The Games We Play

The Games We Play

A repository of reports on the Wednesday night sessions of the club and anything else related to the club or boardgaming in general, which may be of interest to anyone who may be passing by.

Sunday 13 May 2007

Beer & Pretzels (Burton 12 May 2007)

Mike & I met up at New Street station for this annual day out (actually 2 days, but we only went on day 1) and while sitting on the train waiting to pull away we were joined by Richard (Biddle).

On arriving at the town hall we met up with Nick Kinzet in whose company we were to spend most of the day. Of all the conventions that happen during the year, I regard this one in particular as a chance to play different games, to try something new and therefore I may play things which I might otherwise shy away from (I don't carry this too far though, Antike for example is still a no-no), so it was that we started out with The World Cup game with the designer, Shaun, and some others.

I have been told on several occasions that you don't need to like Football to like the game, but I think it would help, I found it OK but lasting too long. If I had been a Football fan, I may have been able to get into the spirit of it more and ended up liking it.

In the game each player has a selection of teams and the matches of the competition are then resolved by playing cards (it actually reminded me a bit of Wembley, which I played a bit many years ago, but that was based on the F.A. Cup and used dice instead of cards).

I had Brazil & U.S.A amongst my teams and concentrated on them in the group stage getting them through to the knock outs (my other teams France, Saudi Arabia and South Africa didn't really turn up). In the last 16 I concentrated on Brazil and they got to the semi-finals, while U.S.A. lost to Mexico.

In the quarter final, I was able to beat Uruguay, but in so doing I was forced to use up my best cards and lost to Costa Rica in the semis and then to Mexico in the 3rd Place play off, so it was that in this strange World Cup, South Korea emerged victorious, beating Costa Rica in the final.

The closing stages were as follows:

Quarter Finals
Uruguay 1 Brazil 3
Paraguay 2 Mexico 2 (Mexico won 4-3 on penalties)
Republic of Ireland 2 South Korea 4
Denmark 0 Costa Rica 0 (Costa Rica won 4-2 on penalties)

Semi Finals
Brazil 1 Costa Rica 3
South Korea 6 Mexico 4

3rd. Place Play Off
Brazil 1 Mexico 3

Costa Rica 1 South Korea 2

After that had finished, we split into 2 groups and each played Ark, a strange game where you are responsible for saving various species of animal by accommodating them on the Ark before the flood comes. Our group consisted of Nick, who taught the game, Mike, Richard and I. There are various rules about how you accommodate the different species. Carnivores cannot go with animals the same size or smaller because they would eat them, herbivores can't go with food, because they would eat it, shy animals can't go with or next to any carnivore and omnivores are just a pain because they have the problems of both herbivores and carnivores. Add this to the fact that you need to spread the weight about equally on either side of the ark so it doesn't keel over and you can have great difficulty finding a way to place you animals.

Points are scored like an area majority game, with the person who saves the most animal of one of the 5 types (Useful, Shy, Heavy, Slow and Food) getting 10 points with 6 for second and 2 for any one else who saves at least one of a type). I quite enjoyed the game, it was maybe a bit long but I'm sure this would drop with repeated playing. Mike who had a terrible time with his placements wasn't so sure.

Dave 34, Nick 27, Richard 27, Mike 25

It was now time for a break and I went out to grab something to eat and also for a trip to Spirit Games where I picked up Notre Dame, which I'll be bringing next Wednesday. When I returned, Richard, Mike & Nick had started a game of On the Underground. It sometimes seems that this game always hits the table when I'm not looking, which is a shame. I didn't record scores for this and don't recall who won despite watching the end, maybe Mike or Richard could fill us in.

I went to the bar and then joined Shaun and Andy for a game of Carcasonne, which I have not played for years. I know this isn't a long game, but it still seems too long for what it is and I remain amazed at the whole new industry that seems to have developed around it. Anyway I didn't come last, scores were:

Shaun 104, Dave 75, Andy 62

When we finished, the Underground game was also near an end and I rejoined the other group to play Flying Carpet, an interesting game involving navigating the eponymous carpet in a race to take off from one roof and fly over a number of building before landing on another roof at the other end of the board. Movement is in a horizontal and vertical direction and controlled by the play of cards, at higher levels you can also be blown 1 or 2 spaces by the wind. If you land on someone you can either cause them to miss their next turn or cause them to plummet to the ground or roof below. An element of absolute chaos is introduced by carpets landing on starred squares meaning a die is thrown with various effects. Apparently the advanced game takes this element out, which would certainly allow for more tactical play, but the game is quite light and fun as it stands and it may be that this would disappear with the stars taken out.

I finished first in a close race ahead of Nick, Richard, Mike and Steve (in no particular order).

Next was Oasis, a game I own but had only played once, getting absolutely thrashed. I said I would give it another try, but had not done so until now. I was not so soundly thrashed this time, although I was still last, and I have to say that I did not enjoy the game that much. The problem to me is that you are not allowed to look at the cards you use to make offers introducing a random element I don't like. I wonder if the game would be improved by allowing you to look at your cards to choose your offer, although the opposite view is that this would cause Analysis Paralysis and this may well be correct. In line with my usual attitude that it is usually better not to try to fix games I don't like but just not to play, I don't expect to be playing this again soon.


Steve 98, Mike 90, Nick 68, Richard 64, Dave 58

Finally it was Space Beans, which I also own and has been played at the club in the distant past (before records began), I didn't realise Mike enjoyed this, but will start putting it in the pocket of my bag as it is a good little filler. No more details but the scores were

Steve 35, Nick 26, Dave 24, Richard 24, Mike 20.

After this Mike and I left to catch a train, Richard remained. Thanks to all we played with, it was a good day.

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