Martin GUnited Kingdom
BristolDon't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
Over the weekend, 50 LoBsters headed down to a hotel on the South Coast for three days of (lots of) gaming, (very little) sleep and (highly variable amounts of) drinking. The Eastbourne weekend happens twice a year and it's the highlight of my gaming calendar. In November I managed to play 37 games over the weekend and I was aiming for 40 this time round. Thanks to advance planning putting a dozen of us on the same train there and back, I was just able to manage it!
You can see everything I played here, but I'll pick out a few highlights.
I wanted to run a Kniziathon last time around but didn't get organised. This time there was sufficient interest to make it worthwhile and it proved to be a fun way to persuade people to play my extensive collection of Reiner games! Some healthy competitive spirit was on show but no one took it too seriously. As the great man says, "the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning".
There's a full report on the weekend's geeklist, but to summarise, I was beaten by one point with a game that took place after I'd left. Gah!
Eastbourne's a good occasion to make sure you play your all-time favourites. I had two marvellous games of Tigris & Euphrates as part of the Kniziathon (second in both, damn!), and three of Cosmic Encounter, including a weirdly relaxing session very late on Saturday night away from the chaos of drunken Werewolf in the bar.
A game of Tammany Hall has already become an Eastbourne tradition, and it was just as brutal and curse-strewn as I'd hoped. I had to take a stroll along the beach afterwards to allow my blood pressure to return to normal! And both nights ended (for me) at 3 or 4am with 10-player rounds of 6 nimmt, each of which we dealt absent friend Alec into as a random element.
New kids on the block
I got the chance to play both the new Hunger Games tie-ins that I rules-reviewed in a previous blog post. They're both good, and pretty much as I expected them to be. The Hunger Games: District 12 Strategy Game is quick enough that the brilliantly thematic Reaping rule (one player randomly loses) isn't annoying, and The Hunger Games: Jabberjay Card Game seems to be a great spin on The Resistance that would be even better once we get the rules right.
New to me
Including the Hunger games, I played 10 new-to-me games, and my favourite was the very last game I played on the train home. I mocked up a Hanabi deck a while ago and hadn't had the opportunity to get it to the table. But with a captive audience I finally got a game, and even though I don't normally like co-ops, found it utterly brilliant. So many games feel kind of samey, but not being able to see your own cards, only those of other players, is so different and so disorientating. A lovely information theory puzzle that I really want to play again soon.
A weekend like this needs a dexterity game hit and this time it was the ingenious Hamsterrolle, in which players place pieces on the inner surface of a mobile wheel. I played three times and won once.
I also played the recently reissued Kingdoms, one of the highest-ranked Knizias I'd not yet tried. And unsurprisingly I enjoyed it, even it is one of the games that deserve Knizia's reputation for being dry and mathsy.
Eastbourne also offered the opportunity to tick off another couple of games on my Trip Through Time 1996 edition, both by the reliable Kramer.
Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix is a decent race game, but Expedition was the real surprise hit for me. I described it as 'Transamerica on steroids'. Like Transamerica, players have a hand of locations to visit, and take turns to add to a shared network. But there's loads more going on in Expedition: three point-to-point 'expeditions' instead of a single network; face-up location cards that can be claimed by anyone; tokens that you can spend on special actions; the possibility of upping the stakes on some of your locations by revealing them to everyone; and an ingenious mechanic for dealing with loops in an expedition.
I've also been on a bit of a Dorra kick recently, and Kreta turned out to be a slick little area control game.
It took me until Tuesday to recover from the sleep deprivation but I already can't wait for the next time. November seems so far away.