Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Saturday 5th May, 2007

Today I made it to Beyond Monopoly! Soon after arriving I joined with Robert, Richard and Paul A to play Marra Cash - a game Richard had brought. In essence this is an auction and area control game in which you try to lure shoppers to your bazaars to earn money. Players auction off bazaars of various colours and get a cut if they can lure shoppers to bazaars of the same colour.

It sounds a bit abstract but it was actually good fun. I think I would play differently a second time as I bid too much in a couple of auctions and backed out of a crucial one too soon! All in all a good game which I would happily play again. Robert won with 6,900, I came second with 5,300, Richard was a surprise third with 4,050 and Paul A brought up the rear with 3,900.

Many people then dissapeared for a long lunchbreak. When they returned I joined with Andrew, Keith, Jim, John and Richard to have a go at Shadows Over Camelot. I have been curious about this for sometime as co-operative games are few and far between. As with all Days of Wonder games production values were astoundingly high. The game was enhanced for me as Jim quickly cycled home to fetch his beautifully handpainted miniatures.

I liked this game. It could be described as a themed series of rummy games but that would be a little unfair. The Knights of the Round Table are questing to rout the forces of evil. They do this by placing white swords on the Round Table. These swords are awarded for successfully completing Quests. However, if the Knights fail, then black swords are placed instead. It was quite hard playing collaboratively when the rules state that you cannot clearly discuss the cards in your hand or your intentions.

The game is made more interesting by the dealing out of Loyalty cards, as a result of which one player may be a traitor. If this is the case then that player must surreptitiously work to scupper the efforts of his companions. He can be accused and unmasked however. I was playing Sir Gawain (of Green Knight fame!) and I was actually the traitor. I enjoyed this role immensely as it lead to the type of psychological gaming I enjoy. No one accused me and I managed to foil several Quests apparently innocently. Once Darkness prevailed I revealed my allegiance to evil and claimed my victory. I wouldn't want to play this every week but it will remain on my wishlist!

Finally, Jim suggested that we try a game he'd brought; Oltre Mare (another one on my wishlist!). Keith had to depart so that left myself, Jim, Richard, John and Andrew. Jim and Richard had both played before and so managed to explain the basics to the rest of us. Oltre Mare is essentially a hand-building trading card game. The pretty board with cool sailing ships on is not as important as it first appears. Jim had printed out some really useful reference sheets without which I think I would have been lost. As I am currently a "bear of little brain" I found this game a bit too hard. There were a lot of options and I could not work out what the ramifications were going to be. I was hideously behind for most of the game but I recovered somewhat at the end. Jim won with 50 points. Andrew was second with 47, whilst John and Richard drew for third with 42. I was a little behind with 39. This game will reamin on my wishlist although I don't think I will play it again until I am fully recovered from my neurological problems.

All in all a great day's gaming!

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