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A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"That stick figure is the temptress of my dreams"
10th November 2017
A quite Friday night in allowed me and Maartje some quality time by trying out one of my new purchases.
Favor of the Pharaoh
"Quantity over quality"
We are in Egypt, Giza, another exotic location for such a simple game. The prize is the queen of Egypt as we act as lowly workers trying to move up the social ladder. We do this by rolling three dice and employing more workers (dice) to our team. You need at least 7 dice to have a chance to rub shoulders with the queen. As you move up the social ladder you have to lock dice in your pyramid in a certain formation to attract the workers to come to work for you. Some workers do not provide you with dice but allow you to manipulate your dice. Maartje got 7 dice and had purchased the burial mask giving her seven tokens to influence the queen. As luck would have it, Maartje did exactly that. I tried my best but failed. There are interesting choices in strategy, but the game is so short really you just want more dice and rely on luck. The production is fantastic and makes the game that more appealing. I will have to try again to seduce that sexy red queen with at least 7 dice.
Maartje was happy she won but wasn't too impressed with the game. Suffice to say that ended the gaming for the night.
"Maartje had won
12th November 2017
Me and Maartje had some time on this cold Sunday to play a quick game. Maartje was still happy to play even after she called Favor of the Pharaoh a fiasco of a game. So we decided to work together with varied results.
"If someone is having an off day you cannot rely on the other to bring up the level"
There is no bungee jumping from a massive dam or shooting enemies on the roof of a moving train but there is spy action involved. In this game we are seeking our amigos, as our teammate gives us one words clue to pick the right person. A double sided grid tells us our agents, the innocent bystanders and the spies which will end the game if you pick them. You have to be careful and snipe the right target. Me and Maartje had four games and are results were as followed:
I had said entertainment and Maartje had choosen roulette on the first turn. Roulette was a spy and we had an instant fail!
The tables had turned and Maartje had said cast. I chose foot and we lost again.
Highlights include the word transaction and finding the operatives: hand, change and Amazon. Amazon was an innocent bystander. This game came down to the wire and was a lot of fun.
We had a nice trio that worked in this game; the clue was dance and we revealed record, swing and pop. This game we had one guess left and only one operative left so the game felt a lot less stressful.
"The spies blend in so seductively you cannot choose them"
We enjoyed the game greatly and the fun bit is winning after a loss! It proves the game isn't too easy!
Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:05 pm
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"Oh Orleans, there is so much to you"
4th November 2017
It's that time again; the first Saturday of each month brings the Cambridge gaming faithful together to play games. What did I play, who did I play with..... All is to be revealed now.
Piece o' Cake
"You can have your cake and eat it"
Cakes are all about prestige. You cannot have your cake and eat it- whatever that means. So me, Andy, Andrew, Gill and Sharon attempted our best to grab the most cake and win. Each player gets a round cake and must divide it up as they see fit. The cake is made of many different variety of flavours and the one with the most slices of that cake at the end of the game wins the points numbered on it. The points are awarded on how many slices each cake has. As you divide the cake each player will take a share with you choosing last, so you must be fair in your division. Some cakes have cream on top and if you eat them they score you end of game points but the cake will not count towards your majority. Andrew eat every single slice of cake and came a respected third. I held off from eating any cake and won. Lesson learned? Yes it was a very enjoyable game.
"This cake was too ambitious to win any prizes"
As Grad Pad filled up Timothy and Shane joined Sharon and I for a game set in France.
"Put the farmer in the bag"
I like France and I like this game. You randomly select a few people from your bag and employ them to your personal board to carry out actions. Many of the options do not effect other players, but the ones that do cause horrendous pain. I play this game often with three and there is little competition, in four players you can run our of workers very quickly limiting your choice significantly. Shane and Sharon went heavy on hiring scholars, moving them up the end of game scoring track. You score points for money and multiply the number of trading posts and citizens you have at the end of the game with the points on the score track. You also gain points for your goods at the end of the game. I had set myself up employing craftsmen, which created more efficient action spaces and then explored France grabbing resources and setting up trading stations. I went to the South of France and Timothy explored the North of France. Having also focused on farming I had a steady income each round and as my employment of staff had built up, I sent them to the town hall to do beneficial deeds. The board we played on was German so I had no idea what they were doing, other than providing me with money and a higher score. The game was so stressful as workers disappeared, making turn order crucially important. Sharon and Shane did not employ enough knights to explore France but had enough traders to build them buildings and score them points from elsewhere. I had finished my plans near the end of the game and had time to employee the lucrative boatmen. I had won comfortably but vowed to never play four players again. Now I have had a chance to reflect I say bring it- I still like you France even with all your competition.
"The French are messy leaving their haverst in the middle of the road"
I had time for a quick game. Gill had joined us, which lead us to talk in code.
"Where am I?
The four of us received cards of locations and (unintentionally) Shane received the spy card in both our two games. The idea was for us to find out who the spy was and for the spy to work out which location we were at.
Location 1: The restuarant
A mixture of questions lead pretty quickly to the suspicion of Shane. He answered a question saying he "is not that type of lady". I forget the question but there was a long uncomfortable silence followed by laughter. Timothy was not particularly impressed when I asked him what he was sitting on. His response: "a chair".
Location 2: Space Station
Timothy had asked Sharon how long did it take to get where they were and that lead Sharon to accuse Timothy of being the spy. Being in space I thought the question was quite sensible and let him off the hook. I asked about the weather and the response was that it was cold. This lead Shane to guess we were in the North Pole.
It was my first game of Spyfall and I have never laughed so much at a game so silly. Looking forward to playing this again. It did make me think how difficult it would be to play a spy though.
At that point I had to leave, but it was a very worthwhile morning of gaming!
Sharon also writes a blog and this was her coverage of the day :
Sharon's Grad Pad blog
Played @ Grad Pad Cambridge (Facebook page)
"Punting in Cambridge, on the door step of Grad Pad"
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:00 pm
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"My blog is one year old today-Hooray to me!"
One year has passed and this post will mark my 89th blog. I started my blog to improve my written English and also to widen the scope of my board gaming hobby. My written English has improved (I hope) and I have learned that I actually enjoy the process. Writing is creative allows me to explore my ideas further. The blog has expanded my knowledge through my research of the history and theme of the games that I have played and in turn has given me a bigger appreciation for the games themselves. I thank my readers and all the supportive comments I have received. It has been a pleasure to read them and fun to hear your opinions and thoughts on the games I have played. Particular highlights have been comments and likes from the authors of the game. You don't often get to thank an author of the game for providing you some pleasure in your life so to know that I have given them some pleasure/displeasure in my blog is gratifying.
I am quite happy with my blog and the format the way it is, especially if you compare it to my first few blogs. I want to keep things fresh and interesting and I am thinking about changing my blog to something with a flowing narrative involving games next year. Any ideas? I would certainly appreciate your comments on what you would like to see. On that note is there anything you particularly enjoy about my blog, let me know?
For those of you just discovering my blog- thank you for joining me! I post every Monday and Friday and write a mini narrative on the games I have played.
Whatever the future brings I am looking forward to continuing playing games and writing about them. Especially with all the new Essen releases this year- it certainly is an exciting time to be a bored gamer!
I will finish with my top played games of the year:
Ticket to Ride (numerous maps)
7 Wonders Duel
and my gaming shelfies!
"My smaller games"
"My main games"
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"To truly appreciate Japan you must imerse yourself into the adventure"
29th October 2017
Sunday night brings Euro gaming goodness. Where is the gaming based? Certainly not in Europe.
"Every city is a cash cow, you must get there and milk it"
Ray, Liam and I start in Japan. We send our samurai to mine stone, chop wood and harvest rice. Our samurai work best alone, any other samurai in the same area hinders productivity. It is well known that two samurai together chat about girls and the latest hair trends. With these resources, our samurai build up Japan, with house, trading posts and fortresses. Each city pays out money at the end of the round and the more players the lower the payout. There is one rule, you must build in Edo or you cannot claim a victory at the end of the game. I built a temple in the middle of the road, this allows my samurai to travel cheaper. Ray and Liam were focused on building up Japan, whereas I traded with the merchant as many times as possible scoring me lovely points. Once a player scores 12 points, that triggers the end game. To play this lovely and simplistic game you start off with with square boards and a stand. You place each square in the stand and employ officials to do the actions on the boards. Each board has numerous actions, which limits what you can do on your turn and creates a lovely tantalising puzzle. You have the option to buy more boards, shame for Ray his eyesight failed him and he decided to make do with what he had. The game is an area majority game with points as timer. The production is lovely and the Japanese art is seducing. All the elements make this game a winner and at least Liam enjoyed it as well. You know the saying- "too many samurai spoil a game".
"Serenity and the singular= peace in Japan"
Next we left for the sunny skies of Hawaii!
"The world is your oyster but why bother when Hawaii has surfing and Hula babes?"
In Japan you had the samurai do all the work, in Hawaii you send your chieftain. He walks around the island purchasing buildings, boats, fruit and anything related to the tropical island of Hawaii. Ray's chieftain loved his fruit and built up a steady supply he could spend on his turns. A simple misunderstanding from Ray about the rules meant that he kept the fruit in his hut, thinking that he would score four points for each fruit thanks to the god statues that were acquired. When the rules were clarified to him he went on a spending spree throwing around fruit like he was king of the island. The island rewards you at the end of each of the five rounds for buying the goods of the main island. You can pay double for a better item but you won't double your receipt that way. Me and Liam upgraded our boats which allowed us to visit other islands and get points and other goods. Ray and Liam were strongly competing for the end of round bonus and they scored very highly during the game.
"The main island has so many riches you can bring to your private island"
The journey to Hawaii is quite exciting. You compete for the best prices and the selection of strategies and variability brings immense pleasure and joy playing this game repeatedly. At the end end of the game a huge tsunami will flood your island unless you are protected by tikis. You have an option to build a long villages or many short ones. The reason for the short villages is that the kahunas score you nice bonus points. I went for the latter strategy and was one kahuna short of filling up my private island. We played with the mini expansion that contains replenishing fish which creates an extra choice for competition. Lots to think about in a great setting. Our islands looked like so:
"Liam: 95 points"
The fruit hoarder won the thrilling game. We all enjoyed the excellent euro games set in exotic locations. I hope to visit the islands for real at one point.
Played @ Bishops Stortford Tabletop
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:04 pm
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"And the crowd go wild for the beheading of the warrior!"
28th October 2017
A visit to Newmarket to visit old colleagues. We had some time to kill and with that time we had warriors to kill.
"It does not matter what the opponent is doing, get in formation and show the crowd what they want"
I like Tash-Kalar, you throw on warriors on to the battlefield and once they are in a certain formation, a great warrior appears on the ground and usually does some
walking killing. You get a few actions per turn to put your troops into formation and battle. Steven and I played identical teams in the basic version of the game. The game wasn't about draining the blood from each skull but to satisfy the crowd however they deemed fit. At the times want to see great warriors summoned to the board in certain, at other times they want to see the blood pour into their cups of celebration. You score a number of points for each achievement depending on the difficulty and the first to a number of points is the winner. Me and Steven danced around each other in what appeared to be a production of Les Miserables. Eventually the points started flowing. It was fun to summon a cannon and other such mighty warriors. The board and cards are nice and bright and the art is stunning. What is meant to be a quick game, ended up being fairly lengthy. The issue for me is the shapes and formations. I just cannot deal with it and become analysis prone. I tend to think I am a quick player but not in this arena. Despite enjoying it, I will never play this again. Tash Kalar, the sound of swords clashing, you have been added to the list of games I enjoy but will never play.
"Only experts can predict the formations being made"
We had a few minutes left and kept in the theme of war.
Age of War
"Troops require no training"
You roll some dice and place troops in certain cities. You may only deploy one formation per roll, so on your next roll you have less chance of rolling the formation you have. I powered play the game by securing a few cities. Steven couldn't roll dice for candy and for that lost massively. He attacked my cities, which needed an extra troop and it was no wonder he failed. It was nice enough to play to pass the time.
So that was it. After was food and drinks with another colleague and the last train home. A spectacular night!
"The hardest city to conquer- I only needed one attempt"
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:05 pm
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"Impending disaster in Asia!"
27th October 2017
Friday night gaming around Andy's house, what could go wrong?
"Where are the Zombies?"
Andy and Peter were both waiting for me to arrive. I arrived and on the table was this hunk of junk! You go hunting in the wild, you roll dice to tell you whether you are a star shooter or a pants shooter. I was an ace shooter hitting the deer right between the eyes for as many points as I could swim in. Andy was shooting blanks and scaring the deer away! In one last ploy he was going to go all out but shot three blanks with the three dice you roll each turn. If he had shot or wounded a deer he could have carried on but three blanks and your out. You have the chance to bank the points in-between rolls, which ends your turn, but even this wouldn't have helped Andy! A great way to start the evening- shooting deer brains! It is the same game as zombie dice but with points!
" Look at that glorious deer! Doesn't it deserve to be shot in the head"
Going out with a Dutch girlfriend is advantageous for many reasons. One is that I am more knowledgeable of the Netherlands, does this help me win games?
"As the mill blows in the wind, the sails blow like the hands on the clock tell time!"
Seeland is about Dutch farming in the 17th Century. Those clever and logical Dutch discuss among themselves:
"Yeah, we Dutch don't have much land, so let us drain the water and grow tulips!"
We use windmills to extract the water and grow our fields. Variety is key to this game where you have to grow at least two out of three of the available plants around your windmill to score points. If you grow all three plants you score bonuses! The plants in question are:cabbage, rapeseed, and tulips. Next we will all be eating peasoup in our wooden clogs! The game is very beautiful and you can connect to cities, providing you with money, allowing you extra turns and connecting your windmill to a governor. The governor is a smart thin looking fella and will provide you with many points if you can exceed his expectations of how much harvest your plants provide you with. We establish our crops and windmills using a roundel system. The clever feature is that you can only skip five steps further than your fellow Dutch farmers come entrepreneurs. This creates frustration, forcing you to pick up bad crops and windmills. Luck favoured me and I scored very highly which is not the only reward of itself. You can choose your highest scores with your markers and who ever scored the highest during the game is awarded with even more points! Queue me as the winner of the game by over 80 points. The game is beautiful in it's own Dutch way. I am biased ofcourse. We played the least random variant and it was a fun game. Having a Dutch girlfriend does have it's advantages so I guess I won't have to play this again to prove my luck!
"Like the Netherlands, a true feast for the eye"
After making a point by winning two extremely lucky games we decided to play a co-op game to gauge the strength of my luck.
"Can we really leave the Russians to deal with their own epidemic?"
The world is a big place! Andy the medic, Peter the dispatcher and I the researcher decided to travel the world to cure four diseases that could destroy the world! We all had back stories, be it cats at home, kids in uni or just a general can do attitude which was originally lost in a downtrodden bar. Plagues break out as we travel the world curing diseases, setting up research centres and coming up with the four cures. As we ran around the world like headless chickens, Andy, angry at the injustice of the world, cured entire cities like it was no big deal. Peter, joking every step of the way, put us into positions to perform the big cures. I was giving everyone the clues to cure the diseases, having my tie loop half down my open shirt as the sweat dropped off my head. Asia was out main problem, disease to the left, disease to the right! We were suffering outbreaks but generally keeping the word healthy! One turn left and we would have found the last cure. By this time, like every time, after we took our actions we drew cards. The cards we drew were the cures to the diseases but also caused huge pandemics. Each pandemic reshuffled the city cards which previously suffered outbreaks of diseases. At the end of the turn we drew two cards, by the the end of the game we were drawing four! This lead to our loss, humanities loss and the loss of our game night! Where was my luck? It was truly a group effort where we bonded in the chaos of world destruction. A pandemic of gameplay fun was discovered tonight.
"The world was really in dire straits"
Having lost all our luck between us we had to call it a night. Fun as usual! What will the future bring? Will my luck return, will I die or will the wounded deer take their well deserved revenge?
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"The universe is ours so keep it tidy!"
25th October 2017
When a group gets together there is always some bravado. To test who had the most bravado we played...
"You wouldn't believe how many sixes I have rolled!"
Dice the game of chance and statistics. Hide the information from the dice and you start relying on your friends to let you know what they have rolled underneath their cups. The first player states a number on the dice and how many they believed the whole table have rolled. This turns into a bidding round around the table until the trust disappears and the next player to bid accuses the previous player of being a liar. All the dice are revealed and if the dice show that the bidder was telling the truth the accuser loses a die or if indeed the bidder was liar, they lose a dice. We had Nick F, Ray, Maddy, Nick C and I, all telling the truth. I told the truth a bit too hard and lost by losing all my dice first. It came down to Nick C and Maddy. Impressively Nick C had not lost a die in the entire game and Maddy had her last die. She lost her die and with that died her hope of winning the game. Fun quick bluffing game which works well to gauge how far you can trust your buddies.
"The truth is in the victims of the lies"
Callum had joined us and that made 6 decision makers around the table.
7 Wonders with the Cities expansion
"Today class we are going to introduce a small concept of tax!"
6 civilisation minds put their mind together to build the world as we know it. Ray put his mind to developing science and had scored a mighty impressive 38 points for those buildings alone. He was building up Babylon, which had all the best scientific minds. Additionally he had built a pigeon loft which stole scientific knowledge from his neighbours. In cities almost anything goes, you get some of the world's best spies, best diplomats and everything in between. Nick F focused on building up his civilisation by building structures for his people. A mighty 21 points were scored for those structures. I had benefited grandly from the Magistrates Guild but Nick F had built a Counterfeiter Guild and charged everyone three money. If your young you are probably not sure what tax is and ask why you should pay it? Well if you don't you score minus points.
"Ray's winning wonder and his ability to use the cities to his full potential"
Maddy was building her wonder the Pyramids of Giza. She left it to the last age, probably due to the unavailability of slaves but to control those slaves she had amassed a big army who also battling her rivals. Callum had done well with his commercial buildings and had a respectable score but came last. You may ask how we manage to build so many fantastic civilisations? We passed each other cards and chose one, then past the rest round. The best game ever made and the chaos that cities brings adds even more excitement and uncertainty. It is a shame that my wonder Stonehenge was so crap. Well done Ray for his massive win!
We split into two groups as there was a cry for blood, in blood bowl manager. That left me and the two Nicks to deal with storage issues in Hamburg.
"Where's the fire?"
"What joy do these warehouse of humdrum store?"
Line up, line up get your goods, your firemen and your buildings all in Hamburg's famous warehouse complex. One by one we lineup our three workers in the warehouse with our favourite good. The more in queue, the more expensive the product but as soon as one drops out of the line the product becomes one cheaper. The first in the queue has first dibs on the product but it is likely to be more expensive. The game last four seasons, with each season a fire breaking out. We don't see any fire in the first season (a fourth one does break out at the end of the game which can be seen to happen in that season a year later) but as the seasons go on the fires bring higher penalties and rewards for the trader that has the most protection. I had not prepared for fire and lost 10 points through out the entire game. The idea is that we buy contracts and fulfil them once the ships with goods come in. Despite being in the red brick warehouse district, there was only room to store one resource. All un-stored resources must either be placed on the contracts or sold for money. Like any trading game, money makes the world go round and you get an income of one money each round. If you don't buy anything you get two. Nick C had invested in a bank, he had lots of income, Nick F had invested in a warehouse. I know all this because I invested in four counting offices scoring me fourteen points. I also had a port which scored me many points. Both the Nicks invested heavily in fire protection and scored the bonuses between them. Nick C had completed many contracts and me Nick F tried to stop him having a monopoly in points. Winter came and left and the game was over. It was a close affair but Nick C had won by a small margin. The bland theme is glossed over with an exciting vindictive bidding system. The balance of points and penalties works superbly and the game plays in a quick time. The game has been re-implemented by Jorvik and I could definitely recommend you invest in that instead of the games I play.
Nick F was a big fan of 7 Wonders so being a wise leader I decided we played one last game.
7 Wonders with Leaders expansion
"In desperate times we need leadership"
"The joy of creating civilisations better than your opponent"
Leaders are recruited each age that bring you benefits during the game. I was building the Lighthouse of Alexandria which produced me many resources. I hired Imhotep to help me erect such a monument. I told him forget the pyramids, me and you will build something useful that will save many lives. Having been inspired by Ray in the previous game of 7 Wonders I had focused on scientific buildings. The scientific buildings allow you to create other scientific structures for free and there was my failure. I produced too many resources and not enough points. Nick F had Rome and had the opportunity to hire many leaders. He hired warlords, construction experts and rich scoring leaders. Nick F had one of the best civilisations I have ever seen and scored a mighty 74 points. Nick C had been severely beaten after his much deserved win in the previous game.
The night was over, with much joviality and attempts to win it was time to put my weary head to bed. Why did I lose, is it all a lie?
Bishops Stortford Tabletop
At the time of writing this I had received both the cities and leaders anniversary pack and looking forward to giving them a go as the powers look fun to explore.
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"The most quintessential English festival in the most quintessential cathedral city"
Summer has passed and we have now entered Autumn. How we, the British public, yearn for the rollicking fun of the summer. To recreate the fun there is now a day dedicated to apples. I'll spend my time reminiscing about the past by playing top quality games.
Great Western Trail
" A game set in the Wild West but with no dynamite or gold;
the irony is that the game is both dynamite and gold!"
You got cowboys and trains and little shanty business all vying for your time. The main thing you have to do is eat. You are a cattle herder, herding your cows from Texas to Kansas City. From Kansas you send out your cows to Topeka and all the way to San Francisco. On the way, will you get juicy cows, set up shop or employ those engineers allowing your train to travel as far as San Francisco. In competition was the usual yee-hawing folk known as Claire, Dominic, Pete and I. Dominic and Claire were new to the game and focused on purchasing the best cattle money can buy. There was very little entrepreneurial spirit and only three shops were opened up the entire game. I got on my horse and got my cows to Kansas 8 times during the course of the game. I was even kind enough to the folks in Kansas to deliver them some beef at the cost of six points to me. The Kansas folk are rich and pay generously for your time.
"My cattle driving achievements"
Pete had only visited Kansas five times by the end of the game and came in second place. For Dominic it was all about the cowboys and cattle and he had scored 45 points for his herd, with only three points separating him and Pete. I emptied my hand of duplicate cattle and the very worst of the Jersey cows. By the end of the game I was going in with 19 value of cows. My secret, the station masters. Not leaving it up to chance to deliver a good herd and having permanent bonuses from the station ribbons leads to a stress free game. I had won with over 35 points from second place. Poor Claire played her first game and had scored on 32 points. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.
"The characters of Texas looking down on your happy trails"
It was time for a spot of lunch as the others set up a game of Concordia. I went to see what all the fuss was about the apples and enjoyed a pulled pork burger and a hot apple juice. Ely is a lovely city and worth visiting if you can. The taste of the food was so much lovelier under this Gothic looking building.
"Blessed thou I, the devourer of evil"
Many of the groups had been playing heavier Euro games. Matt, James, Michael and Timothy had just finished playing the grand old game of Le Harve. It was time to swap it up a bit.
"What divides me and you is the infection of your soul"
"Sinister events are afoot"
What drives a man to be evil? Is it a disease or is it been locked up on a moon with people you hate? Dark Moon states it is an infection, but I am not so sure. The moon base we are on starts falling apart, is it bad maintenance or an infection? Infection. The team on the base must fix the base and accomplish missions to survive. The infected try to damn them all to hell by blowing up the base, but all under the veil of secrecy. You have to ask the logic of this infection, how does it set to breed by blowing it's self up? There are too many questions in this game, which is why it is best to get on with fixing the base. Michael kept failing his missions and hindering repairs. I called a vote on him and he was placed in quarantine. The team held together quite well and the base was getting repaired as we were heading to our final mission. What happened to bring the downfall of the humans? A successful mission. We had successfully manged a lock down but the damage proved to great and blew up the base. The infected had won. Michael claimed he had no choice but to submit the dice he did to fail the missions, but he had a certain swagger to him suggestion it was his plan all along.
"An all too common sight at the Dark Moon complex"
We were determined to win and gave Dark Moon another shot. Captain Timothy was choosing the right missions, submitting the right dice and had a smile on his face. I fell for his lie and I ordered him to do two actions. He revealed to be a dirty infected player. He blew up the shields and we had all lost the game. Up to that point we had been doing very well indeed!
"The shields have blown- we are all done for!"
Dark Moon manages to create a thematic social deduction game in a manageable time frame. Who can you really trust when you are stuck together in a tin can with little prospect of success?
Next up was a trivia game for the enlightened.
"When did this happen?"
"Compelling history on the BBC 1971"
Time is a line you would be lead to believe. When did some tennis star win some big tennis match? In my time this has never happened as it is not really on my conscious and yet I am to deliver a fair guess and place it sometime between when Eskimos discovered gravity and when Roald Dahl first rode a bike. You can push your luck by drawing more and more cards until you bank your successful memory of history or lose all the cards you played that turn. The winner is the first to have 10 cards. The game played nice enough and it does fascinate me how the human brain can store so much pointless information as mine sadly cannot. Coming dead dead last I did enjoy the game. Matt won but then there is randomness on the events which are drawn some more or less relevant to you.
There must be something about gamers that compel them to play games of deceit. Maybe it is there honest nature and the fun it is to lie without consequence. I lie all the time or do I? Shall we find out?
The Sheriff of Nottingham
“Despite Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, the real criminal is the legislative state giving the sheriff power to search goods and having him compensate for any failed searches.”
"Do the sheriff waddle!"
The best thing about money is what you can do with it. The more you have the more you can do but the tax man wants his share. This is a game with no off-shore haven accounts exist and the sheriff is looking to claim his tax. We put all our goods in a magic bag and have to explain to the tax man what we have there. Lying and importing illegal goods is indeed illegal. If you are caught you must suffer a large penalty by way of loss of goods and fines. We all play the merchants, come smugglers, and one by one we all play the role of the loathed sheriff. The sheriff does look sinister and has the belly of a privileged oaf but if he wastes your time he will compensate you out of his own pocket. We all begged with the sheriff not to check our goods, sometimes he did and sometimes he didn't. Money went around and illegal goods were imported. To prove yourself worthy of being a merchant you have to more goods than any other merchant. For that you are rewarded. Be it Ely game's day apples, or the cheeky alarm clock cockerel! The merchant with the most of one good receives more money. I have enjoyed this game in the past, but this day it fell flat. I smuggled three illegal goods which I felt didn't come down to my skill of lying but because the sheriff wasn't trying. Timothy, the most successful games player I know, won the game proving there is skill in this game. I guess money is there to buy you victory, I'd rather buy a crossbow and threaten the sheriff. Is this my sort of bluffing game? Pay me some money and I may tell thee.
It was dinner time and back to some serious game play. For dinner I would share some beef with Timothy and Shane.
Great Western Trail
"2nd cut of fine prime beef"
"This game is like Monopoly: you build houses, move a train around the table and win by having more beef than your competitors"
Game 2 was a randomised set up. I have previously had my concerns with the randomised set up of the buildings in this game. My fears were confirmed when the first building on the route was the one that allows you to exchange two identical cows for four money. This building is usually at the end of the Texas to Kansas City route and is useful as it allows you to cycle through you cards. At the start, the benefit does not seem to be so great. To counter this I had built up the route giving me some nice combos from removing hazards to buying people at a discount. Shane also built up the route and getting to Kansas was more difficult. Timothy was focusing on purchasing the best cattle money can buy and he did very well with that. I had only kept the best of my cows, getting rid of the rest. Shane exclaimed- "you broke the game by getting rid of the deck building aspect of the game". I haven't lost a game yet with this strategy so maybe he is right. Why would you take a chance in this tight euro game of what cows you can deliver to Kansas. Shane did very poorly delivering his cows and scored nothing. Timothy did exceedingly well and scored 22 with me scoring 8, which included all my minus points for staying in Kansas City on one occasion: you got to get your money somewhere! I was too brave with my contracts and had scored only 4 points with 5 contracts. No one managed to get to the flashing lights of the Utopian San Francisco; that is the reason why there are so many vegetarians in San Francisco. In the end it was a close affair: 85 to me, Timothy had 77 and Shane with 72 for doing well on everything apart from delivering beef. This game is truly the finest prime beef steak!
"The real estate in the Great Western Trail was getting rare!"
I had feasted well on apples and gaming nutrients. It was time to rest my weary head and call it a night
Played @ Ely Games Day
Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:05 pm
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
" Doctor, get your arse to the infirmary, one more crew member dead and we all die"
18th October 2017
A deadly still was in the air in the pub. Autumn was among us and there seemed to be a few of us infected with some unknown virus.
"I want to see a doctor immediately, I don't pay private health care to contract an incurable killing disease"
As the sun rises the red of the light reflects on the red of the mars dust. It’s beautiful sight the blending of the two shades; I worry this is the last Mars sunrise I will ever witness. It is all calm in this space station but when the sun sets and the moon comes out, darkness will engulf us all. There’s the usual rag tag crew that have little to no training but we all get along… for now. Ray, Nick, Ben, Peter and Christine were all stationed on the ship. The shields started to go down, the system started to blow sparks and to make matters worse some of the crew had ulterior motives to kill us all. A strain of smart arseyness had infected two of the crew and they had enough and wanted to kill everyone.
" Dice tell no lies!"
We would go on missions trying to fix the base. At best we had a 70% chance but only one attempt. Suspicion would arise for every failure because remember "dice don't lie". After each attempt, something would happen, a blown water pipe, broken communications or worst of all-a blocked toilet! As we pitched in to fix it some of the team were hindering our chances causing the system to break. Captain Peter chose an easy mission(System Reboot)to complete, shame once completed it created five damage to the base. One by one we became fatigued and less skilled. Eventually the system just broke down killing us all. I was quite happy being one of the infected! Christine was also infected but she didn’t even get to sabotage the base as the honest perished and screamed. After the red dust settled we discussed that not having the ability to allow our team mates hurt the uninfected. Better luck next time; maybe the doctor will cure you of compulsive murder.
"Boom goes the moon base!"
Where there is deception to be had Christine is the usual suspect. So with murder in the air Christine decided to be the clue giver.
Deception-Murder in Hong Kong
“The killing is the easy bit, the avoiding arrest is more difficult”
"First we must find the motive"
I am the best detective ever! Thank you! I knew who killed the victim Johnny Sony without witnessing the crime. I committed the crime because Johnny Sony was beating me at Fifa 1994. Like any reasonable game player losing at Fifa, I hit Johnny across the head with the console and then had a smoke to celebrate. The forensic crew had said that the murderer was messy, in the house and Mr Sony died through massive trauma to his head. Suspicion was around the table, was it the plant pot, very very maybe? Then the killer clue was revealed; The victim was a friend. Without hesitation Ben threw his badge on the line and accused me of killing with the console and cigarettes. He knew I didn’t smoke unless I killed someone. Now in prison I will have to suffer daily Chinese exercise rituals! The horror!
Game over man!
Played @ Bishops Stortford Tabletop
Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:00 pm
A banana, a suitcase and a game!
"London-Not to scale"
15th October 2017
Sunday evening brings gaming pleasure. This week's theme is wealth creation.
Step 1- Build a City
London (2nd Edition)
"Imagine a London without St Paul's Cathedral- here is your chance!"
What happens when you lose everything- you start again"Maximo Park- Apply some pressure"! That's the idea of London. London Bridge has burned down with the rest of London. It is time to build it back up using the power of commerce and capitalism! I challenged Ray to do a better job of building up London. Ray accepted the challenge! To build up London you draw and draft buildings, build the buildings by discarding other buildings of the same type and run your city which allows you to use the building's abilities. It really is quite simple. In this edition you can purchase provinces that give you extra structures and abilities. The provinces are North or South of the river Thames (you enjoying London yet?) and some of them are on the river Thames. This effects the ability of some of the buildings which give you more or less money depending on what provinces you have built. The money in this game is provided by your commercial buildings, however you can always take a high interest, poverty inducing loan. You have to spend money to make money the old saying goes. That's exactly what I did. Using that money, I built Nelson's Column and many other London monuments, scoring me highly. Ray was cautious with his money. He built many provinces with his money but had no money to invest in buildings. What London is also famous for is paupers, cor blimey gov, and poverty. Every time you run your city you gain poverty. Paupers you gain fill up your hand. You can use a hospital to "cure a pauper" from this state, but I wouldn't count on that being a full-time solution. Once London is complete you compare how much poverty you have and you score minus points for the postive difference.
"What is this mess? Why sir it is London, just look at each building in isolation and you will realise it's beauty"
I lost 14 points for my unpaid loans, I was convinced Ray was going to win with his green city. I had one more poverty then him and one more point. I did enjoy the first edition of the game which had a board, making London appear to have a centre point. This edition has nice art to make up for the loss of the board and gives you more choices in terms of the provinces and how best to use their ability. The satisfaction of building London is as good as getting four complete lines in Tetris.
Next was trading. I always was intrigued in the dark web and the silk road website. Here we delve into the world of trading spice.
Step 2- Trade, trade, trade!
Century: Spice Road
"It's all about the trade!"
"Bold colours cannot hide the bland flavour of this game"
People love their turmeric, people love their saffron, people love their cardamon and people love their cinnamon. The name of the game is to trade. Trade the spices for lovely point scoring contracts and win the game. You can purchase resource producing cards to produce richer spices or trade up the spice ladder. You cannot spend your time optimising your production though as the contracts at the start of the game give you bonus points. Me and Ray traded up and everything was quite balanced. The excitement in the trade comes with that one big trade, but as the points are rather balanced between smaller and larger contracts there is no really incentive to do that. Your resource production/trading cards can only be used once each before you can reset them by taking an action. Trade is quick and your brain keeps on thinking. My win came early in the game when I acquired a two saffron production card. This gave me a tasty advantage over Ray and I won. It seemed a shame that the cards are so unbalanced and depending on your turn order you will determine if you are able to buy those unbalanced cards or not. I had a pleasant time but will not be returning to Spice Road because it lacks the illicit pleasures.
"My production and fulfilled contracts, every game is different but the same"
I would rather go for Splendor as the sense of building up is more satisfying. Both games are equally addictive and too much of a good thing can kill you. That is why me and Ray decided it was time to prepare for death.
Step 3- Prepare for the future
Valley of the Kings:Afterlife
"I going to take it all to my grave, every last penny I owe"
You spend a lot more time dead than alive. So it makes sense that you want to prepare for your eternal death. What would happen if you couldn't take your favourite shabti with you in your afterlife to keep you company? You would be eternally lonely. The Egyptians had a way around this and built huge tombs with items to take with them. Afterlife was the only game of the Valley of the Kings series that Ray didn't own and he wanted to give it a go. You purchased afterlife goods from a crumbling pyramid (thematic) and use those items to get you more items. The more of a set of items you have at the end of the game the more you score. Duplicate items do not score, as Ray realised after declaring victory in error. I went for a heavily weaponised strategy giving me access to the boneyard. The reason I love this game is because everything you do has a knock on effect. Destroy an item, your opponent no longer has access to it and it shortens the length of the game. You can buy an item that may give your opponent access to an item they are waiting for. You have the usual combos you can pull off, but as you have to entomb your cards, your deck is forever changing. There is two of each card in the game and access to these cards are partially randomised. It appears you cannot plan in life as you can in the afterlife. Great satisfying game- a truly interactive deck builder!
"Line up, line up take the latest fashion with you to your grave!"
Enriched and satisfied that brought the gaming evening to an end. Now I can die happy!
Played @Bishops Stortford Tabletop
Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:05 pm
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