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 September 30th - Dice to See You; To See You...Dice!

Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
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Oi! Hands off...
Ben, Becky and Ian were interrupted in a quite game of Wooly Bully by an unusually prompt Tony. It wasn't too much effort for us to concede to Becky, in a move which questions the game's suitability as a Carcassonne replacement. I still think the sheep make for a better game; my copy of Carc got very expansion-bloated and was finally given away on the European Chain of Generosity. Wooly Bully isn't the perfect game by any means, but it is tight and full of screwage, which sets it apart from the crowd in my book.

We moved on to a good hefty session of Troyes, a game that everyone had been wanting to get to grips with. Tony and Ian's taking of the Archers early earned them opportunities to earn money elsewhere, although I thought I'd done some impact with a late sweep of Event cards. No luck, Tony had us well beat: 42-33-32-28.

We all really enjoyed Troyes, certainly enough that we all wanted more of it. It really does seem to strike all the right balances between worker-placement, trading and randomness, and there's more than enough going on to keep the brain involved. I can see this one getting a lot of table-time over the next few weeks, especially given its reasonable playing time.

It was frankly far too long since anyone had had a good game of Dominion, so out came my big treasure chest of fun, and a chance for all the lucky readers of this blog to see if they can play along and pick the winning strategy. Here's your layout, with Colonies and Platinums in play.

d10-2 Embargo
d10-2 Native Village
d10-2 Scrying Pool
d10-3 Loan
d10-4 Tournament
d10-4 Navigator
d10-5 Horn of Plenty
d10-5 Jester
d10-5 City
d10-6 Nobles

What would you do?

Naturally, Embargoes got bought up quickly, with tokens scattered around, including - notably - one placed early on Silver, a couple on Province and one each on Jester, Tournament, Nobles and Loan. At this point, strategies divided. Becky and Ian both tried to Jester the others out of winning; Tony tried a City + Nobles action-chain, which got scuppered when Nobles were Embargoed in early-midgame, whereas I went for the optimistic thinning methods of Native Village + Loan, with some of the +2 cards thrown in for money boosts.

So, which of these worked best?

It won't surprise anyone to learn that the game ended on 3 piles - City, Navigator and Duchy, and I felt justly proud of being able to pick up two Colonies to win a low-scoring affair 26-19-12-8. Tony used "I've been playing games a long time" logic by stating that his idea was correct and I was just lucky, but it should be pointed out that I could have taken five Curses (more than anyone else) before being caught. Moral of story: deck-trimming, even with pretty weak cards, is still the ultimate tool in Dominion. Tony managed to advance the Village Idiot to City Idiot (at one point he was threatened with elimination from all future games if he played City-City-City and bought another City); in this context, City was an over-rated card.

I could waffle on with Dominion analysis all day, but we finished with something much more fun after Tony had left (coincidental, honest). Out came another great dice-roller, the cartoonishly-brilliant Alea Iacta Est. Credit to whoever wrote the rulebook for the scoring demonstration on the back page, by the way: that cut the teaching time easily in half.

Becky got to grips with this dice throwing much quicker than anyone else, racking up several straights for control of the Sentatus cards. Ian played it straight down the middle, though, not undervaluing the key Province cards in pursuit of variety, like us other novices. Still, it was a tight-run thing until the very end; Ian's expensive provinces showing a clear head above our Senate-card confusedness. Another dice game which was much enjoyed by all, and another which might form a sweet double-bill with Troyes.

One win each tonight. I think that's very much honours shared. Bring on next week!
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