The Tyranny of Small Decisions

It's a blog on a board-gaming site. Pretty safe bet it'll be about board games then...

Archive for Newcastle Gamers

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  

Recommend
101 
 Thumb up
3.30
 tip
 Hide

Newcastle Gamers (the continuity jump)

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Now here’s a doorway that I haven’t ventured through for quite a while.

Two years and three months, to be precise…

From gallery of MrShep

Gulp!


Saturday saw my triumphant(?) return to Newcastle Gamers, for the first time in far too long. It was a good experience (playing games … in public … with people who I’m not married to still feels like quite a novelty in the new-old-normal!) … but also a bit strange, and slightly un-nerving.

Why?

Well… I guess that one thing that the pandemic has taught me is that memory — and the way that the brain deals with the passing of time — is a bit of a curious thing. And not nearly as linear, and as sensible, as logic might have you believe.

The sensation of returning to the church hall where we hold the club sessions was one of overwhelming familiarity; it felt like I’d barely been away from the place at all. Like maybe only a few weeks had passed since I was last there. A month or two at most?

But the people who I met there? The familiar faces of old? Well… that’s what gave the evening a bit of a weird, uncanny vibe.

There are some folks from Newcastle Gamers who I’ve kept in touch with over the last couple of years. Certainly in an electronic sense, and on at least a few face-to-face occasions too. But most of the folks there… I had’t seen since a few weeks before the very first covid lockdown. And — at risk of stating the blindingly obvious — over the course of the last 2 years … they’ve aged!

I mean, it’s not like they all suddenly got super-old or anything … but it is surprising just how much a person can change in (what, in other ways) didn’t feel like a huge gap of time. More wrinkles. Changes in body shape. Less hair, or in some cases, a lot more hair! Faces that simply look a bit more lived-in? You could sense that some people had had an easier lockdown period than others. And I’m not quite able to put into words the feeling that this brought about (so excuse my not-quite-right phrasing here)… but there was definitely a bit of a cognitive glitch between the familiarity/stability of the environment, and the sense that there’d been some kind of crazy time skip involved, concerning all of the people within that space.

And, in short … I guess this was one of the starkest illustrations I’ve had of exactly what the pandemic robbed from us.

2 years of being in places like this, just doing our gaming thing. All snatched away.

But it was good to be back

Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


I wasn’t, of course, merely attending the meeting for purposes of existential angst. I was there to play games. And gaming is what happened!

The meeting’s head count was way lower than pre-pandemic times, with maybe 20 or so people present (including no fewer than FOUR first-timers!). I settled down to a table with Amo (a fellow old timer), Alan (a relatively recent recruit, though one who joined in the limited-headcount-attend-at-your-own-risk era of early 2022 that I entirely avoided), and first-time attendee Bernard … a mostly-wargamer-but-sometimes-boardgaming sort of chap who had spotted the club listing on meetup.com, and decided to come along to see what we did. Because he hasn’t played anything with anybody for way too long.

And what we did was…

Masters of Renaissance: Lorenzo il Magnifico – The Card Game

Which I’ve spoken about many times on the blog now, and which Amo was keen to try. And it seemed like a good game to start with — pacy, not too long, plenty of resource-managing machine-building crunch … and something by which we might get the measure of how much of a euro-gamer both Alan and Bernard were— a perfect warm-up for the evening!

From gallery of MrShep


I managed to hit the 7 card game-end-trigger first … and was reasonably confident of a win for doing so. Admittedly, I felt slightly guilty to be racing ahead in a game that I’d just taught a bunch of first-timerd to play from scratch — but I’m certainly not a believer in going gently on your opponents just because it’s their first attempt. However… I needn’t have worried, and should probably have been keeping a closer eye on what was going on on everybody else’s tableau … because Alan sneaked into the lead in the final reckoning — thanks to a fanatical devotion to the pope and a massively-inflated faith score that I hadn’t accounted for. Well played, Alan!

Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!

With the ice-breaker out of the way, I enquired if the chaps would be interested in something a little bit meatier that would probably occupy a good couple of hours or more. All seemed keen, so I unpacked the other game in my bag that Amo had been eyeing with interest earlier that evening…

IKI

From gallery of MrShep


And a great deal of edo-period artisanal fun was had by all. This was my third play of Iki (and my very first time with the full complement of 4 players) and I’m only just starting to get a sense of how very different the game can be from play to play, depending on the exact mixture of artisans that the players decide to invest in. Firefighting roles seemed to be a very popular theme in this particular play(maybe I’d overstated the effect of fire in my game explanation?), while the cards that bring building resources into the game seemed less favoured — there really wasn’t any big-ticket building going on in this game at all — and we didn’t get to romp around the cherry blossom track anywhere near as much as we did in my inaugural game, back at AireCon. I also discovered just how punishing it can be to fall behind in turn order in a 4 player game … since your movement options become extremely limited when you’re 4th in line to pick from a draft of only 5 options!

This is probably just a long way to get around to saying … I prioritised the wrong things (based on previous experience, rather than the game in hand), and therefore played terribly… at one point losing two big-ticket buildings to a single fire, having relied on pushing my luck rather than investing in countermeasures. But at least I did well on fish, managing to collect a specimen from each season for a maximum fish bonus. Only enough of a fish bonus to get me into 3rd place in the final reckoning mind you … but a pleasing achievement nevertheless.

Bernard won this one. I already sense a bit of a master eurogame-player lurking behind that grognard facade!

And that took us to about 9:30pm. A couple of our number had to leave at this point … and, while I wouldn’t have minded staying a bit later, I had an appointment with some real-life druids at a megalithic monument the next morning (no doubt you’ll hear about that in good time), so I decided to make my exit at that point too.

A very splendid few hours of gaming though. And — despite the time-jump wierdness — so very nice to be back

External image
Twitter Facebook
1 Comment
Mon May 2, 2022 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
85 
 Thumb up
1.05
 tip
 Hide

Not Newcastle Gamers -- Late September

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Newcastle gamers met for the second time this year last night.

And… for the second time this year… I wasn’t there.


Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


I’ve got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’m the club chairman … so I sort of feel like I should at least be sticking my nose in from time to time. But on the other hand… the Church has (sensibly, IMHO) imposed quite a restrictive capacity limit on the venue … and as soon as the virtual tickets go up for grabs, they’re snapped up pretty quickly. Demand out-strips supply … and this scarcity/reduced occupation level definitely complicates things.

In simple terms … I know from past visits that when attendance is low, I’m less likely to hook up with folks who like to play exactly the same kind of games as I like to play (because I’m a fussy old bugger when it comes to what I like) …and the more likely I am to land myself on a table playing something which is “fine, but not something which I would have ever chosen myself”. So bearing in mind the fact that covid is still very much a thing … and that there’s quite a random cross-section of the game-playing public in the room at Newcastle Gamer sessions, with varying attitudes to caution, vaccination etc …it doesn’t feel like the risk/reward ratio is quite right for me, personally, just yet. And while I could try to get all of my favourite game-playing people to come along to a sesh … some of those folks are more risk-averse than I am, and are way less keen on sitting down in a public venue filled with randoms for 6 or so hours. Plus … if I did get all my mates in, we’d be eating into a sizeable percentage of our attendance capacity with folks who are — essentially — “the chairman’s chums” …and that never looks good.

So maybe … for now … I’ll just let other folks — folks who have maybe had less luck hooking up with game-playing friends over the course of the last 18 months or so, and who would therefore get far more benefit from being at the event — take those seats instead. And maybe just attend some less-public, smaller games evenings until things improve a bit. Newcastle gamers “fringe” meetings …if you will.

So as such, last night, I had a couple of local gaming chums visit the Shepherd bunker for an evening of 3-player gaming.

And a very splendid evening of 3-player gaming it was too!


Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


Did I say three-player games? Well… due to differing familial obligations and staggered arrival times, we actually started out with a 2 player game — The Fox in the Forest. A trick taking card game for 2 players which I’ve heard mentioned a lot on various podcasts, but never really investigated in any depth before yesterday.

From gallery of MrShep


In brief: The deck of cards has three suits, with cards numbered from 1 to 11. Players are dealt a hand of cards, and a further card is flipped to establish the trump suit … then standard trick-taking play proceeds … EXCEPT — every odd-numbered card in the deck has a special power attached, which tweaks the game flow in some way when it appears. And there’s an optimal number of tricks that players need to aim to win each round … win too many tricks, and you actually end up scoring zero points. Which is a bad thing.

From the coverage of this game that I’d previously read, I was expecting something very light … but there’s way more depth to this than I thought there would be, and it is a very clever spin on trick taking. I’m not sure that I need to rush out and buy a copy to play with Mrs Shep; it didn’t quite push my “you must have this!” buttons in the way that I thought it might. But it was definitely well worth playing.


Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


With our 3rd player safely arrived, it was time to crack on with the “big” games of the evening. Starting with a title which has been sitting on my shelf-of-opportunity for well over a year now (see acquisition blog entry HERE) … Tokyo Tsukiji Market.

From gallery of MrShep


It was maybe a bit of a risky one to kick off with, as I haven’t had the opportunity to play this previously (it’s a heavy economic game, which doesn’t play particularly well with 2) … but my guests were keen to take a look, so I thought I might as well seize the opportunity while it was there.

In brief: Send out boats to sea, and collect barrels of fish (with a requirement to own certain licenses to fish certain species). Land your barrels, and then set your catch for sale at a price of your choosing. With the exception of one or two special rule-breaking fish, you are NOT allowed to buy your own catch … so the game does that container-style thing of making you sell your goods to other players in order to gain any value from them. Which is interesting in itself… but then…

(strap in; things are about to get pretty heavy…)

some species of fish have a fixed points value. Other fish have a points value which will fluctuate over the course of the game -- essentially making them behave in the same way that company shares behave in umpteen other economic games. Fishy shares. Hmmm. Plus … and this is the thing that really makes the game … every species of fish has it’s own little “market board”, many of which have a unique player-controlled-economy-mini-mechanism going on, controlling the points value of that species.

There are lots of market boards (and different fish resources) in the box, only a subset of which you use in each game… providing a different complex, player-driven, inter-meshing, sandboxy economic configuration every time.

Blimey.

And on its first outing … it was all a bit baffling. But still left us impressed, and we definitely had a good time with it. It’s the type of game where you find yourself having a long post-mortem conversation while putting stuff back into the box, discussing all of the things that might’ve happened in the game if you’d pushed the economy in a certain way … but which none of you had actually thought of doing at the time.

Hopefully play will speed up a fair bit with experience; it did run reasonably long even with only 3 players … but I think everybody present would be keen to play it again. Good one, this.

Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


And then a break for pizza. One of which I accidentally dropped on the floor.

Floor pizza. Ewww.

Mrs Shep emerged at this point … perhaps enticed by the smell of hot tomato and cheese (and floor?*) … so before she disappeared back into the other end of the house, we cajoled her into a quick play of Formula OviNE, from the Museum of Board Games

From gallery of MrShep

Merino Andretti (me!) tears into the final straight!

It’s light, and it’s silly, and it’s exactly the sort of thing that you want to play to bridge a gap between pizzas and...

From gallery of MrShep


...an epic session of Uwe Rosenberg farming shenanigans, courtesy of Hallertau. You can tell that there’s something very wrong with the world when a big-box Rosenberg has been in my collection for the best part of a year without me managing to inflict it on any of my Newcastle Gamer chums. Well, that’s been fixed now. ‘Phew.

I covered this game a fair bit when I first got it, so I won’t got into too much detail… except to say that I played dreadfully this time. I’m not entirely sure why … perhaps I was a little bit over-confident with a few games experience under my belt (and admittedly I did go a little bit mad on “cash your fields in for prizes” cards) — but my community centre didn’t get any further than the 18 points spot, which is definitely my worst Hallertau score ever. Owain, on the other hand, really took to this one, and played a blinder of a game … with the most impressive board game sheep farming operation that I’ve seen in a very long time. Good work, Owain! (I mean, he didn't win... losing by 4/5ths of a point to Ali in an end-game tiebreaker ... but I always doff my cap to a good display of wooden sheep farming)

And with the clock approaching midnight — and a sense of epic levels of cardboard farming successfully achieved — my guests disappeared into the night.

Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


I really enjoyed that. Massively enjoyed it. Which is a bit sobering, in a way … I mean, you look back, and there was a time when having a couple of mates around your house and playing board games on an evening was a perfectly normal, run-of-the-mill sort of a thing to do. Yet, last night, while going to bed I found myself reflecting on just how much I’d enjoyed this particular evening, and thinking that it was one of the very best nights that I’d had in a very long time indeed.

I guess it’s more than a little bit frightening to realise just how much Covid + lockdown has re-calibrated our expectations. Maybe without us noticing.

Here’s hoping for a lot more of the new-new-normal!

External image

*No, we didn’t slip Mrs Shep the floor pizza. Rest assured that all floor pizza was disposed of in an appropriate manner.
Twitter Facebook
3 Comments
Sun Sep 26, 2021 1:29 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
72 
 Thumb up
0.10
 tip
 Hide

In the Year of the Dragon (and a year of something else...)

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Monday night was — as is now the tradition — virtual board gaming night. And it’s reassuring to find that some elements of our online gaming exploits remain a true reflection of the experience of gaming in-the-flesh. Namely: spending at least 10 minutes at the start of each session uhming-and-ah-ing over what we’re going to play.

We eventually settled upon: In the Year of the Dragon (Board Game Arena)

From gallery of MrShep


Board Game Arena's version of ITYOTD has a pretty stripped-back presentation compared to the physical board game … in fact, it’s been stripped back so far that it doesn’t even have a board any more! To be fair the only critical functionality of the physical board is tracking advancement on a couple of points tracks, so it’s not a huge miss… but this presentation does kind of make you wonder why Alea never banged out a “In the Year of the Dragon - The Card Game” spin-off; it does seem like a prime candidate when played like this

Anyway… it’s a very enjoyable implementation, once you’ve got past the quirky presentation. That said, it’s about 3 years since I last played ITYOTD, and it took me 2 or 3 rounds to get back into the swing of things. Which is about 3 or 4 rounds more wriggle room than this game gives ANY player (it’s a very harsh game, even when you know what you’re doing!) … so, urm, yeah. I didn’t do great. But I also didn’t come last. So at least there’s that.

And then, to wrap up the session: Startups (Tabletop Simulator, unofficial mod)

From gallery of MrShep


…which (as I’ve mentioned previously) is a very, very impressive implementation, and quite a novelty for a TTS mod in so far as it’s been scripted with full game moderation and rules enforcement… and once you’ve fumbled your way through which hot-spot you need to click to trigger which action, it plays like a dream. Admittedly you don’t get to look your opponents in the whites of their eyes as you try to bluff and showboat your way out of a particularly nasty hand… but, yeah. It’s a good implementation, this is… and it was great to dig back into an old Newcastle Gamers favourite after a long gap

Speaking of Newcastle Gamers, long gaps, and games about bad years… (maudlin nostalgic musings are about to happen — you have been warned!) …it occurred to me that THIS gaming session coincided with the exact one year anniversary of the last time that I managed to attend a real-world Newcastle Gamers meeting.

Of course, there was a couple of other Newcastle Gamers meetings between the start of February 2020 and UK lockdown #1 beginning in mid-March… but sadly I was too busy wife carrying and aire-conning to attend those. So 8th February 2020 was my last one. And the last time that I managed to sit down for a face-to-face game against two of the fine people that I played against virtually on the 8th February 2021.

It doesn't seem like a year since I saw those guys.

It’s scary how quickly time goes by cry

External image
Twitter Facebook
3 Comments
Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
63 
 Thumb up
7.00
 tip
 Hide

Newcastle Gamers - Early April

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
A virtual session this week (obviously!), to which I could only pay a brief visit. However, I did manage to squeeze in a game of Takenoko vs Ana and Andrew.

Takenoko turns out to be a bit of a deterity challenge when played in Tabletop Simulator... but we managed.

However... once you've started seeing the game components through a covid-19 lens, it's kind of hard to un-see it.

From gallery of MrShep


External image
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
60 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide

(not) Newcastle Gamers, Late March

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
In some nearby-but-slightly-splintered-from-this-one reality, yesterday marked the late March meetup of Newcastle Gamers. People travelled to the city from all over the region, gathered in the church hall, played games, and had a lot of fun doing so. And those people took their ability to leave their home and to spend time in the same space as other human beings completely for granted. They didn't even think twice about it. Just like they'd been doing month after month... year after year... in a totally natural, absolutely-low-personal-risk kind of a way.

Alas, in our own reality, that's not a thing that we can do in the immediate future. The church hall remained dark and unoccupied this Saturday. And for the first time in many years, the last-Saturday-of-the-month went by without a gathering of the Newcastle Gamers.

At least... not a physical gathering.

Because -- denied our regular gaming opportunity -- a brave few of us got together virtually, to give Tabletop Simulator a proper test run. To find out how well it works in practice, and whether it could really work as a viable stand-in for pushing wooden cubes and cardboard around on a physical tabletop.

It took a little while to get everybody up and running. I don't have kids. But I could kind of imagine the eye-rolling and disdain that the sight of a bunch of middle aged men trying to get to grips with a discord server ("hello... hello... can anybody hear me?") and Steam friend-invite confusion would trigger in the average already-fluent-in-this-stuff teenager. But we did, eventually, all manage to get connected and playing together.

From gallery of MrShep


We'd decided to try Jorvik as a test title; it's a reasonably short game which we all enjoy and know well, it doesn't have too many moving parts to fiddle with, and it doesn't have any card hand management to confuse people with on a first attempt.

I think some participants were better at finding their way around the 3d environment than others ... I've got a fair bit of (video) gaming + 3d modelling experience, so I'm used to throwing 3d content around on-screen ... and once I'd got my head around the controls, I found Tabletop Simulator to be a VERY easy + fluid environment to play in. Our linux-based participant seemed to struggle a bit ... but that might be down to a slightly-less-good port / low-spec machine. Whatever the cause, he still managed to get by ... with the occasional helpful nudge of his playing pieces from other folks.

And all-in-all, this was a really good experience. Better than I thought it would be. After some initial teething troubles, discord performed perfectly; it was literally a case of set it running, and then forget it's there -- and the simulator software really did give as good a sense of playing a real, physical board game ... of picking up pieces, and moving coins backwards and forwards, and flipping cards etc. With just a little bit of suspension of disbelief, you can get pretty close to the at-the-table experience.

The game did run long... it probably took us twice as long to play it this way as it typically takes us to play the physical version (which, truth be told, is maybe just a little bit too long to be playing Jorvik for!) -- but I'm sure that would get a lot better as people's familiarity with the tools improves. And the technical performance of the software was fine ... I've heard reports of disconnects and glitches from other people playing with Tabletop Simulator over recent days -- but our game was rock solid.

All in all, this experience made me really happy; it confirmed that there's a way -- a pretty decent, and not-desperately-half-arsed-way -- to keep gaming with the Newcastle regulars through however long this social distancing thing lasts.

It might not be quite as good an experience as face-to-face gaming is... but it's close. Way closer than I'd hoped. And now that I've had chance to give Tabletop Simulator a proper test-flight, I don't feel at all hesitant to suggest to my other regular gaming chums that this piece of software is well worth investing in.

Happy days!

External image
Twitter Facebook
5 Comments
Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
56 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Newcastle Gamers - Early February

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
I don't seem to be getting to Newcastle Gamers anywhere nearly as much as I'd like to these days ... other commitments -- and the final, difficult-to-schedule items on Mrs Shep's list of odd british customs that need to be seen -- have had a tendency to encroach on the first-and-third Saturdays of the month of late. However, last night the stars and fates were in alignment, and I managed to get across for a session

First game to (finally) hit the table: The so-far-undisclosed train game that I got sent a preview of a few weeks ago.

From gallery of MrShep


No, your internet connection isn't broken; I'm just not sure if pictures of the game are under embargo or not. To be honest, it won't take you much detective work to figure out what the game is ... and when I hear back from the publisher about whether it's OK to show pictures or not*, I'll post more about it. An enjoyable game though; it clocked in at about 45 minutes, and raised a general verdict from the table of "yeah, that had some interesting/tricky decisions. I'd happily play that one again." (which, from this bunch, is a very positive outcome!)

Next: Medici

From gallery of MrShep


25 years old this year? Gulp. Medici is a Knizia auction classic that's still well worth an occasional airing. Though I still don't really know how to approach it, and invariably end up just playing by gut feeling, rather than attempting to math it out. Though I placed second, in a field of people who very much did seem to be trying to math it out. So I'll happily take that

And from one Knizia Classic to...

Khan of Khans

From gallery of MrShep


...a game which, it turns out, is very much not a Knizia classic. It's basically a push your luck / test your memory / everything-changes-on-a-random-flip-of-a-card affair, with a runequest/glorantha cow-rustling(!) theme pasted on. The theming is fun, and Ian O'Tool's cartoon take on the world of Glorantha is joy to behold ... but the game itself is... really... just a heap of random old tosh. But at least it only takes 15 minutes to play. And maybe it would work as a family game. Or as a not-at-all-serious late-night pub game. But ... nah... very much not my kind of thing.

This was, however, followed by something which very much is my kind of thing...

Bus

From gallery of MrShep


I think we're out of the innocent honeymoon phase of naively playing this as a straightforward-ish pick-up-and-deliver game, and moving soundly into "screwing over your opponents by dicking around with the space/time continuum" territory now. 4 of the 5 time crystals were spent in this game ... and -- wow -- that approach really spikes the difficulty and gives you a whole load rationality/mitigation decisions to make. I'm really surprised that this game currently sits at a weight rating of 3 on BGG; I'd love to know what the people who rank it at that level think a properly heavy game is (or whether they've actually played this game more than once...). Excellent game though. Amazingly tight design.

Arraial

From gallery of MrShep


Something a bit gentler to wind down after the thorough brain-burning of Bus; a dose of cardboard tetris, in the shape of Arraial. To be honest, I'd mostly shoved this game in my bag to fill up the space (my big fancy game bag tends to collapse a bit if you don't fill it to capacity), adding this one in on the basis that it's pretty straightforward, I could muddle through the rules without any advance revision, and that we probably wouldn't even get around to playing it anyway. But we did play it. And after one (very quickly-corrected) false start on the rules front, we were soon underway.

From gallery of MrShep
My final, super-messy board. Things definitely didn't go my way here.

From gallery of MrShep
Olly's super-efficient, super-compact winning board across the table

My conclusions from the previous post about this one still stand... it does have a whiff of multi-player solitaire about it, save for the fact that the player sitting to your right gets the opportunity to set the challenge that you face on each turn to be as awkward as possible. And it's a shame that it's always the same player that's directly influencing you, as it almost seems like you're simultaneously playing two different asymmetrical 2-player games (and have minimal interaction with the person sitting opposite you) -- but I can't really see any elegant way of mixing that up a bit, so I can see how the designers went with it this way.

But... meh...it's Tetris. Tetris is always fun. And as cardboard Tetris goes, this is a perfectly enjoyable game. A pleasant cool-down after the madness of Bus!

Finally... Dice Fishing

From gallery of MrShep


Dice fishing is a pretty simple game. You work your way through a sequence of "fish" cards, and each one has an objective on it, e.g. "roll a 17 or higher, with at least 2 of your dice showing the same number". Then each player makes a (hidden) bid, proposing which of their dice they would like to roll to achieve that objective (from a personal pool of several 6-sided dice, a single 10 sided die, and a single 20 sided die).

Whoever bid the fewest number / least value of dice gets first crack at achieving the objective, and then the person who made the second-lowest bid has a go... etc etc until somebody achieves the goal and claims the card for points (there's a couple of other rules which give you yahtzee-style re-rolls for spending your D20/D10 in an alternative way, and a rule which causes you to lose your bigger dice for a cool-down round each time you use them -- but that's the basics). Rinse and repeat until 10 cards have been played for, and whoever collects the most points (depicted as hook icons on the fish cards) wins.

From gallery of MrShep
look at my haul!

I bought my copy direct from the publisher at the UK Games Expo last year ... recalling that it had got a bit of positive buzz on the likes of Heavy Cardboard and other podcasts ... but haven't really managed to get it played properly until now. (By which I mean, I tried a 2-player game with Mrs Shep quite some time ago ... but she really, really doesn't get probability/dice maths, and massively struggled with it).

I enjoyed it; I think it's one of the more interesting unashamed dice-chuckers that I've played, but I think opinions around the table were mixed. I forget Owain's exact quote, but it was something along the lines of "I can't decide if this is genius, or absolute bollocks". So... your milage may vary

And with a haul of dice-fish successfully caught, the evening was done. Quite an enjoyable night, with a varied selection of stuff played. Mystery railway game was probably my pick of the night. More about that soon!

External image


*In (literally!) the last two minutes of me typing this post, I got an email from Moaideas to confirm that it's fine for me show pictures and talk about Mini Express (the sequel to Mini Rails!). But if I keep writing now, then my Sunday lunch is going to be massively delayed... so I'll have to keep those details for a future post. Stay tuned!
Twitter Facebook
10 Comments
Sun Feb 9, 2020 12:42 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
61 
 Thumb up
0.10
 tip
 Hide

Newcastle Gamers ... first of the year! (/decade)

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Saturday 11th January. The first Newcastle Gamers session of the year and also — incredibly — my first board game play of the year! … I know!! … 10 days of the new decade passed me by without so much as a sniff of board-gaming action. How did THAT happen?

Anyway, the auspicious title for first game played in the 2020s went to none other than…

Key Market

From gallery of MrShep


A 3-player session between myself, Ali, and Owain. It was Owain’s first play, and Ali and myself were both keen for a re-play after our first game at the previous Newcastle gamers session (in fact, we were barely half-way through THIS game before Ali was declaring a desire to play it a third time…). The game had quite a different feel to the first time we played, with far less contention in the marketplace — I suspect, partly because of the way the country boards came out this time. Ironically, on our first play, when we really didn’t know what we were doing, I think we picked a way more interesting country board set-up than when we (theoretically) knew what we were doing this time and tried to deliberately build scarcities and blocking tactics into the land configuration. Oh well… I guess those skills will come with time

As you can see from the picture, final scoring was ridiculously close … with myself and Ali tied on 110, and Owain snatching victory a mere 3 points in front of us.

I definitely need to get a 4-player game of this going the next time it gets an airing.

* * * * * * *

Camo and Pete arrived while we were playing Key Market… both of whom were keen to play Wingspan — a game which has been a recent arrival in their mid-week gaming group, and been a bit of a hit with them — so that’s what happened next: a 5-player Wingspan sesh.

From gallery of MrShep


5 players? I don’t think I’ve played this with 5 players before … but… oh lord… does it DRAG with 5 players. I mean, I do LIKE Wingspan … but it takes far too long for your turn to come around with 5 players, and the ratio of other-player-actions-giving-you-benefits is just a little bit too high at that count. I mean, I wouldn’t say the game is broken for five … but it definitely doesn’t seem particularly well-tuned for five. You just get too much stuff, and by the end of round 4, we were having to substitute other components for eggs. And yeah, it might’ve been a combination of the particular objectives we had, and the cards that we played… but I’m used to bashing out a game of Wingspan in an hour or less (at which length, it is perfect). This one went on for over 2 hours. Ugh.

* * * * * * *

And to finish… Firenze — one of the games that I picked up in the Travelling Man sale a couple of weeks ago, which seemed like it might be a good fit for the maybe-a-little-bit-more-than-an-hour-but-not-much slot that we had before people wanted to go home.

From gallery of MrShep


Firenze is a game about 12th-14th century Florentine tower-mania. You’re a tower builder, attempting to build commissions for wealthy clients … by collecting appropriately-coloured blocks and accumulating an assortment of special-power-granting/rule-breaking/opponent-screwing cards from a conveyor belt of decreasingly-priced heaps of stuff. It feels like quite a classic, old-school euro…. Pretty much because it is a classic, old-school euro (one which is about to hit its 10th birthday this year!). And it was good fun to play once everybody had got into the swing of things — coming in nicely at the around-an-hour mark.

Decent game. I still hold Hansa Teutonica up as “Best Andreas Steding game”, by quite a big margin … but this one ‘aint at all bad. Especially for the required play time.

* * * * * * *

And that was that. Empirically, this was a pretty good week for me … after all, I played TWO games that I mentioned in my “favourite releases of 2019” post a couple of weeks ago, and TWO of the three games that I played were actually THINGS THAT I TOOK WITH ME (all too often I take a massive bag of games along to Newcastle Gamers, but wind up only playing some small-box card game that I tucked into a side pouch!). Game of the night was undoubtedly Key Market (A title it's now held for two sessions running!) … A far less mean-and-sharp game than our first outing with it, but still highly enjoyable
Twitter Facebook
6 Comments
Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:26 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
60 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Newcastle Gamers - the all-day festive edition

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
The Saturday between Christmas and New Years Day is, by tradition, the day when we hold our big festive all-day session at Newcastle Gamers. So yesterday I donned my finest festive jumper...

From gallery of MrShep


...packed my bags with freshly-learned games (studiously swotting up on those new things I bagged in the Travelling Man sale the day before!), and headed into Newcastle to see what the day would bring!

And actually... well... I could've saved myself a fair bit of swotting up, because for most of the day I found myself in 5-player groups, with a bag full of 4 player games. Argh!!! At least I had my copy of Senators in the bag, which could serve 5...

From gallery of MrShep


So Senators it was, vs Olly, Alan, Chris and Izzy. I've got a few games of Senators under my belt now, and it still stands up pretty well (though wouldn't have been my first choice of game, were it not for the player count issue, since I played this the last time that I was at Newcastle Gamers too!). It did run a bit long this time ... partly because everybody except Alan & I was a newbie to the game, but mostly because pretty much all of the war cards sank to the final third of the event deck. Nevertheless, it seemed to be well received by the first timers. Particularly Izzy, who won!

Next up... Eight Epics

From gallery of MrShep


I'm writing Eight Epics off as my festive favour of the year ("can we try this new thing we got for Christmas...?") ...though it basically re-inforced my curmudgeonly-old-gamer principle of "don't play anything that you don't recognise unless it was brought by somebody who you can 100% trust to only put good and/or interesting games in front of you" (and there's maybe only half a dozen people in the world who currently occupy that category!). I mean, it wasn't an awful game. But I would've much rather spent that time doing something else. Two-word description: Co-operative Yahtzee. That's all you need to know.

Next... Age of Steam (Deluxe Edition), with the reprinted Southern US map.

From gallery of MrShep


Not, I hasten to stress, my copy of Age of Steam Deluxe Edition. Because my copy of Age of Steam Deluxe Edition is apparently spending the rest of 2019 in a warehouse somewhere. But Olly seems to have done far better in the fulfilment lottery than I did, and got his copy about a week ago.

We played the Southern US map ... a variant that incorporates cotton shipment and an odd round of double-penalization when the civil war breaks out. I haven't played this one before, and it seemed to be one of the gentler AoS maps, with most players making a steady profit well before the mid-game point (which, I guess, makes it a good inclusion for the newbie-friendly new edition!). Olly won, of course. Olly always wins train games ... though I managed to place second.

I'm impressed by the usability improvements in this version; the graphic design on the play sequence boards -- while not perfect -- certainly makes the game flow much easier to follow, and I like the stripped-back appearance of the game boards. The pastel-coloured player colours seem like a bit of an odd choice; they're maybe not as contrasty as I'd prefer, and the aesthetic might not date well ... though it's not like you couldn't sub in a set of differently-coloured disks for not-very-much-money if they irk you too much. All in all, a good revision, this one. I'm looking forward to getting mine

Then, a slight re-arranging of groups ... meaning I finally got to pull something out of my bag of 4-player games. A thing that I've been trying to get to the table for a few months now (and must've re-learned the rules for at least 4 or 5 times in anticipation...)

Key Market (Second Edition)

From gallery of MrShep


A three player outing, vs Ali and Camo. Which proved to be an absolute solid-gold corker of a game

In brief: there's a clever spacial positioning/puzzle thing going on on a little modular farm board, which gives you a certain amount of produce to play with each season. These goods then feed into a very old-school supply-and-demand marketplace mechanism, where you can generate income and/or trade your produce for alternative resources ... which then allow you to either retire your workers to a long and happy life living in a country mansion (for points!), or push your workers through the ranks of assorted guilds, which grant you rule-breaking powers.

Mechanically, it's relatively simple; the cleverness comes in anticipating/manipulating the market, camping the farming board in just the right way to optimise production from season to season, being clever about player order, and figuring out how the guild powers can fuel your strategy.

For the first round or two, I couldn't really see where the "game" was, and I was wondering if I was going to be a bit disappointed after waiting so long to get this one played. But by the time we were half-way through the game, things were really starting to click, the subtleties, nuances (and missed opportunities!) were coming together, and I was starting to think this might be a close rival to Keyflower for "best Key game". And by the time we were done, I was thinking: we barely scratched the surface there... I really want to play it again now... that's one of the best games I've played this year!

It reminded me a little bit of the splotter style of game; a clever spacial mechanism feeding a surprisingly cut-throat economic core. And it gave me pause to think that the two old-but-new-to-me games that have maybe made the biggest impression on me this year (this and Bus) are both maybe cut from a similar cloth. They really don't make them like that any more!

Anyway, good game this. Upon finishing it, all three players declared that we want to play it again, soon. And you can't get a better first-play reaction than that!

* * * * * *

Last game of the day... we were back to five players, and settled on nu-Agricola, with all the bling:

From gallery of MrShep
(Ali did suggest that I photoshopped this picture so that the minis all had coloured bases, just to see if the internet completely "lost it's shit". Tempting though the idea was, I'm pressed for time this morning...)

It's the first time that Agricola:Revised Edition has had an airing amongst the euro-curmudgeons at Newcastle Gamers, and their reaction was pretty much identical to my own first exposure back in the autumn of 2018 ... Why all these convoluted new names for things? What are all these strange cards that I don't recognize? Why aren't the things in the places I expect them to be? .... WHAT ARE THESE UNGODLY PLASTIC MINI-FIGURES???!! ....I DON'T LIKE CHANGE!

Alas, any tactical advantage that I'd hoped to glean from completely disorientating my opponents failed to materialise, as I placed last in the final reckoning. Though there was only a 5 point spread over all the results results. (At least, we think there was only a 5 point spread; Daniel -- who placed first -- had to run off to catch a train/bus home just before the game ended, and we're not entirely sure how much of the final harvest he'd processed before he went).

Anyway, good fun was had by all.

Is it possible to ever have a BAD game of Agricola?

The answer is No.

No it isn't.



* * * * * * *


...and that brought my day of gaming to a close. Only 5 games played in THIRTEEN hours? That doesn't seem like much, does it? Well, I guess there was also furniture moving, dashes to the shop, food+drink breaks, and general socialising with people to factor in there too. And I kind of wish that I'd managed to get some of my other waiting-to-be-played 4-player stuff out of the bag.

...but it was a most splendid day, regardless!
Twitter Facebook
5 Comments
Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:55 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
56 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Newcastle Gamers: Early December

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
I was back at Newcastle Gamers on Saturday. Hooray!

Due to a mis-alignment of the planets, along with assorted "prior commitments" (translation: November being a 5 week month, and my agreeing to go and visit some insane nonsense with Mrs Shep instead of attending the late sesh at Newcastle), it had been 5 long weeks since my last visit. In fact, I hadn't visited Newcastle Gamers since before the Gathering of Chums a month ago... and that now seems like nothing but a distant memory

So this was my very first opportunity to try out my new copy of Senators with the Newcastle crowd. Would it play as well as it did on my first experience of the game, down in Newent last month? Or would it fall flat?

From gallery of MrShep


Fortunately, it was pretty well received ... particularly by Camo (who completely schooled the rest of us by building up a huge reserve of cash without us noticing and then scooping up a bunch of cut-price Senators in the closing stages of the game). The only real note of criticism levelled at the game concerned a usability issue, rather than a gameplay issue; the score-track spaces in this edition are smaller than the game pieces that you use to keep score ... which makes scoring really awkward when players are only 1 point apart. I mean... it's a minor thing... but still kind of annoying. And makes you scratch your head a bit over how glitches like that make it beyond the production sample stage.

But, yeah, Senators is a very enjoyable game, with quite a nifty mix of unusual (and highly interactive) auction mechanics. It's difficult to not like it.

Speaking of which...

Our second game of the night was a debut outing for Owain's latest acquisition, Bus. And that was a very good game indeed.

From gallery of MrShep


In brief: this is a 20th anniversary re-print of an old Splotter game in which you use worker placement to develop a bus route, pick up and deliver passengers to their desired destinations, and risk the collapse of the space-time continuum by meddling with the fundamental fabric of the universe.

I didn't even make that last bit up.

It's a very, VERY sharp game this one. I was really impressed. So much so that I might have to buy a copy. Buy a copy despite the fact that it's a minimum-3-players game, and it'll probably just sit on my shelf permanently because I rarely (/never) get the chance to play 3+ player games at home, and Owain has the nice pimped-up anniversary edition which I appear to have missed* the window of opportunity on buying.

But I still kind of feel like I need to own a copy.

Because it's that good.

* * * * * * *

And from one Capstone-Games-published reprint to another: Irish Gauge

From gallery of MrShep


A cube railway game: You buy shares. You lay tracks. You get dividends.

I dunno... the cube railway games that I've played have never massively gripped me. I mean... Irish Gauge was fine (I actually won this one!), and I wouldn't grumble about playing it again. But I guess there's just something fundamental about the genre that just doesn't really spark with me

* * * * * * *

Next up... a session of Escalation! which I completely failed to photograph. It provoked a bit of shouting and merriment, and was accepted in a "that was harmless / mostly brainless but would be a good pub game" sort of way, but maybe ran for a bit too long in this particular instance.

This was followed by a debut play for my copy of The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, a game which seems to have caused quite a stir amongst regular commenters in these parts...

From gallery of MrShep


In brief: this is a co-operative trick taking game. Players have to conspire to allow certain players win tricks containing specific "mission" cards during the course of the game -- but you have VERY limited channels of communication to aid the accomplishment of these goals. You can communicate a single piece of information about your hand during the course of a round, either:

1. A certain card is the highest value that you own within its suit.
2. A certain card is the lowest value that you own within its suit.
or
3. A certain card is the only card that you hold within its suit.

There's a 50-game campaign, with different win conditions attached to each instalment... different numbers of cards that need to be won by players, cards needing to be won in a certain order, special limitations being put onto a particular player... things like that.

It's all very clever, and a bit reminiscent of Hanabi in the way you need to communicate information in a highly-restricted, very low-bandwidth manner. But I suspect that, like Hanabi, this might also be a game where I really admire the ambition and cleverness of the design ... but don't personally enjoy the experience of playing it.

I'm not sure. But we did 4 or 5 missions, and I was certainly starting to get that vibe as the complexity ramped up.

It was definitely an interesting gaming experience though... I'll give it that!

* * * * * * *

And that was my Saturday night's gaming. Pick of the night would definitely be Bus -- but Senators accounted very well for itself too. And even though my account of those last 3 games maybe came across a bit flat, they were all enjoyable/interesting in their own ways. Not a bad night of gaming all in all. (And hopefully the end of a spell that's been a bit of a gaming drought for me!)


*I was strong. I resisted the obvious-and-awful pun here. Are you impressed?
Twitter Facebook
6 Comments
Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
54 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Newcastle Gamers - early November

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Another relatively quiet session at Newcastle Gamers this week … our numbers have been pretty low recently. Ironically, this time last year we were getting complaints that the church hall was too small and that people were leaving because of a lack of table space. But for the last few sessions, attendance has been low … hovering around the 20 people mark… in fact, this week, we didn’t even break even on the room hire. Fortunately there’s a bit of a float in the kitty, but we might have to raise our (admittedly ridiculously low — £2 a session / £1 unwaged) fees if the trend persists.

To be fair, lot of regulars had good excuses … a couple of people at MidCon … a few people suffering some kind of mid-autumn lergy … and I suspect a few people had sneaked off to the first-birthday shindig that the local board game cafe was running. But yeah… it seemed like a VERY empty room this week.

Nevertheless, the gaming was very enjoyable…

Five Tribes was the first game we cracked open — me vs Amo, Alex and (one of the many) Richards*.

From gallery of MrShep


I have to confess, this was actually the very first time that I’ve played this game with NO EXPANSIONS WHATSOEVER. I guess I was a relative latecomer to the joys of 5 tribes — my first ever game of it was barely a year ago — by which time adoption of assorted bits and pieces from the various expansions had pretty much become the norm for existing aficionados of the game, including those who introduced me to it. And when I got my own copy of the game, I also got (and played with) the expansions too… because those elements seemed pretty fundamental to me — and it seemed like the core game might feel a little bit bare without them.

But you know what? (you’ve already guessed where I’m going with this, haven’t you?) … the core game is actually pretty bloody good. I really enjoyed this. I mean, it might help that I also won the game, by a pretty good margin. But yeah… I think that the back-to-basics version might now become my preferred way to play for a bit. I really need to get this back into my regular rotation. It’s a cracking game.

* * * * * * *

Richard had to make an early departure at this point (Five Tribes — sans expansions — had been chosen specifically to facilitate an early exit to keep his better half happy) … leaving the reminaing three of us to crack open my just-arrived-yesterday copy of Glen More II: Chronicles. First-time-attendee Greg turned up just as I was about to explain the rules, and conveniently filled in the 4th (vacant) seat

From gallery of MrShep


It’s the best part of a decade since I played the original Glen More, so take any comparisons I’m about to make with that in mind… but the new version is a lot heavier, and slower than I remember the first one being. And I don’t mean “slower” in a bad sense — I recall the original game being quite a quick affair; all done in 45 to 60 minutes. The new version is more in standard 90-minutes-to-two-hours euro territory… a deep, tile-laying engine builder that you can really stew over. I enjoyed it a lot!

I’ve seen some skepticism from existing fans over the changes that have been made to the rules. The original game had two rules that limited the way you could place your tiles… you had a river, running in a strict north/south column from your starting position, and a road, running in a strict east/west row from your starting position … so road tiles and river tiles always had to be placed in these specific locations. The new version of the game preserves the river rule (though it now runs east/west) … and has eliminated the road completely — opening up the options for where you place tiles. A lot of people criticised this decision, saying that tile placement would now be too easy. I’m not sure that I agree; in fact, it might even have introduced a tyranny of choice element … because instead of being railroaded into placing those particular tiles into one of two valid positions, a whole bunch of additional efficiency/engine-building possibilities are now opened up. Maybe that’s why it seems so much crunchier now.

The other big change comes with the addition of the “clan” board; a network of perks and abilities that you can claim by collecting tiles which depict assorted historic personalities. This element, I’m not so sure about. It kind of looks like it’s going to be a network-building sub-game, or some kind of tech-tree … but, in practice, it’s neither of these things … because the board has been set out in a way that doesn’t really enforce progression through the network; you can skip to any part of the board by paying a not-very-prohibitive cash price, and you can expand out of any previously-taken node of the tree, even if it doesn’t belong to you.

There’s something about the clan board that instantly feels less sharp … less well-developed and less satisfying to me than the rest of the game. (In fact, I suspect that the other players at the table felt this too, as they were all having sneaky dips into that part of the rule book to double-check that I’d explained the rules correctly!). I wonder if this is reflective of the 10 year gap in Cramer’s design of the main part of the game and this latter addition … or whether this element had more to do with post-designer development of the title. Actually, the tone of the developer diary on the funtails web site perhaps hints it was more to do with the latter. But this is pure speculation on my part. I have no idea.

Anyway … it’s not game-breaking by any means; it’s just an element that seems a bit less well-honed than the rest of the title… and I enjoyed playing this game a lot. Even Alex — who is rarely shy about letting you know what he thinks of a game — gave this one a thumbs up, and started questioning how soon it was coming into retail. Good acquisition, this one

* * * * * * *

Nine Tiles Panic turned out to be the last game of the night…

From gallery of MrShep


...the gloriously-silly game of trying to solve a tile-laying puzzle involving burger-eating aliens and FBI agents, against the clock. I was mostly prompted to give this one another outing after watching a very positive review from Joel Eddy…



…but I’m still not sure about it. It’s a surprisingly stressful game, and I’ve found that there’s often somebody at the table who simply can’t get to grips with it -- and you kind of feel a bit awkward when they get disqualified with zero points round after round. Still… it's kind of fun, and silly, at least it only takes 10 minutes to play!

* * * * * * *

From gallery of MrShep


And that… surprisingly … was the end of the night’s gaming. Remember that I said we weren’t very well-attended this week? Well … there tends to be a bunch of people who come to Newcastle Gamers who knock of at around the 9pm mark … and a bunch of people who stick around until midnight-ish. The lions-share of people who turned up this week were very much in the early-finishers group. By 9:30, much of the furniture had been packed away, and the only folks who seemed to be in it for the long run were a group who had been engrossed in a marathon session of Battlestar Galactica for most of the night, and a second group about to start another game of Glen More II on a different table (I think Ana + Mark must have pretty much the same kickstarter-buying tastes as I do … last session we were both playing freshly-delivered copies of Prêt-à-Porter at the same time!).

And so it seemed like an early exit might be in order. Which was maybe a good thing — it’s the Gathering of Chums next weekend and Mrs Shep is destined to be a board gaming widow for two Saturday nights in a row

The only regret of the night: I didn’t get a chance to give THIS last-minute amazon-delivered addition to my games bag a debut play…

From gallery of MrShep


And yes, you people are responsible for it being there

External image


*There was a time when, if you couldn’t remember a particular Newcastle Gamer’s name, you could just call them “John” and have a 50/50 chance of being correct. That rule seems to be tilting towards “Richard” now.
Twitter Facebook
4 Comments
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:55 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »