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 15th May - Mr Blue Skype

Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
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Oi! Hands off...
Microbadge: Keyflower fanMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: I put components in separate Ziploc bagsMicrobadge: Game Group OrganizerMicrobadge: I support the Iron!
Threatened with a recall to work next week, I was in need of cheering up, so it was nice to catch Tony and Ian in fine fooling form as they recounted stories of Salty The Seal and gently teased Karen Boydell (making a slightly inebriated Skype over-the-shoulder visitation) about her 'garden barden' (it's a den with a bar, in the garden. And Karen had been celebrating).

Tony started matters off by saying: 'let's play something light and fun - what abut Can't Stop?' This, of course, lasted all of about five minutes before he was moaning about how dull it was, so we polished off the remaining turns, got schooled comprehensively by Ian, and never spoke of it again. Until I wrote this blog, of course.

BGA has some smashing implementations, but Can't Stop isn't one of them, and the forums and general UI around the games is an almighty mess, so it took me quite some time to add Tony to my friends list and other such basic tasks. Just saying - I've paid some money, chaps, smarten the site up a bit.

Still waiting for Gerv's weekly latecoming, we fired up Stone Age in - apparently - another opportunity for Becky to teach us how to play. However, the game turns on little decisions and, with nothing much appealing on the display, I chucked 6 men on the hunting space in midgame. This relieved enough food pressure for me to mainline valuable cards and huts (I was game-end scoring huts in a big way) for the next four rounds and, for the first time in living memory, I actually won a game of Stone Age! Tony tried to downplay it by saying my winning score was under 200, until I pointed out that Snowdonia could easily be won by a score of 60 under the right circumstances. Cheeky bugger.

Gerv turned up bang on time for the switch between games, so 7 Wonders seemed the right way to entertain a five-hander for a bit. Three games went one apiece to me, Becky and Gerv (although he did score a whopping 63, so perhaps his half-baked 'strategy advice' is worth reading). Tony finished dead last in the latter two games and grumpily bade his farewell.

While lockdown games are proceeding very much in the spirit of Ross-on-Wye banter, it has to be confessed that the selection of games are somewhat restricted, so we found ourselves back at Macao, this time giving Ian a lightning introduction to the rules. It's actually pretty damn easy to teach on yucata as the implementation is pretty intuitive (at least it is once Gerv's prehistoric graphics driver wakes up), and - other than a lasting confusion over the tribute table - Ian was up to speed and putting together a nice office combo within a few rounds.

I was lucky enough to get the Healer (one cube discount on activating people) out early, and built up a tableau consisting almost entirely of people. Having a pretty good Macao track record, a reliable gold income, lots of bonus cubes, and a crucial 'score tribute table points twice' bonus, I felt like things were cruising home until the last rounds. Then, Becky jumped into first on the wall, nabbed the tea storage, and the tribute table threw up an outrageous 10-money-for-11-points. All of a sudden, a sure win was slightly in doubt as Becky raked in some forty points. But I collected just about enough dribs-and-drabs of shipping to rake in a huge 97 points - this was a stunning finish to a great game.
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