Monday, 5 January 2015


Being one in a series of six monthly reviews of my favourite friendly games con.

Before the event somebody asked what our plans for the event was - so I thought I'd compare my answer to reality.

"Drink port, stay up to late, demand to know why they have not brought me prince charmings head on a plate, mock the bacon forge, buy a new game from Dave, reduce the size of my unplayed shelves, deliver 2 bundles of Essen joy, and start 2015 as I mean to go on......"

I definitely drank port.  Saturday morning was not a good morning.

I went to bed at 4.30 and 4 - and while I was never the last one up I figure that counts as late.

I totally failed to play Aye Dark Overlord and so never asked for prince charming head.....  I got sucked into a supper late night game of Kanban which might have been a mistake - see later......

There was some bacon forge mocking - but if I'm honest not that much - and it was better then I expected it to be.  This might indicate just how hung over/still drunk I was on Saturday morning.

I did buy one game from Dave - and while tempted by a 2nd I said no.

I played two unplayed games - my own Antike conversation pack, and Dice Vs Cards.  Which makes me down one over all.  Which is fine......

So I delivered two set of Antike update conversation packs from Essen.

All of which sounds like I managed most of my plan.

In addition I went out to a restaurant and eat a very tasty and frankly excessive quantity of meat.  Still not sure about the meal out - it's always fun but takes a chunk of the con out.  Not just leaving at 8 and back at 11 - but the fact you don't start anything in order to be able to do that.

Introduced some new people to aquasphere - and more evidence that it's not a supper complicated game it's just a really unforgiving game.  The fact that your actions need to be pre-programmed, are often mutually exclusive, and exploiting opportunities requires you to spend time to do so - makes for a very harsh game environment where you can spend a lot of turns achieving very little which feels crappy.

While slightly drunk and unable to choose between Dalmuti and Perudo (two stabcon late night favourites) decided to fire up the large games collider and invent Dalrudo, or maybe Permuti.  We never really decided.  Turned out this worked quite well - with senior roles looking at more dice then lower roles, with the merchants dropping there dice into a shared trade pot and only the highest merchant getting to see all of them.  Did lead to interesting situations - where people were playing while unable to see any dice at all......

Maybe we should try mashing Coyotte and Dalmuti together next time.....  :-)

Anyway - onto new games....

Antike 2 - an old favourite got a new version at Essen. I debated picking it up - a debate that ended when I learned there was an upgrade pack to go from version 1 to version 2. The improvements are minor, some improvements in balance and smoothness of play but it is a better version of the game which is a euro style war game. Got two games of that in and it was well received.  War is in nobody interests......

Arkwright - an epic game of industrialisation that basically eat all of Saturday day. Maths heavy - prone for causing analysis paralysis but it's system of quality, price and appeal is as smooth an implementation of a complicated system as you'll find.  I also like the use of shares and share price to provide a score system that allows different styles of play.  Not one I'm going to own not because of quality but because my opportunities to play would be very limited.

Cards against Dice this is a very quick little filler game with one cards worth of rules.  It's actually a game that could easily be played just using a few dice and a deck of standard playing cards and it is almost a classic pub game but a good and fun classic pub game.  Only one change I'd make to the rules is to reduce the amount of 'lucky' tokens need to win as I think otherwise it might drag a little.

Progress the evolution of technology -  beat described as 'civilisation without the armies and maps' just an epic technology tree to explore.  There is a distinct lack of interaction between players might well be an issue, and it might well be quite random with luck of the draw being the deciding factor but I want to play it again.  It looked like I was storming a head because I was playing tons of cards - but in the end it was much closer then it looked.

Kanban - the game of automotive design is sadly one that left me rather cold.  The idea amused me - it's based in an office designing cars - and you do lots of things but it ends with a scoring round which is you trying to talk about what you've achieved.  As a euro worker placement game with a good reputation I was very keen to play it. I found it baffling - I was unable to plan and every choice seemed worthless.  I described it as not being able to find a rhythm or routine for the game. Buy the end of it i was almost getting the hang of it so it's worth a second attempt.

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