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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Yet More Bank Holiday Board Games


Bank holidays tend to be a slow day for board gaming and today was no different. Just the usual 7:30 start this time though. With Darren defecting to NoBoG, there were just seven attendees this week plus a fleeting visit from Theo and his friend.

We started off playing Firefly: The Game, not to be confused with Firefly: The TV Show. Or maybe Serenity: The Movie of Firefly: The TV Show. I saw the film once a long time ago but never watched the TV show. The in game quotes and references were lost on me. Still a fine pick up and deliver style game. We had to end the game a turn before what would have surely been the last as newcomer Sam had to leave, but unless the space gods really took a disliking to him, there was no way he couldn't have won.

The other table played Pandemic. After the notoriously hard Ghost Stories I thought Pandemic would have been a walk in the park for Matt but after curing three diseases, the stack of player cards was exhausted, losing them the game. After this they played the IpBoG favourite 7 Wonders. Matt won with his blue victory point card and green research card strategy.

This left us with half an hour and those that were left got in a couple of games of the hugely popular social deduction game, The Resistance. Both times the majority of missions were sabotaged by the imperial spies, meaning victory for the Empire.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tentacles and Tablecloths


Today started with a disaster. Where was the tablecloth? The first week Muir left early so I took it home with me. Muir had assumed I'd become the cloth guardian and would be taking it home the next week. I assumed he was still the custodian of the cloth and would be taking it home himself. A stale mate occurred and neither of us took it. We arrived hoping it was picked up by the bar staff and would be residing in it's clothy glory behind the bar. Our hearts raced when we found out this wasn't the case. Thankfully IpBoG regular Dan had picked it up on his way out. The crisis was averted, hearts slowed down to their regular pace, and the sticky purple table was usable once again.

Muir and Guru arrived early and played a quick game of Netrunner, waiting for others to arrive. Darren turned up with Ancient Terrible Things, a recent Kickstarter acquisition that I'd been nagging him to bring for a while. Theo had brought A Study In Emerald, a Martin Wallace game that, due to its limited run, was on my list of games that I wanted to play but didn't think I'd ever get the chance to. I opted for Ancient Terrible Things, with Theo promising to bring A Study In Emerald another week.

Ancient Terrible Things feels a lot like a competitive version of Elder Sign. A bit of worker placement and a lot of dice rolling, trying to get the combos on the cards to claim victory points. I did terribly, coming in last, but still enjoyed it. I'll need to practice my dice rolling skills if I'm to stand a chance at this game another time. Chris won, just beating Muir by claiming bonus points for collecting the most yellow cards.

Dan had brought his copy of Power Grid in. Enjoying the game so much, Theo has increased his rating on BoardGameGeek from a 7 to an 8. Although I'm sure, being an upstanding citizen, winning had no influence on this.

The others played a couple of games of Star Fluxx before embarking on Battlestar Galactica. This can be a pretty long game and the last time it was brought out at IpBoG, last orders were called before the game was over. This time was no exception and the game was again ended unfinished but a couple of the guys arranged to meet up the following night, determined to play a full game.

After Ancient Terrible Things we played a quick game of Dominion. Having not played it in a while I forgot my footing and bought way too many action cards at the start, clogging up my deck. I like to win at all games but I especially like to win at Dominion. However, there was no way I could win this time, or so I thought. I adjusted my strategy and adjusted my deck, somehow clawing a victory.

Thirteen year old boys and thirty year old nerds everywhere have been getting over excited about the new Marvel Dice Masters game. Darren managed to snag himself a copy of the base set and went head to head with Muir. The game itself plays very similar to Quarriors which doesn't come as much of a surprise considering they're by the same designer. It's a kind of tweaked, two player variant. The base set sells dirt cheap at about thirteen pounds and it shows. The dice bags are made of paper and look like they would be better suited as receptacles for aeroplane induced vomit rather than superhero based dice. Designed to get you hooked, you'll soon be foregoing school dinners to spend your lunch money on booster packs. No longer will angry comic book fans have to argue about which super hero would win in a fight, this game can answer that question once and for all (at least, if they're fighting in pairs). We now know that Captain America and The Beast would beat Spider-Man and The Human Torch.

I moved over to Theo's table for Expedition: Famous Explorers, a remake of an older game but with advanced rules. As it was our first game we opted to stick with  the original, standard rules. Moving across the world, you strategically lay your route, hoping to explore more locations than your competitors. Certain locations let you lay an extra path, as does making a loop or spending previously earned tickets, allowing you to pull off some sneaky combos. I was the first person to reach all my personal objectives, ending the game. Steven and I were tied for first place but any objectives left in a player's hand at the end of the game count as negative points. Steven still had a single card left resulting in my stealing of first place by a single point.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Don't Talk About Dungeon Crawling


With a few new faces numbers reached 14 this week. I arrived early to find I'd been beaten to the post by some IpBoG regulars. Eager to start they were already finishing up a game of King Of Tokyo. I was greeted by Muir telling me that I still needed to write that game up on the blog, probably because he'd won.

More early arrivals came and Muir attempted to teach another of his prey how to play Netrunner while we launched into a second game of King Of Tokyo. It came down to a tense last round with all to play for. Dan and I were pretty much neck and neck, if I didn't score 4 on my attack and kill his monster he would get two victory points for staying in Tokyo and win the game. Despite my best efforts I only managed to roll three damage and Dan was victorious.

We split into three groups, one playing Terra Mystica, another playing Lords of Waterdeep and the final playing Level 7 [Omega Protocol]. I was torn between Terra Mystica and Level 7 as I've been wanting to try my hand at both for a while now but opted for the latter. However the full allocation of six players is probably too much as the downtime dragged and we got bored, disregarding the first rule of dungeon crawling - always stay together. Splitting into two separate groups the alien hordes has no problem picking off our commandos.

After Waterdeep a few guys squeezed in a couple of rounds of Love Letter before heading home. Drained from our defeat, I left as Terra Mystica was winding up. I'm not sure who was winning but Dan was coming last. Not victorious this time, Dan!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Beating Innominate Objects


Last Monday was a bank holiday so, if twice can be called a tradition, in true IpBoG tradition we started at 2pm. I turned up to find Muir trying to teach Matt how to play Netrunner. The corporation attempts to rez their remote servers, protecting them with ICE while the runner upgrades their rig to make a run on the corp's R&D. I don't know what any of this means but I know that is sounds pretty cool if you're a nerd. And I am a nerd. Matt walked away looking confused while Muir had a big grin on his no good, cyberpunk face. I'm pretty sure Muir won.

While I was in Berlin last week I picked up a copy of Skull & Roses. But not version with the tattoo style artwork that was fashionable a few years ago, the more recent version with sugar skull artwork that's fashionable now. This version actually goes by the moniker of just Skull but has the exact same rules as it's predecessor. Its a bluffing game that takes about five to ten minutes and basically involves everyone pretending they're thinking about challenging in order to trick the other players into betting on you and losing. Or are they double bluffing? I won one of the games thanks to my excellent triple bluffing skills. Someone else won the other, I think probably Chris.

After that we took on Ghost Stories. We were playing it slightly wrong last time, making it a little easier for ourselves, so we wanted to make sure we could still beat it playing correctly. Just over half way through the board was almost completely full with ghosts and it looked like we were going to lose but I took one (or four) for the team, sacrificing four qi tokens to exercise four of the tougher daemons. With the board freed up we lasted to the incarnation of Wu-Feng and took him out in just two turns. Take that, innominate objects! Ghost Stories, the rumours of your difficulty have been greatly exaggerated. Although it probably was one of the easier incarnations. And we were playing on the super easy, introductory level.

Next we played Strozzi, a game that a lot of people own because you could pick it up for £4 from The Works a while back, but no one seems to love. And although I own it but don't love it, I do enjoy it. Its a game or risk, reward and horrible artwork. In what is fast becoming another IpBoG tradition, Matt won.

A couple more quick games of Skull and then on to something heavier. Dan's been bringing the same game in for the last few weeks but it never got to the table, so we put on our Hazmat suits, stoked our furnaces and sat down for a game of Power Grid. Matt, Dan and myself all started on the east cost but the over crowding didn't stop us. Well, it stopped me, Matt and Dan were the only true contenders. Not wanting to break tradition Matt made a valiant effort but Dan used his secret skill of being the only guy to have played the game before and finished way ahead.

Back to the usual 7:30 start next week. Oh, and in case you couldn't tell from the pictures, Muir's bought a tablecloth!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

More Bank Holiday Board Gaming

In what seems like IpBoG tradition we'll be starting at 2pm again this bank holiday Monday. As usual, feel free to turn up any time you like throughout the day.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation


I was away from IpBoG this week in what is probably considered the home of Euro games; Europe. In my absence Mike volunteered to write a few words and take a few pictures:

Last night was a quiet one.  I arrived just before 9pm and joined Dan, Matt, David, Adam and Andy who were wrapping up a game of 7 Wonders.  I rarely hear negative things about this game and tonight was no exception - I only regret that I could not have joined them.  I cannot remember who called victory - Dan or Matt - but pictured here is the position at the end.

Next up I persuaded everyone to try one of my new acquisitions - Paris Connection.  This is the most simple abstraction of the 18xx theme which I have been able to find and it plays in 30 minutes - even with six players.  I pulled of a sneaky win the first time around, but Dan and Matt's yellow cartel fended off all opposition in the second game.

Finally, Elder Sign was the closing game, and Yog Sothoth was the Great Old One whose slumber we were daring to disturb.  It was my first attempt to play this game, and I was delighted to have drawn the well balanced Mandy Thompson.  (Well balanced in health and sanity, of course, not necessarily in physical form...)  Sadly, the gaming world caved in when last orders in the "real world" was called, but by this stage we were two thirds of the way towards victory without anyone having suffered any physical or mental debilitation.  Or, so I thought, until the voices started again, as I lay awake in bed afterwards, under a waning gibbous moon, trying feebly to banish the night's unspoken horrors from my mind...
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