I’m not a number 

Last night was one of the “special” events that get organised at Fenland Gamers (my local gaming club). Which basically means some-one has a specific game they’d like to get to the table and play. So they host a gaming session to play that particular game. An invite is usually placed on the clubs Facebook page asking who would like to attend, making sure that people know there is a limited number of places available. 

The session last night was arranged specifically to play the amazing Viticulture with the extended board from Tuscany.

However Jonathan found himself at a loose end and asked if those attending could make it along to the venue earlier. He had a hankering to play Pandemic Iberia again.

For Jonathan to scratch that itch he needed me! He won’t have his own copy until Christmas or his birthday. I had received my replacement red microscope token and missing epidemic card only a couple of days earlier. Also to protect the cards in the game I had sleeved them. So my copy was ready to hit the table.

Katie hadn’t played this edition of Pandemic. Well it is a hot new game. So we recapped the rule changes and additions that were made to Iberia. 

We let Katie decide on how difficult the game would be. Our game used the “easy” setting of four epidemic cards.

We won our game. We hit three out of the four epidemic cards. And narrowly missed the fourth. If we hadn’t won we would have hit it. 

I’d like to have my next game of Iberia use one of its variants. I like the idea of the patient one, where cubes home in on the hospitals you build!

Our next game was a new one for me, but one I’ve been interested to try, Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age.

It’s a nice Yahtzee, push your luck style game. 

Not the most attractive game. However the wooden player boards and pegs were ok. The wooden dice felt nicer than the dice in Discoveries.

The player sheets where you are marking off the results of your dice rolls look intimidating to start with, but soon become clear.

It’s a nice game. Not amazing. But one I’d happily play again.

Jonathan and I  both LOVE Viticulture. I don’t think I’d be incorrect in saying that if we both had to draw up a top five games of all time Viticulture would be one of those games. For me it would be Jamey Stegmaier’s second game on that list. Which is frickin amazing. I really must do a click bait top ten games of all time list sometime. 

So you know how much we like Viticulture. But what impact would playing with the extended board make?

Katie and Diego hadn’t played Viticulture before. So a rules school was held for them. I think with the new board Jonathan and I were not at a great advantage having played before. 

I’m a big fan of the original Prisoner tv series (not that crap remake they did). And it’s hard not to make Number 6 references. Why do I feel like I can talk about The Prisoner whilst talking about Viticulture? Well for the whole game I took the number 6 slot on the wake up track. No one took it off me. Basically I was being given by the end of the game six unchallenged victory points. 

The territory control element this board adds to the game is a nice little touch, and a nice way to get some resources that may have been blocked off elsewhere. Plus at end game scoring a chance to add more victory points to your score. 

The extra seasons made more sense thematically. Plus it gave you more chance to do things. But with two basic workers and a grande worker you will have to pass one of the seasons at least in the early rounds until you train more workers.

Until the last round I was only harvesting one field. I hadn’t even planted the others. In fact I had sold one early on for the cash boost, and repeated later on for same reason. 

But being first to one or two actions allowed me to pick up the odd easy victory point.

On the final round I needed three points from somewhere on the board to push me over the finishing line. Jonathan managed to block two of them. But I was luckily able to get those from another route. Basically by buying back a sold field and planting on it (I had a windmill that gave me a point this way), and then selling a wine for a point. 

I was feeling very tense trying to pull off those three points. If I’d failed in pulling this off and have to go through another year, there is no way I’d win. It was all or nothing. Jonathan blocking me added to the tension I was feeling. But once I cracked the problem of making up the lost points, it was plain sailing.

Jonathan discovered at the end we had misplayed the pass rule in winter. Which we are getting to the bottom of at the moment. Sadly Jonathan couldn’t find the relevant bit in the rules. 

The extended board is a great addition to an already great game. Not sure I’d want to go back now to the regular one.

You know how I’m closing this blog post off now. Thanks to Jonathan (so you know who to blame) here are a couple of photos of me playing the games last night.

2 thoughts on “I’m not a number 

  1. Well, that’s two wins in a row for Pandemic: Iberia.

    I was reading a forum which the consensus was that Iberia was a more difficult version of Pandemic than the base game is. Because of our two wins, I was left wondering what we had played wrong, as I thought it was a little easier. Upon scouring the rulebook (online, of course, as I’m still awaiting my physical copy), I realised that 4 Epidemics is the Introductory level, which explains the easy wins a great deal. Now I’m looking forward to playing the ‘real’ version with the Standard 5 Epidemics!

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