Category Archives: FEG@WL

FEG@WL: Art school 

Thanks to traffic or some other event (superheroes fighting the latest villain/alien invasion) Chris and his copy of Mansions of Madness Second Edition got held up in Peterborough. Which meant the plans for the evening were thrown in to chaos!

Luckily on my way out of the house I grabbed Kanagawa. I’d grabbed it on the off chance that it might get to the table as a wind down from taking on the horrors of the Mansions of Madness.

I’d only recently bought Kanagawa at this years expo. It wasn’t a planned purchase at  the show. More a “oh Kanagawa, that’s a reasonable price, I’ll get it.”

This game is frickin beautiful. Just look at the box art (above). The little paint pots are cute and help strengthen the theme of the game. Even the simplicity of the Master and apprentice counters are beautiful. And the card art, amazing and in the same style as the box cover. Which I love. 

This game screams theme. 

Super high quality components. I love the bamboo play mat. 

I like the dual use cards. If you are able to select landscapes in your studio that match the ones required to paint the picture you can add it to your painting. Or you can add it your studio instead to improve your skills. 

But you are making choices all the time in this game. When to take the cards in a row. When to take one of the objective tiles. And how you are going to use the cards you drafted. The drafting has an element of push your luck to it. As does the claiming of objective tiles. Decide not to take one hoping to get a higher value one instead, means you can’t go back to claim the one passed up. But you run the risk that some-one else will grab the one you are aiming for before you can claim it. Plus you can only claim one objective from each colour group of objectives.

The only draw back is the sliding of cards under each other. Sometimes they go easily. But most of the time they don’t. 

It’s not a heavy game. But there is enough to keep things interesting. I like this game a lot.

The history books will show Diego and I won a game each and drew a game.

We’ll attempt to get Mansions to the table again next week (hopefully)

FEG@WL Post Expo Meet Up ’17

Last nights weekly meet up was our first after this years expo, and our first chance to play our spoils from said expo.

Having said that I didn’t take anything with me to potentially play. When I got home from work for my version of a Formula 1 pit stop before going to the meet up, my Mum (who lives next door) dropped a bombshell! Earlier in the day she’d fallen and “damaged” her wrist/arm in the fall. She needs to get it seen too but other circumstances prevented that. There was nothing we could do about it then. Well my idea to amputate was poo poo’d on. You’d that my internet doctors certificate was fake or something. We’d have to get it sorted on Saturday. 

So I had no games with me, and it turned out neither did Jonathan. 

Luckily Chris had bought a couple of games from his spoils with him. Out of the two on offer (I can’t remember what the other one was but we had played/owned it!)  we chose Orleans.

This game cries out for an insert. There are lots of cardboard chits for this game. But still not as many as A Feast For Odin.

Chris read the rules out, 18 rounds, 7 phases. WTF this is sounding over complicated and long. But in reality it’s the opposite. It’s fairly quick, and all those phases are in reality very quick and simple.

I like the bag building element. It’s very Dice Masters like. Which when teamed up with the action selection to do stuff and recruit new workers is very enjoyable. Allocate workers to an action, take action and place workers used and any new recruits into the bag ready to be drawn at random at the start of the next round. 

Managing the bag is fun. And that’s the bit I find reminds me of Dice Masters. Trying to control what’s in there, and improving your odds of drawing the specific workers you draw. To that extent preloading actions partially or fully aids in doing this. 

Having 18 event cards that also act as the round counters is a great idea. The event cards work really well because they can mean you have to take a particular action that turn to get the resource needed to complete it or face a punishment.

Also having the ability to add tiles to you player board that give you unique actions that only you can take adds to the replayability and your tactics. I got a level 2 tile called the school that allowed me to use scholars as wilds.

Having multiple scoring routes, sources of bonuses I liked. Once again variety and replayability.

Graphically the game is ok. It’s not an ugly game. But you wouldn’t say it’s a stunning game either. 

There is a lot of depth in this game. And I have to say I love it. This will be the third game I’m going to have to steal off Chris when he’s not looking. Sorry borrow on a semi permanent basis.

After Chris won. I had to shoot off home. What with mum and her “injury”. 

But a great evenings gaming.

Dice Fight at The White Lion Corral!

Getting home from work last night was a flippin nightmare once I hit March. Hit a standstill near Tesco, so cut across to the station to take the back roads to Friday Bridge. But nope traffick was bad that way too. Not sure what was getting into everyone. Was the hot weather and it being the Friday of a bank holiday weekend the cause? 

In a hot and flustered and very rushed state I threw some games into a bag. I wasn’t sure if Jonathan would be there so in went some two player games. But I decided also as a last second decision to also throw in one or two games that played more.

Jonathan was waiting for me at The White Lion, with Dice Town. A game he had recently bought off a Facebook trading/selling page. But after playing with his wife, she’d decided she didn’t like it. Which suited me. It had been on my wish list for a long time. I’d missed out on this copy by a minute or two to Jonathan. So I wasn’t upset because I knew I’d get to try it. But then I was given the chance to buy it.

Jonathan had informed me that Diego and Chris were also attending. A chance to play my new purchase. Plus Jonathan could teach the game as he already knew the rules!

So our first game of the evening was Dice Town.

I’ll come right out and say it I enjoyed Dice Town.

I liked the dice rolling using the little cups, and selecting one dice at a time to save and build your hand with, then rolling the remaining dice. With the ability to save more dice, reroll, or not take any dice, but at a cost. A monetary cost. Which can be limiting if you run out of money and unable to get anymore.

There is some take that, mainly in taking cards off other players. But also a chance to bribe the sheriff to persuade them to chose you in a draw for a bonus. 

After the game I asked Jonathan how it compared playing as a four player game against a two player game. To which he responded it was better. It had struck me as not being a two player game. The more the better for this game I think. More competition for the bonuses. 

Oh Chris won. 

I think I’m getting a nice collection of dice based games now. The students will love Dice Town. 

Our second game was Sagrada. Which Jonathan somehow won. This is still a charming puzzle game, which looks beautiful.

The final game of the evening was Don’t Mess With Cthulhu. A new arrival that once again has been bought to be played by my students. I’d heard about it on the latest Rolling Dice and Taking Names podcast. It sounded interesting, and apparently played well with four players. So it was great that I could learn the game with friends before introducing it to students.

There was some confusion at first. But the game is quick enough that an initial play can be done to clear up that confusion. Which our first play did.

For a hidden role game that plays quickly, it wasn’t bad with four players. I like the four round limit on play. It keeps the play time short. Redistributing the remaining cards at the start of each round is a nice touch. I can see how the success of the game could be down to who you play with. Especially when it comes down to selecting a card to reveal and the discussion between players over whether that is the correct card to reveal.

We finished the evening with some chit chat. Before heading off for questionable meat and chips.

A great evening of gaming.

FEG@WL 19May17

Friday hits once more. Earlier in the day Dale kindly had a learning from the rule book game of Blood Bowl Team Manager (BBTM) with me. A game that he beat me at. Which is ok, I beat him twice at 7 Wonders Duel the previous day.

I’d been wanting to get BBTM ever since it made its way in to my collection many many moons ago now. Sadly if you wanted to buy it for your collection now you will have to pay the now obligatory stupid prices for it. Thanks FFG and Games Workshop. Why couldn’t you try and make your relationship work? Think of the gamers! Think of the gamers! Yeah thanks to their failed relationship BBTM along with the expansions are never ever going to be reprinted (well Games Workshop possibly could I suppose, but if they did you’d probably have to cut the tree down, make pulp etc to produce your own cards for the game.) Luckily while both companies are trying to prove to each other they are doing fine and have moved on, I managed to get the Sudden Death expansion for a normal price. But I’ve not managed to find a good price for the other expansion Foul Play.

I really enjoyed this area control card game. As a two player game it worked. You are managing your hand, hopefully drafting more players (cards) or even abilities that you can use during play. Dale had one upgrade that gave him two points when he lost.

I would like to try the game with the higher player counts. I think it would be more chaotic, especially when playing for trophies.

Jonathan was going to arrive a little late, so Charlie, Chris, Edmund and myself played a game of Love Letter Batman. Edmund rushed away with an early lead. But Charlie managed to come back and grab the victory. Luckily Chris and I managed to at least get a point to our names so we weren’t completely embarrassed.

With Jonathan joining us it was time to decide what to play. Chris’s Zombicide Black Plague was out. Fantasy has no place what so ever in a zombie apocalypse. The zombie apocalypse is shopping malls, prisons, tower blocks, underground bunkers. Not bloody dungeon and dragons! Yeah that’s in bold for you Chris and CMoN. It’s WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

In a moment of pity we relented and decided we’d play Terraforming Mars. A game Jonathan had wanted to play. 

So we all tried to Terraform Mars. We didn’t use the drafting option for cards. Which would have increased the play time. But it might have improved my chances of getting cards I needed to play others in my hand. I needed science symbols but wasn’t seeing them.

But still it was fun with the higher player count. Chris went on to win the game. 

If a Friday Evening Gaming starts with bubbles on the top of my grown up beverage, then it finishes with the suspicious meat. I’d avoid this part of the evening since I had that gall stone attack. But you only live once. It was time to taste that oh so so greasy meat drowned in chilli!

Well I’m writing this post the next morning. So I survived that wreckless decision at the end of the evening. I rolled the dice and I won!

A most excellent Friday 

Friday was turning into a pretty good day. External moderators for the two awarding bodies we use for our courses passed the units they had been verifying. This basically means they agree with how we’ve marked the students work, and that the work produced meets the criteria for the mark given.

I find it a little stressful in the run up and during the actual moderation. It’s making sure everything is “perfect” and easy for the moderator. Then the waiting. If the moderator finds something wrong or disagrees with the marking I don’t want it to be mine. I don’t want to let the team down. I don’t want to let my line manager down.

That last bit is very important. I didn’t think I’d be lucky enough to have a manager like I have now, again! When my manager and friend Julie unexpectedly died on 4th June 2014, it hit me pretty hard. She had been the best manager I’d had in a life time of working. She had inspired, encouraged and supported. I’d have done anything for her. Yes I’m a blindly loyal foot soldier. It had been earnt. I’d grown professionally and had been doing new things, thanks to Julie. But lightning has struck twice. My current manager in her own style is the same, and earnt the same loyalty. So yes I wouldn’t want to let her down either. 

When we heard the good news from both moderators there was a feeling of great relief and happiness. 

I took in my V60 drip, Hario coffee server that works with my V60, and a Pact Coffee to work to make coffee for the team. It was Darren’s Pop Up Coffee Shop this morning.

The coffee I took in was a limited edition roast called El Campanario. The photo below tells you all you need to know about this amazing coffee. 

Making coffee with the V60 is very theatrical. The V60 on top of the server, pouring hot water precisely over the filter to clean it with a goose neck metal jug, the bloom, the pouring over the coffee. Pure theatre. Plus I love the whole process, and find it therapeutic.

But it is also very precise. Baristas weigh and time when using the V60 so they get consistency. I weigh at home when brewing coffee this way. But no scales at work were used. 

However the most important factor that trumps everything else is having a great coffee. I think the El Campanario roast is just that.

Now they said they liked the coffee I made. But there is always a bit of me that says “liar, you are just saying that to be kind to me”. Although I was fairly happy with the final product I was putting out. I think that says a lot about me. 

A bloody great start to the weekend.

The celebratory pint of Thatchers cider at The White Lion once I got there tasted extra nice. I’d just been served when Edmund turned up. Drinks in hand we retired to the restaurant area and that awesome large heavy wooden table, 

While waiting for others to turn up I taught Edmund Onitama. I won the first game, and then lose the next two games. 

Near the end of the third game Chris arrived with his newly arrived copy of Terraforming Mars. Plus news that Jonathan was not going to make it due to some life stuff cropping up. There was no sign of Debbie and Nath who said they were coming. 

Terraforming Mars was on the short list of remaining must play games of 2016 I hadn’t played (Clank and Vast are the remaining ones I think). So this opportunity to play it was very much appreciated. It’s also one Jonathan wants to try. And also joins a short list of games he’s missed out on playing that he wants to play! So it might have been insensitive posting a photo of the game to show him what he was missing. But also funny. 

Yeah, Terraforming Mars is good fun. I really enjoyed it. 

It’s basically an engine building game. You buy cards into your hand, then pay to use them. Some of those cards are one off use and are not part of your engine. The others go in front of you and make up your engine for the game.

Now I won. But I wasn’t expecting to. Chris had far more cards in his engine. But the difference between mine and his cards, and Edmunds was I was adding a lot of cards that had victory points on them.

Edmund and I had also done much more terraforming of Mars than Chris. So we were further up the terraforming track than Chris. Mine was mainly due to planting forests (more points at the end) and placing oceans. 

I realised after my final turn I could have had an extra five points and claimed a milestone. Having milestones you can claim is a nice touch. As is sponsoring an award. Which means at the end the player that had the majority in what the award is for, for instance science symbols gets 8 points (?) and the runner up gets 2 (?). Only three awards can be sponsored and the cost goes up for doing so each time. So it pays to be early for the award you want to go for.

There could have been a drafting element to the game (one of Jonathan’s favourite game mechanics – not!) – but we decided that variant could wait for a future play. 

I thought the different coloured and sized cubes representing money would be confusing, and I’d keep forgetting the values. But I didn’t. The cubes were also multi use and also represented resources such as plants and energy!

I had heard that the production quality of the game wasn’t great. But I didn’t have a problem with it. It’s not Stegmaier games quality but it’s ok. Not as bad as I had been led to believe. 

There is a take that element in the game. It’s not massive, and mainly as far as I can see it’s a remove resources thing mainly. Slowing an opponents engine down.

The question for me really is I liked the game. But how much? Enough to want in my collection? I think it’s border line, leaning to yes. It may not be top of the purchase list (Great Western Trail is higher up).

An amazing Friday. 

Other gaming this week…

Dale and I have played a couple of games of Star Wars: Destiny. These games were our first where we constructed our decks. I played both games with Jyn and Rey. My deck is leaning towards being a control deck. Where I’m denying my opponent the ability of doing stuff by forcing them to discard cards, removing dice etc. 

Dale’s first deck was Kylo and two tie pilots. But his deck was a third invalid cards we noticed while playing. His second attempt at a deck was Kylo and death trooper I think. As Dale said yesterday his deck is more an agro deck. 

Although Dale won both games they were very very close games. They came down to if I hadn’t been taken out on Dale’s action I’d have taken Dale out on my action.

Three is the magic number

Last night saw three like minded souls yearning to throw dice, play cards and push round cardboard, meet up and play games at the weekly Fenland Gamers meet up “Friday Evening Gaming @ The White Lion”.

While waiting to see if anyone else was going to turn up, we started off with a game that was quick to play so that any late comers weren’t hanging around bored. The game we chose that fitted that profile perfectly, and at the top of my small games box was Mint Works.

While setting up I was “entertaining” Charlie and Diego with my previous play of the game of how I crushed Scott, with a record breaking 18 points. Ok it sounded more like boosting. But 18 points is an incredible score in Mint Works. A winning score is usually 7 – 9 points. So yeah I’m boosting about that play.

But they say pride comes before a fall. And I did fall. I managed to get a massive 4 points to claim last place. Diego and Charlie drew on 7 points a piece. But just like I have been in the past on a couple of occasions, Charlie was denied a victory by the tie rules for the game. Diego had the smaller neighbourhood so was given the technical win.

No one else had turned up during our game of Mint Works. So it was time for a heavier game.

After a little indecision Imperial Settlers was hitting the table. I haven’t played this game in a longtime. Which is shameful really. This is a great game. Luckily I have it well organised. Which you have to with all the expansions. It was easy for me to just pull out the core games faction and common decks.

Charlie was playing the Barbarians, I was the Japanese and Diego was the Egyptians.

Naturally with such a long time between plays mistakes were made, rules referenced. 

But after the five rounds and the final tally of points I managed to claim the victory by a single massive point.

To be fair to Charlie I don’t think the cards were kind to him. And they were very kind to me. Diego they were ok with.

Charlie rocks at Perudo. He totally owned Diego and me in our two plays of this classic bluffing game.

Our final game of the evening was Love Letter: Batman. Ok I’m a Batman fan, so it has me there. But it’s funny how a simple rule tweak elevates this version above that of the original. It’s so simple, play the Batman card, guess correctly and get a token. It gives another way for players to score, can shorten the play time. Genius.

The BG Stats app will show I won our game of Love Letter: Batman. It won’t show the fun we had. The multiple times I got The Joker as my first card, and knocked out early. Or the bullet I dodged when Diego played the last Poison Ivy on himself when I had The Joker that gave me the game. 

A great evening of gaming. Thank you guys.

The Fenland Gamers have their monthly meet up next week, followed by the usual FEG@WL. Hope to see you there.

It’s cold outside

Fridays come round so quickly, especially on a week that starts with a bank holiday.

Diego and I arrived at the hotel at the same time. So while waiting for others to arrive we went for that micro worker placement experience by playing a couple of games of Mint Works. Diego and I shared the honours, one win a piece.

During our second game Edmund arrived, closely followed by Chris. We had enough to start playing a more weightier game, But what?

Edmund had recently been watching some “classic” Tabletop episodes, and chose the modern zombie survival, hidden traitor classic by Plaid Hat Games Dead of Winter.

Our overall objective for survival was guns and food. When doesn’t it?

But who was our traitor? One of the others at this table was going to betray the rest of us to meet their own secret agenda. Our failure would be their success.

The way things were going in our game no one obvious was acting suspiciously. Maybe my actions were making me look like the traitor. My Secret Objective was to make sure none of my group had wounds at the end, along with the successful completion of our main goal. I can see how constantly healing my characters could look suspicious.

Two rounds left on the clock, two morale remaining. We were not in a great position for succeeding. Then Chris made a great observation. If we exile some-one we needed less to meet our objective. I knew Chris was going to nominate me once it got round to him. I could see it in his eyes. Luckily on the end round I was group leader. I broke ties! So at the end of my turn I called a vote to exile Chris and his two dice. A vote that ended in a draw. A draw I decide on. Chris and his survivors were thrown out into the cold brutal night to fend for themselves. 

Naturally I’d forgotten one thing in my cunning pre-emptive plan. Chris had most of the guns we needed to win. Ok we were still short on the food front too. Bugger!

So we failed our mission. The zombies and Dead of Winter won.

The photo below is how this excellent evening ended for me.


But my night doesn’t end there with low quality greasy meat.

At 1am I woke up with a severe pain in my side, roughly where my kidney was.

The pain was incredible.

I phoned mum next door to come and get the dogs and call the emergency services. 

The pain was so bad. But it didn’t end there. No I was being sick too. 

Excruciating pain, being sick, it doesn’t get better than that. Well throw in sweating and shivering, and you get what my three hours were like before finally an ambulance arrived. 

They immediately put me in the ambulance after taking one look at me. Although my pain at that point was a 6/7 out of 10. When it was hitting 10, I was writhing on the floor. 

Inside I was given that gas used for pain relief by pregnant women during delivery. That’s good stuff. Twenty puffs of that, and that 6/7 was gone.

By the time we got to the hospital the pain had stopped. But they needed to do the checks etc. So biological samples were taken, readings made. But at this point it was like bolting the stable door after the horse had bolted.

The medical theory was that I’d had a gallstone move into a duct. 

I was prescribed some pain killers incase it happened again. And told to see my GP for a CT scan to check things out, especially if it happened again.

I was free to return home, have a snooze, recover and write this post.

Another great start to the weekend.

Bluffing And Lunar Bases

Back after it’s break for a charity all night gaming session, it’s FEG@WL.

The three amigos met up to enjoy alcohol and good games. Or it could be the other way round. 

Our gaming started off with my game of the month for March, Mint Works.

I thought I was out of the running after turn one when Jonathan and Diego got two strong buildings straight off. But turn two I was going first, bought a one cost building and flipped it for a five cost using the swap meet location. I had the vault which with two plans gave me four points, plus the crane and iirc the landfill for eight points. The other two just didn’t get going and finished on four points each. I’m calling this a surprise victory. Jonathan had the Assembler from turn one. That’s a powerful card, autobuilding so so good.

Perudo, Liars Dice doesn’t matter what you call it, it was our second game of the evening. House of Borgia (which we like) had reminded us that Perudo is a fun game. So it was only a matter of time before we had it back to the table. Dice and cups, it doesn’t get simpler than that really for components to a game. Well maybe just a deck of cards.

But this bluffing game is just so much fun. Which you can tell from Jonathan’s thinky, bluffy face below.


It’s just one of those one more go type games. Rounds are fast and fun. We ended up playing three rounds of the game. Diego won one, I won two. Jonathan came close to winning but sadly didn’t. 

I feel guilty (I think that’s what I’m feeling, I’m not sure, I’ve not felt this way before) about writing about this next game we played. The reason is unless you backed the game on Kickstarter you won’t be able to get a copy! 

Oh the game? It’s one that has been in my pile of shame for about a year (minimum, since the Kickstarter completed basically) called Lunarchitects.

Why can’t you get a copy? Well it’s complicated. Lunarchitects is a rethemed updated version of Glen More (which is an impossible game to get in English).  And that’s where the complicated bit comes in. This wasn’t an official update, and it gets murky over whether the original designer gave his blessing etc. At one point Glen More’s publisher promised a reprint of the English version of the game (which I believe they still make noises about) but hasn’t happened yet. But the designer of Lunarchitects I think as part of heading off any legal stuff restricted things to Lunarchitects so it wouldn’t be hitting your nearest FLGS, and would only be for the backers of the project.

I also don’t think I’ve ever seen any copies up for grabs on the Facebook selling and trading pages I’m a member of. 

The production values for Lunarchitects is good. One of the nice touches is the insert. It organises everything perfectly. The tile organiser is even removable. 

If you like Glen More, then you will like this simple. We played with the suggested default end of round and game scoring. But you can change this. Which is a nice touch that changes tactics in game, and adds to the replayability.

Your starting tile is double sided, and you get to choose which sides starting bonus you want. Again a nice little touch.

The end of round scoring worked better for me. With it triggering when the last player to take their turn passes the start line.

The only thing that seemed a little messy the ending of the game and final round.

The iconography was simple and easy to pick up on the tiles. 

There is even a little expansion included that we didn’t play with. There is a fair bit of replayability and variety in this game.

Yeah we enjoyed the game. I surprised myself in winning! I wasn’t generating nearly enough resources as the others to buy tiles. So was going with free stuff. But still I was able to pull off combos, trigger tiles extra times. So it’s good to see that there can be a variety of tactics based on tiles bought to win by, and not just a who can get a resource engine going the quickest.

Another great evenings gaming, great company, great beverages. ‘Nuff said.

Do I have to tell you how I finished off the evening? Regular readers will know already. Oh ok I know you want me to admit it ended in an orgy of spiced lamb flesh and chilli sauce. It was greasy and I loved it! There I said it. Feel better?

Tomorrow it’s time to end the tyranny of King Joffrey in A Game of Thrones the Boardgame.

Tribes of the Mad King

How did your weekend start? 

Mine started off as usual. I got home, threw two games into a bag, got into my car, and pulled out of our tiny unadopted road.

Things deviated from the usual Friday night routine more or less within five seconds of the junction to our road.

I saw the following scene. A car stopped at an angle in the road. A grey hound lying on the pavement with a woman knelt beside it.  I thought maybe the dog had collapsed whilst being walked, and the woman needed help. I couldn’t explain the car. Or that the dog had got out and the owner had gone looking for the dog and found it. Truth be told I had no idea what had happened. But I did know a dog and it’s owner were in need of help. So I stopped to help.

It turned out the woman wasn’t the owner but had just hit the dog with her car. It had just run out into the road. 

There was a nasty gash on the front of the dog. It was important to keep the dog still. While the driver was looking for a vets number to call, I tried keeping the dog still, calm. I used a hanky to try and apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding.

While this was going on a couple of the drivers colleagues pulled up and offered help. As did the owner of the dog. The owner had another dog with her. The hit dog had been “spooked” while the owner was trying to pick up its poo, and ran away.

The vet wouldn’t come out to the dog. The mountain had to go to Mohammad. The dog would need more than my blood soaked hanky on its wound to allow it to be moved.  I took off my hoodie and we used that to make a slightly improved bandage. The drive and colleagues with the owner got the dog on a blanket and moved it to the back of a car. 

I handed over a spare blanket I had in the back of my car, just in case it was needed by then. One of the colleagues offered to take the owner and her dog to the vets.

They departed off to the vets,  which is where I leave the story. 

I have no idea what happened to the dog. I’m hoping the vet was able to save the dog. A bit of me is scared to try and find out. I don’t want there to be a sad end to the story. If I contact the vet to find out, that illusion of a happy ending is shattered. 

I loved Lassie movies as a kid. Yeah those old black and whites. But they would always have me in tears. Mind you so would movies like King Kong when Kong dies. You should see me at the end of the animated classic All Dogs Go To Heaven. I’m a mess.

When I arrived at The White Lion I went straight to the men’s room to wash off the blood from my right hand where I had been holding the hanky on the wound of the dog. Playing with a bloody hand might have freaked people out.

Our two games for the evening were two great games, Five Tribes and The Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Our first game of the evening was a favourite, Five Tribes, that hadn’t seen nearly enough time on the table. But that’s the draw back of having a collection full of great games. Too many great games, not enough time. It’s a first world problem. 

We played just the base game, no expansions. But we could have, but didn’t.

Early on I got a djinn that stopped my yellow and white meeples being assassinated from in front of me. Then I got one that made all my yellow meeples worth three points instead of one. I even assassinated a yellow meeple in front of Jonathan to make sure I had the majority. That’s ten points.

But it was obvious that Chris was going to win once he started to make use of his djinn ability and was placing the tents into his tile that could take tents. He had six on one space! Jonathan had gone the items route to scoring. Which is a route I don’t usually follow.

I think I only placed a couple of camels compared to everyone else. I used the auction stage to try and push up the price of first place and drain the others of money/points. Which worked sometimes, especially when the others were paying eighteen coins to get first place.

There was some serious analysis paralysis (ap) going on at times. Probably one of the few games we play where this goes on. Maybe we should introduce a timer to combat this instead of our current method of scarcasm. Which truth be told only really lengths the time eaten away by the ap.

Still a great game, in which Chris won, Jonathan came second. So I technically failed the “if I can’t win, come higher than Jonathan” goal, because I came third. 

Our second game of the evening was a new favourite of the clubs The Castles of Mad King Ludwig. 

This game is just so much fun. I was very focused this time. Stuck to my initial bonus cards. Got some nice tile scoring combos going. Spent a large portion of the game in front. I got lucky once or twice in that I only once had to spend a turn taking money. And the turns when I had a couple thousand in front of me I was left something I could buy that fitted in with my plans!

Somehow Jonathan amassed an incredible amount of money. That was worth 7 points to him in the end scoring. 7 valuable points that moved him from joint last to third.

I came second to Diego by three points. 

Do I need to say how the evening ended? Oh ok greasy slices of seasoned “lamb” meat delicately thrown into a wrap with a light “seasonal salad”, and a spicy chilli sauce.
Somehow I’d gone the whole day without watching Iron Fist on Netflix. When I woke up it hadn’t been released yet, then work got in the way! But once home and reunited with my wolf pack, it was time to snuggle up and start binging on the latest Marvel superhero to hit the small screen.

FEG@WL 10Mar17 

Life is full of hard decisions, such as which games to take to the game night. Luckily earlier in the day that decision had been made for me when Chris had said he’d got his copy of Great Western Trail. It was a no brainer. Yes we would like to play one of the current hot games!

I traveled light and took Mint Works and Archer: Once You Go Blackmail

Jonathan and I had a quick game of Mint Works while we waited for Chris to arrive.  It really is a nice little filler game. It’s what Nantucket should have aspired to be. But let’s not dwell on that train wreck. What is important is that I won this game of Mint Works.

Chris arrived mid game. But because this is such a fast game to play, especially two player, he didn’t have long to wait for my glorious victory.

Just after setting up Great Western Trail it dawned on Jonathan that we wouldn’t be finished in time for his very important date. So we quickly adjusted the setup for two players.

Jonathan left us knowing he now had to convince us at a later date to bring two games he really wanted to try back to the table. Ok we’d take no convincing, but in reality we’d probably make Jonathan beg. It would be the right thing to do until we usurp him from his Iron Throne.

So Great Western Trail, what do I think?

I like it. Like it a lot. I enjoyed it much more than A Feast For Odin.

I liked the deck building aspect, combined with hand management. Your deck represents your herd of cattle. Your hand the cattle you are trying to deliver to Kansas that run of the trail. When you hit Kansas you need unique types of cattle to score. But during the trail you need pairs, or specific types to trigger a tiles ability. 

The tile placing part is cool. And placing them presents some cool tactical decisions. Which will not only influence the route you take to Kansas but influence the choices of the other players.

You also get to recruit people, these people enable you to buy better cattle, build better tiles, or move your train more spaces.

As you deliver your herd to a city some cool stuff happens. Which includes deciding how you are going to upgrade your player board. Pulling into a train station first allows you gain an instant bonus plus an ongoing one. 

That’s just scratching the surface of the game. There is a lot of depth to this game.

Ok so there is one thing I didn’t like. In a two player game, if the second player triggers the end game, player one gets an extra turn.

It felt odd and wrong. The majority of games usually end so that everyone has had an equal number of turns. 

But the Great Western Trail way means player 1 gets a chance to score more points, which in our game was an extra thirteen points. Which made Chris’s margin of victory even greater than it should have been!

One extra coin at the start for the second player isn’t enough compensation for this. I think this will need a house rule to “fix”.

I’m still undecided whether there should be player aids for this game. I think I’m leaning towards yes there should be.

It really has been great that Chris joined our group. He may correct me on this but I think he might have an addiction issue for the hobby like Jonathan and myself. And he seems to be buying the latest hit games also. Which means my bank account looks a little bit healthier. Plus Chris will most likely cave and back CMoNs latest Kickstarter project Rising Sun. The spiritual successor to Blood Rage. Which would allow me to keep my blood oath of hate against CMoN. 

So Oracle of Delphi and Terraforming Mars to play and that will be the hottness of last year tried. I must do a look at the current bgg hotness list, it seems about the right time to do it again.

After losing to Chris, instead of the traditional meat orgy in a wrap, I went straight home to Strider. Strider had a bit of an issue with his back legs. So I wanted to be back for him.