horablog 4, stardate 28.11.2012, frost, full moon, new peoples; mary, chris. welcome, we look forward to seeing you again! old peoples; philip, james, gareth, scott, jon, dan, tom, noel, alex, james II, paul a, gareth II, tara, michel, david, neil. played; carcassonne, coup, court of the medici, fury of dracula, mamma mia, quarriors, railways of europe, resistance; avalon, terra mystica, tzol’kin: the mayan calendar. go.
cards, not many, two at a time. each card a life, lose both you dead. each card a character, each character does something. choose one card, bluff and act. they call your bluff, go all laissez faire, screw you fellow! good game, quick, simple, handsome. they’d played one round before me, don’t know result. oos at guru. second round, me.
This had been played a few weeks ago at IBG – and received with resounding indifference. However, Scott convinced us that we may have played a rule wrong, so we (James, Scott, Philip, Jon) tried again.
The result? With Jon being eliminated before he’d played a card, simply because he picked up a certain character, the omens weren’t good for a positive experience. Scott probably still likes it, Philip won it (I think), James didn’t seem over-keen and Jon’s only positive comment was – “At least it was over quickly”
Tom taught Jon one of his favourite 2 player offerings: Court of the Medici. Despite Tom's usual breathless rules explanation, Jon picked it up quickly and promptly beat Tom at his own game. Literally - as Jamie Redknapp would say.
Jon - Wins. Tom - Loses (an unfortunate theme for the rest of the evening).
Jon - Wins. Tom - Loses (an unfortunate theme for the rest of the evening).
Ah – the trains. This time it was Noel that brought along the heavy box of train delights. Originally it was just 3 players, so the England map was out on the table, but with David arriving, Europe was quickly rescheduled.
Noel started out in Western Europe, and was largely unhindered all game (apart from Jon ‘stealing’ a Major Line from him. Tom began his network in Spain, which worked out well for him in the main, apart from finding the eventual lack of cubes to be a problem. Jon started with a novel strategy of taking the card that meant that no-one else could build into Prague, which he hoped would put anyone else off from building south from Berlin. Unfortunately, David hadn’t read the script and promptly built there anyway. He also built south into Italy, cutting off Jon’s other option, and putting him well behind and well in debt.
With Noel starting to get in Tom’s way in Southern France, it was time for a break-out to the East. Jon made a run for Constantinople, and managed to eventually pick up the largest Major Line bonus. David had finally stopped stealing Jon’s cubes (!) and decided to branch out towards Moscow.
The 13th empty city marker appeared, signalling the imminent end of the game. Noel had saved up enough ‘sure thing’ deliveries to have a comfortable last round, whilst the other players picked up what they could (a nice couple helpfully-coloured random cubes giving David a welcome bonus).
The result wasn’t really in doubt, but the scores were remarkably close. Another fine evening of track-laying enjoyment.
Scores; Noel 50, David 46, Tom 42, Jon 42
James had been to Essen, did we know that, had he mentioned it? This year’s Essen seems to have produced some appealing games, the IBG has got well behind Keyflower, Snowdonia, Terra Mystica, Fleet (to some extent), and the chance to play Tzol’kin was one I was very keen to take up.
The geekiness of the boards, those, geeky cogs, that turn round and geekily spin other cogs, and you place your workers on them and they move with the cogs, becoming more valuable. It’s a dynamic mechanic according to the BGG, and I have to say it was tops. It really works well, great interaction and stymieing, all very clever. The rest of the board works too, there are temples to the gods to climb up, a technology track, monuments to collect, buildings too. Some good other components too, really nice skulls, the gold resource cubes could have been golder, I’m being picky, it was great!
The ‘starting wealth tiles’ were interesting, you got to choose 2 from 4 tiles thereby selecting start resources or positions in the temples or on the techno track. It was good that we each had a different starting point. On your turn you either; place one or more of your workers, you only start with three, and you have to pay in corn for doing so. You can always opt to be start player, possibly picking up extra corn if you’re lucky. Your options are certainly reduced if you go last too often; or; you take your workers back from the cogs effecting the actions reached. Once each player has had a turn the calendar cog moves forward one day and off you go again. It played pretty quickly and only James had played before. (I won’t even mention that we had to unravel two turns as the rules had been slightly forgotten.)
Anyway, James and Paul got stuck in agriculturally picking up the always useful corn and wood. I opted for VPs and went with the skull cog. Tara picked up some useful other resources, stone, wood and gold. This lead her to move steadily up the temples. Paul and I moved along the technology park and James and Paul also went into building. And then it was feed time. Now this is expensive if you haven’t been hording some corn, certainly cost me on the second feed and you know how much I love my food!
Extra victory points are dished out half way through depending on how you’re doing with the temples. I was hoping my lead was going to see me through to the end as I’d picked up some good skull based VPs, but then latterly so did James and Paul. James also cashed in big time with more buildings. And before you know it you’ve reached the end of time. Final scoring saw a pretty close finish, we all had made a few errors of judgement at crucial points, but that’s half the fun of it. A cracking game, one I’m very keen to have another go at asap.
Scores; James 67, Neil 63, Paul 59, Tara 34
Resistance: Avalon (thanks Philip)
Gareth was just leaving when I spied this in his bag. “Shame you’re going, we could have played your new resistance game”. Well, he couldn’t resist that...and soon we had a nine player game going with 2 people watching. As several people were new not just to this variant but to the whole concept of resistance, Gareth kept it simple and just added Merlin. Merlin is a good guy (=resistance member) who knows who the bad guys are, but, if the bad guys guess who he is at the end of the game, they win!
The first game was a cake walk for the good guys- they picked a team of 3 without any evil people in it, then picked an extra person who also happened to be good, then picked that same team for mission 3- home and dry. Except for the bad guys guess as to Merlin. Now, Merlin hadn’t given a single clue to the good guys, they just got lucky. But this time it was the turn of the bad guys to get lucky- I, as the Assassin, thought it was James - but which one? I put this theory to my fellow bad guys. James I spoke up - James II didn’t. So I plunged my dagger into James II - who was indeed Merlin.
The second game (with eight players) sort of mirrored the first. Three straight wins for the bad guys. No way around that for good. Main problem was that Alex and James II were at each other’s throats all game- and both were good guys!
Mamma Mia (Thanks Jon)
There was a time when the good gamers of IBG played this nearly every week, but such pizza-based delights haven’t been seen for ages. However, Tom requested it and Jon obliged (and Scott helped with the rules explanation!)
Neil made a rubbish chef, constantly not having enough ingredients to fulfil his orders (probably because there were no eggs on the cards…), but not quite as rubbish as Tom. Jon and Scott used their prior experience to dump a number of recipe cards down each round, and when the flour-dust settled, Jon had just pipped him to the post. Definitely a filler to bring out again in the near-future for the hungry folks of IBG.
Scores; Jon 7, Scott 6, David 5, Neil 3, Tom 2