Wet as an otter’s pocket Thur – Being a Drax report


Different people like different games, it’s like anything in life, some like Jaffa Cake Muffins some don’t….  (yes we had home made Jaffa cake muffins for Thur night gaming thanks to my wonderful missus).   I like Leader 1 but the last group to play it were pretty ho hum about it.  They didn’t DISLIKE it they just didn’t love it and well I LOVE this game.   We had a big group on Thur which is always good so we split in two and while one group played Agricola our group played…. Leader 1.  But I digress, first up was COUP


I’ve been ranting a bit about this game and we got to play the extra rules which makes for very interesting team play.

If you’ve been following my last column I mentioned COUP it’s a very neat filler game where players take on the roles and actions of various characters or at least claim to have those characters and try and be the last person standing.  It’s a bluff game.  Just like resistance.  Matter of fact it’s by the same guys.  Now where it gets more interesting is where each player starts on a team either Protestant or Catholic (it doesn’t matter really it could be team A or team B or itchy or scratchy whatever you’re having yourself) and they can only attack players on the opposite team.  They can still call the bluff of their own team.   To make it even more interesting for 1 coin they can swap teams and presumably avoid a bullet or pay two coins and make another player part of the opposite team they are currently on.  This is a goodie I highly recommend coup.  It’s the most fun game we’ve played so far this year and there’s only another 50+ gaming nights to go 🙂   Oh yes it’s also a Definite for Knavecon on the 1st March


We decided to split into two groups (let’s call them “my group” and “not my group”) and my group had a crack at Leader 1

All of the players bar myself hadn’t played but were avid racing fans and were slapping on the shammy cream in anticipation of playing this game.  They’d previously played Rallyman and this wasn’t a 100 miles from that.  What ensued was a great nights gaming.


The game starts with each player in this case picking two specialist riders from a choice of three, climbers (good at hills), Sprinters (good on the flat) and Leaders (a bit of both).  Then the mass of riders known as the peloton belts off with all the riders safely tucked inside.  It starts slowly enough with the riders peddling along happily keeping and eye on each other and then BANG! someone makes a break for it and others may or may not follow them.  Just like real cycling the break away group try and stay ahead of the peloton and make it to the line before everyone else.

Buried in the photocopies we found a scorecard and realised (not surprisingly) we’d been playing wrong or more accurately winning wrong, just like formula 1 it’s points based on the two riders finishing position, so 50pts for the first rider over the line, 46 for the second and so on, SO finishing first doesn’t guarantee a win by any means if the next team get two high finish points with both their riders.

A fairly early break by three hill climbers set the pace, they did really well ascending then descending the mountain (we could nearly hear the whiz of peddles on the downhill) they were very quickly followed by the remaining riders who all broke cover and pursued them down the hill.


It was fast and tense.  Riders jockeyed for position, trying to slipstream then pass the riders ahead of them.  The hill climbers out of their natural element started to falter, burning through their reserves of energy on the flat ground.  The downhill specialists reeled them in then passed them followed by a lone leader.  One canny rider held back until near the finish then took off burning through cakes worth of energy (c) to pass everyone.  The peleton kept it’s relentless pursuit and towards the end the horror settled on the players.  The hill climbers would be caught by the peloton and absorbed again and there was nothing they could do.  They were.  Just before the last sprint the peloton swept in and took them back, three riders never finished and somehow… I won.  Both my riders made it and although they came I think it was 3rd and 4th or maybe 4th and 5th their combined score won it…. FOR ME!!! YESSSS!!!!!

Best game ever !  😛

While this was all going on not my group were enjoying Agricola.  I’ve played it only once and very badly so I can’t comment and my head was down trying to slipstream during the whole thing so I leave it to someone who was there to describe it


Last up was a bit of warm down Coup and we all headed home

A FINE nights gaming, more of that I say!





This Drax Report is dedicated to the memory of my oldest friend Chris Maher who tragically and unexpectidly died last weekend. Chris was an avid gamer whom I grew up with and over the last 30+ years we had clocked a huge amount of hours happily gaming together.  You are sadly missed old friend.

3 thoughts on “Wet as an otter’s pocket Thur – Being a Drax report

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  1. The second play of Coup this evening was the first time that it really clicked with me. Our previous plays left me a little cold, with the feeling that the initial draft of cards could really lock you in, and perhaps I just wasn’t that good at bluffing. In this play however it became obvious that one of the four claimed “Dukes” was lying, and I must say that I could barely contain myself when the bluff was incorrectly called on the last remaining duke. Great fun!

    You are right that I was ambivalent to Leader 1, and following your report I reckon it is because the game simulates the actual sport too accurately. What I mean by this is that those who break too early from the peloton invariably get swallowed up later, just like in real life. However, for me this makes up to the first half of the game irrelevant! I would be curious to know if those enjoying the game enjoy racing or cycling themselves.

    To a certain extent, the split tonight was your own fault – after excellent games of Terra Mystica and Lords of Waterdeep over the last couple of weeks, I think a few of us needed another fix of worker placement! As for Agricola, it really was the first time that I played it properly, and even though we played the more basic “family” rules, I found it to be an excellent game. I am looking forward to playing it again, using the full rules the next time!

  2. Being a part of the Leader 1 group and in fact the breakaway group on the hill climb of the race I think I am in a good position to comment 🙂

    I am not a cycling fan but am a huge sports fan. Rallyman and Formula D are two of my favorite games (as is Agricola). I loved Leader 1. I think the initial breakaway group played it badly. My Red rider who is suited to hills broke at the right time but broke too hard when he did. You are right in that it is actually quite realistic. Slipstreaming really does reward teamwork…between players. Especially useful for cyclists not in their preferred terrain. There are tons of map possibility switch multiple hills. The hill climbers penalty of only 1 movement on flats makes him a poor choice for a map with only one hill but even then he does allow you to have some control over the race. I loved it anyway and now have another racing game in the post (TurfMaster) 🙂

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