The Ross-on-Wye Boardgamers

Beer and Boardgames at The Plough Inn (formerly the Prince Of Wales, formerly the White Lion). "It's not F-ing Monopoly, alright?!"
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Friday 7th February - Pax o'Stuffing

Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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A boy's night out this week, as Becky abandoned me at the pub in order to go dancing. Tony, as his blog will evidence, is currently in the mood to tuck into juicier fare (I give it three months before he's complaining that we don't get to play any old favourites any more), but he had a frivolous opening exercise for us too: Matt Green is re-developing cult favourite Beyond the Gates of Antares: the Dice Game (BGA:tDG, or 'Bugger t'Dog') into a schlock deep-sea horror game with the inevitable title of Dicelantis. Gerv turned up just in time to rub his hands with glee, say "I know what I'm doing, I've played this before" and roll six completely blank dice, which was enough to warm me to the game in itself. Despite a vicious glare at his dice in the first three rounds, John came through to win.

Tony's main event fare was Pax Pamir, and I was imprecated sternly to KEEP MY GOB SHUT during his rules explanation after my jollities with the Tin Goose rules. So - after doing the comedy 'blow your nose on the linen board' routine - I sat there in well behaved silence, frowning slightly as I concentrated, only to be accused in his blog of sulking! I mean, honestly. Sometimes you can't win.

You CAN win at Pax Pamir, and I did, after latching onto a typical 'swing towards the side that are winning but change your mind later' strategy and pipping John on the tie-break. I REALLY like the Wehrle/Eklund philosophy of 'sort out the real life history first and construct a game around it': it's exactly how I would (and did, and still do!) go about designing a game myself. Unfortunately, the reality of this approach is that the finished game is inevitably full of fiddles, lookups, awkward interfaces and needless complexity. Pax Pamir wasn't really any real exception: underneath all the nice flavour text (can't pretend I was disappointed to see Harry Flashman in there!) it is really only a fancied-up The King Is Dead. And The King Is Dead is much more tense.

We moved onto slightly more familiar fare in the form of Cryptid. As I see it, there are several meta-gaming possibilities in Cryptid. You can sit there in stony contemplative silence (Tony/John), or you can talk the whole thing out in vaguely Holmesian rambling terms (me). Or, as Gerv proved, you can pretend you have no clue what's going on, leeching off other peoples stabs in the dark and getting the right answer. It was a cracking effort, partially enabled by my un-Holmesian comment of 'it's a choice between two' before picking the wrong one. As always, there was one opponent that I just couldn't read at all; in this case it was Peter who had somehow disguised what was transparently in plain sight.

We closed with a hugely silly King Me, at which we all affected terrible Joe Dolce/Luigi Risotto accents and bayed hysterically every time a king was voted out. Becky walked in halfway through one of these episodes and damn near walked straight back out again until we stopped being weird. Peter somehow came out of this melee victorious.
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