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Subject: LoB in deep water rss

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Tom P
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Ah Vanuatu. Paradise in the South Pacific. A place of calm, beauty and peace. Where golden sands and clear waters gently lap over your toes as you admire the indigenous sand drawings, savour sweet mangoes and listen to friendly locals playing string band music.

Oh wait. Vanuatu the board game? Well that's an entirely different kettle of pink wooden fish. Off that sun lounger and get to work. Those huts aren't going to build themselves!

Five of us spent the weekend rehearsing our expletives in anticipation of playing this at London on Board on Monday night.

There was quite a bit to get acquainted with at first play, so I was glad to have got some sort of idea from the Essen video. To be honest though, neither Eryn's explanation nor that video really prepared me for the game; it's one I definitely needed to play once to work out what was going on - and what I should have done differently.

Our main problem for the first round at least was who to pick for the role selection. With no real idea of what would end up being so valuable I ended up going for the naked artist*. As Eryn noted, an interesting dynamic in this game is that what you pick here gives a fairly strong indication to the rest of the group as to what you are trying to get in that round. You'll probably already be aware that the potential for screwage is high with this one devil

In any case I was fourth that round, and had no chance to get in on the fishing or exploring, so moved my boat and drew in the sand, picking up a point-and-coin disc as well. The first three players all built a hut. Looking back, I probably should have made more of an effort with that one...

Not that I cared, I was off the mark and in first place! Woo hoo!

The excitement was short-lived. My next round was a disaster as dreams of treasure exploration vanished like sand drawings washed away by the tide and I got right royally *$@?!ed by Martin, ending up with nothing to show for my endeavours. I blamed the lack of beer and burger, which I remedied immediately.

First player then switched to Martin and I found myself in second position. I actually found this to be my preferred place in the pecking order. Good chance of breaking ties and able to get your actions done early, but without the first-player stress of trying to do something and having everyone dump you out of it.

By this point in the game things were starting to click into place, although I feared it was too late already as Walid stormed into a 10 point lead while I floundered on no money and no prospects. The game is very true to life.

Anyway I spent much of the rest of the game on the same tile alternating between building my solitary hut (I grabbed the first turn marker around turn 4 to make sure I could place an island near me), getting some cash back with tourists and picking up a nice haul of points from expertly-carved sand while the others were off exploring new lands.

Meanwhile Eryn battled things out with his pride to monopolise a far flung island he called wonder world (or something. It might have been 'Club Med' although that shows a distinctly American grasp of geography), "Where children stay for free!", and was promptly mocked by Martin for being a billy no mates rubbish tour guide who couldn't convince anyone to visit his island dumping ground. Convince them he did, however, and that little enclave of cheap package deals on the outskirts of bespoke tropical vacation experiences netted him a hefty 12 points in final scoring. Ouch.

I tried vainly to stay under the radar with my action selection but it's a little difficult in this game. The temptation to loudly belittle your competitors after you completely screw up their hopes and dreams is just too great, prompting others to do the same to you - out of necessity, spite or amusement, or a combination of the three. I like this game a lot.

So the game went on in this vein and I stole a march on Walid, sprinting into the lead with a couple of rounds to go. I even had a go at trading although it was difficult for anyone to really get a hold on that action as beef was in such short supply - and no one was going to let the island replenish with the acheteuuuuuuuuuur hanging around.

At this point I started asking about fish and treasure points and was little alarmed to notice Martin hoarding a bunch of treasure with his boat hovering next to a rich sea space. These are the aspects of games I really should pay more attention to at the start as I spent the last two rounds riding my luck and picking up a couple of fish and a treasure in the hope it might make the difference (it didn't, and Martin and Richard rather unsportingly blocked me from getting the extra coin I'd need for a bonus point at the end, the brutes).

It was also at this point I realised my solitary hut just wasn't going to cut the mustard and it dawned on all of us that Eryn sitting in last place all game like a loser was just toying with our sense of superiority. Over 20 points from his huts catapulted him into first, scattering the crowd who sent a volley of indignant abuse as he sped past on the scoring track.

Final scores:

Eryn - 57
Martin - 55
Walid - 45
Tom - 43
Richard - 39

It was a great game with a good crowd, and I left the table wondering when I'd get to play again. I don't normally spend time after games thinking about strategies and such, but this one's got me hooked.

Next time I'm building more huts. And finding more treasures. And...



*We had alternative nicknames for the role cards. You can make your own; It's fun, and helps ease the tension if you periodically call them out during the game in a comedy French accent.
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Martin G
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Super report of a great session Tom. This may well end up as my best new game of the year.
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mojo shivers
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So far I'm loving this game--so many ways to victory and so many ways it all can go down in flames due to your neighbors.

Great session report.
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eryn roston
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A very entertaining recap! Nice work. You failed to mention how I duped you all into giving me the start player in the first round

ps:

crazylegs wrote:

Meanwhile Eryn battled things out with his pride to monopolise a far flung island he called wonder world (or something. It might have been 'Club Med' although that shows a distinctly American grasp of geography),


no need to complicate things, I got all the geography I need right here:



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Tom P
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baditude wrote:
A very entertaining recap! Nice work. You failed to mention how I duped you all into giving me the start player in the first round


"Being first is actually a disadvantage. I better take it as I've played before. Honestly, the guy who was first all game last time spent the whole time complaining about how rubbish being first is..."
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eryn roston
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Martin G
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Yep, I'm pretty sure that's how Eryn beat me
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