers card. Players guessing correctly get 3 points, with the storyteller getting 3 if some, but not all, or none, of the players guess correctly. When a players card is voted for (aside from the storytellers) they also get a point. It’s hard to appreciate the charm without playing, but suffice to say it’s a very good party game. I won on this occasion, with some lucky guessing on peoples cards (More elimination than actually picking the right one ^^) and being a little underhanded with references the older generation were unlikely to know. We moved on after as Me & Grace have played this quite a lot and burn out fast on it.

Out next game was a new one to Grace’s family, and one I only picked up within a week thanks to a half-price offer (Presumably because people didn’t want to buy a German version of a game, even though it’s language independant). I put Zug um Zug out on the table and chatter immediately broke out about where people had visited/cycled over the years! In Ticket To Ride/Zug um Zug players build sets of train cards in 7 colours to place trains on the board between cities, with the aim being to complete routes unique to each player to gain victory points (Uncompleted routes are negatives!). We got to it with some players getting trains out quickly and me/Grace’s Dad mostly hoarding cards to try and get longer routes/more choices in placement. By the end, Rick (Grace’s uncle) had managed to shoot into the lead even having got extra routes that he mostly completed, taking him way ahead on points. I spent too long trying to get the right colour for a long route instead of wasting rainbows and didn’t get to use them all in the game. It went down well and I’m sure it’ll get played again some other time, very happy to have played it with them all.

We had a short break next for some food, before going back into games with Qwirkle. This game has players putting down tiles that come in 6 shapes that are in 6 colours, to try and make lines of either colour or shape to score points, tiles in a line have to have one matching attribute (such as ‘blue’) and no repeats (So no having 2 blue circles in one line), which actually makes things harder than people expect! I got a good number of 6-in-a-rows (Which are worth double points, so 12 instead of 6) which net me a victory with 75 points to the nearest next player on 74. This also went down quite well, which is good as I like this one a lot as a game to play with people that aren’t interested in going to more complex games ^^.

To finish up the evening, I decided to suggest the least complex of the games left over – Forbidden Desert. This definitely wins for the most unexpected game, with the idea of a cooperative game being totally new to near everyone present. Forbidden Desert has players has a bunch of explorers stranded in the desert after their helicopter crashed, time is short for the sun is ever beating down, with players vying to find the pieces of an ancient airship in the area to rebuild it and fly to safety. This is managed by players having 4 actions in a turn to move, clear and excavate tiles, tiles that are ever shifting, as at the end of a player turn storm cards are drawn to move things around and take things ever closer to a gloomy ending. In our game we managed to gather all 4 of the pieces to rebuild the ship, and even worked out which tile it was under, but ultimately found ourselves too late, running out of water in the final rush and losing out to our unquenched thirst. Just a few more turns would have clenched it! I think people had fun, and hope they might like to play either Forbidden Desert or a similar game like pandemic sometime to once again try their odds at playing with the table isntead of against them. Good Times!

As always, thanks for reading. Now I should get back to what I was doing and look forward to tomorrow evening for halesowen!

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