Thursday Child is full of Win – Part 3 (finally)


Who doesn’t want to take over the world?  Certainly I do and first against the wall would be those that insist I use the word WHOM at the start of a sentence like this

We got to play Imperial 2030 on Thur night too.  For those who haven’t tried this or the earlier version (just plain Imperial) you are missing out.  Imperial 2030 is a glorious map based conquer the world type game.  Playing it is like being a football manager (without the chewing gum) insofar as you never know when you’ll be given the heave ho and another bungee manger will be appointed in your place.  Them’s the breaks.  You can be doing a fantastic job of managing Europe and WHAM! someone likes it so much they buy the company.


I’ve spoken before about Imperial, it’s a game that returns to our table again and again, with a good sized group (six) it becomes the ideal desert island game.  It also plays out in a relatively short time for such an epic undertaking.  It’s quite possible to get a game completed in under three hours and that’s no bad thing.

The mantra of this game which is oft repeated is that you don’t OWN a country….. you invest in it.  Anyone who has the largest share in a country is the manager of it and controls it’s armies, production, taxation and pockets any bonuses associated with same.  What I love about this game is it’s a valid tactic to allow another player to take ownership of your country and run it better than you can and still profit from the experience.  The Ferengi would be proud.

The game is not so much about taking over the world (which is practically impossible), it’s about carving out the biggest empire you can and leeching as much tax money from it as you can before some other keen nation nips in and puts you back in your cage.  Do it right and everyone will want to buy shares in your empire, do it too right and they’ll want to muscle in and take over your operation.

There were a few new players to the game on Thur and like me first time around they struggled to get a strategy.  Although the mechanics are not that complicated and the tactics are fairly obvious an overall strategy to win the game is stupendously complex.  Mine has always been black and white.  Do your best.  Kill Drax.  It’s worked fairly well for me.  I came second so maybe my strategy needs a tweek

As players invest in countries and take ownership of them it quite often happens that they wind up controlling two or more countries and some players wind up with none in which case they become Swiss bankers (I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere).  As a Swiss banker you get to invest more often however it’s a dangerous limbo to inhabit as you no longer get bonuses for taxation when you don’t manage the country.  That said you get to invest more, but you don’t get tax bonuses, invest, tax bonuses, invest/tax…. it’s a balancing act.  I’ve seen players win purely as swiss bankers but it’s a tricky feat to do

That said owning multiple countries can be a burden, especially if they were two countries that were recently at war and you now have to untangle them and make them both profitable again.

There’s never a dull moment when you play Imperial.  When you leave the table your mind is still spinning like a gyroscope trying to figure out how to play it better and THAT’S the measure of a really good game.  /cheesy grin and wink

More of that next thur.  Hopefully I’ll have learnt the rules for Constonopolis, but there’s a fair chance I won’t




Hobby Shack in Wicklow Town to close this month


I’m sad to say that the Hobby Shack in Wicklow town will close for the last time on the 21st of June 😦

Ian who’s run the shop for the last 3 years has decided to close up and move onto pastures new and perhaps get in a bit of gaming.

He’s having a closing down sale so now would be a great time to visit.  I’m sorry to see him shut down, he provided a great venue for the local gamers, not least the last chancers.  

Best of luck in whatever venue you decide to go onto next and see you Knavecon in August Ian


“Hi all
So this post may come as a bit of a surprise to you but sadly the Hobby Shack will be closing it’s doors on the 21st of this month.
I have not made this decision lightly but it is the right decision for me and the shack.
The last two years have been great and I have enjoyed the time in the shack immensely.
I have a new adventure ahead and I am looking forward to getting my teeth into this.

I wish to thank so many people customers, suppliers and gaming clubs for travelling far and wide. The town of wicklow has been very good to me and a heartfelt thanks to all the business owners for there help and support over the last two years.”

Kneedeep in Seamen

On The Town 1

Having played Serenissisma a number of times I thought I had heard every possible Seamen joke, I had been misled….

We had a big group on Thur night and we tried our best with an eight player game of Tsuro but when it’s that size the only thing to do is split into two groups.  Our group played this.

Serenissisma is a nautical game of trading in the Mediterranean in the 14th Century.  Integral to the operation of your fleet are your seamen.  Being a group of 16yr old schoolboys at heart and mind, the game very quickly became a series of jokes about the aforementioned lads.  So what follows now is review of the proceedings liberally infused with seamen ‘jokes’…..


“Let’s not beat about the bush (you see what I did there), I’m a big fan of Serenissisma, My copy has been knocking about for a long time and only occasionally do I get to whip it out and play with it with unsuspecting gamers”

The game is played out on a map of the Mediterranean with up to four players taking control of a major power.   The map is made up of a number of ports that each supply one of seven goods Wine, Iron, Wood (of course), Cheap Plonk, Knock off CDs, (well maybe not but you get the idea.) and around 30 or so sea square   Each of these ports that produce a particular good want goods of the other types so you’re job is to zip around in your ships full to the gunwales of goods and seamen and drop them off like a merry postman, sticking your flag down to claim ports as your own and getting into or avoiding fights with other players doing the same.  A Pat Mustard of the waves if you will

There’s a limit of five spots in a ship, so the balance (and there’s always a balance in games) is between how many goods you stick on board and how man seamen you ram in there.  More seamen means more protection and speed for your ship but less space for valuable trade items.   Even more fun as you probably guessed it is to attack other players ships and take their ships and goods as prizes.

In all the games you’ve played THIS is the most unforgiving of plays.  You build up a fleet of ships, buy some goods are thinking about your Ferengi profit and BAM! some savage steams in, pistol whips your swimmers and gets all familiar your very expensive goods and ships, THEN to add insult to injury, sails off and sells your previously owned goods.  Pirate code me hoop.  This is not a safe game, once you get tangoed like this you’ll never forget it so guard your stuff well.

“The key to the game is your seamen… (waits for laughter to subside), you need seamen, lots and lots of seamen, if you’re going to succeed (oh err missus) and come out on top, you’ll need more seamen than the other fella (canned laughter). “


Once again the old puzzle, which comes first the chicken or the egg problem is evident here.  You can’t afford lots of seamen if you don’t sell lots of goods, you can’t protect your goods without lots of seamen.  So you do you’re best.  A Gamer worth their salt does this sort of thing the whole time.  Still hurts when you get holed below the keel and your plans evaporate.

The other thing I like about this game is you don’t really have time for vengeance.  Go after someone who’s wronged you and you’ll probably lose the game.  You need to pull up your big boy/girl pants and get your house back in order and then ON YES then you get to exact a revenge on them IF you have time.  So in essence get your vengeance in first and make sure you do it so they never recover.

The game ends after eight turns (more if there’s less players) and rattles along for a good 2+ hours depending on players.  There’s a good range of decisions to be made each turn and there’s very little downtime as everyone else’s move can have a big impact on you.  Some of the mechanics like getting a monopoly on certain goods and setting the prices for them can really rankle players so if you’re militarily weak it’s often a case of appeasing other players but ultimately if you don’t hire seamen and plenty you’re goosed good and proper.  As the game progresses it becomes more and more crowded with ships and it’s very much a powder keg waiting for the spark that’s most beneficial for you.  This game can be very tense at times, mostly towards the end.  It’s also possible to be really petty, sacking a person home city just because, even though you’ve got them on the ropes already.

Is it any good? Yes.  It is.  Iv’e got an older copy, a new revamped version two came out and I haven’t tried it but I understand it’s a bit different from the original but opinions are divided as to which is superior.  Will I play it again soon?  Wellllllll… probably not.  I’ve played a good bit of this game and whilst not bad it’s not as good as some newer stuff out there.  Worth getting.  Welllll again there’s better out there but that doesn’t make it bad.  Try it at the next Knavecon.  I’ll bring it along and you can join in a chorus of comments about seamen.

Don’t get me wrong I like this game but if you get overrun by someone else seamen, it can leave a bad taste in your mouth.



More of that next week






Running Rings Around – Thur


Thur night was a night of stealth and deception.  First up we played something that’s been on my shelf for a long time but never dusted off

Lord of the Rings – The Confrontation

I’ve never been a massive fan of Reiner Kniza’s LOTR games, they’re fine but the whole happy happy co-op thing just doesn’t work for me.  They’re also a bit too simplistic.  The Confrontation is another in the same style.  Same sort of box, same type of artwork but this time it’s a two player game and it’s very much not co-op (The name does sort of give it away)

The Confrontation is like a cut down version of Stratego with only nine pieces per side and the addition of combat cards. That pretty much sums it up, so feel free to get back to your life and not read the next bit.

Ah thanks for joining me again.

The game is played out on a stylized map of middle earth with Mordor on one side and the Shire on the other and a dozen or so locations in between.  Each player gets a set of nine characters and work to get either Frodo to Morodor OR the Witchking to the Shire.  Now I have no idea why the Witch King wants to get to the shire, maybe he’s heard the food it good, Maybe he’s going to take the waters, maybe he wants to buy a T-shirt that says something like “I Soured the Shire and all I got was” but if he gets there or Frodo gets to Mordor it’s game over.  Equally if three of Saurons forces make it to the shire together like a bunch of beered up soccer hooligans it’s a win for the forces of evil too.

Here’s where it gets a bit more interesting. Your opponent (via a nice set of plastic blocks you insert the cards into) can only see the back of your cards so they have no idea where your key players are, more importantly they have no idea where your hard hitters and wimps are in your mix.

When two opposing characters bump into each other they reveal their characters, each of which has a combat value and a special ability.  The special abilities are resolved straight off (Boromir in keeping with Sean Bean dies in his first combat but takes the enemy with him, The Orcs win their first battle automatically and so on), if the two characters are still standing they secretly pick an attack card with a combat value from their limited set of cards and the highest combined combat value wins.  The cards are limited btw. It’s simple, it’s neat, it’s cheap,  It’s FAST,   A game can easily be played in 20 minutes and it’s good fun.  There’s also a number of variants to it, like alternative characters and abilities, extra magic cards and so on.  As two player games go, this is a goodie and so far I’m liking it a lot.   It’s also quite a simple game and plays quite well with younger players.  All in all a winner I reckon

Next up was another game of Fury of Dracula. (Show him your cross!)


It’s great how with fresh players games can get a new lease of life.  One of last weeks players (not me) decided to take their chances as the snappy dressing Transylvania…..  and he lasted about as long as those 5 dots back there.  BOOM, staked, good and proper.  So after a quick bit of pointing and laughing we decided to have a second game with the same vampire and this one was way more interesting.

Dracula is a great game, I think the most fun is to be had as Dracula himself although it’s good to be a hunter too.  Dracula led us a VERY merry dance and unlike most other games he was popping out lady vampires to beat the band or more accurately beat we the hunters.  There are two cards in the game that are real show stoppers.  Hypnosis where you can find exactly where drac is and eh… something else that effectively lets Dracula teleport to another spot on the map.


Mid game Dracula got the first and despite our best efforts (and our worst) we didn’t get so much as a sniff of colonge of our target.  It was looking bad and after extensive searching we finally reckoned (a scientific measure) he was masquerading around England far from the maddening hunters.  With little time to go before he completed his dastardly plan and scored his six points we finally tracked him down (via hypnosis) to London and one of our number confronted him cook report style.  After a ‘robust discussion’ with Dracula he finally slipped our net and having lost more blood from his body than John Holmes he staggered off confident of a quick win.   Then I arrived, grabbed him and renditioned him right off a cliff.  Bye bye Vlad.  You came close but no cigar.

Great game.  Always fun and absolutely no shame should be be attached by us to the Dracula player for losing.


In a row.

More of this sort of things soon









Back to Thur – Being a Drax Report


I was THIS close to winning Dracula, damn those meddling kids (and by kids I mean a bunch of old blokes and one young fella)

We didn’t get to game last week so it was great to get back in the saddle, meet some good* friends* and try out a few new games.  First up was a polish special.  A favourite of this blog

“Rycerze I Zamki”.  (I reckon Countdown would have been a very different game in Polish.  “I’ll have a Consonant Kharol, and another Consonant, and another Consonant”). This is the the fourth gamephoto 4

I’ve played from this games company and they’re all great fun, also cheap as chips.  €5 for a game is just wonderful.  I suspect our man in Poland will get asked to smuggle back in several more games the next time he goes home.

Rycerze I Zamki which means Knights and Castles (My google is strong) is a very simple game, you have a set of three castle types which can be made of Wood, Brick or Stone.  Everyone starts with a set number of cards (Knights, Catapults, Archers and so on) that have a value from one to ten in these three elements.  Some better than others in the three different categories.  Each turn you draw a castle which is worth 1 or 2 points and players secretly pick two of their cards and reveal them.  Duplicates between players are removed and the combined value of both cards in the element for that castle wins it (the points value of which are totalled at the end of the game).  A few other rules like one castle being randomly removed at the start, being able to draw back some of your cards and so on make for a very interesting and very fast little game.  It’s lite, it’s fun, it’s a great filler.  All hail Rycerze I Zamki and the Polish game industry. It has yet to turn in a dud

.photo 5

Next up was something I’ve wanted to played for a few weeks now. El Grande (pronounced “Y Grande)” and featuring a Castillo (Castiyo) and a bunch of Caballero (Cabayero).  So Spanish music channel and “we don’t like your type around here” jokes were the order of the day.  El Grande is a worker placement game which came out nearly 20 years ago.  It rates high on Boardgamegeek and…. we’ll I didn’t win it, I didn’t come close, but it’s still a fine game.  Spanish music was stopped after a bit.  It was like being in a taxi to your hotel on holidays and didn’t add to the 15th century vibe.

photo 3

El Grande is set in the 15th Century funny enough where Grandes (large coffees from starbucks I assume) vie for power and more importantly score around the edge of the board

It’s all about placing your Caballero on the board and gaining dominance (biggest numbers) of as many provinces as you can come the scoring rounds, of which there are three.  Unlike life there are prizes for both second and third place when a region is scored, but any number of cards and cock blockery can affect things.

The game has got elements from Eight Minute Empire in fact Eight Minute Empire is like a lite version of El Grande in every way.  It also borrows a tiny bit from a Study in Emerald (or maybe I just really Like ASIE and I want to work it into every blog) The Caballero work in a similar manner where you have a two stage staging area where you firstly draw them into your muster point from the void (provinces) then use another action to place them on the board.

photo 2

The game plays out over nine rounds after 3,6 and 9 there are scoring and that’s it.  You do you best.  A clever mechanic is your power cards which are finite and dictate your play order.  The earlier you play a round based on your power card the less Caballero you get to bring to bear on the board so it’s a juggling act.  Going early gets you an early pick of the action cards which do things like, score certain areas once off, move existing pieces, move the king who exerts power on a certain area and everyone fawns over him by only deploying men in adjacent regions.

It’s a nice game.  It’s also medium fast so it should be possible to get it all done and dusted in ninety minutes I would guess.  It plays five which is sort of a magic number for gaming and it’s close and fun throughout.  I started scoring early on and looked good but got caught up mid game and was left coughing scoring dust late game.  There’s a bit of a pattern here but, we need to play more of this.   All in all I like it.  I’m still a bit unsure of it but it’s definitely good, not stellar but good.  Maybe replays will make it stellar.  Who knows

Having finished this fairly quickly we had to play something else of medium length.  Some of the lads hadn’t played Fury of Dracula (or Furry Dracula if you prefer) so they got introduced in quick order.  To paraphrase Mannequin there are two things I like doing, fighting and playing Dracula.  I got to play Dracula again.

Fury of Dracula is like a more complex version of Letters from Whitechapel, which is itself a more complex version of Scotland yard.  Before we go any further let me declare my interest before the right honourables.  I LOVE this game.  I loved it from day one and still love it now.  It’s stupendous.  One person plays Dracula and the other four players play various vampire hunters who must work together to flush him out and stake him good.  Dracula who steals the show must spend his time sneaking around Europe, setting traps, avoiding pursuit, hiding during the day, attacking hunters at night and leading the hunters a merry dance.  It’s all good.

Fights ensue, Dracula is more than a match for hunters at night but weak and mortal during the day.  He had a limited amount of blood points that get whittled away from fights, spell casting and sea travel and when it’s down to zero it’s photo 1

good night Vienna.  The Hunters have only six days to find the fiend, less if he starts killing them off and gaining bonus points that way.  But enough about the rules, more of the merry dance.

I started off as far away from the hunters as possible and slowly ambled my way up from Greece while the aforementioned scratched (amongst other things) their heads trying to find me.  It was day two before I popped up and I quickly disappeared again.   I bumped off Nina Harker (oh err missus) and it was looking rosey until the hunters started to successfully second guess me.   A robust exchange happened in Prague and there were wigs and fangs on the green and shillelagh law ruled the day.  Dracula just about survived as did one of the hunters so he was in trouble BUT close to getting his six points and winning.  Then disaster struck, I took the group for fools (and I was right) but they stumbled onto me anyway and like the scene in Full Metal Jacket with the bars of soap in the pillowcases I got seven shades beat out of me and died my undeath again.  THIS CLOSE I was THIS CLOSE to winning

Great game and of course we got a rule or two wrong even though we’ve played it several times before

More of this next Thur





Nations Thur – Being a Drax Report

UNAMID Peacekeepers on Patrol

There are at least a dozen jokes made each gaming session, all of them based on the game we’re playing and all schoolboy humour of the highest order.  Some of them are even funny. Some of them.  “Have you got wood for sheep?” (Settles or Catan), “Fill my ship with Seamen” (Serenissima), “My Turtle wins because he’s on top” (Pedzace Zotwie).  Yes, the evenings just fly by!  A new one materialised last night  “you’re man rich”.  But I digress

If you’re now in innuendo mode please switch back to normal or it will take twice as long to read this review

It was a hot, wet night in Murroe.  Ok OK, stop it now.  back to normal I said.  We started with a quick lash of eight minute empire which took fifteen minutes with four players.  enough said about that

Then the piece of resistance arrived.  NATIONS



For some reason madam yer wan or whomever it is reminds me of Supergirl doing here whole, “leave this place and do no harm” thing but that’s neither here nor there.  

Nations is a game quite similar to Through the ages but quite different in ways

I’ve ranted about Through the ages before.  It’s a GREAT game, a great great game however like all great games it has it’s faults, it’s long (3-4 hours+), it’s only four players, it doesn’t have much variety, it’s unforgiving and it only works well if all the players are at the same level.

photo 3

It’s like the designers of Nations decided to rewrite it and change all of those points. so here goes

Nations is

  • Up to Five Players
  • Plays in maybe 2 hours
  • It has a HUGE variety of cards
  • Wars and mistakes aren’t the end of the world
  • you can handicap/boost players based on their skills

Actually the more I think about it the more I like it.

Everyone starts in the stone age with a few basic buildings that allow you to raise a meagre amount of food/ore/gold/stability/research ALL of which are important

There’s a touch of eclipse about it, insofar as you can start with a standard civilisation where everyone has the same abilities from the off or you can pick a different one so say Egyptians start with the pyramids which give them bonuses in one area but miss out on something a basic nation gets.  I like that it’s neat.

photo 2

As the game progresses you can spend gold to buy advanced buildings, advisor’s (leaders), military units, battles, wars and wonders all of which adjust and affect the income and spend of your various resources.  It’s a fairly complex game but you’ll pick it up pretty quickly if it’s explained right (which it was) and it’s certainly a little simpler to play that Through the ages.  Gone is happiness of your people, gone is revolt (well it works differently) and the whole thing feels a little bit easier to juggle without the killer of TTA where if you mess up one little thing you might as well give up now.

I’m not going to explain all the rules it’s far too complex and better rule readers than I can do that on boardgamegeek but here’s a few highlights

Like TTA it’s all about getting the right cards, getting the right rhythm for you building whilst blocking others from doing the same.  Again like TTA you don’t directly affect others you just throw massive military spanners in the works and deflect people from the important purpose of building libraries and onto the important business of building spears.

There are eight rounds in the game spanning four ages after which each round a mini scoring round happens with a big score at the end.  There’s several ways to pick up and quite often lose victory points and no one path to victory.

Something I really like about the game is you get a ton of cards for each age and you only pick a few so replay value of this game is very high indeed and there will never be two games exactly the same.

Our game rattled on with a few interruptions for about 2.5 hours.  Not bad at all.  I lost,  it’s ok, I’m over it now. I was playing to learn and it was my first game and lots of reasons which I don’t need to explain.  Let’s move on, nothing to see here.

Would I buy it?  yes I would.  It’s a great game.  It does need another game for it to sink in but I really liked it and all those bullet points had me sold from the get go.   The production values of the game are good, better than most but not quite up there with Fantasy Flight games.  I can see this being reprinted in different stock at some stage but any copy is good.

photo 1

This is solid, fun game, I take my hat off to the designers who seem to have gotten it all right.  If you like TTA you’ll love this game

We rounded off with a bit of knifey spoony coup (don’t ask)

More of that next week



Eight Minute Thur – Being a Drax Report


It’s quite usual for players to just pip others by a point or two to win a game, truth be told it’s the best part of gaming however whenever a final score is  0 v 80 v 2,800,000 questions need to be asked…..

We started the evening with  Eight Minute Empire


It’s a filler game but unusually it’s an map based empire game which usually take a number of hours to play out.  Not so in this case, around twenty minutes and you’re done.  The game is simplicity itself and it is very elegant.  There is nothing superfluous about EME, you can pick up the rules in 5 minutes and it has elements from a number of it’s bigger cousins.

Each player starts with a set amount of money used to buy a card each turn from a line of six in a similar way to through the ages or small world.  The further up the line the more expensive they are.  As cards are bought the line is replenished from the deck in an conveyor style.   Once you’ve played a certain amount of turns based on number of players it’s game over and count the score.

The cards have three functions, they keep a track of how many turns you’ve taken, they each have a resource type which is used for scoring at the end (you’re looking to collect sets of resources for bonus points just like 7 wonders) and they dictate the action you can take this turn.

Each players starts with three armies in the central part of the map (the game comes with a couple of maps and it would be easy to knock together new ones on an A4) and depending on the card they pick they can


Move their troops, Muster more either at the start or where they have a city, build a city, destroy enemy troops, cross water to another continent.  The whole idea is to have the most guys in a particular region and better still have dominance of a continent each worth a few points.just like Age of Empires III

It’s fun, it’s quick, it’s lightweight, I can’t see fistfights starting over it but I like it and I want another game

Next up was

The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game



The RNHRG is a family friendly, STOP COME BACK IT’S GOOD! horse racing game which is a lot more fun that I had thought it would be.  Each player starts with a stable of six horse rated from 1 (Arabian Stallion) to 6 (Unwashed pantomime horse), they secretly enter each horse in a race, work out the odds, bet on a horse and then try their best to win or more sneakily help the horse they’ve bet heavily on win.  Along the way Really Nasty Cards can be thrown down to ruin a riders day, falling at jumps, stewards inquiry that sort of thing.

It’s surprisingly quick and it IS a lot of fun but there is more than a smidgen of luck involved, but then again betting is a mugs game and having done really well all game I lost it in the last two races, one of the others catapulted himself into a lead with a stellar score  £2,800,000 to my paltry £80.  Yes it’s silly, it’s fun, It’s not bad at all.  I can see this being a great xmas game for families and I’m sure we will take it out again, probably next week.

For no good reason we pulled out a kids game called Waldschattenspiel or Shadows in the woods


I’ve spoken a long time back about this, it’s very different.  One player takes the part of troll and can move around a path based on his dice roll, the others play the role of dwarfs who can move around and hide but cannot move through the light cast by the troll (who is a little tea light).  It’s a lovely idea, you play it in the dark, not so sure about the game play but it was interesting enough for a good ten minutes.  A tricky one to play at a con though !

Last off we had some more Coup which I’ve spoken about way to much and that was it

Thanks for the Caramel Squares which were both frightening and immensely satisfying to quote one of the day lads when they were revealed  “Holy Shit, there’s an inch of everything!”

Good gaming,




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.

Last Thur – Being a Drax Report


There are effectively two types of game nights, good nights and great nights.  Last thur was a great night.  We got a good group together and played some damn fine games

First up for me was Love Letter

I’m a big fan of simple games, and this really is simple, 16 cards (15 really because you remove one before you start) and away you go with 2-4 players, over several rounds.  The idea is to finish with the highest numbered card in a round and therefore win favour with the Princess either that or eliminate the others players in the round.  do it four times and you win.  Remember Fibonacci series in maths? it’s a bit like that where the previous played card affects the next played one.

I was introduced to it’s charms at Knavecon and was hooked after a couple of games.  It does take a few games to get your head around it after which you’ll be won over.  It’s also dirt cheap.  €10 or so and it comes in a nice bag.  What more could you ask for?


Next up was BOSS MONSTER


Now THIS is something special. I WANT Boss Monster.  I’m going to go and seek out a copy asap.  It’s brilliant.

You start with the aforementioned Boss Monster and over time build a dungeon with traps which attracts increasingly powerful adventurers who’s souls you want to take (by bumping them off).  It’s a bit Dungeon Keeper, bit Tower Defence.  The real fun is where you stick a spanner in someone else’s works just as they’re about to bump off said adventurers.  Typical ploys involve deactivating an opponents trap, buffing up a wimpy adventurer or a variety of sneaky nasty tricks all of which make for a brilliant gaming experience.

We played one game that lasted over an hour and it was a riot from start to finish.  Everyone came away wanting more

While this went on the other group got to grips with a game called TRIPODS which is in beta, I didn’t get to play it but it looked really good.

Next was an old classic.  Mag Blast.  Truth be told we’ve played a LOT of mag blast and although it’s a super game it can drag on a bit and this was no exception.  Also I didn’t win so it’s a silly game and we’ll never play it again 🙂  Oh and no-one made the sounds so it doesn’t count

Finished off with a bit more Love letter than we wrapped it up

Great nights gaming

More of that sort of thing




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