The Ross-on-Wye Boardgamers

Beer and Boardgames at The Plough Inn (formerly the Prince Of Wales, formerly the White Lion). "It's not F-ing Monopoly, alright?!"
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Friday 23rd October - Er, Houston, we have a....aAAAGHHHHHH!!!!!!

Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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Gerv was doing a bit of a late show this week, so we opened up by teaching Dave the fundamentals of that very fine game, St Petersburg. The BGA adaptation is resplendent in its old-school artwork, making it look more and more like Yucata by the day, but it plays absolutely fine. After heeding Dave several times during the teaching not to run out of money, he made quite a decent job of things, turning to blues maybe a tad early but racking up a respectable mid-40s score and not getting himself into real trouble. It was a nail-biter outfront, and I think I should have lost bit, but somehow I psyched Becky into buying one noble too many. The five-point deduction when she couldn't get everything out of her hand was enough to tip things my way. Did I mention that I also beat her Round 1 Observatory? I might have done, six or seven times.

With Gerv now on board, I suggested we tackle The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine. Four-players is usually optimum for most trick-taking games (exceptions: Fox in the Forest with 2, Bottle Imp and Bargain Hunter need 3, Sticheln needs about 6), and it certainly seemed to be recommended that we attack our first game with four players.

The principle of The Crew seems quite appealing, other than the fact it's a co-op: certain players have to win certain pre-nominated cards, sometimes in a fixed order. The 'short trump suit' of rockets is also a clever concept. However, I had reckoned without the card-techniques of my co-players. Dave is a pretty competent whist-player, but it turns out Becky's past successes at Wizard have mostly consisted of bidding zero and trying to lose everything, which is not a valid technique here. And Gerv - well, the less said about the round which he immediately lost after his opening lead, the better. I think we played about seventeen rounds and were still on Level 8, which is more or less a beginners' stage, before we called it.

From the point of view of an experienced bridge player, actually The Crew doesn't have that much to offer. Four seasoned players could easily count out the hand after an opening trick and a well-planned communication or two. Until then, there is just the mystery to solve of why Becky ALWAYS leads the number-4 rocket every time she is captain...

Frazzled by all the thinking that The Crew induced, we finished with the light shenanigans of Guildhall, which Becky won at something of a canter with the rest of us still in single figures and left me trying to work out whether it was a more futile 45 minutes than the hour or so spent playing The Crew.
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