Dork Geek Nerd

"Rational romantic mystic cynical idealist"

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Five go gaming in Cronulla

BC holds an annual Queen's Birthday long weekend gamefest at his well-appointed homestead in The Shire, and this year I was lucky enough to be invited. I could only attend yesterday and today due to work commitments (weekly magazine = ignore public holidays), but I had a 10-megaton blast.

Along with the host, TC, SC and TC2, I made the most of the ghastly weather by sitting around a table, playing fantastic board/card games, listening to classy music (pop, rock, jazz), eating blokey food (meaty sangers, burgers, hot dogs) and - you knew this was coming - quaffing Beck's beer.

Below is a list of what we played. The selections were primarily based on the group mood at the time, although we tried to alternate between diceless and dice-based. Each is followed by my simple summation, the game's current "user rating" from (out of 10) and where I placed. Bear in mind that I had zilch experience with any of them.

"Taj Mahal"
Maharishis vie for control of 19th-century India. This requires bidding for areas of influence, erecting castles, creating networks and amassing power. A random map and numerous ways to score points ensure "T/M" could never be boring.
BGG: 7.8
Addster: 2nd

"Escape From Colditz"
Allied prisoners attempt to abscond from a German prisoner of war camp during WW2. There are various ways out (eg. tunnel, staff car), but the clock is ticking! BC owns a first-edition copy he and TC have been using since they were lads.
BGG: 6.5
Addster: =2nd (I was the Polish group. SC and I each got one POW to safety; BC and TC both freed two. TC2 took the role of the guards.)

Straightforward, undeniably pretty exploration game in which elves travel from city to city, using transports appropriate to the terrains, aiming to cease journeying in their home towns. Hinder your opponents with costly conveyances and roadblocks.
BGG: 6.9
Addster: =1st (three-way tie)

"Formula 1"
Control speed, manage tyre and brake wear, avoid slippery corners and getting stuck behind slow traffic, and reveal secret cards to boost your racer's performance. This is another classic that's been in the C. family for decades.
BGG: 6.8
Addster: last (turns out slow'n'steady doesn't win the race)

Texas Hold 'Em poker
For this Saturday night special event, we were joined by three dudes I hadn't met, G., S. and K. - and one I had, TO. Limit put me in the black and I was killing it in the first no-limit tournament (chip leader, six foes slain) before agreeing to a split to be sociable. Despite being eliminated from the second n-l tourney fairly early, I don't believe I made a mistake on a single hand. A rarity!
Addster: > $25 profit

"Aladdin's Dragons"
Blind bidding galore! Pinch treasures from the aforementioned serpents, gain skills in the bazaar, evade/defeat the guardsman, then help yourself to an artefact or two in the palace. Wonderful boardgame, this one. Pity I only started twigging to the strategy at the end.
BGG: 7.2
Addster: 2nd (on treasure countback)

"Draco & Co."
Keeping on the good side of the thieves guild boss will bring silver coins; close proximity to his bad side will cost ya. Player characters and amusing NPCs constantly shift positions around Draco's table in this loopy card-driven creation in which you can go from champ to chump in an instant. Trust me on that.
BGG: 5.6
Addster: last

While the other three were attending to various things, SC and I had a quick go of this two-person title. Lay bridges between Hawaiian-sounding islands to bring them under your sway (you're a voodoo priest, apparently). Destroy your rival's connections to cheese him off :-)
BGG: 6.8
Addster: lost (the best I could manage was a stalemate in the third and final round)

Each player's Moorish manor is scored based on the number of buildings and gardens it contains, and the length of its most impressive wall. But first you have to save up for the individual sections, compete in the marketplace AND make the bits fit together efficiently, leaving room for future expansion.
BGG: 7.2
Addster: =3rd (another three-way tie)

"Incan gold"
As the ruined temple is randomly revealed, the chance of your Indiana Jones-type meeting his doom - from falling rocks, fire, snake, spiders or ghoul - is increased. As is the amount of loot (gems and archaeological curios) you could potentially carry back to civilisation. Only greed will determine how far you push it. It's likely I'll order this game from Military Simulations tomorrow.
BGG: 6.9
Addster: last


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