With the Sun rising over the mountains (you can see, below, how irridescent Ed's elbow is) - and the coffee bubbling in the pot - Friday's larks and japes began with a lightning-speed, four-player Nusfjord:
There was much shuffling and coming/going as late risers - of which there were Legion - be-fogged the kitchen with the smell of bacon, pancakes, toast and more coffee; something quick, between other games, was called for so I jumped in with "Would you like to try a prototype?":
David and Charlotte had arrived with their copy of Agricola while I was in the midst of a 6-player Skull; while I didn't end up winning (or even scoring a point), I was pleased to have caused the robbage of at least FOUR mats from others with a straight-faced bid-upping followed by a top-of-Tony's-stack skull - bwa-ha-ha!
And so, after the fish entrée, it was on to the meaty main course and a full five for Agricola:
We had an Agricola noob in our midst but she was familiar with 'the C word' so there wasn't the usual wall of rules to digest; Emmi got stuck in quickly, but it was The Charlotte & David Roadshow that ran away with it: 57(David), 54(Charlotte), 43(Basia), 37(me), and 27 (Emmi). I, naturally, blame being sat to the left of the adjacent power pair and being constantly-harangued about my sloppy ploughing by OCD officionados Basia and Emmi - oh, and my card pool was terrible too. And the sun was shining in my eyes. And my leg hurt.
Aside: talking of hurting legs, I woke myself up this (Saturday) morning by slamming my shin against the bunk-bed's ladder; a strangely depressing apocalyptic dream - with a splash of sexiness - found me launching an imagined attacked at an alien-infected opposite: kicking in the realms of Morpheus AND reality simultaneously. To be honest, I was glad to be awake as the whole slumbering story was immensely-depressing.
Aaron had been keen for me to try Tin Goose at the Gathering of Chums 3 but we never found a space; thus, Bastion 2020 afforded me the chance to give it a go:
In summary: route building and auctions in a framework of three different actions per turn. Buy fleets of planes - of varying hazardousness and fuel economy - and deploy them across the map to connect to cities for income boosts. The clever bit is that each player starts with a tableau of inefficient cards that, when covered by plane fleets, have their effect removed: first action must always be an income boost, oil costs $1 more, cannot claim income at the end of each turn and others. So, you auction planes to cover inconvenient effects and give you expansion resources: really simple, really clever
Getting myself connected and staying hazard-free boosted my income immensely; this gave me a huge end-game score bonus but - as with many games tied to your cash - I'd taken one-too-many loans and Tom stole the win. While I love the idea of aeroplane-themed route games, the Ross club is unhealthily-preoccupied with Airlines Bloody Europe - a game I detest almost as much as Splendor; Tin Goose fits the general play-style of the club so this, if I can snag a copy, might shove it to the side for at least a session or two?!
Dan - fresh from 'the Goose' - and Paul joined me for Polygonia. Both cottoned-on quickly and the board layout really encouraged everyone wandering in to others' starting tiles for over-building shenanigans. I was particularly happy when Dan pre-saged a couple of his turns with a determined "Right, then; here we go..." - is there a better sound to be made by a play-tester? Despite my deferential statue building, both Paul and Dan had maintained a steady flow of in-game scoring to stay ahead. A wonderful test.
10 minutes to kill? Why not save your space ship from a Black Hole (spoiler: I ran out of time with five cards left in the deck!)
The evening wearing on - and many familiar faces having disappeared for a Magic: The Gathering 'Theros' draft - Aaron made me an offer I simple could not refuse - my first ever game of Root:
Yes; you read that correctly. I have a copy but have never played it: fearful, as I am, of 'the teach' at the Ross-on-Wye club, Boffo would be unable to resist heckling and then there's no chance anyone would enjoy this. For shame, because - quite simply - this is an astonishing game: smart, wholly-engaging, smooth, exciting and so very different from the fatberg of normal releases. There is a reason that Root has won so much acclaim and so many awards: it's a truly great game. Wow, just wow. As the vagrant, I made it to 28 points (and one turn away from winning) when David's Eyrie swooped in with a 12 point turn to steal the victory.
Buzzing with the afterglow, Aaron waved the black box edition of Glory to Rome at me and the end of the evening was perfectly played out:
Getting the Scriptorium out in both games saw me to single-Marble utilising domination despite noble Merchant-ing nonsense from both Tom and Aaron: how fantastic to be able to play with folks who need no teaching - still the best card game ever designed.
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer, Agricola fanboy and jealous admirer of Carl Chudyk.
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