Monday, September 18, 2006

Saturday 16th September

Saturday was Beyond Monopoly at the Railway Institute in York. There was a good turnout and I managed to squeeze in 5 new games…which is a record for me!

Jon announced that the club will be playing games at the National Railway Museum in York on a Sunday in November. We don’t have to play only ‘train games’ though! I’m hoping to volunteer my services as I would like to do something to help out the club.

Jon also announced that we are going to be the first featured ‘Club of the Month’ in a new BBC games magazine! How cool is that! I hope that Jon is as proud of this as he should be….

First of all I got involved in a game of the Lord of the Rings with Andy, Mike, Adrian and George. To be honest I nearly bought this a few years ago but didn’t as it didn’t tie-in with the movies. Now, this seems refreshing. The game was excellent. I particularly liked the collaborative nature of it; I really felt that we were competing with Sauron and the evil hordes rather than against each other. In fact I was quite happy to sacrifice my character to increase the Fellowship’s chances. As it was my efforts were fruitless…

I also liked the interchangeable and reversible boards. The artwork was really good too. A solid 8 out of 10 from me. It was pointed out to us that we had played the idiot-level stupid persons version of the game…and still lost!

Next up the five of us were joined by Kevin for three hands of Who’s the Ass. This is a quick card game very similar to ….a standard card game whose name I can’t seem to remember (rummy?). It was good fun and I was pleased to come second. George did really well winning two hands, although he did have all four jokers in one of them! Final scores:

George 25
Paul 26
Mike 42
Kevin 66
Andy 80
Adrian 93

Kevin and George then headed off and the remaining four of us tried our hand at Hansa. In this game you play a fourteenth/fifteenth century trader in Scandinavia. You pay to move a trading ship, build trading booths in cities and buy and sell goods. I really enjoyed this. I particularly liked that you got taxed if you were doing too well and that it is not in your interests to stockpile goods too much. I felt this was quite a realistic aspect of trading at that time. (Monopolies seemed to become more economically viable 100-150 years later). The final scores were:
Mike 44
Paul 39
Adrian 35
Andy 35
Despite none of us having played this ever before we all enjoyed it.

Adrian then headed off to play something less mentally-taxing (I spotted him being introduced to Border Reivers) whilst the remaining three of us played Aqua Romana. I had not played this before but Mike and Andy gave clear instructions. Despite losing I really enjoyed this game and I hope to add it to my collection at some point. (I’m a sucker for tile-laying games!). It reminded me a little of Carcassonne: The Castle in that the board is a finite area and as tiles are placed it fills up rapidly. I quickly realised that my opening tactic of building straight pieces of aquaduct was flawed. I think I will do better next time. Final Scores:
Mike 33
Andy 32
Paul 28

I thought the quality of the board and playing pieces was outstanding and the mechanics were elegantly simple.

We decided on a final game before Mike and I had to head off. Mike introduced us to Adel Verplicht…which he said translates as Hoity Toity. I won this game but still enjoyed it a little less than the others. In essence you have to build a collection of antiquities to display at castles. Each turn you secretly choose to go to the auction house or the castle. Then you can buy new goods, steal money from the auction house, or steal part of a collection, display your exhibits or play a detective who foils any robbery attempts. There was a fair amount of bluffing and poker-facing going on….Mike consistently countered Andy’s moves! I fortuitously built the largest collection and then managed to arrest all the thieves leaving me free to exhibit my collection repeatedly and win the most points! Mike came second with Andy limping along in third. I think this may work better with more players. With only three it was relatively easy to work out what everyone was going to do.

All in all a really good day. It was nice to see Jack getting a go at Pitch Car and introducing people to Border Reivers. Also I think this was the first Beyond Monopoly when I have not played a single game with Jon!

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