Boardgaming in Glasgow

Anyone Selling Pasties?

February Kicked off with a "relaxing" sunday session. Messrs Hanley, Gilmour, Smith & Smith opting to partake in a last minute jam.

Tinners Trail was given it's first group outing and - despite the usual Wallace Rules Confusion - it turned out to be another belter. Immediately jumping into the Steel Driver territory for yours truly. There is really nothing to match the kind of aggression and mind bending decision making that are thrown up in such a short space of time. The game was over in 70 minutes and was filled with the kind of decisions that you spend hours reconsidering after the game ends. Ivan won out 102, to my own 100, Julia's 99 and Roberts 73. Each of us, after the fact able to see just where we could have won the game, and how those marginal decisions to spend £1 here or sell a pastie there might actually have contributed to our success or failure. I will post a full game review on the Reviews section shortly.

After TT, we pulled out Augsburg for a second round in as many days, alas my opponents paid very close attention to my strategy tips on how/when to buy churches and I lost out being the only player unable to activate mine in time. Ivan won again with Robert close behind.

For Sale was next, We Played, I Won, They Lost

After Pizza, we wanted something light and went for Puerto Rico. Another Corker, Ivan and I desperately tried to manipulate proceedings, Ivan succeeded where I didnt and pulled a mightily impressive points haul of 48, to my own 42, Roberts 39 and Julia's 32.

Last Game - Witch's Brew and despite previous reservations, it played quickly and was quite a lot of fun. Robert redeemed himself and won out over Julia by 2 points, Ivan and I jointly brought up the rear with a pitiful 13.

So February kicks off with Ivan in the driving seat!

Sore Balls All Round!

The usual call offs and call ons preceded the night's gaming, Stuart called off, Nick called off then on, then probably off, then possibly on, Andy called Ivan a Twat and I called barclaycard (i wont bore those of you not present with the details!)
It must be pointed out that Ivan has stated his desire to see Torres get more table time, you might not know Torres, it's the game of Tower Building, you might have seen us play it before on one of the 11 times it has been tabled in the last 3 months!

The gaming began, Ivan, Julia, John & Robert look bemused as I tried to teach them "In the Shadow of the Emperor" It's a quick and easy area control influence type game, should be played in about an hour and dead easy to pick up. More on their 3 hour extravaganza later!

Whilst this was happening David, Robert and I were preparing ourselves for the spielmugging that is "In the year of the dragon" Having subjected us to the Plague Attrition of Notre Dame, Stefan Feld must have felt that further punishment was necessary and removed all the "cute" elements from his previous game, replacing them with a mechanic which simply slaps you on the face every round with increasing intensity.

A game of "In The Year of the Dragon" is akin to receiving a good boot in the balls, It's very painful but if you have a sick mind you might derive some kind of twisted pleasure from the process. Clearly Mr Feld is unhappy about something, maybe the lukewarm reviews handed out to his first Alea Big Box "Rum & Pirates" has resulted in him exacting revenge on the gaming community. Rumours abound that his next game will simply consist of a very black box with the word "Tourettes" Etched in the same shade of black. When you open the box, a large metal boot shoots out, kicks you in the nuts and calls you a "CockSucker"

It has to be said that I'm describing a game that I won with 80 points to David's 76, we really should be looking at this from the perspective of Robert who endured one of the biggest game muggings I have ever seen. He ended the game worse off than his starting position. The game had forced itself upon Robert in unimaginable ways, breached and abused every orifice in his body and if that's not enough was seen leaving the house with Roberts Car Keys and his Mother's Address.

With the Papal war raging upstairs and with Nick still contemplating an arrival, we opted to give clans another outing. I have always loved the simplicity of the game combined with the brain melting decision making that it throws up. David quickly got to grips with its complexities, Robert looked a little forlorn and was to be seen idly pushing red villagers around the board whilst mumbling something about anal invasion and japanese torture. Thankfully for Robert he did manage to beat down the two fake players and grab a respectable third, unfortunately he couldnt prevent another Smith, Grier 1 and 2.

Still No Nick, so we pulled off Wyatt Earp, no game just me dressed in some Chaps being pleasured by the boys.... no no seriously, stop me, take my wife, try the salmon, I'm here all week!

I cannot gloss over the Wyatt Earp action as herein Robert managed his own act of revenge, claiming a last round haul that garnered him an overall first 22 to David and My own hauls of 21.

Nick arrived, the Pope Bashers finished off - John claimed Victory with 24 to Andy & Julia's 23, I understand that Ivan was playing but his score marker would not have suggested such, Ivan and David buggered off and the rest of settled down to another round of Hoity Toity. I was a little nervous how this one would be regarded, it is random and luck plays a major role but everyone seemed to really enjoy the simultaneous selection. Like my last two games, those leading as we approached the end started to sweat at the prospect of losing key works in any exhibitions. Furthermore our sixth sense seemed to be in overdrive, as round after round Nick and I chose identical locations and roles. Andy and John found themselves perpetually losing out to Robert's Check Thieves whilst on more than one occassion Robert was allowed a free hand to buy or exhibit whilst the four of us set off for precisely the location with precisely the same action in mind.

In the last round John and Andy secured the bonus points for collections but neither secured enough to catch Nick or I, tied at the Table. Nick won it on the Tiebreak, thus my hatrick of victories was foiled again.

Much negotiation preceded the final game, we opted for Modern Art, it was late, we were all tired and it got a bit emotional. John and I were fighting it out for most of the game, John managed to don a cute innocent face and secure the support of his fellow gallery owners, before striding to a convincing victory (his second of the night) £526,000, to my own $485,000, Andy had £436,000 and Nick was somewhere in the room. To be fair, Nick had bigger concerns on his mind, such as how he was going to avoid the significant boot in the balls that he would be getting when he arrived home. It's one thing to go to games when you have a phd to finish, it's another to go to games when you have a 2 week old baby to care for, it's quite another to sneak out of the house when your wife is asleep .... hoping she won't wake up .... well she came to, she saw and she was going to conker his balls good and proper!

Where is all the Rice?

Only five at gaming last night, Andy extended his trip around Thailand's Ladyboy Parlours and thus could not make it, Nick found himself up to his eyes in Exhausted Wife and New Baby Boy (Working Title - Reiner Rules Lawyer King of Siam Pitman Jnr). Stuart had rather more unpleasant reasons for calling off, I shall say no more than I hope they throw the book at the Twat!

Scott was preparing to move house, Gregor was preparing to move off the sofa, both slowly and carefully whilst Ivan was moving his feet to the disco beat of X-Box rock band! The less said about Callum and John the better.
That left David, Christina, Robert, Julia and I. We kicked off with a playtest of the first actual Primordial Group title - Expense Account. Words really cannot describe the quality of the components and effort that was put in to creating this little gem.

Words also cannot describe just how fundamentally broken one aspect of the game is, thankfully the rules engineers have been working through the night and are confident that "Expense Account - The Directors Cut" will solve the subtle mechanistic failure of players running out of cards.

I am happy to welcome David onboard as "Technical Advisor" and he has already brought some wildly exciting concepts to the table and even more to the bedroom - sorry boardroom.

Maybe next week we can try out what will by then be "The Ridley Scott, Actual Directors Cut, The Last One Wasn't Really The Directors Cut Expense Account" game.

Elsewhere after much discussion, we opted to avoid the games list and lump for an old favourite. The Dice Tower was constructed, warfare declared and I suffered revolt upon revolt as Christina kept stealing my land and rice production. In a move which bore significant historical relevance, Christina announced that she was nothing more than a crippled empire struggling to recover from it's last great battle, before then deciding to annex my production stronghold.

The rest of the players stood back and watched as I screamed and demanded red cross intervention.

Typically, the game ended with a round of bloody warfare. David stole one of my Temple's (mumble mumble dodgy dice tower, rules lawyer etc etc) and one of Robert's Palaces. Christina failed to steal any land and I - in a magical merry-go-round of movement, succesfully moved all my troops three times, from one region and back again - it achieved feck all but confused the hell out of the mighty force threatening my border. Whilst Robert was recovering from the raping David had dealt out, Julia took the opportunity to give him a good old boot in the balls and stole more land.

The game ended with my first round lead evaporating into an overall 4th (mumble mumble dodgy dice tower, rules lawyer etc etc), Robert fought valiantly and held onto his last place, David stormed into first (mumble mumble etc etc) whilst Julia and Christina fought out for second, Julia ultimately grabbing that prize by 1 point. It ended:

David 36

Julia 33

Christina 32

Ian 31

Robert 28

We all went home to bed, well all apart from me, I chose to stay up and seek retribution on the xbox live - Ticket to Ride community ..... say hello to this weeks No. 1 player!!!

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Amarillo ..

So the evening began with Stuart reluctantly agreeing to play Steel Driver but "only if it was nothing like Brass". My slightly dishonest response that it was like Ticket to Ride with Puppy Dogs - seemed to win him over and we began - what turned out to be a thoroughly enlightening game.
With this being William, Robert and David's second game in recent weeks, Julias fourth and my fifth, we all had a relatively clear idea of how we were going to approach this one.

William opted for diversity, he chose a different share each round and sacrificed control at game end. I decided to grab shares in the early activators allowing me to grab as much income as possible, by the end of the game I had control of both Red and Black. Red was a tasty prospect with Black one of the weaker options. Julia found herself controlling Yellow and David Green, with the remaining shares in these companies divied up pretty evenly between the remaining players. Well all apart from Stuart who had invested heavily each round in the Blue Company, a company which began in the midwest with only white resource options available, had found itself losing access to reds and silvers and then found itself sitting in the last choice position in round 5.

How we pitied him ..... until we began to witness his activity, by the end of the selection phase, Yellow was the wealthiest company with a share value of £160, Blue pulled a mightily impressive £150 - thanks mainly to the surplus of individual whites he had gleaned from in and around Chicago, Green was equally placed on £150, Red on £110 with Black and Purple bringing up the rear on 90 and 70 respectively.

At this point Stuart's monopoly strategy made perfect sense, whilst he didnt have any shares in the highest company, he did have 4 times the shares anyone else had in Blue. Julia and David had to share their wealth with fellow board members, whilst Stuart pocketed a massive £600 from this company alone.

Williams decision to back each horse hadnt worked, my failure to make black more successful had failed miserably, Robert found himself invested in the worst companies, whilst Julia and David more or less fed each other .... Stuart simply romped to victory and in doing so claimed the Monthly prize for November!

After Stuart's victory dance and departure, we set off on a castle hopping, antique stealing and crime busting adventure in Adel Verplitchtet (Hoity Toity). I will be intrigued to see what our seasoned members think of this, simultaneous card play race game, I have now played it twice in a few days and really really like the pace and randomness of it. Whilst the early rounds seem a little too random, the closing stages build the tension and our game saw Julia and I locked in a tense battle, both of us held commanding exhibition material but were petrified to display any of it, for fear that our fellow art dealers might send the thieves in. Each round, Julia and I tried desperately to pull a fast one, whilst our opponents tried in vain to nick our items or imprison out thieves. The game ended with Julia victorious by a single point over me, Robert and David pulled a respectable scores in 3rd and 4th whilst William had a mare and came dead last!

We finished off with Notre Dame, David was reluctant having had such a horrible experience last time round, this time he was much more positive. There is no doubt that understanding the rules and tactics can enhance ones enjoyment no end. Alas that wasnt the case for me as I had a horror show, after 9 frightful rounds, I found myself with less than half the points of our victor William, who it has to be said, trounced us all good and proper. David pulled a tidy second , with Julia third. Robert pipped me into 4th by 1 point.

Thanks to all for making it a fast moving and fun night, Congrats again to Stuart - The King (for the time being at least) - Winchester!

Formula De You Effing Think So?

So I was all set to post a really witty blog when David told me that if I did, I would have to spin off, turn around and start in first gear ... so I thought F*ck that! That's as much as you're getting this week, you can blame Ivan for Twadging my Fladge all night and for having the shameful audacity to do a Victory Dance after the most spectacular Ass Rape the Primordial Group has ever seen!

You're all a bunch of Tossers!

Shipping Cubes for Martin Wallace ....

Okay so it's all over, Andy, David, Julia, Nick and I returned last night with 40kg more luggage than we left with!

The trip got off to a mildly stressful start, first of all Nick was 20 minutes later than his anticipated hour late arrival, he then decided that he would have to check his tyres at the garage, thus as we approached a 2 mile tale back on the M8, we were beginning to worry a little.

Things improved and we made it to Edinburgh Airport, checked in without incident and cleared security, well 4 of us did, Nick was asked to explain why he was attempting to transport a knife onto the plane, the tube having forgotten to take his Swiss Army Knife off his keychain. We laughed, he panicked and ran back to his car to deposit the offending article.
In the Airport bar, we met one of the Lamont brothers, who - to show his thanks to Andy and I for playtesting Snow Tails, handed Nick a press pass to Essen! ......My decision to pre-organise a Transfer from Dortmund was a stroke of genius, We cleared customs in Germany and were greated by a friendly German brandisging a large "Primordial Group" sign - at this point I was wishing I had opted for the more humorous and much more appropriate signage of "Nick's a Cock!"

Day One At Essen

The basic game reviews can be found on the guild page, thus I wont bother too much with reviews here - although I may contribute some meatier reviews to the website page!

The first day was spent watching Nick run around trying to establish the best prices for the games he wanted to buy, the rest of us, played the odd game, looked on in amazement as hundreds of German's turned up dressed like Odin then stuffed our faces with schnitzel and bratwurst.

The highlight of Day One for me was not game related but actually real life resource management. Having watched the guys at the warfrog/jklm stand make an utter arse of setting up the play area, Andy and I found ourselves taking charge of the situation by actually reorganizing the entire "shop". I spent about an hour lugging games to and from storage areas, Julia coordinated the table clearing and Andy was actually found to be moving furniture onto Vans.

As this was at the height of the busiest day, on some occasions we had to take secuitous routes to our destinations, I myself detouring through Valley Games to get to a storage facility that was a mere 10 feet from my starting position. On these various journeys we could not work out why occasional cheers or howls were to be heard, as we used routes belonging to other companies ... Andy pointed out that we were clearly pawns in a giant game of Age of Steam - and these stall holders were merely celebrating the income they were gaining, or mourning there losses as we Shipped Goods for Martin Wallace!

Whilst we were so involved, David and Nick were playing Le Havre - I'll leave it to them to explain why they thought it was a cow!

Much of that night was spent playing Knizias new sushi/dice game which proved to be an utter joy!Later we managed to table both Chicago Express and "Stool Driver" - both proved immensely popular!

Friday was spent camped at Rio Grande, Manu Pichu underwhelmed us in ways we would not have thought possible. Whilst we fought off numerous advances from eager gamers desperate to grab our table. By this stage we had earned the reputation for being the straight talking game reviewers and numerous groups of potential buyers strode over to ask for our succint reviews of their intended shopping lists.

We scuppered many a sale and created a few more.

"A Castle for all Seasons" proved to be the day's surprise package, alas when Jon Sykes managed to grab a game the following day - all the fun was sucked out by having to play with two of the most meticulous and tedious geeks imaginable!

Another night of gaming at the hotel, this time Nick and Andy joined myself, Julia and Colin in Driving each others Stools. This provided the most frustrating Essen experience for me as despite three rules explanations, Andy struggled to grasp even the simplest aspects.

Andy - "How do we spend money?"

Ian - "You don't!"

Andy - "So How do we get shares?"

Ian - "Resources!"

Andy - "How do we get Resources?"

Ian - "Each round you get 8 to spend or save for future rounds"

Andy - "So how do we make money?"

Ian - "By building track and collecting route cubes at game end!"

Andy - "So how do we pay for that?"

Ian - "With the resources from the companies in which you invested"

Andy - "So whats the money for?"

Ian - "Money = VP's"

Andy - "So how do we make money?"

Ian - "Dear God!"

Andy - "So what are my shares for?"

Ian - "For Control in the companies?"

Andy - "Can I Buy more?"

Ian - "No!"

Andy - "So what's the money for?"

Ian - "Money is VP"

Andy - "Right I get it ... but why is this square red?"

Ian - "Because at the end of the game, whomever controls the rail company that links there, can claim the red resource from the red square"

Andy - "Okay but why is that one white?"

Ian - "White City = White Resource"

Andy - "Why do I want different coloured resources?"

Ian - "Sets of different resources pay our more than sets of the same resources"

Andy - "How do I claim them?"

Ian - "By controlling a company whose route links to them!"

Andy - "How do I control a company?"

Ian - "By having the most shares in it?"

Andy - "Do I buy those shares?"

Ian - "No!"

Andy - "So what is the money for?"

Ian - "Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhh"

This is an expurgated version of a conversation which ran for the entire game and resurrected its head in the final round as Andy realised he did not have a controlling interest in any companies.

Andy - "I thought I would get a share in each companies profits relative to my shareholding"

Ian - "There is no company profit!"

Andy -"So what use are my shares?"

Ian - "They are only useful if you have a majority and then you can use the share control to collect resource cubes"

Andy - "What resource cubes?"

Ian - "The ones we will be putting on the map on the coloured squres when we get to the end!"

Andy - "Oh ..... okay ... why are some squares Red?"

Ian - "Jesus Fecking God - Are you kidding me?"

Andy - "Well I thought if I had 2 shares, I would get 2/5ths of the reward!"

Ian - "How the hell, can you get 2/5th's of a red cube?"

Edited to add, whilst Andy's inability to grasp any of the rules was hilarious, I must offer my sincere apologies for failing to correctly grasp the final distribution ... it seems he should have had 2/5ths of the red company value, I blame the beer, the sleep deprivation and the time difference

The game ended, Andy came last, Nick pipped Colin by £10 - £560 - £550, I pipped Nick £570-£560, Julia humped us all with £680 ..... but then Julia wasn't sitting next to Andy!

I popped off to bed and left the mob playing KakerLakenSupe ... all I can say is .... Onion, Leek, Slurp, Mmmmh, Slurp, leek, Chili, BANANA!!!" ... all will become clear in the months to follow!

Saturday was a lighter affair, Andy, David, Julia and I played Master Builder at valley, Nick popped in to see how we were doing at precisely the same point as a German lady earwigged on what she thought was a rules explanation.

She stood at my right shoulder listening intently, as I grasping the Master Builder Guide began explaining to Nick, the rules to Hai Alarm, that Julia, David and I had played earlier!

I didn't witness the response, but am assured that her bemused look turned to one of utter disbelief as she began studying the game components and rule sheets to try and establish, how I intended tabling a shark and what on earth any of this had to do with Dolphins at Sea!

The day ended much like the previous night with another bout of Hynes/Smith tension, this one down to actual game play.

The game was Confucius, a game based around manipulating the influence of certain game characters and each other. In round 1 - I handed Andy a gift and thus gained his indebtedness, in round 2 Andy chose to sponsor a nephew through University - hoping to gain his influence in parliament, before doing so he announced ... "If I do this, Ian will screw me over and sponsor his own nephew and I'll have to pay for Ian's because I am indebted to him" ....

You know what's coming ... he did, I did, he wasn't pleased and some minutes passed ... I extended the hand of friendship ....

Andy - "F*ck Off ... I'm not shaking your hand!"

We left, we ate Mexican with Jon Sykes and his pal Nick (hereafter referred to as Nick 2), we drank Beer, we played games. Nick 2 - really got into the spirit of Master Builder, not only was he to be found taunting his own "Lazy Ass Workforce" but was regularly seen toppling Jon's Gerry built houses.

In addition to the many new games we played over the weekend, we taught Jon and Nick 2, Torres, Thief of Bagdad and Big City, all of which had been retro purchases and much appreciated by all!

Essen ended, much as it began, shopping, gaming and schnitzel!

We headed to the airport where yet again Nick set off the alarms as he attempted to take his 500ml of Agri-Cola onto the plane. He was caught, he was questioned, we laughed, he departed, drank the cola (which "tasted awful") and returned with an empty bottle ... clearly there is no protocol for dealing with a Glaswegian brandishing an empty bottle and not realising just how dangerous the combination can be, he was allowed on board.

We came home, we slept!

I didn't even mention David's snoring!

The Return of The Scary Dinosaurs

For those of you that weren't present the first time around, I feel it would be worthwhile pointing out that the last time Scary Dinosaurs made an appearance at games, we witnessed the birth of the biggest Vendetta the primordial group has ever encountered.
The whole sorry event was covered in a guild story all of 7 months ago ...

"I feel it would be unfair to not inform all gamers of the potential for hazardous fall out hitting them in the coming weeks. This fall out a direct result of Andy's decision to "Rape" Gregor in Sunday's Game of Thrones is expected to last 12 months.Gregor (I could have brought a book) Moir was heard to say, "I'm going to make it my life's work to make you suffer" Andy (You should have saved some power) Hynes retorted with "What did you expect? You ate all of the scary dinosaurs!" Elsewhere in a strategically brilliant maneuver Michael convinced all opponents that Ian was the clear leader and whilst everyone turned their attentions to the Black Forces in the north, nipped around the north east coast, on three boats, a minibus and tram before strolling into Nick's wide open rear entrance and claiming the unprotected prize therein. "Victory is Mine" he cried, responses ranged from "B*stard" and "I Told You I wasn't The Clear Leader" to "Year Long Vendetta" and "Scary Dinosaurs"

You have been warned!"

It was clearly a brave or very silly move on the part of Mr Grier to darken our door with the ill fated sweeties, going one stage further he opted to bring "The Natural Food Company" Scary Dinoaurs, this prompted the usual sweet critique to commence.

David "these are good"

Ian "hmm .. they have a funny flavour"

David "Really?"

Ian "yeah I guess its the taste of non synthetic food stuffs"

Nick "Do you guys have new sweets?"

Ian - whisper - "Say Nothing! Stuart's Up there!"

They were certainly a lovely addition to the night and far better than the the "sweets that tasted like shoes" from a few weeks ago.

Elsewhere in the side event of games. I produced a stunning and thoroughly unexpected Caylus performance, humping Grier and Schehele By a resounding 30 points. Upstairs Michael was giving a beating to Nick and Stuart at Key Harvest, after which we popped David's Samurai Cherry and finished off with the most enjoyable game of Zooloretto I have ever had.

It was made all the more enjoyable in the last few rounds as Nick and I traded sneaky moves in a bid to avoid being dumped with a crate full of unwanted Zebra's.

I was first to avoid the crate, realising that adding a new animal to an empty crate would provide Nick with a way out, I chose to blag all of my cash buying a useless animal from Julia, Nick accused me of being a Cock Knocker, only to realise that he could spend his last gold coin swapping his animals around, he moved 5 panda's into his full Zebra enclosure and moved the Zebra's over to his Panda enclosure - mocking me with every move, knowing full well that I would have to grab the crate of death.

I did so and in the process gained minus 6 points, on top of the minus 2 I had gained buying the crud from Julia and lost all my cash in the process, not quite in the Hynes bracket but damned stupid all the same.

Screams Means Hynes

Andy was in spectacular form last night, after an absolute nightmare at Princes of Florence, Andy "I've totally f*cked this up" Hynes produced singly the worst strategic decision any of us have yet to encounter in the realms of board games. The game was Edel. Stein & Reich and Andy had the largest brain fart in history. For those of you who haven;t played this beautiful little game, it involves trading gems for money. Each round each player will have the opportunity of acquiring cash, gems or certificates, each player will be provided with a different potential haul of gems or cash and each must decide which of the prizes to grab, if you are the only player to grab a specific prize you win it outright, if you are one of two players to grab the same prize you are required to barter for its reward and if you are unlucky enough to be one of three or more players seeking a similar reward, you all walk away with NOTHING!
As we entered the final rounds, Andy was lagging and had been dealt a potential gem haul of 2 x Red. Red's are the most valuable gems and highly attractive to all, alas Andy's haul was worthless as there were absolutely no red gems in the supply. There is no way Andy will go for Gems, thought I as I placed my hidden bid down to claim my own gem haul of 3 blue and 1 green. We revealed all, Nick and Julia fought for certs, John grabbed the cash and Andy ......... bid for gems - he bid for the right to get absolutely nothing, feck all, zero, ziltch, nada .... that's not all ..... there's more!

With Andy lagging behind me on the Red Gem race, he was forced to make me an offer from his own gem supply, that would enable him to claim his ZERO red gems ..... Andy thought long and hard about this .... I commented that he really only had to offer me a tiny bribe and I would undoubtedly refuse it, allowing him the opportunity to accept my enforced higher bribe, this was too simple for Andy, he looked at my stack and realised that what he really wanted was three yellow gems, the cogs began turning ..... "what would I have to offer Ian, that would create an increased bid of 3 yellows" ..... "hmmmm I wonder" ... Andy poker stared me, his eyebrow twitched, he reached into his gem supply and tabled a bribe of ......... 2 RED GEMS. Yes folks ... Mr Strategy offered me 2 of the most valuable Gems on the table from his own collection for the right to obtain 0 RED GEMS from the supply.... I quickly accepted and the table quickly collapsed into uncontrollable hysterics ..... The words Plum & Muppet and phrase "What the f*ck were you thinking" were banded around by all, Andy slunked back in his chair and watched as the game ended ....Ian 76, John 61, Nick 59 and Julia & Andy on 49.

Elsewhere - the highly enjoyable and quick For Sale produced the scoring Julia 52, Ian 49, Nick 47, John & Andy 46 and Callum 45.

Hat's off to Pitman for winning the main event PoF - Nick 60, Ian 56, David 47, Andy 44, Julia 42.

Whilst we Poffed, Stuart, John, Michael and Callum - played a game in which the loser scored 5 points and the winner 756 .... now that's some score spread!

I suppose I should also mention that Fairy Tale made an appearance, alarm bells began ringing when Michael suggested a game, I agreed but began to feel uneasy as the "rules" were explained ..... "I remember this" I proclaimed "It Sucks Balls!" ... I sat out from the turgid game of schoolyard fantasy switch and watched as Andy screamed to victorious 42 points compared to David & Julia on 28 and Nick on 26.

It just goes to show, If you show Andy deep strategy and bartering - he hasn't a clue, but ask him to collect pixies and there's noone comes close!

Wallace Does It Again

Sunday at our house and another impromptu gaming session, this one organised because Christina keeps missing the others .. David had to call off so we were left with four.
Michael arrived early in order to do his laundry, yes in addition to providing food and shelter we are now offering other services, I have to diversify if Grier is coming after my soup crown!

Before Christina arrived, Michael, Julia and I sat down to play "Cuba", The review of this game is on the Reviews Page, We made only one mistake - misjudging when the final round was - this prompted the best exchange of the game.

Ian "Oops that was the last round

Michael "Well if I had known that, I would have played completely differently"

Ian "Michael ..... You Won!

Michael ........ "Oh Yeah"

Christina arrived and we pulled out Princes of the Renaissance - none of us had played this but I had been moist with anticipation from reading the basic game details on the geek.

First of all, it is a Martin Wallace, which means elegance, simplicity and brain melting calculations.

Second, it has bidding ..... I love bidding!

Third, it is a war game - that means death and carnage

Fourth ... and this is the big one, it is all about deceit and screwage - it reminded me a lot of Junta and that made me very happy.

I will post a full game review later, however it is worth pointing out that the game started with me declaring an immediate and undying love for everything it had to offer, Christina confirmed that she had taken an immediate stance of absolute bewilderment at what was happening, Julia seemed non plussed and Michael ..... seemed like Michael.

By the second decade, Christina was starting to get very excited, mine had not subsided and Julia had declared that she "hated this game". This after she had started a war, been frozen out of the bidding to represent herself in her own war, seen her lose the cash bonus and watched as her favoured city had been defeated.

By a round or two later, having formed an official resource alliance with me, which essentially resulted in her borrowing money from me and me influence from her, her hatred began to subside.

BY this stage Michael had found himself aligned with myself in one influence, Christina in two and Julia in one, both Michael and Christina began targeting venice - my stronghold, this further enhanced the cross table divide and when Julia began investing in Venice, it was a clear case of US against THEM (and of course a less clear case of Us against Us)

By the final decade, Christina was out in front, massive influence in the leading city, Michael was fighting to close the gap on Christina, whilst Julia and I plotted the downfall of their major investments.

Going into, what turned out to be the last round, We were all pretty closely matched in terms of City Influence. Christina and I had significantly more victory wreathes than the others, whilst Michael and Julia were cash and influence chips rich. My final move was to declare War - Venice attacking Florence - Venice being my stronghold and Florence being Christina's. The bidding for the attack was fascinating, all players holding much stronger attack cards than defence (averaging 8 of the former to 4 of the latter) Michael did not want to attack and ducked out the bidding, Chritina followed and I, in what turned out to be a moment of stupidity, allowed Julia to take the honour of attack .

I had hoped I would win the defence position and the payment that would go with that, alas Michael outbid me. I immediately bribed Michaels largest army and he was decimated in battle. His city dropping 2 markers, mine gaining 2 markers and Julia gaining 7 gold and a victory wreath.

At this point Michael cursed his own insanity spotting that he possessed the right to veto a battle and had not done so ... as he was doing this Christina ended the game.

The game has multiple scoring and ours looked like this :

City Influence : Julia 32, Ian 29, Michael 26, Christina 21

Card VP's : Julia 5, Michael 6, Christina 6

Merchant VP's : Julia 4, Christina 3

Cash Bonus : Julia 6, Ian 3

Influence Bonus : Michael 4

Victory Wreathes : Julia 3, Ian 10, Michael 3, Christina 10

At this point it was my turn to curse, my decision to let Julia represent me in battle, cost me 1 victory wreathe (5 points) and 8 gold (3 points) and provided Julia 1 victory wreath (2 points) and 8 gold (3 points) This decision swinging 13 points to Julia from Me and costing me the whole darned thing. That said, Michael blew it to an even greater degree by not vetoing the war, although I think that he may have handed the game to Christrina if he had vetoed, at least that would have been a moral victory for the east end of the table.

It is worth pointing out that the game played at a frantic pace and we managed a full rules explanation, a second rules check and the full game in under 2.5 hours .... this is definitely my next wednesday night nomination absolute belter

We then grabbed Thief of Baghdad as Christina had nominated it as her fourth game for the three game geeklist, we played, I shafted, Julia won.

Once again we finished off on Manhattan, once again I won - can none of you people offer up a challenge on this platform?

So the day belonged to Julia with 2 victories (PotR and ToB) and a 2nd place in Cuba a mere 1 point off winning. Who will be the next sunday king?

AAAOOOGGAH! This is a victory condition announcement!

So it all started badly, Nick missed his train, Michael forgot his wallet and we stupidly forgot that macdonalds breakfasts are not easily digested but at £1.99 for a double sausage and egg muffin with hashbrown, it represents incredible value for money. Anyway we arrived, well three of us, at 10.00am prompt, paid for entry, noticed missing wallet, paid for another entry and headed off to the games stack to make our first selection. I suggested holding off for Nick, Michael laughed, we all chuckled at the stupidity of the suggestion and decided to start without him. Lingering at the games pile was a awkward couple of blokes, feverishly clutching a copy of Ticket of Ride and looking for unsuspecting victims. They approached me and leaned, I smiled, they leaned a little more, I smiled a little less, they asked "Have you played Ticket To Ride?" I replied "Yes I have, although Ive never played the original, only the European and The Marklin, I really like the Marklin" This made them very happy. "Would you like to play?" I looked at Michael, Michael looked vaguely in my direction (or should that be Michael looked vaguely in my direction), Julia avoided all eye contact whatsoever and continued digging through the games pile. I thanked them but advised that whilst I enjoyed the marklin game, I found the european a little dull and imagined that the american version would be even more so. I noticed Michael looking a little (more) uncomfortable and wondered if I had just broken the cardinal room of games conventions. I apologised to them both and said, well if everyone wants to play I'd be more than willing. Michael began subtly shaking his eyes at me ..... I offered him the platform he needed "Do you not like Ticket To Ride Michael?" The answer was obvious and the game was returned to the table.
Within a few minutes we had settled upon Chinatown, Julia and I had both played around a year ago, Michael was new to it, as were our new best friends. I explained the rules. Dad looked confused, Son looked confident, I looked for an English Translation, Julia looked for the nearest Toilet and Michael looked vaguely in my direction.
The game commenced, for those of you that do not know it, it is eseentially a trading game. In which you trade building plots, business types and cash with your opponents in the hope of building the most profitable/largest businesses and thus gaining the most revenue. In the early stages it is difficult to assess the true value of things and the game becomes somewhat speculative, by the end values are obvious and the fun dies a little as the mathematics kick in. Well that is what should happen. Alas, one of our opponents were of the view that they should simply demand enormous sums of money for anything they wanted to sell and the only way to actually coax anything out of them was by essentially laundering the goods through three other players. Michael was losing patience when his clear brand of logic was seen to fail.
Michael "I'll buy your launderette of you for £4000, it's worth nothing to you and might be worth £4000 to me - deal?"
Dad "No Deal, I want £15,000!"
Michael "but its only worth £4000"
Dad "£15000!"
It is worth pointing out that on two occasions following similar negotiations, Julia had to be shown the yellow card for abusive language.
Anyway after much tooing and froing we ended the game. Dad came last on around £66,000, Julia kicked in with around £80,000, Son (a wholly owned subsidiary of Dad Investments) rolled out an impressive £96,000. Michael (an independent trading company and subject to 4 rounds of Dad Embargo) smiled with his equally impressive £96,000, i laughed and tabled £126,000. Dad looked vacant, Son looked miffed, Michael looked for a calculator and Julia looked for a Bathroom.
Julia nipped for snacks and drinks, Michael and I nipped for Lost Cities, Dad and Son announced that they loved that game and asked if they could play too ......
It is worth pointing out that during the Chinatown fiasco, Nick and Gregor arrived. Nick decided to keep himself busy with a table of gamers nearby, Gregor joined him in some dice rolling game about Giant Balloons. I cant comment much more, it looked like quite good fun and looked like Gregor was winning. This, according to Nick, caused the lady of the table to suffer the worst case of A.P. he had seen in a long time. Nick began looking twitchy and we began setting up Agricola.
Gregor opted out of the farming, we were briefly joined by another gamer, who promptly left saying "Err, Ive just remembered, I'm going to have to pull out, err yes sorry"
So we headed for 4 player Joy.
The game itself was quite good, neither Julia nor I entirely understood the scoring mechanism which left us somewhat underdeveloped at game end. Michael romped to a massive win thanks to his stone house with 4 rooms. Michael scored 40, Nick 32, Myself 31 (including a 6 point fine for unused land) and Julia 19 (with a similar fine) All in all I would say it was a good game, it is, in my opinion, nowhere near the quality of other role selection games like Caylus or Puerto Rico. It is undoubtedly cute and the game play is fluid, It simply lacked the edge I look for in these games. that said, I would definitely play it again and may even be tempted to buy the UK version as part of my problem stemmed from dealing with the translations (or lack of them in some key areas) Perhaps as you become more familiar with the roles more competition would develop, it did seem to lack interaction.
At this point Gregor was playing Vikings with the Fraggor guys, this received a heart thumbs up for the Paisley Reviewer, alas I cannot say much more than to point out its apparently similar to Cuba - but much better.
It was now time for Michael and Nick to get snacks, allowing Julia and I the opportunity to play Lost Cities. Another win for me which would have propelled me to the top of the Knizia competition charts, had I bothered to log the results.
By the time the boys returned, I had managed to convince Julia that she should be willing to give Age of Steam a go, after assuring her that the rules were simple and only the money was a problem issue, we settled down and began our third biggie of the day. It was considerably tighter playing with four than the previous week with three. We all managed to survive the early rounds and were beginning to produce sizable revenues, when pretty much all the resources disappeared from 2/3rds of the board. By this stage Julia and I had invested so heavily in the western corridor that our chances were looking slim, Michael was in good health but had borrowed considerably more money than the rest of us. By round 6 and 7, we were starting to screw with each other, stealing resources and blocking routes, until only Michael was able to ship beyond 4 links. By the end Michael's 75 points were too much for the rest of us, grouped in and around 63. Probably all in, the best game of the day. Having said that, Age of Steam produced the two tensest moments of the day, Michael's attempt to explain the bidding structure in round 1 had all four of us shouting at each other, accusing the others of not listening and ended with two of us close to apoplectic levels of frustration. When we found out that he was simply trying to tell us to bid in turn order and not clockwise order, we calmed down, smiled and began playing. The second was a little more sinister.
Julia found herself in the position of having enough income to pay expenses but not able to expand without taking a locomotive, I advised her to wait a turn, Michael advised otherwise showing that if she took a loco, she would be able to ship goods in a certain direction which would create enough income to pay the increased cost. I was of the opinion that she would end up one short if she was unable to ship the goods and should not expand her engine. Michael and Nick both coerced her accordingly and Julia duly - as her first move - expanded her locomotive only to watch Michael ship the very good he had used as the example two seconds earlier. Julia found herself then in exactly the position I had foreseen, unable to pay her expenses and thus eliminated. Suffice to say it was resolved amicably and I withdraw my suggestion that Michael was indeed the dirtiest hallion we had ever encountered.
Julia popped off to phone the bairns and Nick convinced Michael and I that we should play "King of Siam" - i'd love to expand upon why both Michael and I found it to be quite simply the most pointless and utterly irritating game we had encountered in quite some time. Essentially you attempt to influence areas on a map by playing cards and converting influence markers, you are essentially trying to back one of three horses in each region, hoping that by the end of the game you have backed the right influence and can claim to be the majority stakeholder. This description is painting the game as considerably more intriguing and worthwhile than it actually is, it is simply an abstract crap shoot which michael won on the grounds that he was tied on the third marker with the person who ended the game, after the ender was tied on the first two with everyone else ........ two words ...... UTTER BALLS!
By now Julia and I were starting to weaken, so Nick decided it would be a good idea to learn a new game and chose Reiner Knizia's Blue Moon City. I must confess I was a little prejudiced as I had looked at the card game and taken an instant dislike to it. The game itself was card driven and whilst it was enjoyable, I found the mechanism of playing multiple cards to change the use of other cards ultimately annoying. I have never been a fan of the "Ill play this to do this, but when I combine it with this, I get that which means I can ......" type mechanics. Other than that the game was straight forward. The board is a grid of around 36 square cards, each one shows a number of markers (between 1 and 3) which can be purchased by playing cards that correlate to the colour and number thereon. Once the markers on each card have been filled the card pays out a winning reward to the biggest influence and supplementary rewards to the other influences. Once a card has paid out it is flipped and shows an additional reward which is payable to any winners on the cards orthogonally adjacent. Thus as cards are flipped, surrounding cards become more valuable. Rewards came in three formats, Gems (the basic currency of the game), Cards (the basic mechanic of the games) Dragon Scales (which would then convert to Gems) The centre of the game was the scoring zone so to speak, if you visited this square you could make contributions to the Gods? By paying a number of gems (7,8,9,10,11 or 12) you could buy markers on a pillar - first to have four markers won the game. Nick won with 4 to Michael and My 3 and Julia's 2. It was by general consensus a worthwhile addition to the Knizia library, I was a little unimpressed but then as I said, I get really annoyed by games with that type of card play.
It was now approaching 10pm and we decided to try one more, having watched the Fraggor guys play Eketorp earlier I was eager to try it and we willingly settled down for a random and chaotic game of Viking based violence. It was fun for around 15 minutes and then became frustrating and ultimately a little pointless, it wasn't helped by the rules translation and the fact that we were all knackered, It was funny to watch Michael insist upon a full rules explanation, despite Nick and I both suggesting we deal with the rules for each situation when they hit, only for his eyes to completely glaze over when I began explaining. This from the guy who at the end of Blue Moon City had claimed he was unaware of the victory conditions despite me, at the point of Nick explaining them, producing a loud Klaxon noise and shouting "AAAOOOGGAH! Nick is explaining the victory conditions, This is a victory condition announcement AAAOOOGGAH!"
Somewhere in all of this we lost Gregor and Callum, who had turned up mid way through our Agricola, when we did see them they seemed to being having fun!
Highlight of the day for me remains the moment, when having witnessed a table of thirty something gamers, struggle with the rules to Chinatown, I offered to explain them only then to held to task by one gamer as to the point of a specific mechanic and found myself faced with demands that I explain the purpose of this rule. He was most displeased when I pointed out that he was arguing about the difference between 3 x 2 and 2 x 3 - which essentially were in my mind - THE SAME BLOODY THING!
Ah well, if thats what 12 hours in Glasgow is like, God help me after 72 hours in Essen.