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London on Board weekend away, Autumn 2013 edition - Live Blog!

Blogging or thoughts, experiences and games at the post-Essen playfest.

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where I nearly scold my ball bag

fairfaxx
United Kingdom
London
England
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ahh eastbourne. I really do love thee. not that I actually left the hotel at any point, but I heard that there was stuff outside, like sea and stuff.

so....that game of werewolf did indeed happen. in fact several. it took them awhile to round up a motley crew of werewolf cattle but once it got going it was loud and lively. I decided to miss the first games of it as I had an offer of race for the galaxy.

i'm still new to RFTG, so I love playing and exploring the combos. I always struggle with the military tactic and usually avoid it. my 2 opponents both attempted it and did handsomely at it. I built a little produce/trade engine and just when I was ready to swing it into action, I discovered that Adam had built a card that I had never seen before (from an expansion). it allowed him to play 2 settles in one turn. he quickly sped through the end game. my poor little engine died a horrible death.

I love building a tableau. I even love the word 'tableau'. do you have to always make 2 rows of 6 though? maybe i should try the 3 rows of 4 strategy next time and see if that unsettles my opponents

after a couple of games of RFTG I joined the late night werewolves. as always its a mix of laughter and outrageous accusations. I usually just sit back and watch the ensuing crazyness.

this game, I was selected as a werewolf. I decided to play it quiet and to try to work out who the seer was. I also happily supplied dodgy info to my neighbour Csilla. "yeah..that (point to random) person over there is definitely a werewolf". the seer remained carefully hidden, but we found him about halfway thru. the villagers were just too good though and eventually won. it was great fun.

After that I joined a 10 man game of wings of glory. If you have never played it, you should give it a go. its very easy and fast, just program 3 moves for your plane and away you go. we setup 2 large tables together and split the players between the plucky English vs the German War Machine. I was a dirty German and proud of it. take that you silly Englishman.

I managed to take out 2 planes before succumbing to overwhelming damage. eventually the tricky English were down to just Lloyd vs 4 Germans hunting him down. the rest of Lloyd's crew were basically shit at flying. ha. Lloyd didn't last long and Riccardo finally shot him down with his massive stream of hot German lead.

I think we finally finished about 4:30am. and I was knackered. just enough time for a short sleep before breakfast and more gaming. yay.

as for the ball bag. I foolishly tried to drink piping hot tea whilst driving home. Spilling hot tea onto my tiny scrotum (tiny because I was desperately trying to suck it up into my stomach) very nearly caused me to veer into oncoming traffic. that was a close call...If I had lost my tea I would have been devastated!

looking forward to the next eastbourne already. thxs to Jeff for organizing. thxs to everyone who went. it was great fun. cheers
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Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:27 am
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All over bar the Geeklist.

Tom P
United Kingdom
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Well actually, the geeklist is here, so I won't repeat myself with the list of games played. Just the stats.

Thursday - Four games, four new to me, no wins.

Friday - 10 games, seven new too me, one win (unless you count the 6 nimmt! semi final).

Saturday - 14 games, six new to me, three wins.

Sunday - seven games, four new to me, one win.

Total - 35 games, 21 new to me, and a paltry five wins.

That's about the same amount of games as last time, although many more new to me but that was planned and expected straight after Essen.

My win ratio is unremarkable and unsurprising but it didn't really matter at all as I had so much fun. In fact this has been the best Eastbourne for me so far - I have learnt a few things from previous weekends and it paid off:

First, don't be afraid to take a break. There's enough time and people and sometimes you just need to step away. I did that on Friday afternoon and felt all the better for it.

Second, I tried to be less picky when it came to being invited into games. A few games that I wasn't 100% keen to play turned out to be pretty good, and the beauty of a weekend like this is that taking risks for an hour or two can pay off like that. There's always time after for one I know I like!

Third, I tried to bring fewer games and not be so set on playing particular ones. Of course I had my targets but previously I've left a little disappointed not to play certain games and it's less stressful just to go with the flow.

I could probably have done with more sleep on Saturday night but hey, I was on my holidays!

So another LoBsterCon come and gone and already I can't wait for the next one. I had loads of fun and it's always great to play with such a variety of people in addition to the usual suspects at The Red Herring.

Thanks again to all who put up with me at the game tables, and of course to Jeff for organising one of the highlights of the gaming year.
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Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:21 pm
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The taming of sod

Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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In my previous Eastbourne trips I don't think I'd played any games at all on the Sunday; I get pretty grumpy when I have to check out of a hotel, mainly due to having a good few hours of public transport ahead of me (about four from Eastbourne on a good day - which it never is on a Sunday!), so tend to just head home.

But while contemplating this in the bar area with a nice cuppa, Paul wandered through - who had expressed an interest in playing Empire Engine, so it seemed a good time to get that box ticked - especially as it only takes 20 minutes or so.

I was hoping it would click with him and it was nice to see Paul have a few lightbulb moments during the game; a few too many, as it happened, as he beat me to the win by the odd point. My win ratio at my own game remains predictably poor, but at least Tom came last!

Finally there was just enough time for a euro before heading for a lunchtime train, with Adam suggesting Coal Baron - one of the definite hotness games of the weekend.

I managed to expertly double bluff sod himself, by claiming in set-up that I didn't really think there was much skill involved and that I didn't think the best player really won - thus guaranteeing me the win! I stiffed Tom in the final round and beat him into second in the process, winning by a couple of points. I'm still not convinced its a classic, but do enjoy playing.

And so to the wrap up and inevitable 'top 5'. For a change I was going to do it in the form of interpretive dance, but I forgot my leotard... so, from the bottom:

5) 'Old' games: OK, they're not old at all, but I had a lot of fun playing and teaching games I'd brought along - CV, Snowdonia and Blueprints. Each went down well and it's nice to take a break from being on the end of rules explanations every now and again!
4) Sail to India: While I won't be adding this to my wishlist, I was totally charmed by this small box game and wowed by how much game they managed to get into such a small box without it feeling like 'just' a card game; something I strived for in Empire Engine.
3) Bruges: While this might be 'just another Feld' in many respects, there are two things about that: first, more Felds is a good thing! Second, this one has more personality in the cards than he usually musters (despite the boring theme) which makes it stand out nicely.
2) Twilight Struggle: The number 1 on BGG right now - and now I know why. What a fantastic game, which was also played in a good spirit with someone who had an equal number of plays (ie, none). Hopefully this will become a tradition for Martin and me at future Eastbournes.
1) The people: I know this sounds a bit naff, but I tend to spend more time socialising than playing games at Eastbourne. As I don't live in London I don't get to see these guys as often as I like and some have become firm friends - and more become friends each visit. After all, when it comes down to it, board gaming is as much about the conversation and banter as it is about the games themselves - at least for me.

See you next time!
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Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:54 am
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They think it's all over, which isn't fair

Karl Bunyan
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London
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Back home after the lazy ambling journey the Sunday trains take back to London, and time to log the last few games played today. Lower in number than other days but high on quality:

Hawaii was a planned game with opponents we'd tried to line up a game with at the past three events. It was an excellent four-player game that we all had a chance of winning since Paul "played a million times" Lister had been banned by the missus.

Next it was time for Amerigo round (geddit?), which was a fairly easy-going experience for a Feld but felt a bit under-developed to me. Sailing was nearly pointless by the end, we'd built all the islands, everyone had maxed out on the advancement track and I think it all came down to ad-hoc opportunism points gathered throughout the game. Not unpleasant to play despite this, though, and so far "everyone will get lots of points" seems to be the ethos driving all of this year's big Essen euros.

Eggs of Ostrich was played again because some people hadn't and that's just not right.

Aquädukt was light, random but fun.

Finally another round of Eat Me If You Can!, but sadly lacking in the innuendo of the first play.

Games packed, unplayed dead-weight lugged to the station, and now it's just a matter or counting down the days until the next gathering.
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Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:24 pm
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Fare-ing to middling

Chris Marling
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The evening started with an introduction of CV to Paul and Donna. Its probably more of an experience than a game, with the artwork and theme far out-weighing any real gameyness, but I've had an excellent time every time I've played it - and so it proved again.

This led straight into my own introduction to Starfarers of Catan, a game Simon had shown off back at Geekfest but that I hadn't had a chance to play there. We broke out his copy (literally at one point; snap! Luckily it wasn't me...) and away we went - probably ill advisedly at gone 10pm.

If you've played Catan, its like that - but with hardly any trading and more spaceships. Meaningful player interaction is replaced by other players reading out encounter cards and pretending to be pirates that battle you (voices optional).

You get a feeling of adventuring and exploring in an ameritrash kind of way, and it was a very enjoyable game (in which I salvaged an unlikely second place after the slowest start imaginable) but it really didn't feel very Catan. I'd happily play it again another time, but would definitely opt for Merchants of Venus over this one every time.
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Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:44 am
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Day 2: Where did the time go?

Karl Bunyan
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London
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A slightly less epic set of games somehow, which is odd and Saturday is so often the "big" day of the weekend, but there were a few really good games played:

Introducing more people to Eggs of Ostrich
Being introduced to Machi Koro, whichever didn't really click with me. Like Settlers but without being able to trade or block.
Another Banjooli Xeet which has improved its rating from a 2 to a 3 by changing the rules.
The gem of the day in Sail to India; the first Japon brand 8've played that feels like a real game.
Another good introduction in Portobello Market.
A tense and tricky Snowdonia.
Ra: The Dice Game which felt a bit like a spectator sport where you got to roll a few dice and hope they matched up.
Introducing more people to Blueprints, twice.
Having my mind bent by Hattari and Donburiko.
Some daft improvisation with Snake Oil.
Wishing I'd trusted my instincts not to play Cheaty Mages!.

Nothing obvious presented itself so it was a fairly early night. Now to head down to breakfast and get as much in as I can before a mid-afternoon departure.
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Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:51 am
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I like to nap.

fairfaxx
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I really love coming to Eastbourne. When I'm old, I'm looking forward to spending my retirement years with lots of gaming. Hopefully by then I might actually be good at some of them.

Played a lovely game of peurto rico. 5 player is quite tough though. If you don't get a money engine going quickly then Karl is probably going to win. My first mistake was not paying attention to what my neighbour sherine was doing. She was making indigo and corn. Yours truly here also went indigo and corn. Not good. Not good at all. Lol. I take each game as an ongoing learning experience.

At some point these past few days (time is loosing its structure) played ostrich egg game. It's very enjoyable. Can only be played 3 players which is unusual. It's simple to play and very fast. But there is cleverness, a little bit of tactics and plenty of opputunity to dick your friends. What more could you want in a 3 player filler.

I also got to play tzolkin for the first time. Very clever game. I made a complete tit up of my start though. Most worker placement games reward you for more workers. Not tzolkin. It practically strips you down to your underpants and spanks you til you cry if take more worker dudes very early. Of course after just a few turns I had 5 workers and very little else. I barely hung onto my pants.

Can't wait to play again. You can create some lovely combos as the game goes on. Plus I thought it would be a very slow game. But it can whizz along when everyone thinks a little bit ahead.

Played lords of waterdeep just now. I really like this game. Especially as they have blatently stolen the best mechanics and ideas from past euro masters. And then slapped d&d all over it. Ha. It's like kids in heavy metal t-shirts taking a shit on a respected public figures grave, and then high fiving while looking at pictures of his naked wife and applauding his dress sense.

Well it's getting late and there's a rumour of late night werewolf. I'm definitely not gonna run it. I did it last year. I was enthusiastic but fracking shit at running it. Seriously. I sucked werewolf balls. Cheers
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Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:23 am
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Snowdoni-ra: The dice game

Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Snowdoni-ra sees each player taking control of an Egyptian god with an unlikely Welsh mountain fixation and an incredibly random way of going about their business. By flooding rivers, building monuments and heaping wanton destruction on each other, the players slowly build a very unlikely railway up the side of a foggy mountain. With dice.

OK, thats not true, but don't tell that Boydell or he'll have it as a variant as quick as you can say, erm, Ra!

Speaking of which, we played Ra: The Dice Game - which many consider inferior to the original. I have to agree, although I do enjoy the dice version - even if you don't get to shout RA! At all. It doesn't have the tension of Ra, or half the tricky decisions, but its one of the better Yahtzee style games out there. In what is becoming a painfully common end to a paragraph this month, Karl won.

We also played Snowdonia, which is pretty much always brilliant and was again today. I have pontificated about this ad infinitum, so I'll just say: play it, if you haven't, cos its one of the best and most original worker placement games out there. And yes, while I came second, Karl won...
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Sat Nov 9, 2013 8:59 pm
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From Eastbourne to Alphavillle

Chris Marling
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As my old grandma used to say, you can't beat a good 80s synth pop reference. Because today we played too games that are - you guessed it - big in Japan. Well, I presume they are. At the very least they were big in Essen, but luckily our inside man Paul managed to snag copies of the big ones for our Eastbourne edification.

First up was Machi Koro, which had sold out in about five seconds. Its a very simple game that takes the Catan 'roll a dice and things produce' mechanism and turn it into a 30-minute game. Naturally its hugely luck dependent and possibly over-stays its welcome for what it is, even at 30 minutes, but I thoroughly enjoyed our play of it (which Paul won).

We then played a quick game of Banjooli Xeet (which Zoe and me enjoyed again, Karl didn't like again but less so, Paul was neutral on and Donna - who won - liked) we moved onto Sail to India.

Of all the little Japanese games I've played, good and bad, this was the first that really felt it had some game to it. I thoroughly enjoyed my play despite thinking I was going to win (on 17) before Karl pipped me to the post on 20. There's so much game in a tiny box it would be perfect for holidays - if only it played two player. Great little game though.
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Sat Nov 9, 2013 6:10 pm
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Is it 1am already?

Karl Bunyan
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London
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Saving my strength for tomorrow, I'm calling it a night. The past 15 hours(!) have flown by with:

Say Bye to the Villains which we lost
Eat Me If You Can! which I insisted we continue playing until I got at least one point
Sticheln which confused us, but in a good way
Nauticus which went on a bit more than it should, and where I valiantly struggled into last place
The Palaces of Carrara because I hadn't lost at enough K/K games lately
Armadöra where one team didn't really know they were a team
Eggs of Ostrich four times at various points, when there were three people and ten minutes to spare
Chicago Stock Exchange as another filler
Twilight Struggle as a two-hour filler that was over in an hour
Puerto Rico in which I demonstrated that if you play a game a few hundred times you can be slightly better at it than someone who's only played it a handful
7 Wonders where everyone colluded to give me the wrong cards

Somehow there was also time for lunch in the cafe, a beer in the bar and dinner in the Thai restaurant.

Tomorrow will be the time to really plough through the games I've had to carry down. Breakfast in 7 hours!
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Sat Nov 9, 2013 1:49 am
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