Games Played at Southampton on Board - 2013-05-20
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Games Played at Southampton on Board on Monday 20th May 2013.

In which we are besieged by an eager bunch of prototype wielding proto-designers. This prototype thing is becoming such an epidemic I think we should dedicated an entire evening to nothing but prototypes. I know that other in the group have ones we haven't seen yet.

In attendance were:


Adam Field
United Kingdom
Southampton
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Jacob Busby
United Kingdom
Southampton
Unspecified
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Mark Williams
United Kingdom
Gosport
Hampshire
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Russell Calbert
United Kingdom
Southampton
hampshire
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Jason RJ
United Kingdom
Gosport
Hampshire
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Tinwë
United Kingdom
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Donkeys!! ^^
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Sam Hurst
United Kingdom
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Tim Yates
Australia
Perth
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Tea and Board Games
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& Gemma



... and two people whose BGG userids I don't know.

... and, an extra special, long overdue, return to the group by none other than:


Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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... oh, and me, I was there
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1. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2254]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Jacob

Played by:
* Tim
* Salisbury Sam


Karate Hero! by
Jacob Busby
United Kingdom
Southampton
Unspecified
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Starting of the prototype parade this week we have Jacob training another couple of unsuspecting subjects in the way of his card drafting dojo. Karate Hero of which I know less than little.
 
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2. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2254]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Adam F

Played by:
1. Adam F
2. Russ
3. Joke
4. Gemma


Ninja Dice! by
Adam Field
United Kingdom
Southampton
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Competing for the martial arts gaming market comes this slightly more familiar gestating gem. What's new this week?

* Player boards!
* New scoring! (with decidedly non-epic end game totals )
* Revised mission progression! (possibly)
* More Meeples!
* More actions for player action selection!

So, basically, it's a brand new game, completely different and sharing nothing with the previous revisions. Nothing new there then

Whilst that's not entirely true Adam has veered back towards "keep the core but change everything else" territory. Let the playtesting begin anew
 
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3. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:217]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Jason

Played by:
* Jason
* Mark
* Marco
* Anon


The diminutive card game returns! Something we haven't seen a lot of lately but a "filler" that's well worth the time. Who prevailed as the princesses premier paramour? Alas, I don't know; it's a game of secret identities after all.
 
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4. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2254]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Sam

Played by:
* Sam
* Jason
* Russ
* Adam H


Dicelantis! by
Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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and
Matt Green
England
Horsham
West Sussex
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This is like, some dice game or something. I don't know. Wasn't very good.


























… is a perfect example of comments you won't hear regarding this game (well, possibly the first one; but not the last!) Rounding out our little prototype pile with a cavalcade of yet more dice this perfect little push-your-luck filler proves that there can be more than just dumb luck and dice rolling contained in a tube of dice (*cough*Zombie Dice*cough*).

As this is very much in the process of seeking publication (go team!) I won't spill the beans bar bullet points:

* Dice!
* 'lantis!
* with Dice!
* Push-your-luck!
* Quick! (as in ~10mins per game/round)
* Dice to roll!
* Actual decisions to make!
* Multiple Dice colours!
* Player interaction!
* Dice re-rolling!
* Death, disaster, and destruction!
* Diiiiiiiiiiice!

Seriously though, this is the game that certain other dice based push-your-luck games (*cough*Zombie Dice*cough*) wish they were. The only negative is that I don't have a copy.

Also, did I mention there were dice? DICE!

(Note: amusingly, I'm not entirely sure I've got the correct participants for this game whilst I'm certain all the others are correct. I swear I was paying attention, honest.)
 
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5. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Graham

Played by:
* Graham
* Jacob
* Mark
* Salisbury Sam
* Anon


Shortly after the prototype exhibition ended this game of deceit and treachery in deep space began. Did the humans prevail or were they overcome by their mechanical progeny? I suspect we may never know
 
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6. Board Game: Thunderstone [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:540] [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Tim/Gemma

Played by:
* Tim
* Gemma
* Joke
* Adam F


I'm not sure which of the many different versions and expansions available for this game was actually played but it was some variation of Thunderstone. Never having played and being off plundering the seas and swashing my buckles I have nothing further to say.
 
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7. Board Game: Libertalia [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:304]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Jason

Played by:
1. Jason
2. Marco
3. Russ
4. Sam
5. Adam H


Yarr! Pirates! arrrh arrrh arrrh

Shiver me timbers and plunder me ports this be a game of deduction of sorts.

Nine character cards ye start with and six more you'll receive but which will ya play, keep, and decease?

For six days and nights will ye plunder; parrot, barkeep, and a governess too; all bringing their booty back to you.

Scheming and skulduggery form part of the plot, be careful lest curses be all you got.



So then, we've not played this before. Each round the players are "dealt" a hand of six (or nine in the first round) cards depicting various characters. Each player receives the same cards but the cards used are chosen randomly.

These characters (cards) have varying values which dictate the sequence in which they will activate as well as various actions that they will allow the player to take. At the start of a "day"--and for six days and three "weeks"--everyone selects a card, in secret, which are then simultaneous revealed.

The chosen cards are then placed in ascending order of value on the central pirate ship (forming it's crew) and activated from left to right. After these card based actions (if any) have been carried out the remaining characters--from right to left--collect one (or more) piece of available booty.

Booty can be chests of gold, jewels, barrels of goods, treasure maps, sabres (allowing you to kill an adjacent players crew member), the navy (killing that character), or a curse (-3 gold/points.)

After six days, and six character placements, you total up the gold received (from booty and characters) add it to your total, reset to 10 gold, draw six more cards, and start another week. The player who collects the most gold over three weeks wins.

This is very much a game about trying to out think (or guess) your opponents and play the optimal card based on what they play. Sometimes you want a "lower" value card, to act before they do; other times a higher value will be better so that you can secure the booty. Additional considerations have to be paid to the characters you'll have in hand to carry over to the next week as well as those that will be alive in your "den" at the end of the week and any effects that may have.

There is, therefore, a lot to be considering. Fortunately this doesn't feel unduly weighty, if anything the game felt quite light. This lightness however does not preclude depth, of which there appears to be quite a lot. Some likeable aspects of the game:

* Everyone has the "same" hand of cards though this will diverge over time as people choose to play--or not play--cards and potentially recover played cards. Someone may be in a position to play a card that was dealt in the first week in the third week, after everyone else has played it and no longer has it in hand.

* Whilst the scoring appears simple (collect the booty that yields the most gold, avoid the "bad" booty) various characters provide effects that alter it. Sometimes you may want to take the curse instead of the treasure chest.

* You're not just playing cards from your hand: there's a "den" to manage, a discard pile to consider, and the same for the other players.

* The issue of a runaway leader appears to have been considered and counteracted. We didn't really see this come into effect during our game but the way that the booty and gold is reset at the end of each week would appear to counteract the potential for runaway leader'ism.

In short, I think this is a very neat game: it's light, but has depth and re-playability in abundance.

But what was the actual outcome I hear you ask? Well... Sam and I got embroiled in a mini war around week two/three which saw Jason, Russ, and Marco jump so far ahead we were in danger of being lapped. I was in the worst position having been the beneficiary of some curse token passing in a previous round by Jason and Russ.

Were it not for that little misadventure we likely would have scored somewhat closer to the rest of the group but instead were some ~20 points behind. Meanwhile, the players who hadn't engaged in such singular combat all ended up within one point of each other: Jason winning with one point more than Marco who had one point more than Russ.
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8. Board Game: Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions) [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Jason

Played by:
* Marco
* Joke
* Russ
* Gemma
* Sam
* Adam H
- Adam F
- Tim
- Jason


Rounding out the evening for the majority of the group (those not struggling in vain to survive in the vast vacuum of space) we have this group favourite. But wait, what's this? Saboteur 2!?!?

At long last the sequel has been brought to our tables. No longer will we have to share the gold between a single team of dwarves gnomes. Our days of always having to dig or sabotage to profit are behind us and we finally have something new and shiny to catch our eyes.

So, it's Sabotuer with more roles, more ways to score, and a little bit of The Resistance thrown in for good measure.

Wait, what? The Resistance? Well... you can now look at another players character card. That's about it really, but it definitely increases the player-interaction similarities between the two games. No more wild speculation as to other players true purposes now you can see them for yourself and then lie unrepentantly about it to the rest of the group.

We played three rounds. Sam was always the saboteur. Always.

Well, he was during the first round and then played like it for the other two

The first round saw Sam and Tim quickly outed and ostracised for being saboteurs whilst Jason remained hidden in our midst. Little good it did him though as, after a cave-in or two and various minor mishaps, the gold was successfully reached. Unfortunately for most of the hard working dwarves gnomes involved the comparatively small green suited miners ran off with all the gold leaving those dressed in blue with none.

Our second expedition saw much and more in the way of calamity. Paths veered off just as we seemed set to reach our goal, tunnels ended in dead ends, and multiple routes once cleared collapsed and filled with rubble once again. At one point the miners were forced to dig a new entrance tunnel and drop a new ladder down into the mine just to re-gain access only to have their less than helpful companions dig away from the goal yet again. Finally, after the deck had run out and our time was running short, Russ was able to drop another entrance into the mine that connected to a previously unexplored passage (formed by previous sabotage'esque actions) leading straight to our goal. This feat of engineering excellence was not unrewarded: Russ was awarded gold and then Joke and I stole it away.

Following that round, in which the numbers of saboteurs and honest miners seemed to be reversed, we rotated the playing area and the miners raced unimpeded to their goal. The round was over so quickly we only saw one act of overt sabotage (from Jason) whilst the other saboteurs worked (mistakenly it would seem) on garnering trust.

Final scoring revealed that there were many winners walking away with four gold pieces each and three losers, Adam F being the least worst of them and Jason being the best.
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