primordialgroup

Boardgaming in Glasgow

Hands up if you are a grumpy baws - or how to hand Smith his ass on a plate

Ok so nobody likes to lose but we play so many games its bound to happen occasionally right. Even disregarding skilful play -something I have very little of- the law somebody wrote to take account of luck will come into play occasionally. Even discounting this some poor hallion will get stepped on - not because their opponent doesn't like them but because the game requires it. How one handles this ass-reddening paddle spanking determines to a large extent the size and character of their sexy-bits. One of life's great lessons ... or something.

Brass
Ok so the fact that Brass shares many letters with a slang term for Mary-Joanna shouldn't mean you have to smoke the weed -no not a euphemism- to do well at it.

I've played this once before and been less than impressed. However Ian tentatively suggested it earlier in the week and I felt it was only fair to try again. While the outcome was pretty similar again I enjoyed it a lot more. However Brass seems to benefit from knowing pretty well how things flow and how the different elements of the game score. So basically I was sharked by players because they were more familiar with the game rather than because they were more skilful.

I tried to develop my harbours early in the game with the intention of laying them quickly and kind of cornering the market. I only played one level 1 building trying to invest in pieces that would stay on the board after canal scoring and earn me points twice. I realised this was a problematic strategy as other players stopped building cotton mills and exporting as soon as they spotted my plan. I then had to concentrate on building mills myself to flip my harbours and the whole thing got pretty messy. I couldn't invest too heavily in tracks and canals and I got royally humped in the final scoring. However just for the record :) I did not view this as either directly or indirectly Ian's fault. In fact I felt fairly positive about Ian at this point -though in a purely heterosexual fashion - just so we're clear-


Manhattan
It was about 10:10 pm and I was looking for something falling in the 45mins-ish category and was very happy when Smith whipped out Manhattan. Its a game I love and I play regularly with non-gaming family members. I have to explain that my family do enjoy games but only in a ruthless, chop your knob off type of way. Its fairly well accepted that in a 4-player game one person is bashed early on and then a three way race ensues where each player tries to lie JUST in third position until the final round when they streak out to claim a bloody but well deserved victory.

All of the above was unbeknownst to Ian as he splurted out a couple of buildings in the first round. I gently tapped him one in the eye building over one of his towers. When I did it again he raised an eyebrow. I think David may have joined in at this point. Robert bashed me a couple of times. We scored; Ian was last, I was third and everything was going according to plan.


I think it was after another few bashes that Ian began to question my strategy. This is nothing new as often I play in a seemingly random fashion just to lull other players into a false sense of security. However undeterred I pressed on with my game plan. I thought Ian looked a little grumpy and he did say something about getting the -clear leader- which was Robert at the time. I pushed on bashing subtly at David and then at Robert whilst at the same time knocking Ian so he'd retaliate and keep me slightly behind David and Robert. I think this was the point at which Ian's guilt-trip tactic caused David to lose control. I pointed out to Ian that his grumpiness had caused me to beat down on David rather than to play -where I wanted to go-. This was of course nonsense and a distraction tactic so that David would not retaliate and beat me to a small an squashy pulp. David however glazed over and explained in a fairly polite though angry way that he was also not beating down on Ian because he felt uncomfortable and I guess slightly guilty. He did not feel nearly as guilty as me though for causing this.


Anyway to cut this long story short so that I can slope off to bed, I managed to ekk out the win by a point, much to my relief. It was a tense yet still enjoyable game.


I think that fundamentally Ian and I have different ideas about how players should behave in games. I very much like to experiment and sometimes I do unusual things, I think he likes to reason what people should do to maximise their play in particular situations so that he has a better understanding of what they are likely to do. I'm not criticising this but I think it limits your options based upon where you can see the game going. Sometimes a play that seems less than optimal can lead to an advantage later in the game. That's my feeling anyway.

Own up or i'm tossing a coin!

Tonight's gaming came straight out of the twilight zone mainly thanks to Robert and Andy. If weird things keep happening over the next few weeks I am tempted to buy some garlic and lock myself in the toilet.


Tichu
Every time I say the word I expect a plump friar to step up behind me and whisper - bless you my son. -


Ok so first off, I've played Tichu maybe once before and enjoyed it however that was with a decent partner. I know you're probably thinking - oh here comes the old lame 'its my partner's fault I lost' excuse - but hear me out: it was really all Robert's fault.

You see, try as I might to communicate (via card play rather than by pulling ears etc) with my team mate, he insisted in playing randomly. Now normally I can deal with randomness however Robert scattered apparent logic and strategy throughout his play, lulling me into a false sense of security on the occasions that I took note and attempted to adjust my strategy. However plan as I might, he managed to scupper me. Eventually I worked out that he was playing away; batting for the other side, if you will. So my only option was to call a few minor and one major Tichu in an attempt to put us back in contention with Andy and John. This did not work and we ended up with huge minus points. It was all Robert's fault (have I said that already). On reflection I didn't enjoy this much, it was overly long and not as elegant nor as fun as Mu (nor as good as I remember).


Ruse & Bruise
As we waited for the other table to finish Royal Turf (Winners Circle) John whipped this out onto the table.


Maybe when I hadn't heard of this alarm bells should have started to ring. Or maybe I should have ran after John mentioned it was an impulse buy. However I must have been groggy from the Tichu game because even after the rules explanation I still played it. To say Ruse and Bruise is bad is like saying mass murder is bad: it doesn't even begin to describe the horror. The game is entirely devoid of strategy. You have nearly no control over when the round will end and thus you can get severely humped in the scoring. Add to this mainly hidden card play and a set of cards with so many lengthy rules, so little good card design (give me some icons to indicate if a card activates when flipped or only in the scoring phase please!) and a scoring phase where there is an eight or nine item order in which cards resolve before scoring and this out complicates most CCG's! On the positive side; most of the components will burn without releasing toxic gas.


Mammoth Hunters
I'm glad we got a chance to play this. I've tried it once before with the Northern Ireland group before I moved over to Scotland and while I enjoyed it, it didn't go down well with the other players. Tonight I got a chance to see how much of a game there really was in this nice brown box.


It turns out we got a rule or two wrong in the first turn but once spotted we corrected it and I don't think the game suffered. I enjoyed this again and I think the others had a similarly positive experience. I think the dark and light card mechanic is nice and I enjoy the tension as you balance helping your opponents with improving your own position. The game is pretty tactical but its nice that you can manipulate your hand a little by discarding a card before you redraw. I don't think there's too much luck and the fire tiles don't add that much hidden variation to the scoring regions. Plus the clubs help you insure against a disastrous removal during scoring; if such a thing is likely. Overall I think this was great fun and hope it comes out again soon.

Highlight of the night: Andy tried to determine whether to screw over me or Ian: he knew one of us had beat down on him in the previous turn (it was Ian by the way) so he threatened us with the classic line -ok so whowever it was better own up now or I'm tossing a coin to determine who I shaft - GENIUS!!


Edited by Andy to add:

"We got a rule or two wrong in the first turn" should be replaced with "we got the entire game wrong in favour of everyone except Andy who ended up coming last".  To quote BGG rules translation:

"If there are more Hunters in an region than are permissible, some of the Hunters must be removed: The player with the fewest Hunters takes one Hunter from the region and places it back into his supply, followed by the player who has the next fewest Hunters, who likewise removes one Hunter, followed by the player who has the next fewest Hunters etc., continuing in the same sequence over several rounds, until the limit of the region or less is reached." (poor grammar as per original BGG article).


Unfortunately we performed the hunter removal incorrectly on every turn.  Sore loser! Me?  Actually it was a good game and I'd like to play again - with the correct rules.

On a side note we are starting to see the evolution of a new phenomenon: "off the ball speech-play" from Ian.  Otherwise known as whining, sometimes followed by winning, always preceded by sitting in a clear-leader position.  It featured heavily in Shogun the other week, and again in Mammoth Hunters this week.  I only mention this as he has criticised me for such behaviour in the past.

Edited again by Ian to add

Now now Mr "It's okay when I do it" Hynes, tell it like it is, the "off the ball whining" you refer to in Shogun was in direct response to a 4 player agreement to "all target ian" and as for Mammoth Hunters, I was never in the lead at any point of that game.... so clearly your memory serves you badly there. If a player chooses to vocalise his desire to target one player, it is thus perfectly reasonable for the target to attempt to deflect the bullets. For the sake of clarity, I feel I must remind you that I sat in dead last for rounds 1 and 2 of Mammoth Hunters, jumped into 2nd at the end of round three and retained that position, with John jumping the previous clear leader Ivan to grab victory.

I will forgive you this oversight because clearly the facts don't matter when one is being duplicitous and trying to find excuses for coming last.



Edited by Ian to add:


Master Builder & Royal Turf
Despite Ivan and Roberts assertion that the former game is without merit, I have always felt that played in the right spirit, this can be a light weight laugh, this was undoubtedly the case on Wednesday, Christina began her howler of a night by ending the game with less money than she began, Stuarts impressive evening began with a well crafted 2nd place. In Royal Turf, Christina absolutely failed to grasp the closing straight and in one foul swoop gifted Stuart a winning haul of £1200 and Victory. Christina's terrible evening was compounded when she discovered that her friend had spent much of night camped at a Theatre Box office, awaiting her arrival, alas poor Christina had her dates wrong and managed to wreck more than a game outcome!