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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Go Big and Go Home


A solid 14 turned up this week. I started off playing Havana while the others played Bang!. I don't know much about what happened in Bang! except that Rhys was out almost straight away.

In Havana there was all to play for in what was going to be the last round. Everyone was evenly matched and was most likely going to claim their winning card. Well, almost everyone, Andy failed to get a single point in the whole game. I saw my opening and took it but Ryan had also seen his. He had also played the Siesta meaning his action was first. He got his card and scored the extra couple of points he needed to win himself the game.

More people arrived and we split into three groups. We played Firefly, 7 Wonders and Cosmic Encounter. 7 Wonders was won by Andy using the classic getting-all-the-research-cards technique. His board was awash in a sea of green. As they were finishing up we were still getting to grips with the rules for Cosmic Encounter. 7 Wonders can be a fiendishly quick (in a good way) game. Especially if everyone already knows how to play. They grabbed my copy of Coup and played a few games of that.

Cosmic encounter is a game of cosmic negotiation. There were five of us and I quickly made sure I had two of the players as allies, effectively reducing my chances of winning from one in five to one in three. It was a clunky start with a few first time rule faux pas but it looked like Lizzy was going to win. She went big hoping to attack for the winning point but her allies betrayed her and her attack lost. The game should have carried on but Lizzy had to go home. Something about Game of Thrones and an early start. I guess we can call her the honorary victor.

The rest of us played a quick game of Love Letter while Firefly finished up. Andy had also bought himself Love Letter recently, and they were playing it too. In Firefly on the last turn Craig sold a single piece of fuel to Sam for about 10 times its worth. It didn't really change anything in the game, Sam still won and was always going to. I think it was just to stick it to Johnny somehow.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Clockwork Zeppelins


Almost every week Dan's been bringing City of Iron but it's never got to the table. In his own admission, it's his dirty little steam punk secret. This week however, it finally got played. It's a monster of a game, sprawling out across the whole table. Theo ended up winning by a landslide, presumably by building the most clockwork zeppelins or something.

I jumped into a quick game of Star Fluxx, which is perhaps the best of all the Fluxx spin offs but still ultimately still just Fluxx. Some cards were drawn, some rules were changed, all of a sudden somebody won.

More people turned up and I splintered off to play Seasons with the late arrivals while the others played Bang followed by a few games of The Resistance.

I'd been wanting to try Seasons for a long time. Through most of the game I had no idea if what I was doing was good or bad. Everyone was being shunted up and down the score track although I seemed to be being shunted down a little more often than my opponents. At the end of the game extra points are awarded for the cards played previously and I somehow manged to get myself a surprise lead miraculously winning the game.

We finished just as City of Iron was coming to an end. Those of us that were left fitted in a couple of games of Coup before closing time. I don't know who won but it certainly wasn't me.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Chicken Coup


There's been a lot of talk about Coup, a Kickstarter by the same company that released IpBoG staple The Resistance. It's been out of print of a while but I noticed it was back in stock last week and immediately put in an order for it. It came on Monday morning so I brought it to Cult that evening. I arrived early and immediately launched into a game with Matt and Muir. It's a short game that you can get through in about ten minutes. I like to think I won but I really can't remember. Johnny arrived and we played a second game. I like to think I won the second game too but I probably didn't. We hit 15 people this week with 4 newcomers. I'm still dreaming of the day we hit the dizzying heights of 21 like the first ever meetup.

We split into two groups with the larger of the two playing Skull and Roses. I opted for Lords of Waterdeep. Although Waterdeep gets played a lot it was my first time playing it. I'm not always a huge worker placement fan (I find the abundance of choices overwhelming) but this game I enjoyed. Adam's Lord gained extra victory points for building and he played this strategy hard. I don't think he completed one quest in the whole game. All building spaces were filled and I think only a couple were occupied by other players. He was trailing behind on the points track, hoping to make up for it with bonus points at the end of the game. After a slow start I sped into the lead. Nothing could stop me, or so I thought. Muir sped up behind me, closing the gap. For a while there was a cold war going on, I had a mandatory quest I wanted to play on him but I knew he had one too and as soon as I played mine he'd play his back. On the last round he played his on me, also revealing that he had an influence card that would remove a mandatory quest if played on him, rendering mine pretty much useless. I completed the mandatory quest but Muir had crept into the lead. I completed one final quest but could't quite catch up. It was all down to the bonus scoring. Adam's strategy ultimately didn't pay off, although he wasn't last he was far from me and Muir. I scored well, putting me over 20 points ahead but Muir fared well too, placing him just in front and securing him first place.

After Skull and Roses the table next to us had been having the loudest couple of games of The Resistance I think we've ever had. People were really getting into the bluffing and discussions. The maximum 10 players were involved and the game really seemed to shine. There was one win for the resistance and one for the spies.

A few people left and we split into 3 different groups. The Works have had some budget Rio Grande titles in recently and I picked up Havana for £10 . It's a role selection game, a kind of cross between San Juan and Citadels, and well worth every penny. This was a tense game, it took me a long time to get off the ground and score a single point. It looked like Dan was a sure winner but everyone teamed together, using their actions so block his attempts. I was paying so much attention to his game that I missed a combination that would have won me the game. Instead Rob made the play, constructing three buildings in a single turn. However, in the end our valiant efforts were in vain and we couldn't stop Dan from claiming victory.

Next to us Matt and co. had been playing Pandemic and saved the world on the normal difficulty. Although Pandemic isn't as tough as the notoriously hard Ghost Stories, still not a simple feat.

The third table had been playing Alien Frontiers, one of the early Kickstarter board game success stories. Although not the version from the original Kickstarter, it was the second pressing with the Kickstarter-style miniatures instead of tokens. Adam won.

There was just enough time to get a couple more games of Coup in. I might have won them both, I really don't remember. But I do remember that I won the final game. It came down to just me and Dan, both with a single card left. I had been bluffing for the last few turns and it was going in my favor. If I kept up with the bluff I would be able to call a coup and take Dan out. Dan was about to call me on it but a turn too late, I stopped bluffing, grabbed a final extra coin and coup'ed  him out of the game.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Go Big or Go Home


11 people made it down this week. The company I work for has a Kiev branch and the guys from there were visiting our office. A few of them are avid board gamers and came along to see how the Ipswich guys do it.

Well, very similarly it turns out as we started off with The Resistance, a game they were already familiar with. With its roots in the Russian game of Werewolf it's not too surprising. The first game was won by the resistance. In the second game the leaders of the first three rounds were all spies. The resistance never stood a chance. The third game was won by the resistance.

During The Resistance a few new faces turned up so we played Mascarade, a game that will play up to 12 people, to get everyone involved. This game relies on memory and thrives on the chaos caused by large player counts. One of our Ukrainian visitors, Denis, won after following the cheat round the table and using his power to win with just ten coins.

After this we split into two groups. I played 7 Wonders with a couple of the new attendees. We were all sure Ed was going to win, going for a heavy research approach but on the last round I managed to play some good guild cards racking me up enough points to take the lead.

The others played King of Tokyo. It looked like it was a lost cause when newcomer Cathy (I might have got your name wrong, I'm so sorry!) decided to go big, rolling for a one in a million combination (actually, I think I was told it was 2 in 46656). It paid off, winning her the game. The final game of the night was a quick game of Fluxx with another win for Cathy.

And then we went home.
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