Anthony BoydellUnited Kingdom
UnspecifiedWelcome...to my Shed!
"You're supposed to put the animals in front of you, Shaun; not shove them up your arse!"
A small snippet, there, of the table bants at the Tuffley Community Centre last night (Tuesday) as I introduced four players - the only boardgamers for the evening, as it would transpire - to the joy that is A Wildlife Safari. This is a game that comes with a lot of (animal-hide) baggage and Tom, Dale, Shaun and Jeric were naturally trepidatious about taking on a true classic; indeed, that the levels of tension (from the very start) should induce glandular spasming is testament to the enduring power of this gaming behemoth: simple rules that take a moment to learn / stratagems that take a lifetime to master and so on. It should be of no surprise that the forthcoming Netflix mini-series "The African Queen's Gambit" is going to do for the popularity of A Wildlife Safari what 2020's "Tiger King" did for cat food!
In between Shaun's complaints about pelvic muscle stress, each took to the challenge in their own way: Dale imitating someone who knew what the Hell they were doing, Jeric employing his Poker skills to great hand-deducing effect, Shaun shifting uncomfortably in his chair and Tom - all "elephants" - cursing my disruptive drafting. For my part, I opted for Green*'s 2019 strategy of 'No Leopard Shall Go Unpunished' which kept me a single point ahead of Jeric after the fifth round's savannah dust had settled:
Taking pause to adjust the seating after my win, the others press-ganged me into teaching them Snowdonia: Deluxe Master Set which I had just happened to bring out of the back of Ian's car:
In the best tradition of teaching, I outlined the Snod processes fully-and-completely then proceeded to wipe the floor with all of them: utterly, totally, entirely and comprehensively. I fear that the physical stresses of our opening game had bled - like Shaun's back passage? - into this gentle tale of Welsh Mountains and Railways. However, despite Tom's utter disbelief at my unchallenged hoovering up of resources and points, he pulled in a very creditable second place. Jeric, seemily haunted by his loss of train to the maintenance event exactly one round after a) I suggested he NOT build it and wait for the event to pass first and b) he bought it anyway - half-suggested they play it again BUT WITHOUT ME. Dale remained silent while Shaun, a pained expression on his face, seemed happy to have scored over 50, regardless.
Tom would inflict cold-hearted and swift revenge upon my Botswana-/ Snowdonia-n hustling - and end the evening with the last laugh - by introducing me to the point salad horrors of Coloma: a Wild West-themed gumbo of everything and the kitchen horse-trough:
In true Feldian style (but it's not a Feld), an 'unusual' action selection mechanism (secret, simultaneous setting of a dial) was surrounded by 101 different things to do: all giving stuff and points and figurative paths to victory. If you love this sort of thing - and I don't, really - then I'm sure that navigating its rich world of wagon moving, gunfighting, building/bridge construction, river fording, card drawing, tent erecting, dude and horse recruiting, cash-earning and avoiding being in the same action as someone else will give you an enormous rush of endorphins. I found it confusing and directionless and, just like Shaun three hours earlier, bemoaning that I might as well shove the whole thing up my backside for all the good it would do me.
A fabulous evening, however; and an excellent pre-cursor to the Gathering of Chums, which commences on Thursday!
*Mattwell Sesamestreet Green (1971- ) European Champion (3 times), Polish Champion (once, he got on the wrong train in Koln) and World's 2021 Top 16 ("Double Lion, rampant").
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Father, Grandfather, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
- [+] Dice rolls