Okay so over the last week Mr Hynes and I have engaged in a 7 day , 2 player, 7 game fest of Year of the Dragon. Before I start with my review, I have to admit that Andy won 7-0, well actually it's the fact that Andy won 7-0 that has prompted this post.
I am no slouch at Board Games I think you will all agree. 2nd overall in 2008/2009 and 1st overall in 2009/2010 suggests that I can certainly hold my own in our chosen field of pastime pursuits. There is no doubt that Andy is the best YotD player that we have, in the same way that it is beyond doubt that Nick is the king of Age of Steam (I am happy to concede David's current Brass superiority (by a cotton nose), Julia excels at Thief of Baghdad, Ivan is the best at (something I'm sure) I'll take A Struggle of Empires 100% record (over my Ticket to Ride 100% record) and without wishing to piss anyone off by omitting their talent, the point I am trying to make is that everyone has one, two or maybe even three games that they must always fancy their chances of winning. The interesting thing about YotD is not that Andy is fantastic at it, the really interesting thing is that I am absolutely awful at it. I have won only one game in my life and as it is the most played on-line game we have, its also the one game I have played more than any other.
I have played YotD now over 25 times and I've come last about 20 of those 25 times. That suggests to me that there is something sinister in the mechanic of YotD, something dangerous and probably illegal.
Everybody knows that I don't like to over analyse things, if I had a bit more of the Nick about me, I wouldn't have lost Steam on Wednesday night by totally forgetting that I had 5 gold to pay my loco's and thus chose to take income of 4 rather than VP's of 4, which would have garnered me a 2 point win, as opposed to a 1 point loss.
Of course, if there was more of the Nick about me, I'd be more of a Cock, I'd play slowly and I would deprive you all of my post game rants caused by realising that my own relaxed approach had cost me another win. All that said, a lack of analysis doesn't always mean one is destined to lose.
I love to speculate about hidden info, I love to gamble on outcomes. Anyone who watched me open Tinner's Trail so recklessly on Wednesday night would attest to that. That doesn't mean that I cannot battle with pure information and make solid strategic plans. I can certainly hold my own in the Torres' construction site of pure mathematical information or the brain melting industrial yard of Wensleydale or Automobile .... so what is it about YotD that messes me up so much.
I have wrestled with this for 7 days, only 35 minutes ago it looked like I might finally crush Hynes in the field of battle only for me to suffer two of the most noxious brain farts in history and end up losing by 7 points. Why does YotD do this to me, why can't I work out the simple problem. It's all there in front of me and yet it eludes me at every juncture.
This is not a subtle game, as my previous blog review suggested (just after my first and only win in a game which saw Robert end with less people and buildings than he started with) it is akin to having your balls booted relentlessly for 55 minutes and then just as you think the punishment is over the game decides to tell you that it thinks you are a wank! Andy described our last game as being reminiscent of the somme. This game tells you at round 1, exactly what you need to do by round 12 to not get the shit kicked out of you. It provides you with an inch perfect map on how to escape with your gonads intact and yet I always manage to come out clutching my balls and crying for my mummy.
It's all very simply, make money, feed workers, cure sick people, have a battle, learn some skills and go to a firework display or two - it isn't rocket science, so why is it that every time I know I need to cure three people I decide to invite them all over for a bonfire, why is it when my workers are hungry, I decide to take them on an educational tour of the local university - in short - why can't i get my head around the simplest of problems?
I'll tell you why .... it's evil. It emits a small radioactive particle which blocks certain transmitters in your brain, it affects your normal balance and this is why Andy is so good. Andy has only one functioning ear, Andy's balance is fucked already - I have come to the conclusion that Andy doesn't feel normal at any other time in his life - Year of the wanking Dragon is the one thing which restores his equilibrium and thus not only is the game Evil but Hynes is a freak. I think this is something upon which we can all agree!
Anyway - I'll be back to you in 7 days, when the score is 14-0.
Fuck Hynes, Fuck Feld, Fuck Fireworks