Monthly Archives: November 2014

Tabletop/LAN Meetup Weekend (21-11-2014 to 23-11-2014)

So, last weekend, I had a few friends over for an awesome time playing games with friends. It was a mix of tabletop games and video games, but seeing as noone’s collectively got any multiplayer games for a good while it was a bit tinged towards tabletop (For me personally anyway).

Friday

Ahead of anyone arriving I got the room set up, putting the smaller table on the window side of the room for desktops, and the larger table (with nice black tablecloth) on the other, for laptops/board games. I also bought down my own PC and of course a ton of board games – Just the 25 or so that I really wanted to play ;P

Chris (Atkinson) was first to arrive, coming along with his desktop and setting up opposite me. We mostly messed about individually (I think he was getting some stuff done in Heroes & Generals, while I failed hard at League). After a while, I suggested a board game of some kind, and as Dave messaged me at about that time saying he’d be about half an hour I picked something that’s pretty quick – Last Will.

Last Will

I recently picked up the expansion for Last Will, ‘Getting Sacked’. With this included, you not only have to be first to spend a huge chunk of money, but you also need to get fired – Unfortunately for you, your boss tends to never be at work, so you have to put some effort in to getting demoted to the point he finally kicks you out. It also adds a variable setup and some extra cards which we made good use of.

I went for farms early in the game, due both to a boss line that required me to get caught buying a farm, and a pair of early estate agents, one being an action-less buy/sell on them each round, and one that activates up to 2 farms without actions in a round. Chris A also picked up a couple of farms, though he only had a ‘use one without an action’. We also both got an old friend around the same time, giving a little more freedom on #actions (Though I was going for more cards/workers over the number of actions each round).

A little further in and we’d both made good work on losing our jobs (In my case, acting, and in Chris’ case, teaching). Chris did get a touch behind, possibly from bad explanation on my part as to exactly when you can get fired for certain things :S. As we got near the end of the game, Chris started getting rid of some really big chunks of money each turn and had a couple of cards to do so without properties (All of my money-loss was my farms, awkward as you can’t bankrupt yourself while you have property). Fortunately for me, my farm based power-spending dropped me to 0 with Chris stuck with his last farm – I think he’d have gotten to 0 the next round though!

So at this point, with that game taking probably 3/4 of an hour, Dave hadn’t turned up so we assumed he was stuck in a well somewhere. Or…that he’d left at 5:30 down the motorway towards Birmingham…on a Friday. We went back to playing totally separate games for a bit then (Though we spent ages looking up free-to-play games to see if there was any people would play – As well…there’s not been a ‘multiplayer game everyone buys’ for years…We failed =P)

I think it was Dan and Gretchen to turn up next (Though not long different to Dave making an appearance 3 times the amount of time after when we expected him ^^). Little-beknownst to them but they’d be imminently joining for One Night Ultimate Werewolf (I wasn’t planning on giving anyone a choice – As soon as we had 3+ people it was happening =P). While I’d not yet played it, a fixed time-limit social deduction game seemed a nice way to start an evening/couple of evenings ^^.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

(Edit – Never explained the game..simple really, each player has a role, with there being 2 werewolf cards shuffled in with the roles. A night phase lets players perform special abilities, then the day has a 5 minute discussion after while everyone points a finger at another player. Everyone with the most votes dies – If at least one werewolf dies, villagers win, if no werewolves dies, werewolves win. SImple).

Our first game of ONUW was a basic affair, using the recommended setup – 2 Werewolves, The Seer, The Robber and a few Villagers. It was a table of skepticism as I explained, and when we woke up from the first night (Well…second night, Dan ignored the ‘everyone close your eyes’ in true ‘someone refusing to cooperative with the silly sounding rules’ style the first time). After a bit of confusion, I pushed into asking people what their roles were, and when people started talking ‘Well, I was the robber and stole his card which was X’ everyone eyes lit up a bit as they realised it wasn’t as solvable as it sounds from the explanation ^^.

We had a load of games over the evening, playing while people turned up (Handy and later Grant/Lee/Rich), I didn’t really track but someone thought it was about 9 which seems about right. A couple of highlights include a game where Grant lied about his role getting him killed, but turned out to be the hunter (A special villager who, when killed, kills the person he was pointing at) – A brief moment of ‘well damn he’s not a werewolf’ later, and we noticed he was killing Dan, who we considered suspect #2 at the time…So then Dan dies, and reveals as a Tanner (A special role, if he dies he and he alone wins), god damn! ^^.

We had loads of fun playing, and everyone got involved at some point (Even Rich who’d sat out the first couple of games). The last game was another highlight with 3 people being on the most votes (2-2-2), amusingly being the minion and both werewolves – clean sweep on the entire werewolf team (The minion is on the werewolves side).

We had another bout of all playing random games then. I got a few rounds of GunGame in with Dan (Or whatever CS:GO calls it), where I didn’t do shockingly but certainly worse than Dan (So long since I’ve played a shooter!). I played a LoL game with Handy too (Just bots), but his laptop didn’t seem to approve of the updated graphics on Summoners Rift so we left it at just the one ^^. Pizza’s happened thereabouts, with me putting a few in the oven for the sensible people while some got ordered from rip-off-inoes. (I have literally no idea why people refused free pizza, but whatever).

People dropped off in general between 1 and 4am, with people disapearing to another room to sleep, asides from the 4 of us that slept in the LAN room.

Saturday

Saturday started with a plan, a plan to consume lots of Bacon and Sausages. Ian, who had only just turned up that Morning, volunteered to give us a lift to the supermarket by blocking everyone else in on the drive, so me & Grant went along with him and grabbed a ton of supplies. On getting back, my Mum/Gretchen seemed to happily take up the mantle of cooking it all, which I don’t think anyone had any particular need to argue with ^^ (Gretchen also did a ton of Eggy-Bread, which I absolutely approve of!). Full up on a ton of eggy bread, bacon and sausage later we got back to games ^^.

Smash Up

Just a 2 player game on this occasion, I played a game of Smash Up with Chris (Handy), which sadly noone else seemed interested in. We random-number-generated our factions, with me ending up with Elder Thing Carnivourous Plants and Chris with Secret Agent Cultists.

It was certainly an interesting game. As I was Elder Things, I spent a colossal amount of time throwing madness cards in Chris’ way, leading to the majority of his actions being spent to get rid of the things. He got a few thrown back at me when he got his star spawn, forcing me into rushing the base to get rid of the thing (Which was annoying, as I had a spores card that could have made it an easy base win for me, but would have kept it in play longer). I made a mistake following that as I played a card that had Chris discard any madness (He had none, which I unfortunately didn’t realise) then shuffle his discards back into his deck – I.e. I gave him back the bloody star-spawn!

Chris got into the lead and stayed there for a good while, but I was able to crawl my way up to the point I could trigger the endgame at a risk. The risk being that I had 3 madness cards (-1VP) and had no idea how many Chris had, when capturing the only base I could without giving him the win meant I was either tied or 1 point ahead – if he had no madness I was screwed. (Well, it would have caused a tie, but Chris was well set to win the next base, particularly as I was out of minions in hand). I also had no idea how much ‘before a base scores’ power Chris had, as the spies have a lot of such cards and can often muddy the waters greatly even when one person thinks they’ve won.

So, I dropped my elder thing (the 3rd or so time, yay for things letting you retrieve from discards and then being on the second run through the deck ^^). I also got spores onto the base so each of Handy’s minions were at -1. Further to his disadvantage was he had a cultist there which he could have buffed by 2 power by drawing a madness – That would have put him into leading I think (except he chose not to because madness) but I had a card that would have been ‘+2 power per madness in opponents hand’, direct counter ^^. Turned out to be a win for me, by a single point (15 to 14 I think, or 16 to 15). Can’t believe I scraped it back as I was a good few points behind up till near the end, ^^.

Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour

Moving back to video games, we decided to give Zero Hour a shot. The last couple times we’ve tried at LAN’s we’ve had problems where you get 1-20 minutes in and the game goes ‘synch error’ and kicks everyone. Fortunately Dave, Master of Daves, had a copy with a patch that fixes this and after a couple tests to make sure it wasn’t a trick got ourselves into a 5 player game (+ 3 AI’s).

In our first game, I played the USA Super Weapon General, while the others went a mix of China and GLA (I don’t think there was any other USA). My plan was simple, build ridiculous amounts of defenses (Emp patriots ho!), 6 or more supply drop zones and 3 airports filled with aurora alphas. The reason for my turtling with turrets was purely because everyone was whinging before the game that USA Super Weapon General was OP and I assumed I’d get rushed.

Nope. Actually I got totally ignored. Chris A was the first to attack me, dropping GLA tunnels in my base. They mostly just got screwed by my turrets, but he did get at least one in at the back making me half kill one of my buildings in killing it with an aurora alpha (I had literally 0 infantry or tanks). People also used general powers on my first airport a few times to destroy it, although they left my other 2 alone (Presumably they just didn’t know where they were) – an odd choice particularly as one was barely defended. Also going ignored were my supply drop zones, which pretty much meant I could afford to replace every aurora I lost.

Towards the end-game, the other players were having an intense war, and I bound my aurora-alphas’ in teams of 2 to numbers 1-6 and just played poke the strongest player. As noone teammed up or let up agaisnt one another to attack me, this meant everyone got wiped out fairly quickly, leaving me the win. Apparently USA Super Weapon General really is OP (Not that I built any super-weapons)…at least when you get left to your own devices. (I mean Chris A did attack me a few times, and I think a group of about 6 tanks were sent my way at one point, but well…they needed to do more than that when I had 3 times as many base defenses as anyone else).

Game 2

Next up, on account of the whinging, I avoided USA altogether and went for the China Nuke General (Not that I built any superweapon Nuke’s…I really don’t pick very smartly). I got my base built and..well then I got my ass kicked by the AI next door playing the GLA Toxin general, as apparently toxins > gatling turrets. This hit my really hard and lost me ~1/3rd of my stuff, before Dave also got annoyed from their other side and wiped them out. As I rebuilt a bit I started pushing at Dave, as letting him get too strong as the China Tank General would have been an emporer overlord death for all.

We possibly pushed against each other too hard, as following Chris A’s elimination (No idea what it was from) we got ourselves mostly taken out too, except I had a second base I was building up so Handy wiping out my first was only a setback. I also set up a third base and made a ridiculous amount of hackers that I spread around to keep myself rolling in funds, so I could try and build enough gatling tanks to beat his ridiculous mini-gunner armies (China Infantry General). Unfortunately for me, he did his due and kept knocking down my main (2nd main anyway) bases force despite his war with Ian, who was the only other person really still going properly.

A shock reentry on the field was Dave, who apparently still had a black lotus running around, which he used to steal my command centre for a fresh start. He swiftly took over the centre of the map to start building up anew (There was resources to farm there whereas the sides were pretty much empty). This wouldn’t bother me, except when I moved my secondary army up to try and hit Handy, I realised Dave had built a load of gatling turrets on their move route and I lost a ton of stuff before I realised it was just getting slaughtered.

Next up…Handy defeated Ian. It was pretty much GG there, and in another half an hour or so of benny hill escaped from me/Dave he finished off the last of our stuff for the win. No idea if we could have beaten Handy had we worked together more (Me/Dave that is) but he controlled a hell of a lot of the map ^^. Had a fantastic time though, C&C Generals is just about my favourite RTS game of all time!

Galaxy Trucker

Also on Saturday we got in a game of Galaxy Trucker, with 6 players. Its’ a 2 to 5 player game, but tacking a 6th on just meant I had to use different ship boards to everyone else, and that we wouldn’t be able to do a 4th round (As there just wouldn’t be enough pieces, though that could be fun ^^).

One of the big problems with Galaxy Trucker is experience-advantage. As such I suggested that if me or Rich were winning at the end of a round we had to deal with a rough roads card the following rounds. In the first year however, Ian managed to take the lead by but a credit or two over Rich letting him get away with no penalty. In the second year, with me somehow only screwing up a little playing the ring-ship, I somehow got enough points to be leading, and got myself stuck with a rough roads as well as confusing ship board for year 3!

In our final year, things got a bit more interesting as both Rich & Handy opted to play alternate boards too (Rather than the boring space-invader-ships everyone else was running!). These were the base game alternates for round III, which is to say the Enterprise ships (3A). There was a fair bit of unfinished-ship syndrome this year (Though I suppose the same was true for the earlier years, but I suspect it was lack of tiles rather than experience this time). I was playing ship IIIC, which means I get no centre module and ended up with barely any crew (Which apparently was thanks to Ian having ridiculous amounts), though I managed to build my ship with again only one piece messed up – Its’ a really fun ship, as the edges all wrap around so you have to leave spaces for turrets/engines and you get to be all haphazard and silly in building it ^^.

In the race part of that 3rd round, lots of cargo-gaining opportunities came out earlier, and I dropped out with 26 value in cargo (So I had to sell for half) under a gamble that enough bad cards would come out to kill the points for anyone left in the round. Some pain did occur, particularly to Handy and Ian, who’s ships practically distegrated, but as far as winning for me was concerned, Rich escaped unfortunately near to unscathed (Along with the sole other survivor, out of 6, though I forget who ^^). He unfortunatey also had an utter ton of cargo and took the win! Should have forced rough roads on him damnit ^^ (Mine I should mention was that I’d have to pay 1 credit or cargo per crew before the last adventure card, but as I dropped out earlier, it had no effect). Such a great game though, super-happy to have played it!

I don’t think I did much else on Sat asides from conversation and League of Legends, which I’m apparently awful at in the presense of others (As while my mouse seems to get jumpy in the presence of too much electric, its’ at least partly me being bad ^^). I got sorted out with bed stuff by about 1am but didn’t sleep till 3 or so as Dave/Chris were still up (Well, chris was still up past that, but we had the lights off for sleep by then ^^)

Sunday

Ian did stay over Saturday night, but left Sunday morning, leaving just Myself, Chris, Dave and Grant still around (Lee/Rich being at MCM in the daytime). I’d set up Legendary the night before, but noone seemed particularly interested, so I suggested Myth instead which got much more of a response ^^.

Myth

Opting to play the Archer myself (I’m trying to get a feel for all of the classes), I gave the other 3 the choice of either one of the 4 other base classes, or one of the 3 extra classes I have from kickstarting Myth. Grant relucatantly took the soldier (He wanted the archer, but too slow =P), Chris the Trickster (One of the extras!) and Dave the Apprentice.

After briefly going through how the game works, we chose an initial tile and drew ourselves a chapter quest. The card had some text on it, but seeing as we promptly forgot about it (Leading to the 2 fighters that supposedly started on the tile being clearly dead) we set up 2 lairs (One Arachnid, One Rat) on the tile and got to laying down the pain.

Or should I say, the soldier and apprentice got to laying down the pain, while me and Chris prepared – The archer has to build up ammo while the trickster needs to get parts together, giving them a sort of wax-and-wane feeling. It wasn’t long though before we slipped in on the rat lair and ripped it apart with a powerful arrow from me and some hurty bangs from Chris. This pulled the arachnids from the other side of the tile (Which we’d carefully skirted away from), but at least there was only one lair for spawns now.

Of course, the problem with taking time to prepare and not being an immediate threat generating machine, is that rats, in their infinite cowardess, target you as a priority. Chris’ attack having generated more threat, I got the full force of remaining rats going for me. Worse still was that in a following round when I was tied to someone on threat, I had the lowest vitality, which is their secondary priority…I died. In the meantime, soldier Grant had moved off to the other side of the tile and happily tanked a ton of arachnids, as unlike the archer, the soldier isn’t comically squishy.

Eventually the 3 of them got the tile cleared, and we moved on. The chapter quest told us to move to a 6×12 tile set up as a tavern, and then have a drinking contest – We figured its’ unlikely we’d be drinking while fighting so spawned no monsters and got right to downing drinks in a vain attempt to outdrink the mighty marcus the ready. Each turn we had to roll a dice, and beat an ever increasing TN (2, 4, 6, 8, etc). Marcus rolled 3 dice, the priest in the room rolled 2, and the random fighter just one (like us). The fighter and our Trickster (Chris) turned out to be quite lightweight, out in a couple of rounds, while me, Dave and the Priest lasted a touch longer before being outed on the 3rd round. Marcus scraped through the TN8 round (was something like 2-2-8 on his dice) but Grant did not, leaving us passed out and shamed at our lack of ability to hold a drink, curses!

The next Morning, we moved to another tile and drew a chapter quest to kill the vermin, naturally we took this as being a way for us to pay for having a place to sleep after passing out, and happily went for it, onto a 12×12 tile with 8 rats per edge (32 of the bloody things!) – So many we had to proxy with arachnids and skeletons to make the numbers. To help us out, there were 4 traps on the tile which the quest said we should try to make use of to clear the enemies – Traps normally target heroes, but we figured that was a bit ridiculous and had them targetting whatever was closest instead (After all, they were set to try and wipe out the vermin!, and none of that cheek you!).

We weren’t long in, when a mini-boss got spawned (I forget how), for which we chose Keesi & Og (As Og is a massive Rat, being ridden by Keesi ^^). It looked like he’d hit hard so we focused the mini-boss while the traps shredded the lair (What…it was the closest thing to them ^^). Keesi & Og have 2 defense/health values, Keesi is 11 to hit but 4 health, and Og only 6 to hit, but 15 health – You can’t hit Keesi without buffs, but it takes some time to do 15 damage! Fortunatey I’d build up 4 arrows, and had a buff of 1 damage, and had an orions tears, with us already having got og to 7 health (I could deal 5!)…aaaand then I got murdered by rats. Did I mention that rats suck for the archer? ‘Cause rats suck for the archer.

Somehow, the others managed to deal with the rest of the tile (I was dead so early on I just went and did other things). I’m glad they did, but well, next time I play Archer I think the rats are going to be mysteriously absent no matter what the quests say! ^^.

Soooo…Yeah I think that was about it, =) Absolutely fantastic weekend, and I love doing it once (or more) a year as a way to get friends together and just have  good time =)

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UoB Tabletop and Halesowen Board Games (19/11/2014)

So at last weeks Tabletop Society, while I had a few games with me, I pushed for playing Caverna: The Cave Farmers, and easily ended up with plenty of people (I was a bit surprised to be honest). In fact, we could have had 7, but I didn’t think we had enough time left, and there seemed to be at least 3 people milling about outside games, so I turned them away and we went with 5. I was a bit disapointed to realise that those 3+ people left soon after, and feel a bit guilty that I didn’t include them or change game so that we could easier split into 2 groups (As I’d happily teach 2 games and try to include everyone, but not when one of them is as big as Caverna). Oh well…:S

Caverna

As I recall, all 4 other players were in for their first time, although a couple of them (Liam & Jay. Luke & Rob I think were totally fresh to it) had played Agricola, the games predecessor. Explanation was fairly easy with everyone being attentive, although one guy who was in the 5 swapped out about halfway through for Rob (I forget the swap-out guys name :S), so Rob got a bit of a partial-explanation (He was listening a bit for the first half though I think).

Right from the start, one player focused on his caves (Luke), while I pushed for my farm half (Getting a wheat that I planted straight after, then a couple of vegetables in the next round), Liam & Jay seemed to go fairly balanced at this point. Rob tried to go a very direct route at gaining a worker, although (Yay for missing some explanation ^^) didn’t realise he needed to build a dwelling first – It didn’t matter much, he had the resources to build it instead as an action, but still ^^). It was only the next round he got it, and I think Jay/Liam weren’t far behind that. I got my third a bit later (Round ~6/7 I guess, and a fourth at ~9), while Jay also got a 4th (Think everyone else stayed on 2 or 3).

For much of the rest of the game, I stayed leaning heavily on the farm side, as there was high competition for cave parts with people building a huge amount of mines (I’m not sure there was any space spare on his board by the time Luke finished up). I did get to work on it before the end, but went pretty exclusively for double-caverns to get furnishings that would turn my animals into copious amounts of points (And food, which was a bit of a mistake as it meant my best food was also my points =P). Jay seemed to generally do ridiculously well throughout, keeping a good balance, and Rob/Liam struggled a bit while being tilted towards their cave sides (Which is probably why they struggled, as it meant over half the table was scralling for those spaces while me/Jay had it easy – Though Jay got in my way a hell of a lot, being to my right!

Coming towards the end of the game, Rob had mostly cave but a fair bit of a farm built up, and points coming in from a stone supplier. Luke had his ridiculously busy cave, a ton of ore and rubies and furnishings to give him points for those, Liam um…He messed up a bit but at least wasn’t totally starving (He had lots of vegetables!), Jay was well balanced, and while his farm wasn’t as over the top as mine, he’d somehow found the time to round out his cavern on the side, heavily thanks to having a decent level adventurer (I had one at level 6, but I’d only really taken it to block the weapons space in an early round).

The final scores were quite spread, although mine & jays were close, sadly for me with him in the lead (~89 I think to my lower 80-something, 82 or so). Liam was fairly low down, but I think he had a good experience in learning how he’d update his strategy for a next play. Luke did ok (50 or so I think) but had basically all the negative points ever (He had 2 tiles towards his farm I think, and no animals), getting all his points from his ~30 ore and 10 rubies ^^.

Liam asked that I bring it again next (Well, this) week, but I’m hosting a games weekend with various friends so won’t be going along to the universities society for a week. Maybe next time ;-)

Saturday

On Saturday this week, the plan was to be running Pathfinder with the usual group (Sans Handy as he’s often unavailable). Dave/Ken were running a bit late, so myself and Chris sat down for a game of Coin Age, then started to give Myth a try when Dave turned up and included him too. Ken for whatever reason turned out to not be turning up at all, so most of the day went to playing Myth ^^.

Coin Age

First up though, with just the 2 of us and not knowing how long till others turned up, I got out Coin Age. This is a micro-size game where you compete over a map drawn out on a single card, and needs just a handful of coins to play (Or Cardboard punchout ones as I have from kickstarting it).

Each player takes four 1’s, 3 2’s, 2 3’s and 1 4 value coin. Then they take turns to shuffle them up and slap them down onto the table. Depending on the number of coins matching that players colour (Or matching them for heads/tails with coins), they get to perform actions to try and control the map. ‘Place’ just lets you put a coin from the matches on an empty space, or on top of a higher numbered coin; ‘Move’ lets you shift all the coins on one space to an adjacent empty space; ‘Capture’ lets you take an opponents coin from the top of a pile and add to your supply.

The game ends when all regions are full, or one player runs out of coins. Players score points equal to the value of visible coins (i.e. the top of each stack), which are doubled in any region where the player has majority control. As you can only place coins on higher numbers, low numbers give more powerful control and more potential for doubling, while high numbers give good flat points (So you might control 3/5 area’s in coindor, but they’re all 1’s and its’ worth 6, while an opponent has a 4 and a 3 in the same area for 7).

We played a few rounds on different maps, with me winning the first 2 (With us getting rules wrong, :P), then Chris winning the last one. It was quite a relief mind when he won that last one as once we had the proper rules nailed the game seemed extremely back-and-forth (As captures take a coin off the map, you can get within a turn of ending then get 3 capture turns in a row where you’re just turning back time…), but maybe that was a rare thing.

Myth

Our next up game to give a try, was Myth. This is a flawed gem, with beautiful components and awesome gameplay, but a poor rulebook and bad descriptions on some cards to explain properly how they work. Fortunately updated versions of the hero cards were posted to the creators website, which I have printed off making things a lot more pleasant – Still, its’ a shame there wasn’t more blind playtesting as when you’re taking part in the gameplay rather than looking up rules, its’ a brilliant game design.

Myth consists of a series of ongoing ‘cycles’. Core of this is the hero cycle, where players can in any order among them play cards to deal with the threats opposing them. Each time someone plays a card, it pushes up the darkness’ AP track, and when it hits 6, it triggers and the darkness cycle interupts the hero cycle, where the monsters fight back. As such, the more the heroes push, the more the darkness pushes back.

Another core mechanic of the game is ‘threat’. When a player damages an enemy, they gain 1 threat per damage dealt. If a players threat is ever at 10 when darkness activates, a ‘threat penalty’ can occur, which are generally hell for the group (Double Damage, Spawn a Mini-Boss, Double-Spawns, etc). Threat is reduces by empty action spaces however (of 4), and the result is that it forces players to work together and manage their threat, as one player trying to take the lime-light will just screw everyone including them.

Aaaanyway, in our game we were playing 3 of the core heroes – the expanded ones don’t have updated versions yet, so are a little janky – the Acolyte (Me), the Soldier (Chris) and the Brigand (Dave). We started on a 12×12 tile, which is nice for starting as it gives lots of room to maneuver. The chapter quest we drew had us approached by a priest, telling us of an alarming number of undead creatures that had risen, and asking us to investigate and deal with the problem. I was originally going to just set up some arachnids, but instead went with an undead lair with a ton of shamblers to suit the quest (Which also had a special rule that the priest blessed our weapons so the undead couldn’t resurect on death…kind of disapointing as one of the cool bits about the acolyte is that exact effect!).

We got off to a bit of a difficult start, more due to being new to the heroes being played than anything else. In fact I think we’d killed a lot of enemies before even taking damage (Helps than skeletons suck a bit). We got a few treasures popped (Last game I played with people I kind of forgot to do that ^^) getting me a ring providing +1 range to my relic attacks, and Dave got a flashy knife with a fate-dice recipie to let him stay in shadows after attacks.

We did however hit a bit of a hitch before we finished the tile! I hit 10 threat (By healing Chris I think) with darkness AP too high, so that I couldn’t lose it before darkness triggered. This spawned a mini-boss just after we finished off the lair, so we suddenly had a way more scary threat than the 5 shamblers remaining. To be thematic, we spawned Yardu, an undead mini-boss who can raise soulless (Undead captains), which asides from being bigger and tougher, can sometimes resurect the shamblers.

This was kind of scary, as…well, first time fighting a mini-boss! It was also very confusing, and it took a long time to figure out how he works (Fairly simple really, roll 4 fate dice, see what happens, but it doesn’t say that on the card as such ^^, plus he can spawn soulless, but we had no idea where we’re supposed to put them, though figured we just treat it as lair spawns with him being the lair). His attack was I think 4 Dice, where every hit (5+ I believe) counted as a damage, and he could hit multiple targets depending what was rolled by the fate dice (Fortunately for us, never multiple targets, so the soldier was able to take the hits easy enough).

A few turns later we managed to despatch of him, Chris grabbing the treasure (He had a ring I’d found that meant you draw 2 tokens and pick one from the treasure bag)…He still drew 2 white treasure tokens (He did that rather consistently actually, despite having twice the tokens drawn he had a worse rate of decent treasure than me or Dave, he only got the ring because me or Dave gave it to him!).

Victorious, we moved to another tile, a 6×6, to work on the next chapter in the same chain. In the first part, we’d found a mysterious skull, and this chapter let us use it to summon shamblers to fight for our side. I refused to have anything to do with it (Unholy evil thing!), and while the soldier was carrying it, he opted not to actually make use of the foul thing. This kind of meant we basically ignored the point of the chapter and just cleared another tile to get a reward for it anyway ^^.

We set up the tile with a Rat lair and a group of grubbers (My first time vs Rats, as Dave suggested I pick a minion type I’ve not tried yet). They’re a bit different, as they target the hero with the least threat first (Proximity/Most Threat being the norm till this point). Thanks to a darkness card, we ended up with a ‘Rath’ on the tile too, which is a rat captain with a repeating crossbow and full tile range, letting him sit safe and pepper targets with death. My death that is, as I didn’t last too long on the tile before getting murdered!

The Soldier and Brigand seemed to have things under control though, and a suicide run here and riding the edge there cleared things up, demonstrating how much I was needed (*sheds a tear*). Having completed a 6×6, they got to spawn a merchant, which they used to stock up on health potions (They even got me one for future occasions – you don’t ‘die’ as such, in that you respawn for the next tile..unless everyone dies when you’d have to restart the act/chapter/story you’re doing). I think they were a bit disapointed when they realised you don’t get to keep items between sessions though (Not without titles from completing stories anyway, though I may house-rule that you can keep a potion or two).

Had lots of fun and look forward to playing again! Hell, I even felt motivated enough to get started on painting (I’ve got the base-coats done on the crawlers) ^^. Absolutely looking forward to more plays, and well, to have all the stuff painted too ^^ (I feel a lot happier doing these than the Zombicide zombies that I got bored with – The most minions of one type is ~20, much more pleasant that looking at a pile of 100 of the same thing!).

Among the Stars

As we couldn’t be sure how long another tile in Myth would be, and wanted food, we went for something a bit shorter. I’d bought a few games down and briefly touted them each, and Among the Stars got chosen. This is a tile-laying drafting game, which I have played an absolute ton. I recently received my stuff from the latest kickstarter for the game, which was just for a few stretch goal things, plus glorious glorious metal coins.

We had a good time of it, with Dave building the worlds longest space station (There was an objective to have the most locations of a single type in a continuous line..He could have won twice over in the end as I gave up at 4 in a row ^^). Me and Chris picked up early race tracks, so ours were more square, though the contents were a bit different with Chris’ bigger military, and my better international relations (First time I’ve ever really built many green locations ^^). I also had lots of recreational locations, as I took 2 early restaurants and put montzeerian tokens on them (Turns an immediate into delayed, so I was able to easily get the max 5 points from them each). Still, Dave’s commercial powerhouse (The 10 or so in-a-line locations he had were all yellow =P) was the coolest looking ^^.

As far as points, I looked to be behind almost all the way through, despite having more immediate locations that I normally aim for (I like delayed, more to think about as you build ^^). What I was forgetting though was my 3 montzeerian tokens had turned immediates into delayed and meant I had loads more points coming than I realised. As a result, I leaped into the lead on end-game scoring for the win. I don’t think Chris/Dave were too far behind though ^^.

Halesowen

At Halesowen this week, I got into a couple of games with Mike, Suzy and Stan. I was tempted when I saw that Dave had and was punching out Panamax to join for that, but I find doing heavy euro’s with someone’s who’s just that moment taken it out the shrink to be an intimidating prospect (Though I’m sure he probably had looked up how to play beforehand). Instead, at Stans suggestion of Murano that he’d brought along I jumped into that.

Murano

Murano is a sort of rondel/tile-placement game. Players compete for the most points, which they do by gathering objective-based VP cards, then placing gondolia’s at the various islands to score in conjunction with said cards (The cards specify something to do with an island, so that island has to meet the requirements listed on the card).

Around the board are roughly 20 action spaces, with there being ~8 ‘ships’ placed around those spaces. On each players turn, they move a ship and take the action of the space moved to. Moving one space is free, but after that it’s 1 coin/space. You can move multiple ships (Its’ one free move overall, not one per ship btw!), but only the last movement gives you a usable action.

Actions are there to obtain the 4 different building types, build them (And paths), place gondolia’s, gain money (Various spaces with different requirements) or gain vp cards. Money gaining spaces have requirements and are quite few in number (One for +2 Coins, one for Money from Shops, one for money from glassworks, one for trading in gondolia’s), making money a fairly tight resource.

There are I think 6 different islands in the game, but this isn’t an area control game. The ‘gain vp cards’ space, lets you spend money to buy vp cards which give you some objective to attain, for which you need at least one gondola at the island where you manage that objective. It costs 1 coin for your first card, 2 for your second, and each time you pay, you get to draw 3, keeping 0 or 1 of the drawn cards. These can be things like ‘Gain 12 VP if the number of shields and shops on an island are the same’, or ‘If you have a gondolia at island X, you may trade red gems for vp at 1 gem = 7vp (max 3 times)’.

My aim in our game was to go for glassworks to try and get a boatload of money to use in taking vp cards. I got a bit scupperred early on as Mike also took a liking to glassworks, and kept on taking the space to earn from them ^^. While he was doing that however, I managed to get 3 placed on the board, which meant when I finally got to visit the ‘capitalising on it’ spot I got 3 gems (Which also means -6VP, -2 per gem you take), which I then sold for 17 gold (A huge amount considering I’d been mostly on 1-3 for the rest of the game, and passed about 3 times more than anyone else – passing being to take no action but gain 1 gold). Stan and Suzy went for shops, both getting in with red shops on an island that had 4 (Later 5) red customers, meaning 4 gold from the shops money-gaining space, Stan also getting a black shop on the island making it even more valuable to him (There was only 1 or 2 black customers there, but you get money per island, rather than per type).

About halfway through the game (Though I thought we were nearer the end), I bought gondolia’s on the 3 busiest islands, then took the vp-card gaining space (You can take as many as you want in a turn, but it costs lots of money, but that’s what the glassworks silliness is for right ^^). I was able to get 4 cards which neatly matched to the islands I’d got with gondolia’s (Though I then had to get another 5 coins and build one more gondolia at one of them, as you can only score one card/gondolia). One of them was points for red gems, and on my next visit to the glassworks space I lucked out and drew 3 of them – which conveniently made up for the different between my points and everyone elses, as I was on -4 points to everyone elses 10-20 by then ^^.

I forget if it was Mike or Suzy that finished the game (Mike I think, as he’d done his goals and either needed to finish it up or extend the game a fair bit longer to do more), and sadly for me I couldn’t quite afford an action that might have got me another card completed (I should mention, I had 5 cards, I think noone else had more than 3, yay glassworks, being 20 points behind is fiiiiine ^^). I was able to get all the way around the board from my end-game scoring to 53 points, while Mike/Suzy got to 47 and Stan to 42. Had Stan been able to complete his last VP card it would have been another 12 points to hit 54, but luckily for me he did not ^^. (I missed one of mine too, but well…yeah ^^).

It was a really interesting game, and has that neat ticket-to-ride element where you can either take objectives early to know what to plan for, or just build up as you like then take objectives late on a gamble for points. I won the gamble on this occasion, but I’m not sure it would always be wise ^^. I do think some of the games objective cards should have a tough more scaling though, as there could be some crazy point swings from very small things happening (E.g. one of mine was ’12vp if the number of crests (Which’re on yellow buildings) and shops is the same on the scored island’, it would have only taken one shop or yellow building dropped there on the last turn to drop me into last place! (Though I guess that’s an incentive to fill islands so they can’t be messed up, which means taking objectives late would be stronger as you don’t know the state of and island till that point…) Still fun though =-)

Among the Stars

With about an hour left, I suggested Among the Stars, because y’know, metal coins ^^. The table agreed and we got it set up fairly quickly (I never really appreciated how nice it is to keep a couple of standard-decks in the box).

Race tracks came early in this game, with both myself and Mike picking them up early. Also early was much punishment from interactive cards, which are usually rare to come out, causing much theft of money between players. (From Stan in particular, who was playing the ‘feronsy’ race, which can 4 times in a game take coins from other players instead of from supply as a discard action). Suzy got a ton of money from her ‘4 coins from discard instead of 3’ race plus an early build of the ‘mint’ special location, one of the 5 large locations that can come up. Stan got a couple of early turrets, giving himself nice potential for scaling points.

In the 2nd (I think, maybe 3rd) year I got a couple of dual-locations for red/purple and red/green. I always like gettig these as they’re unlimited on scale so have a lot of potential for only 2 credits each. More shocking, was that in the 3rd year I got 2 more which were both yellow/green, and dedicated the rest of the game to getting yellow and green locations, as so long as they were balanced in quantity they were worth an extra point each. I also managed to get a couple of transportation platforms (Another fantastic points/cost location, 1 credit each and they give you 1vp +1/transportation platform, double vp from credits spent is good even with just one ^^.

Going into the 4th year I saw a race track in my section hand, and had a convenient gap in my station, so built a power reactor in range. I also discarded a turret so that it wouldn’t get to Stan (Suzy had built one at some point denying it too, possibly a bit overly harsh actually but oh well =P). A third transporation platform got passed to me in the year too, which was about perfect as I had 5 coins and had to keep 4 for the race track, which thanks to it not fitting in for anyone else, actually made it round to me for an extra 8 points.

I won the game, with I think Mike in second, Suzy in third and Stan in last place – I thought he’d been doing much better, having no seen that his delayed locations were low on point gains. I got very lucky in the game though and had everyone played before to know to deny me certain things (The 3rd transporation platform and that race track stand out) I think I’d have come in 2nd or 3rd place (As lots of my points were in that last round just because of those).

Awesome evening, can’t complain about winning both games played ^^. Bit of a shame it was first time for players on Among the Stars though, really want to include some of the extras I haven’t tried yet (Events and Experimental Reactors sound like great fun to me). Maybe next time!

Halesowen Board Gamers (12/11/2014)

Oops, thought I’d posted this a few days ago! Well anyway…

Castles Of Mad King Ludwig

The way people grouped up on Wednesday left 4 of us to work out something to play. After some discussion, we settled on having a game of ‘Castles of Mad King Ludwig’ first, which I’d brought along. This is a fairly straightforward game where players build rather crazy castles, but need to keep a close eye on other players if you want to be able to do well yourself. (Due to the ‘Master Builder’ concept, I think I talked about it more in depth in the ‘games weekend’ post a few back).

In our game, I started out with rather annoying initial goal cards (Points for rooms sized 350, and points for rooms sized 200). This is awkward because you don’t get nice crossover (e.g. if you had ‘rooms sized 350’ and ‘sleeping rooms’, getting a 350 size sleeping room is awesome). So, I kind of ignored my personal goals and picked one of the public ones to go for, which was ‘most sq. footage of sleeping rooms’. I had quite a lot of fun with that as its’ easy to get more sleeping rooms out to buy from completing sleeping rooms. I also hoped to get most downstairs rooms, and after completing my first utility room (Which got me a goal ‘1 point per 2 complete rooms’) I aimed to complete all my rooms, counter to a public goal which was out for ‘most exposed doors’ (Which was a stupid idea, really).

Later into the game, I got denied pretty hard on the downstairs rooms and by the end it was a 3 way tie (all on 2 rooms). Dave’s Luxurious castle of Luxury net him an absolute ton of points, which noone really tried hard enough to deny (Too busy denying me from things -_-). A lot of sleeping rooms went down (I completed 2 or 3 and used those completions to put more out =P) leading to a slightly extended game, though I don’t know if I really helped or hindered myself by making that happen. I forget what Mark/Steve had as general themes, as nearing the end it was very obvious it was just Dave to watch out for (And too late in fact). Near to the end we got a great opportunity to deny him (He got to 0 money), and Mark as master builder put a discounted room in the 1k spot…which he wanted, nailing the coffin shut for the rest of us.

The game ended with Dave in first, me in a not particularly close second, and Mark/Steve somewhere further back still. (I wasn’t looking in too good a position till late, but got a good amount of points from bonus cards, though the ‘3 points per 350-room’ was worth nothing to me at the end…Like I said, multiple room-size ones are annoying (Barely any came out, though I should have fixed that with the sleeping rooms really – Got plenty of 200’s though). Looking forward to my next play already, really cool game!

Greed

This…I cared less about. As it was introduced, first I got ‘Its’ a bit like 7 wonders’ (Which I don’t much like, thought Among the Stars I love), then ‘Gangster Theme’ (Le sigh, gangsters are lame), and ‘A bit of take-that’ (Well…fuck). Anyway…

In greed, players start with a hand of 12 cards. Each turn, they may take one for their personal supply, then pass the rest to their left. From the 3rd turn onwards, after the above, they may play one of their personal supply cards, which are either Holdings, Thugs or Actions. Actions are one-offs and then discarded, thugs provide special abilities and ‘icons’, and holdings provide icons and gain markers for icons (So if a holding has a heart, and you also have a thug with a heart, you gain 2 markers, which are worth 10k for endgame).

I screwed up the first 2 turns as I took cards with requirements I couldn’t fulfill. I then just went for holdings for the game, while Mark went for Thugs and Dave/Steve a bit all-round. I might have been able to get a good score, but (Yay for take-that mechanics) lost a load of the markers from holdings near the end. I ended with 125k to ~150k from Steve, ~175k from Dave and ~185k from Mark, who won.

Its’ pretty obvious I’m sure, but really not a fan. Drafting is a nice support-mechanic, but needs something deeper (Like the tile-placement in AtS) to make a fun game with it for me. Plus, I struggle to care about gangster themes, as it involves acting out a lowlife asshole… (That said, I do admit I want to try Nothing Personal, but that’s because of the designer not the theme ^^). Anyway, I hope I didn’t spoil the fun too much for the other players, as I realise I should have excused myself before the game (I was tired anyway and left straight after).

Speaking of Among the Stars…I have pretty metal coins and more stuff for it now, got to get that played some more! =)

Halesowen Board Gamers (05/11/14)

Not to bury the post about the weekend of games I just had, but because I got this mostly written last night and want to post before Dave does so he can link to this ^^. My account of Halesowen for 5th November 2k14 =)

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

To start off the night, while I was tempted to suggest Myth, I went with CoMKL as I understood Mike wanted to play. Of course we filled up all 4 spaces before Mike got involved, but I believe he got to try something else he was interested in (Imperial Settlers maybe?). Interestingly, Dave seemed to not be a fan and was fairly vocal as such, thinking suburbia as a better game. I think both are good, but Castles oozes theme while Suburbia is kind of bland on that front, and Castles is a touch lighter, making it appeal to me more as an individual ^^. I really like the fact the master builder arranges buildings too, as it gives you a powerful reason to care about what other players are building.

My starting bonus cards were..not overly pleasant. All were ‘Points for your rooms of size X’, so I had to have 2 of these, then a few turns in I completed a utility room and got…another ‘room of size X’, that’s 3 different rooms I wanted lots of, so no crossover of goals -_-. I tried anyway, and also aimed for the ‘most sq. ft of downstairs rooms’ goal (Which I was mainly in competition with Art for). I seemed to get very little built over the game, never taking a food room as I never felt they made a huge amount of sense for me (Particularly at the prices they were put at). Stan on my left ended up with a load, which is only really my fault for making them too low priced (There was 3 on turn 1, it was hard to price everything that was good out of range ok!).

From early on, Stan shot out into the lead. I ended up competing more with Art for 2nd place, while Suzy seemed to struggle a bit more, which I suspect is partly from too many turns passing and taking money. The end-game seemed fairly close, but I got barely anything for bonus cards (Again…yay for no being able to crossover the goals), so while Art didn’t get much either, he still won. Stan ended up on some ridiculous score out in the lead, so I’m thinking I’d better be more careful what buildings I leave to get bought by the player on my left next time!

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

Last game of the evening was Tiny Epic Kingdoms. When I suggested Tash’Kalar it looked like Suzy wasn’t interested and was set to leave, but changing to a less mathsy looking game seemed to keep her interested ^^. Art/Stan were both plenty happy to try this out too.

This time I was Valkyrie’s. They’re a really odd faction, as their core way of getting VP’s via magic is to quest your meeples onto your faction card, and leave them there achieving nothing unless you reach magic level 5. Rather than worry about trying to achieve that, I stopped at level 3 (A one off which makes all other players lose 3 resources) and concentrated on building up the tower and getting meeples out on the boards. I couldn’t quite keep up with Stan on the tower, but I was ahead of Suzy & Art (Art was way back, mostly ignoring the tower).

There was a lot more hostility in this game than some. With Art trying to deny Stan magic regions, and later in the game attacking someone to get a 3rd plains region (Which was worth a VP to him, though I thought it was 2VP). I counterattacked that to stop him getting the bonus (Again, thought it was strong than it really was, oops). Suzy, keeping pretty quiet, was able to rush 2 levels of the tower right near the end, slipping into a tied 3rd place with Stan on the year that 5 magic was attained triggering the games end. Unfortunately, while we could quest onto Stans regions to make him lose a VP (Meeples are 1vp each), we couldn’t do the same to Suzy as she’d smartly doubled up on her regions so they were non-attackable. The win went to Suzy, with me in 2nd on 14 (I did indeed attack Stan, as he had nothing to fight back with and it got me 2nd instead of 3rd =P), and Art in 4th (I really shouldn’t have wasted 4 magic denying him 1VP, he was about 4 behind :S).

Fun games both, had a nice evening! Looking forward to getting Myth/Tash-Kalar to the table, maybe next week ^^.

Apres-Essen Mini Con & Afternoon Play, Games Weekend!

UoB TT (Start of Games Weekend)

So, the last couple of times that I’ve been to the Uni Tabletop Society, there’s been a group playing Resistance with playing cards. I decided to bring along my proper copy of the resistance, as while there’s no mechanical different, it takes you that little closer to the theme ^^. (Also, I’d rather hoped to play with plot cards…though that didn’t happen).

Resistance

I was a Spy in both games, and took a different tactic to usual. Most games I try to act good, and people think I’m a spy all the time, so this time I just acted like a Spy, and commented frequently that I was making trips to Moscow to report. Remarkably, that worked, and I was able to get onto missions for a change and make them fail ^^..

The second game, the first mission was failed by a spy across the table. The next mission had 2 spies on it, and we both put in a success. The 3rd mission we both put success again. At this point the group was feeling very confident, with the double-fail mission up next. I was leader and added in the player that was new to the game (Sam?), as his reactions to certain things made it easy to argue that he was good and hence should be brought on the mission ^^. Naturally, me and the other spy both put in a fail, and caused a fair bit of mayhem as people tried to figure out the last mission where they needed to find all 5 good guys. The first couple of teams made were voted down (Rightly so), but the third passed, and the spies won ^^. Yay us!

Coup

After we moved to the learning centre, to avoid more Resistance (I’m not a fan of playing one game over and over in a night, and particularly not with social deduction games!). We played with Reformation which works great with high player counts (Think we had 8?). There was a couple of insta-deaths when people called assassins liars, and Charon went full dick mode and eliminated someone in the first turn (They’d already lost one influence from another player) in the first game (Which is generally poor planning, as the people with 2 influence left are in a stronger position and should be targetted first, at least until near the end when depending on the game state you can justify it – Also, I’d explictly asked everyone not to rush eliminate people for at least the first game -_-). It’s a shame to have that happen, but we all had fun in general anyway! I forget who won the games mind.

Forbidden Desert

As it was getting later into the evening, a couple of players took their leave and we ended up with 5. Sadly, there was no chance of Myth fitting, so I suggested Forbidden Desert or Bohnanza instead (We ended up doing both ^^). In general I don’t enjoy FD too much as it can be quite rng on the win chance (Random-Number-Generator), but its’ a nice one to introduce people to cooperative games (Or to just generally show off once or twice).

In this game, players all start on one of 24 spaces in a 5×5 grid (With one gap), with a pawn to represent their character, which each have a special ability. Trapped in the desert, your only hope is to uncover and repair an ancient airship that you were travelling here to find, and use it to get to safety. Players need to find the ships hull, and 4 scattered components, then get to the ship, oh…and not die of thirst throughout all of that, which can be a rather difficult thing to achieve!

We spread out fairly quick in my game, aiming to uncover tiles as fast as possible. A couple of early sun cards (Makes all players not in a tunnel or under a solar shield lose one water, with each players max being 3-5 depending on the character). Things looked to be going rather successful, and we even managed to get all 4 components and reveal the ship! I was low on water, but had a convenient tunnel, but had left it to pick up the last component…I died trying to make my way back, and the game was lost. So close! We made a few mistakes during the game to be fair, such as not using abilities too well (I could clear 2 sand instead of 1/action, but never really took myself near the large sand piles). Will have to try again with the same people sometimes if possible ^^.

Bohnanza

To finish up, I got out Bohnanza. I have a custom set of this, which I found on boardgamegeek and got printed by the awesome site printerstudio.com. I don’t generally like to be not supporting the designer of the game itself, but I like the art of this version more ^^ (Also, I’m sure I’ll get plenty other Uwe Rosenburg games in time).

If anyone doesn’t know, this is a bean trading game. Players have a hand of cards in fixed order, and must play from the front of their hand. However, if neither of their fields matches on type, they have to rip one up for the new bean. You can avoid such problems however by trading, as you can trade cards from anywhere in your hand (Although receiving a trade makes you plant it immediately, no switching back and forth to rearrange hands!). Sometimes you even want to give away a card for free, just so you aren’t forced to plant it on your turn ^^.

In any case, I got very lucky early on in our game, getting a set of 3 green beans (3 points) and 4/4 Cocoa beans (4 points, btw 15 wins ^^). It slowed down from there as people got more reluctant to trade with me, but I eventually managed to get myself set up to win! Unfortunatey for me, everyone else saw this, and all contributed to getting fire beans to the player on my right, letting him slip in a win one turn ahead of me. God damn! Had fun though ^^.

Saturday – Telford Games Day

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

I arrived a little late, so the few people I know/recognized were in game when I got there. This worked ok as I had stuff to pick up/pay for (Mice & Mystics, CoMKL & Some Smash Up Stuff). Rachael/Lee who I know from Halesowen were there, and when they finished their game we decided to play Castles of Mad King Ludwig (Using their copy, as mine was a just-punched with no organization mess ^^).

The idea behind Castles of Mad King Ludwig, is that you are, as I’m sure you can guess, building castles. Players do this by buying rooms that they then place into their castle, building off from the foyer by matching doors. When a room is placed, points are scored for it based on adjacent rooms (And adjacent rooms score base on the one placed). When a room is completed (All doors match other doors), a bonus effect is received, depending on what type it is (Such as activity room – gain 5 points, or food room – take another turn).

Each turn, one player is the ‘master builder’, if the buy area has spaces, they draw cards and fill up the area with the listed room types (The card will just show one of the 8 room types, and a tile from that room types pile is placed in the buy area). Then, they can rearrange the buy area, so rooms are as expensive as they want them to be. The aim here is to try and price rooms you want as cheaply as possible without anyone else taking them!

Once the arrangement of rooms to prices is complete, each other player can buy a room, paying the master builder as required. When it comes back around to the master builder, they can pay the bank for their room. If the master builder has placed things smartly, the other players will have paid as much as they were capable for the rooms they need, and will have plenty of money to get the room he/she wants ^^. The game ends when the whole deck of room cards has expired, bonuses are added up (Players get personal bonus cards, and there’s also 3 ‘most of something’ tokens on the main board which provide further points to players).

Our game of it was very interesting! I got a bonus card (The cards are secret) for downstairs rooms, in turn 2 or 3, so aimed for as many of those as I could get (Only 2 as it turned out, unfortunately). Rach/Lee were first off the line for sleeping rooms, and it was a long time till I even got one for third on the bonus points (They give 8/4/2/1 points). Rachael took a lot of the 100sq ft. square rooms, which unknowingly denied me from doing much for one of my bonus cards (Which was a weak one to be fair, 1 point/square room). A public objective of ‘large rooms’ also messed with one of my cards as each 450sqft room was worth 3VP to me, but everyone else wanted them too ^^.

At the end I actually felt like I was in a very strong position. I had a ton of bonus cards, and my last turn had scored rather well (Although it could have been even better had I got a food room, as I had a card that was 7vp if I’d got all 8 room types). Unfortunately for me, while I think I came in second, Rachaels tight array of small 100sqft rooms payed off well, and she finished above me. Had a fantastic time though, absolutely looking forward to more plays of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, great purchase!

Viticulture (+ Tuscany)

Next up, we opted to play Viticulture (Though I totally forget what sparked it coming up ^^). We gained a couple of players, Camille & Peter, who saw us setting up and came over looking interested, and set up with a couple of the Tuscany bits thrown in that I like to include – The Extended Board, Advanced Visitors and Mamas & Papa’s. (I believe Camille, who’s name I’m probably spelling wrong, is a backer of Tuscany, so was cool to teach someone that’s getting the game ^^). Quinn (Who was in Castles too, although he had far more garden than castle), dropped out in a round or two as the game wasn’t a good fit for him.

I’m not sure what to bring up about our game. Early on, all looked even and it was a while before points started to tick along, which was from windmills mainly when it did. I bought a red/white grape through trade in the 2nd year, funded if I remember correctly through dropping a couple of victory points. I got my vines planted a bit late (Had about 5 in my hand before I got to planting), but along with the slowly building ones I was able to slip a couple of low-requirement orders in the 3rd or 4th year at a point that only one other player had completed one (Rachael). I had a cottage from early, and after a couple of years of taking summer visitors to build up, I stuck with winter to try and make sure I had plenty of order-completion possibilities for late game.

By the middle of the game, most of us were up to sort of 8-12 points or so, although Lee was struggling a bit with the amount of options to work with. I wasn’t in the front at this point, and was feeling a bit unsure about my chances of a win. I opted to go last for a year to get first, on a gamble of when the game would end, which I almost thought was a poor choice as Rachael got to ~20vp and seemed to have plenty of grapes/wine to fill an order for a win. Fortunately for me, she was not quite able to get there and I got the extra year I needed (Not that I was far behind, but I had to spend that entire year preparing for the next one!).

In the final year I managed to pull off a lot of things. Going first I was quick to take the cube moments action to try and secure my position on the area map (I knew I’d miss out on at least one bonus, but taking the double move/place meant I could hold a better position on it). I had contemplated trading in spring, but chose to pass in case I needed longer in the winter to complete my final orders. In the end, I think 3 or 4 of us passes the 25 mark and triggered a game end, but I was able to leap to 30 something points, and even get another couple from the area map, while others weren’t much past 25. I had a lot of fun not having played in a while, and I hope the other players did too, despite being against someone who’s played a ton ^^.

Lost Legacy

At some point, possibly in the chronological order in this article, I played a 5 player game of Lost Legacy, playing as a super-size game with the Starship & Flying Garden decks crossed over. This of course makes the game a tad longer, and makes early elimination more of a slap to the face, but does work fairly well as a way of increasing the player count. We played twice I believe, and I didn’t won either of them, well darn ^^. I really like the flying garden deck though, I can see it being interesting to play it alone, and with card switches between the 2 decks ^^.

Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends

Next up I played a game with Debbie & Peter (Both were in the Lost Legacy game), Tash Kalar: Arena of Legends. This is one I’ve been interested in for a long while, but the original print run for English copies was a joke, costing £40 for small amount of cardboard and with ‘ok’ art. The new edition straight from CGE (instead of via Z-Man) is half the price with a well-deserved upgrade to the art to boot.

We played with a copy that had been put in the communal games area (Or whatever it was called ^^), which had both the new and old pieces, which was a tad confusing as none of us had played before to notice that immediately, but it was nice to see the difference! Peter was kind enough to read the rules through (Well, the quick-start booklet, while I scanned the full rules sheet), and we got into a 3P newbie deathmatch (Which the manual doesn’t recommend, but we wanted to play with 3!).

In Tash Kalar, players are wizards competing in a grand tournament of some kind. Players take turns to bring summoning stones into the arena and use them to summon ‘beings’, which is a pattern based affair, matching stones on the board to a pattern on a card in a players hand to summon, causing various effects to happen. In the deathmatch mode we played, players score points by eliminating enemy pieces, scoring 1 point per pair of commons, 1 point per heroic, and 2 points per legendary piece destroyed.

Our game ended up being a little one sided. The first few turns were fine, but once I managed to get a couple of beings summoned, it was a bit of a chain reaction. Most turns I was able to use both by actions for summoning based on my cards, while Debbie/Peter often needed to get common pieces down as actions to be ready for summons. I ended up being far ahead to the point that even with Peter using a flare every turn (Debbie didn’t use them for a while, busy thinking about how to match patterns I assume ^^), neither of them came close, and I won 12 points to ~2 from each of them.

Despite being a bit discouraged that the game can snowball as it did, I put it down to ‘first game’ woes, and immediately bought it from gameslore with the expansion =P Pattern matching like this is absolutely something I enjoy, and I can’t wait to get this played more, and hopefully to look forward to many expansion decks ^^.

Pandemic: The Cure

The final game I got played in the day was Pandemic: The Cure. This, as I’m sure many know, is the upcoming dice-version of pandemic, which was available to play as someone had picked up a copy at Essen Spiel. The goal of the game is still to cure the 4 diseases, but it abstracts out a little, and is more random/gamey rather than puzzly like pandemic.

The first thing that happens at the start of a game is a mass infection. 12 Disease dice are drawn at random from the bag of death (Not the official name afaik), and places in regions matching on colour. The different colours of disease have different numeric values (So the black might only have ‘2’, ‘3’, or ‘5’ as sides) so will only directly move to certain continents (There’s 6 ‘discs’ placed out, which are the locations we move between to deal with the diseases). Outbreaks are ignored at this step, and any dice with a ‘(+)’ side are rerolled.

Players then take turns to try and deal with the disease. Each player has a role card and a matching set of dice, which they roll at the start of their turn. The different roles have dice with special abilities (Such as ‘return 3 dice from the infection centre to the bag’), so to be most effective players should work together. The player then takes actions, determined by their dice rolls, to treat (Move from a continent to the treatment centre, or treatment centre to the bag), move (fly anywhere, sail adjacent), or cure (place a cube from treatment centre on character card with the dice used atop it – of course this reduces players dice pools, which they should be careful of!). You can also trade cures in progress to other players when sharing a location, so one person could potentially have one of everyone’s dice sitting on disease cubes that’re waiting to be cured.

Next, the player can attempt a cure.  To do so, they take all the disease cubes of one type that they have on their character card and roll – If they get 13+, that disease type is cured!

Then the infection step occurs. Dice are drawn from the bag of death equal to the infection rate (Oh! I should mention, if you ever roll biohazards on dice, they are immediately locked and the infection tracker moves up, causing an epidemic every 4 spaces it moves, which means all treatment centre dice are rerolled and strewn across the world, which is..bad). If you ever have to add a 4th dice of a disease type to a continent, it outbreaks, moving clockwise to the next continent and moving the outbreak marker up (At 8, Game Over, also if the infection marker goes up enough its’ game-over too).

Presuming the world has not yet ended or all 4 diseases are cured, the next players turn begins and the fight continues. (Another asides…One side of each disease dice is a (+), these are moved to the CDC when rolled, and can be spent to buy one of three abilities determined by the event cards. This might let you reroll a dice when curing, or move a pawn outside their turn, helpful when in a tight moment!)

In our game, I was the containment specialist, having a special die side that could return 3 cubes to the bag from the treatment centre (Good because epidemics would make them all be rerolled and placed out). Also, any time I moved someone, any disease type with 2 or more dice would have one automatically go to the treatment centre. Basically, my job was to run around the board and then move the cubes to the bag. The dispatcher also moved me a few times, and we even once used an event card to do it – What can I say, I was an excessively well travelled man.

In the end, our medic & guy-with-lots-of-dice (Most have 5, but his special ability was to have 7) got the first 3 diseases cured, and I ended up with the last set. I cured it with us on 7 outbreaks, so close to a loss!

But…it felt anticlimactic for me. I didn’t get that feeling of ‘oh-crap-things-are-going-bad’ that pandemic did, thanks in part to outbreaks only pushing one dice along (If it went both ways, like it splits into multiple parts in the board-game, that would be thematically scary ^^). The infection rate in our game only got halfway along too, so there wasn’t even a worry of different things, just outbreaks to worry about.

Still, it was good fun, and I like that each player has unique things about their dice (Although it does shoe-horn you into certain things a fair bit!). I’m a bit less excited for it that I was, but would still like to play again or pick it up sometime ^^.

—-

It was an absolutely fantastic day! Well worth going 50 miles for. The venue was great, being well lit and with plenty of room, and there was a load of people in attendance. Everyone I spoke to was friendly, so getting into a game was nice and easy (Albeit I did play with Rachael/Lee mostly who I know from halesowen ^^). Looking to next years similar event, and hopefully will go to the one they apparently hold in ~April too =)

Sunday – Afternoon Play

On Sunday I was so burned out from an entire day of games, that I went to Afternoon Play to spend the day playing games. In fact, I was accidentaly eager as I rushed out the house only to realise that the reason both cafe’s had no gamers in when I arrived, was that I was an hour early. Oops ^^.

Adam was first to turn up, and as we had a while I suggested Tiny Epic Kingdoms as a quick one to play, partly as it would be a learning game (First time with it) so cutting out halfway through would be no big deal. Simon turned up before we begun, and consequently joined in as a third player.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

TEK is a 4X game (Well, 3X without expansion I suppose) in just about as small and short a format as you can get. Players compete to end with the most victory points, trying to control territories to gather resources, build a grand tower to show how awesome your kingdom is, and unlock magic levels to gain faction-specific resources, giving each player unique abilities.

In the game, players take turns to choose actions. To do so, one of the 5 shields must be placed on the action board – if all 5 shields are on the board, you retrieve them and have full choice for the next placement (In a 5-player game, the person that clears the shields misses a turn, to rotate 1st player). There are 6 actions to choose from (So one goes un-taken each turn) – Patrol, Quest, Build, Research, Expand & Trade. Everyone takes an action when it is chosen, but players other than the active player can choose to pass, generating 1 resource/region they control (The active player gets nothing if he passes).

Patrol & Quest is where you move your meeples out across the land to control regions, for better resource generation. If you move into a region controlled by another player, war breaks out so only one meeple remains (Unless both surrender, in which case an alliance is formed, though I’m yet to see it happen). Build costs ore and advances your tower level, Research costs magic and advance your magic level (Providing faction specific powers, each player takes a faction card at the start of the game), Expand gets you an extra meeple in a region where you only have 1, costing 1 food/meeple you have in play, and trade lets you swap as much as you like of one resource, for as much as you like of another resource.

The actual scoring of points, is that each meeple in play is worth 1VP, each level of magic reached is worth 1VP, the tower scales and is listed on the towers card, and any other bonuses (e.g. magic level 5 has vp scoring powers for all factions, and if you play with city regions or the exploration expansion, controlling certain places gives bonus points).

I was Elves in our game, which it turns out is a gloriously lazy faction to play. Elves revolve around turning all their resources into magic, but then being able to use magic as any resource (From your level 3 magic onwards). This means rather than having to think ‘Will I have enough ore when someone takes build’, its just ‘Do I have enough magic to do everything’. I forget what Adam/Simon were playing as, but if I remember correctly, I was able to eke out the win. Had a lot of fun and was very pleasantly surprised how well it plays!

Myth

Next up, I sheepishly asked around if anyone would like to play Myth, with the full awareness that while I’ve read the rulebook, an unofficial rewrite of it, and various other bits in the rules forums, that I was still unsure of how it plays and it could be a bit messy to get started. Awesomely I had 3 people join to play, Neil, Neil & um…Brigand, ok so Brigand was the character she played, but…names are hard alright =P.

We chose characters, myself as Apprentice, Neil1 as Soldier, Neil2 as Acolyte & Brigand as Brigand, and I went through the gist of how I thought it all works. We started off on a 12×12 tile, with an Arachnid Lair and with a chapter quest where a hopeful adventurer-to-be had asked to come along and see us performing some awesome heroics, i.e. someone needed to kill 4 foes with a single blow. Succeeding wouldn’t reward us immediately, but we’d get to add the next quest in the chain to the deck (Or as I realised later, we should have done it on the next tile, as we were doing freeform rather than a structured ongoing game).

We stuttered a bit at first to work out how to play, but thanks to a couple of rules I got wrong we had an easy time of it (When I read monsters attack as one, it just means roll all their dice at once, not roll once for them all, oops). Our Soldier completed the quest with a ‘Harvest of Bones’ where he took out 5 arachnids in an arc by spending a couple of rage, with the Acolyte keeping him going, me clearing up (Fingers of Ia is fun, burn my going bonuses to chain lightning a bunch of targets) and Brigand er, well struggling a bit actually – Unfortunately I wasn’t really sure how to help, so might have to play a solo game with the Brigand to learn it to teach it next time ^^.

At one point we had a captain come out, which ran the long way around to us as we had a large tile. Normally, the Stalkers (arachnid captains) can try to ‘burrow’ to the heroes, swapping with normal minions to get close, but the tile was so large there was space for it to come around so I don’t think it would have used the ability (But should check…as I’m doubing myself as I write this). Before it got to us I was able to boost the heck out of a lifesteal arcane spell and one shot the thing (They only have 3 health, but lots of attacks only do 1 damage and are more aimed at the normal minions that are 1 health each).

We made fairly short work of the lair, with the Acolyte igniting it with holy fire and the soldier pummeling it a little to take it down in one round. It was about there we realised we should have been putting treasure out on the tile, and quickly grabbed some things that we never used just to see the treasure system ^^ (You draw a token blindly from a bag, and draw from the deck matching the token, then return the token. Some quests can modify the contents of the bag so as you play longer games the chance of better loot improves).

Following on from that, we went for another tile, this time a 6×6 with a trap. The trap in question triggered at the start of each hero cycle, and targetted a randomly selected hero. That hero had to roll to disarm the trap, or take damage/be knocked prone. We kind of forgot for a while, but when we remembered it targetted me, and I was able to disable it and step aside to avoid damage. As far as what else was on the tile, 2 hunting packs! I put out a group of arachnids and a group of grubbers (Its’ harder to play with 2 enemy types so I figured it should be a challenge). We despatched them fairly easily though, as again, I was making a mess of the enemy rolls. We did pull some cool combos’ on them though (Like the soldier taunting to make them surround him ahead of area spells to rip the enemies apart.

Anyway, we stopped after that as we weren’t sure if we’d have time for another tile before moving on to the pub for evening play. I had a ton of fun and got lots of useful information about what rules to look up for next time (Which I’ve done, so looking forward to playing again!). I can certainly see why the forums for this game were ablaze with ‘oh-god-the-rulebook-is-terrible’ when the game was first available, but I think when you pass that hurdle its’ an awesome design, and the kickstarter came with such a ridiculous amount of great looking miniatures that just..I love it.

Elevenses,

We played a game one of the Neils had brought along next, ahead of moving to the pub, called ‘Elevenses’. This is a little card game with nice art, where you’re trying to get cards played out in front of you. The player with the most spoons in the top right of their face-up cards at the end of a round takes 2 sugar, next takes 1, then 0. After X rounds the person with the most sugar wins.

Got to be honest though, the mechanics just seemed too much in this for me. Lots of different face-down cards (8) to try and investigate and remember, and also then trying to figure out what everyone else has, it all just seemed a hell of a lot of effort to reduce the inherent randomness of it. I gave up after a round and left the others to it, though they seemed to have fun and I think the game isn’t to blame ^^.

Concept,

We headed over to the pub after that, as sadly cafe’s don’t stay open late. The first game I got involved with was Concept, with [redacted], [redacted], Adam, [redacted] and James (I totally remember their names, but you haven’t got the right security clearance to know them, citizen).

The concept of concept is fairly simple, and is to conceptually define concepts given by concept cards. Each turn, the current player draws a card and, between them and the player to their left, chooses one of the 9 possibilities. Then, they work together to place the various markers (4 plastic exclamation marks in black, blue, red & yellow, a green question mark, and a ton of cubes in the aforementioned colours) onto the game board to describe their chosen thing in an abstract way. (For example a main marker on ‘boats/marine/navy’, a cube on fire and a cube on water, for ‘steamboat’).

The other players at the table yell out what they think is being described, and when someone gets it correct they receive 2 points, the clue givers receive 1 points each (It can go to more than the 2, as you may invite additional players to help describe something), and the next pair play start their turn. If noone gets the answer, noone gets any points.

We had lots of fun with this, and for possible the first time I actually guessed one of the answers, though I forget what it was -_-. [Redacted] (Who’s name I should really remember) absolutely dominated the game, so congratulations to her ^^.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

With [Redacted] and [Redacted] gone, we changed game. keeping it simple, I got out Tiny Epic Kingdoms again for another play. Not a clue how it went though, asides from that I don’t think I won…Guess I was getting tired to forget so completely =P

Smash Up,

I went for a drink and everyone seemed to leave or get into another game in those couple of minutes, except for Chris, whom I’ve met before at Bread & Games (He taught me Jaipur which I subsequently purchased a copy of ^^). Sitting around watching others play is boring, so I suggested Smash Up (’cause well, new factions =P). I played Gigantic Time Travelling Ants, and Chris Lycan Mad Scientists. He got the upper hand fairly early on, and I really struggled again how powerful the werewolves can be (Particularly when on mad scientist steroids). My pairing was pretty awful, as ants rely on power tokens on them, so using the ‘retrieve and place elsewhere’ ability of time travellers was hard, as it would lose the extra power.

In the end, despite my whinging a lot that I was going to lose, we finished on a close 15-14 (I mean, I did lose, but it was very close to be fair ^^). I’d love to play the ants with a faction with some big minions like the cyborg apes, as their power-token shifting could make for some awesomely strong plays.

Lost Legacy * 3

As a final game of the evening we played a few rounds of lost legacy. This was with the starship and flying gardens decks (With the starship card removed). I lost the first two, but on the last I got an opportunity to look at another players hand and swap if I wanted to. I exchanged with Nick, giving him a nice high number while I took the lost legacy and got my win ^^. Still looking forward to playing with just the flying gardens deck (Or a cross-over rather than ‘everything’ deck ^^).

Fantastic Day at Afternoon Play, as always. Very happy that I got to try Myth, just need to try and get some friends willing to play this a few times now, as it totally begs repeat play with one group. We’ll see!

UoB Tabletop, Jujitsu, Ninja Turtles & Halesowen Board Gamers (29/10/14)

Well, I’ve not posted an update for a little while, that’ll be because I keep being really busy! Here’s a bit of a catch up until Wednesday of last week, and I’ll try to get this last weekend written up soon (Which was UoB Tabletop Friday, Telford Games Day Saturday, Afternoon Play Sunday, so much gaming! ^^).

University of Birmingham Tabletop

Last Will

I got in another play of Last Will at UoBTT a couple of weeks back. Apparently I’m terrible at spending money fast, and seem to just make tons of mistakes in the game. In general I tried to go for a ‘grab mansions and depreciate’ strategy this time, but bought a farm too because it was a high price, then never used it, which was…not good. When the game was won (By..I have no idea how to spell his name, ‘charon’). Playing were myself, Anna, Charon, Matt and *Cough*, ha, I remembered who was playing, see how good I am.

Coup

We played a few rounds of Coup next, which was apparently pretty forgettable as I have no idea how things went, although if it was the night I’m thinking of, I won 3/3 as the other players kept in-fighting and letting me get away with it ^^.

It was a good evening, though I should have got it written up the next day, not a week later :P

Jujitsu

Monday this week I did something a little different! I’d mentioned to my friend Chris a couple days before that I wanted to play Smash Up, so he invited me over for both a game of that, and to go along to a Jujitsu session. I certainly didn’t have anything better to do with a Monday, so happily went along ^^. I had a fun time there, although find it hard to take it seriously for some reason (Someone telling you ‘finish him’ just doesn’t work as a serious comment in my head =P). I hope to go again sometime though for sure!

Smash Up

We also played a game of Smash Up (Well, we started before going to jujitsu and finished it up after). I was Cyborg Shapeshifters & Chris was running with Robotic Tricksters. I thought he had me beat from early on, but slipped ahead when I solo-captured a base with a ridiculous combo that meant one minion was on something like 20 power. (Basically, one card was ‘+2 Power per action played on this minion’, and I duplicated it with the shapeshifter ‘copy an action played on a minion’, ^^). Looking forward to playing again as the following weekend I picked up Monster Smash/Big Geeky Box ^^.

Ninja Turtles

I don’t even… This was a very meme filled affair, and while I enjoyed it, can’t really say its’ a good film :P Also…Wearing your weight in make-up does not fix bad acting (Megan Fox as a lead…why…)

Halesowen (29/10/14)

Got a relatively high amount of games played on Wednesday last week, with us going for shorter options rather than one or two longer games. First up of these was Steam Park, a real-time dice-rolling game where players compete to build steampunk theme parks and attract robot visitors to gain points.

Steam Park

Steam Park takes place over 6 rounds, during which rides and stands are built, your park is expanded, and robotic visitors visit your park and ride your attractions for eternity (They know what they like!). Points are scored throughout for your visitors on rides and bonus cards you play, although also lost depending on how much dirt you have in your park, which builds up through actions taken and from having visitors on your rides, requiring players to devote at least some time to tidying things up!

Each round, each player takes their 6 dice, then simultaneously roll as many times as they want looking for sides which align to particular actions. When a dice has an action you want, you move it to your piggy bank, locking it in. When all your dice are locked, you take the best available finish-position tile (for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th), giving you -4 Dirt, -2 Dirt, Nout, +2 Dirt respectively). When all but the last player have finished their selection, the remaining player has up to 3 more rolls before they must stop no matter what their rolls are.

Next, in order of when players finished their rolling stage, players take actions as determined by their dice. This is from possibilities of ‘Build a Ride’, ‘Build a Stand’, ‘Play a Bonus Card’, ‘Gain a Visitor’, Clear 2 Dirt or Extend Your Park (The first 3 of which generate 1 dirt/dice). Building things just costs the action, so you take the relevant thing and place it in your park (Obeying certain restrictions). Gaining a visitor has you place one meeple in the bag (of 6), then drawing one (There’s 6 colours, and you need matching colours to get them on rides, so by adding one before, you tilt the odds in your favour), clearing dirt is fairly obvious, extend park is just discard any dice (Non-blank) to add a 2×2 section to your park (Starts 4×4), and playing a bonus card has you use one of your cards from your hand to gain points for the criteria it provides.

At the end of each turn, you gain 3 points (money) per visitor in your park, then until you get to 3 cards, draw 2 at a time and discard one of the 2 drawn cards (So you get a bit of choice over what goals you’re aiming for).

In our game, I generally tried to rush blue rides (Because Blue), and aimed to grab a casino or two, then just worked my strategy based on what bonus cards I picked up. Sadly I missed the 3-size blue ride (As I finished last so someone else got it with their first choice), build a 2 & a 1 then proceeded to choose awful positioning for my stands, as there was none left of their type by the next turn (Where I was last to finish) which would have been the only thing that could fit. I spent a fair amount of time playing bonus cards and cleaning up dirt (Because well…coming last generates extra on top of your other actions), but did quite enjoy working towards the bonuses.

In the meantime, rachael grabbed I think all 3 pink rides, and I think by the end had a visitor in every space. Mate/Lee seemed to manage ok, although I think Lee made some poor choices by rushing more than he needed to (Because I mean…I was going to come last anyway so if 1st/2nd were gone anyway, might as well have taken his time =p). I came first in one round during the game, thanks to the casino (Lets you change a dice you’ve already taken) and because I had to expand in that round, costing another incorrect dice (So I only needed 4 as what I wanted).

In any case, Rachael won with her fairy park, while I came in last with my spread out mess. I quite liked the game, but I was so slow and just couldn’t reevaluate my needs on the fly, leading to endless rolling where I wanted specific actions. I think if I played again I might try just stopping after one or two rolls and taking an earlier position then worrying about actions after, rather than planning ahead at all. Problem is…Galaxy Trucker scratches the same itch and just does it better, so I’ll probably leave this one alone for a while ^^. (Which is easy enough as its’ someone elses game, quite glad I didn’t buy it a while ago when it was first announced and caught my interest ^^).

Voluspa

Next up, I believe, was Voluspa. This is a tile-laying game where players take turns to place tiles from their hands of 5. If the tile placed is the highest in the row/column its’ in, that row/column is scored, at one point per tile within it. Tiles have abilities (Except the 8 and one version of the 7), which provide alternate ways to score or manipulate the layout in compensation for being harder to place in a high-scoring position.

We played with an 8 tile type setup – Lightning Bolts, Dwarves, Hermods, Wolves, Dragons, Trolls, Thor & Loki. Having both Lightning and Dragons (Both tiles that place atop other tiles) made for a tight layout, which was particularly good for the lightning bolts (They automatically score the shortest of the row or column they are in, and a tight layout tends to leave plenty opportunity to score 7 points with them, the maximum line length).

A few mistakes (Well, in my eyes) were made, such as using hermods to extend lines before scoring (You can eke out more points if the hermod can score a line on its’ own separate to your placement, although if you do it to max a line to 7 it can be effective). Dwarves were used well, although someone (Rachael I think) gave me quite a few points trying to set herself up for a dwarf on a future turn and I nabbed the space ^^.

Final scores were Máté in first (Sorry if the accents on that are wrong), I think I was 2nd, Rach 3rd, and Lee a little further behind (Although he seemed to get how things work, he was dropped back a bit before he did unfortunately). The tileset was pretty nice to new players, which is a shame for me as I didn’t get to have a cheeky win by having played before ;P

Coup

I’ve played so much of this recently I’m really not sure what to say ^^. I think Máté had gone by this point, and that I won (Hooray for couples fighting among themselves too much in elimination games ;P). Sorry for lack of further info!

Biblios

To finish up we played a game of Biblios. This is a fairly simple draft and auction game, that plays fast and is remarkably fun. First, players take turns to draw #players+1 cards, keeping one, putting one face-down into the auction pile, and placing #players-1 cards face-up on the table, which the other players then take into their hands respectively. Players will gather money, potentially alter values of each of the 5 categories of holy stuff, and gather influence in those categories during this stage.

When the deck is empty, the auction round begins. Players now take turns to place a card face up, then choose whether to bid and how much to bid. Players must be able to pay for their bid (Or more than their bid), with the cards in their hand to do so. This generally goes up in ones, ‘I bid 1’, ‘I’ll go 2’, ‘pass’ kind of thing.

When the auction pile is empty, the game ends. Players reveal their strength in each of the 5 categories, and score points equal to the value the dice has finished on for that category. Someone may have gone all in for a dice on 6, but someone else could have won two at 3 & 4 and take the win.

I thought I was doing awful throughout our game, but did win two dice at the end. Unfortunately they weren’t enough, and I think Lee took the win with the 2 he ended up with. Rachael didn’t end up with too much, as the ones I unexpectedly won were ones I was competing with her for! Love the game, in my wishlist to get sometime (Although…there’s a Biblios dice game coming to kickstarter soon, will have to see what that’s like first ^^)