Anthony BoydellUnited Kingdom
Dry your eyes, mate, I know it’s heard to take but their minds have been made up
There’s plenty more fish in the sea
Dry your eyes, mate, I know you want to make them see how much this pain hurts
But you’ve got to walk away now
...at least until the New Year and, then, who knows for how much longer?
This week I really cannot complain about a lack of gaming: Monday with Cosmic Encounter, Tuesday for Terra Mystica, Wednesday comes with Eclipse and 10 hours of designing a TCG (yes! paid design work!) and tonight (maybe) some hot Notre Dame action liberally sprinkled with ‘Les Miserables’ references. There’s half a chance I’ll be gaming on Friday too plus another foray into operatic Space on Monday and a Leo Sayer* of thinky games on Tuesday...not forgetting, of course, about the Ross-on-Wye Gamers’ Christmas Balderdash Extravaganza on the 21st (provided the World hasn’t ended first). Carl is off to the States, Iain to Portugal, Uncle Steve and the ‘two Daves’ will, no doubt, be ‘at home with the family’, the Beard will have his daughter with and I’ll be Chez Boydell up to my tiny nosey-wosey in wrapping paper, blue cheese and a happy brood.
My first exposure to the Essen favourite Terra Mystica was a well-prepared and very satisfying one. I watched the 44 minute walk-thru video, in this very Parish, which set me up with pretty much everything I needed to know and – thankfully – avoided the need for our group to suffer a long rules explanation ‘in situ’; stand-up rows, pedantic corrections and childish distraction techniques / knob gags are generally frowned upon in polite society…so it was a good thing we were at The Shire Horse then! (waits)
At the very highest level, Terra Mystica is area control with a series of resource conversion actions that get you victory points: buildings count towards that area bit but also give you ‘in game’ points and/or resources when collected into handy groups (‘Towns’), workers and money towards building things and progressing up the Cult tracks. You can’t just build anywhere, though, as the various (seven) races enjoy a specific habitat (terrain) and spurn all others – so to settle somewhere, one puts ones workers ‘to the spade’ to do some terraforming. Magic pervades everyone's activities – more so when you build religious buildings so further start-of-turn income is revealed. It’s beautiful to look at, wonderful to ‘hold’, absolutely straight-forward and accessible to play and has a LOT of splendid and subtle player interaction! My first game whistled along taking two hours, with food served clumsily in between, and only felt like the one hour – obviously, now that we all know ‘where its at’, I predict the playing time coming down significantly. TM ticked all of the Boydell boxes – far more so than Tzolk’in, which I feel is a lesser game when you strip away the splendid engineering feat of the cog system.
Anyways, the bright end to my dark tunnel approaches (“Marylebone, this is Marylebone; all change!”), so I’ll prevaricate no further and show you what happened in last night’s Eclipse: