Tyne and Wear
Ah Wales... Land of song...
After bundling a load of pizzas in the oven (Wales is known as Italy in the rain (ha!)) we embarked on a full evening of Welsh themed board gamery. Fittingly as we sat down to play the first game, it began to pour it down outside.
Although not about Wales per se, Sheepland bears more than a passing resemblance to Cymru, what with its ovine inhabitants and rugged central mountains (admittedly the desert on the map was a bit of challenge, let’s call that Swansea)
Sheepland is a great little game which sees players rustling sheep from different pastures and buying shares in land in order to be the most profitable shepherd at the end of the game. It’s all over in around 20 minutes of quick, wool laden fun. Underneath its nice and fluffy fleece however is concealed a rather ruthless and tight game of area control and grand-theft-lamb.
The first round was a bit of a daze with myself winning by a decent margin (thanks to a rigorous training regime with reigning champion Carly). The second game, amidst Doritos and laver bread, (a foul black welsh delicacy made of pureed seaweed (yum)) was a different story. Gary, Pete and David had all gotten wise as to how aggressive this game actually was and quickly set to stealing valuable flocks from each other’s prize pastures. I narrowly came out ahead by just 1 measly coin, a close shave.
With us all warmed up it was time for the main event.
I must admit, this game is hard to sell to people on theme alone, “Its easily the best game about building the Snowdon mountain railway you’ll play this year!” and my enthusiastic attempts to get it to the table elsewhere had fallen on death ears. But a Wales night would not be complete without mighty Yr Wydffa.
Snowdonia is a fantastic worker placement game where players ‘cooperate’ to build the eponymous mountain railway. Players lay track, dig rubble, build stations and prospect the land with the winner being the person who contributes most and who fulfils the most lucrative contracts. I made a bit of a bungled attempt to explain the rules so it took a couple of rounds for everyone to get it, but when it all ‘clicked’ it was full steam ahead.
I really love this game and everyone quickly got into the spirit of it, David taking advantage of an early few days of sunny weather with some excellently timed rubble clearing on the first two stations with myself laying down track in his wake. Then the fog hit. About a week’s worth of rain and fog leading us all floundering in the mud. Pete started optimistically marching his prospector up the mountain (I tried to tell him it wouldn’t work!) whilst I focussed on buying a train to allow me to better lay track and fulfil my demanding contracts. Gary had the better idea however and used the pause in work to horde vast amounts of iron and smelt it all efficiently into nice neat little steel girders. When the fog lifted it was a done deal and Gary had all the resources to finish off most of the stations and track singlehandedly. Helped by the fact I wasted my coal on a useless worker. In the end it was Gary way out ahead in 1st place, and then myself, David and Pete.
I think Snowdonia had won everybody over and judging my the fact that David reporting the next day that he couldn’t sleep for thinking about it. I’m sure it’ll be one we play again. Maybe on a train themed night? Or perhaps a weather themed one? I’ll find some way of crowbaaa-ing it in soon!
It’s round to Pete’s for a ‘Pete’ themed night. Should be interesting...