primordialgroup

Boardgaming in Glasgow

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 .....an 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.

Traders Of Genoa

How to lose friends and infuence no-one

Ten things to think about doing to your opponents when you're shafted  (or how Christina ran me through in Traders of Genoa)

There are some movie moments that always stick in the mind, the shadow on the shower curtain in Psycho, the razor and the ear in Reservoir Dogs, the 'shampoo' on the earlobe in Something about Mary, but as Sinead O'Connor once almost said nothing compares to [the betrayal of a fellow merchant]; the careful folding up and wiping your ass with traders' honour. 

Traders of Genoa is after all a polite game; it's meant to be shared, to be played nobly, to be loved and treated with respect and reverence, like an old grandfather.  I clung to those principles from the start, unaware that under the polite facade of friendly banter lay a dark secret.  I probably should have listened when I first sensed that low thrum of dark intention; instead I ignored the signs, discarded my doubts and put my faith in human nature.

The merchant's art is not easily learned (or so a sage once told me)  but I played my hand openly.  I fell behind gradually after Nick and Andy developed a close 'partnership' early on in the game; there was lots of "I'll give you one if you give me one later." 
David, Christina and I struggled against this two-sided Andy-Nick triangle until we began to (unofficially) work together.  Furious trading promising and bluffing ensued as I tried to deposit more and more cash into my top pocket.  However with a market skewed early on by Nick and then by Andy, where single cubes where valued at 15, it was difficult to make a profit from a small order fulfilment where you  had to maybe pay 20 to get a schuck action earning a net of 5 on the  order's 40 payout.  In hindsight large orders were much more  profitable at a cost averaging 45 for the goods and maybe 25 for the  action to fulfil their 100 payout.  If I'd been any way good, I'd  have switched to large orders given the market conditions.  Instead I  fulfilled two large orders and 6 small orders gaining me the 'clear  leader' title even though I was actually in about third position - not a very good thing and something I try to do to other people.  So I was sucking my own lemon as we moved towards the final rounds and not enjoying the bitterness even slightly.  As we moved into the final round, negotiation had degenerated and Christina stepped in to secure my defeat with a deft and wholly ungentleman-like three-way  deal where I made a net loss of at least 75 on a large order.  In one  fell swoop I moved from a potential second place finish to fourth.

Now some (probably those who were there) would say this was  completely my own fault. However in my defence Christina made the  deal so totally complicated and then distracted me by waving her cubes.  In the end I gave her all my stuff and settled for being crapped upon from a great height when I should have been having a good go at winning.  Thanks C, I will not forget that this was all your fault.

Drugs, Cults & Arranged Marriages at Chez Pitman

So that's the last time I convince the group to change plans, we were all set for a 5 way Traders of Genoa but pulled the plug thinking that as many as 13 could turn up and it might be a little anti-social to have 5 of the group commandeering most of the space and all the time with one game. Having made this decision we looked forward to a massive round robin night of smaller games, alas within 24 hours of making this plan, we had 5 calls off, 2 in the last hours before kick off. No criticism intended here, just an indication that even the geekiest people cannot make fool proof plans. That said, the night was a great laugh. David, Nick, Michael and I kicked off on Fifth Avenue, whilst Axel, Ivan, Julia and Gregor got stuck into Tower Building and Control in Ivans' "Favourite Game" Torres. Don't have much to say about Torres as I have yet to play it, I can,however, with some certainty claim that both Axel and Gregor were "dirty hallions"

In Fifth Avenue due to a combination of beginners luck and some downright stupidity on the part of the rest of us, Nick claimed a virgin victory. His plan to put all of his eggs in one basket paid off handsomely, Michael was seriously disadvantaged by a "Building Stop"  in his favoured location.

David and I, both owners of the game, simply had - what is technically referred to as a Cow. It is worth pointing out that for the remainder of the year, where possible I will substitute the word "Cow" for the words "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Krystal Skull"

Whilst waiting for the Construction crew to finish, we managed ton squeeze in a couple of rounds of Reiner Knizia's Bucket Brigade. 

Genuinely a cracking little filler, very funny, very frustrating and for sale in Static for a mere ?3 - get down there now folks!

Round 2 consisted of Nick, Gregor, Michael & Axel playing Funny Friends, a new game to the Pitman Collection (Hmm ... I wonder who bought him that?) From what I can establish, Nobody won but Axel did lose his virginity to some slapper before saving himself for the night of his wedding to Gregor, Michael reluctantly toured Amsterdam with Nick, this may or may not have resulted in Nick gaining Enlightenment, Axel's wedding must have been disastrous as he ended up in some form of Cult...... well at least I think he said Cult!

The rest of us played Kreta, a fabulously abstract area control game, it took me several rounds to remember the strategy which helped me win my first game.... when I say remember, what I mean to say is, it took Julia three rounds to say "Remember when we played this the last time, he kept scoring all the districts early" Alas putting that plan into action mid game only salvaged second place. David and Ivan tied on 41 points to my 40, Julia was somewhere down the line, clearly her Bishop had become far too interested in the wine harvest.

The night ended with Intrigue, I think we messed up set up because it didn't seem half as vindictive or aggressive as I recall it being, that said David did point out that as we have been hardened by the cut throat world of Junta, Intrigue might simply appear somewhat pleasant. ..... it's a fair point, after you have been assassinated by your right hand man, in the last move of Junta, had all your cash stolen and found yourself coming last from first, not being given a job seems like a small problem to deal with.

Anyway, that about wraps it up, just time to state yet again that ..... Indiana Jones was an absolute Cow, Nick needs to put his loyalties aside and admit that Lucas has murdered another franchise.

They said Daddy wouldn't do hit us a fourth time, well Daddy paddled our arses good and proper. It sucks as bad as Episode II.

Oh My God They Killed Ivan!!

I must say that last night was a classic, great game of Brass, sounds like Acquire was a joy (sorry Gregor but the mob say it was) Fabulous and quick High Society followed by Citadels.
I think everyone was in agreement last night that Citadels is truly a 7 person experience and in no way does a full house detract from the charms of the 2 player game [Editors note: for the benefit of Michael this is sarcasm] . Furthermore assassinating the thief is clearly the way forward especially if Ivan is stupid enough to choose the role twice in succession.