Anthony BoydellUnited Kingdom
Scene - INT: Conegra Road. Carl is sat at the infamous dining table eating a large omelette. Blaine is with him and is in danger of being eaten by the omelette, such is it’s magnitude. Tony enters carrying a crate.
Tony: Evening all
Carl and Blaine reciprocate through spewing mouthfuls of curdled egg. Tony shows them the recently-revamped prototype of I’ll See You In Court and they set to a three player. It falters and stumbles a bit and a few more tweaks are applied. Three is the minimum number of players for this so, naturally, it will lack the range or jeopardy (or party atmosphere) of a crowded table.
Carl: There’s water in the Fridge, if you want?
Tony walks over to the fridge, pulls it away from the wall and starts bending the cooling pipes away from their housing.
Carl: No…there’s water IN the fridge…
Tony blushes and shoves the fridge back against the brick-work. He opens the fridge and is crushed under an avalanche of Coke Zero and yoghurts. Richard enters carrying a crate. He watches the dying embers of I’ll See You In Court. Tony and Richard order a curry for their supper. Carl and Blaine devour a large bar of minty Aero without offering it to either Tony or Richard.
Scene – Carl’s dining room. A large monitor shows the many games of boiteajeux.net Agricola he is running simultaneously.
Richard: What shall we play?
Richard slaps Dungeon Petz onto the table. Blaine’s school blazer falls off the back of the chair, scattering ephemera across the polished floor: calculator, compass, iPod Touch, pencil case, crack pipe etc.
Richard explains the game to Tony and Blaine. Tony furrows his brow. Blaine asks a lot of clarifying questions. During the 20 minute overview, Richard continues to unpack pieces from the box.
Tony: There are a lot of pieces.
Carl: Yes, but its not a complicated game.
Tony inner monologues: ‘Secret allocation of imps, secret allocation of cards, cages, modifications, artifacts, food, potions, ‘friends from far away’, +2 to the exhibition, the hospital, the auction house, food rotting, exhibition requirements, collectors, four colours of ‘need’ card, fresh pets, old pets, aging pets, VPs for shows, VPs for selling, VPs for money, icons and funny pictures. The inside of Vlaada’s head is VERY crowded.
Tony: It’s a bit fiddly, isn’t it?
Richard & Carl: Yes, but its not a complicated game.
Play is a little slow – mainly because Blaine keeps taking imp allocations back after ‘the reveal’, or because Blaine wants to place first (places the biggest batch of imps and gold) and then spends 5 minutes deciding what to do next. Or its Blaine’s turn and he gets up to go to the loo in the middle of it. Or Blaine drops his school blazer on the floor (again). Tony takes a long time, relatively speaking, because he doesn’t know what the flippetty-flip is going on.
Tony: I don’t know what the flippetty-flip is going on.
Carl & Richard: Yes, but its not a complicated game.
Enter: Neil, delayed by traffic. He is not carrying a crate.
Neil: Hello, everyone.
Tony: Hello, Neil
Carl: Hello, Neil
Richard: Hello, Neil
Blaine: (knocks jacket onto floor) Hello, Neil
Neil: (looking at Dungeon Petz) There are a lot of pieces.
Richard & Carl: (wait for it) Yes, but its not a complicated game.
Richard wins, Blaine is second, Tony third and Carl last.
Carl: So, Tony – what did you think?
Scene - Carl’s dining room. A large monitor shows, variously, the BBC News website, iTunes and an Excel spreadsheet of all the games Carl has played so far this year.
Richard: What shall we play?
Tony: We could play Agricola?
Neil looks excited at the prospect. Silence visibly emanates from the others.
Tony: Feudality (Feudalherren) it is, then!
Richard explains the game – Tony has played a bit before and is looking forward to it. It has that classic 80’s feel – dice rolling for monsters and resource production, buying and placing resource producers from a ‘market’, cube-pushing for the Euro-philes, random (swingy) events for the Ameritrasher and cute, funny cartoon artwork.
Play is brisk. Neil gets a flyer with lots of VP producing citizens. Both Carl and Richard ‘visit the Queen’ with great success, though Carl did have to ‘use his wizard’ to re-roll a low score (“it’s never happened to me before” he lamented). Blaine tried a little later but with less success – “like pushing a marshmallow into a Parking Meter” is the rumour in the servants quarters. Tony thinks it would be cruel to poke fun of a young lads first (failed) sexual exploits but does so anyway.
Neil wins, Richard in second, Tony third and Carl/Blaine languishing at the back. There weren’t any attacks this time – a situation that will no doubt change with future plays.
Neil: Thank you very much, everyone.
Carl: Anytime…as long as you stop winning.
Tony offers Neil his Sticky Stickz. Cue: the usual response.
All depart as Blaine simultaneously goes to the loo AND knocks his school blazer (avec loose contents) on to the laminated floor.