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.

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/232/serenissima-first-edition

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). “

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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.

Sorry.

 

More of that next week

Huzzah!

Vic

 

 

 

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Sudden Death Thur – Being a Drax Report

2-4 Players can often be just like the pirate code a Guideline rather than a rule.  We proved that to be the case with Bloodbowl Team Manager – Sudden Death Last night.

suddendeath

 

But before that could happen we had to have a few warm ups whilst the players assembled

First up was ZOMBIE DICE with the expansion

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/110279/zombie-dice-2-double-feature

I ordered this for my son who’s a fan of the game and it’s GREAT fun.  adds a surprising amount to a simple game.  The expansion itself is three dice

The Hunk – Features double shotguns and double brains

The Hottie – Runs away a lot but still packs a punch

Santa – Gifts for all the zombies in the audience

Each of these ‘characters’ can rescue each other should they be brained and the game becomes a little (not much) tactical.  If you have the original, you need this expansion

I ordered it via Parcel Motel (more on that in another post) and it cost €6 including postage. So great value

Next up was….

Letter of Marque.

marque

 

Since trading for this at the last Knavecon, I’ve wanted to like it.  it’s got ships. so I should like it.  After several games last night I DO like it.  It’s a good little filler and after a few games we started to learn the subtleties of it.  It’s simple it’s fun it’s a good filler. no more no less

ax2

 

NOW twas time for the meat in the sandwich.

Sudden Death.

I’ve been warming to Bloodbowl Team Manager and this expansion adds more of the same to it.  That’s not a bad thing.  There’s three new teams  Vampires, Undead and Dark Elves.  The first two were trotted out last night and both proved great fun.

Undead are all about regeneration (if you can roll the dice)

and Vampires are all about gaining blood points for attacks which increase they’re star power  (no connection with super mario)

We played it six player, bypassing all safety protocols and it proved to be very nice indeed despite a longer game.  We played three rather than four rounds and it rounded out the evening nicely (before more zombie dice)

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The Expansion doesn’t add a whole lot of new rules, the rule book for it is a four pager.

It does add extra match ups, extra events and a few more powers for the existing races.

I would have liked to have seen more but it’s a fine expansion and there were no complaints from the group.  The game is straining for a few more expansions and I can’t see Fantasy Flight leaving us too long before there’s another.

All in all a good fun game as good as the original.

Evening rounded out with some more zombie dice and the threat of Tichu but we were all a bit sensible and left it with dice

More of that next Thur

Thanks for those who prebooked for Knavecon

Huzzah!

Vic

 

a bit of THIS thur night – Being a Drax Report

Augustus-Gloop

Have I read the rules? Of COURSE I’ve read the rules.  I don’t REMEMBER any of the rules but I’ve read them.  a common enough theme for a gaming night.  I was shocked at how much I forgot about Bloodbowl Team Manager, but help was on hand

It was summer, we had a smallish group and young Borys had brought Augustus

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/137297/augustus

“It’s up for a speil award”

“it’s a bit like bingo”

“how long does it take?”

“30 mins”

“bang it out so”

Augustus plays a bit like Stone Age if you can remember that.  Each person gets a set of three which have a number of icons on them.  One person draws random icons cards from the bag and everyone tries to match them up.  If they fill their card they shout out “AVA CEASER!” and collect a reward either in score or extra ability or a bit of feck up your neighbours plans.  Now this is the way it’s supposed to work however the group being the mature people they are couldn’t help but shout out BINGO! when they completed a card or “BINGO MAXIMUS!”.  Once you complete a card you get another one from a communal picking track in the centre and you rinse and repeat. First one to seven stops the game and you count up your score.  There’s shades of Stone Age, little bit of Settlers and it’s grand and dandy. There’s a little bit more choice wise to increase your score and decisions to be made.  NOT a huge amount of cock blockery which is a pity.  I’m not a fan of solitaire type games.

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Not a fantastic game, not a bad game.  A very good kids game I reckon.  I’d play it again definitely but I wouldn’t rush out to buy it.   We couldn’t see it winning awards but what do we know

 

Next up was… 

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/90137/blood-bowl-team-manager-the-card-game

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Blood bowl Team Manager.  Now I must admit I didn’t remember a whole lot of rules for this game. I THOUGHT it would come back to me but it didn’t so I punched the game and JUST as we were assembling the dials fortune shined on us.  A passing gamer and his son who knew the game inside and out from many rainy days play dropped by to say hi and coached us in this nice little game.

Bloodbowl Team Manager is a clever little game in the style of Iliad.  You have a limited amount of player cards and you try and score as highly as possible in a match to carry off the prize.  It’s a funny one insofar as it’s difficult to explain but once you’ve played a game it sinks in and you can play away without issue after that.

We’re BIG fans of Bloodbowl (we’ve a new big league of the computer version just kicking off) and this captures the spirit of the game nicely without becoming bogged down in the long game.  It’s fairly short (If I can stop talking long enough to take my turn), it feels like bloodbowl, the production quality of the game is excellent and it’s very much a direct in your face game…… and for some reason I still can’t warm fully to it.  I don’t know what it is but I should love this game and yet it falls short for some reason.  Not sure why.  I think it’s a blip I need to play it more and I’ll tell you what, I REALLY want to get my hands on the expansion.

I recommend this game.  It’s pretty cheap for a boardgame, it’s got quite a bit of variety and it’s clever. nicely different to other games.  I have a hankering to play it again so I reckon we’ll be seeing a lot more of this and the expansion soon

More of this sort of thing

Huzzah!

Vic

Skull & Roses – Live at Conclave

skullroses

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/92415/skull-roses

Go get a stack of beermats… got them? OK now split them into sets of four and put an X on every fourth one. Well done, you now own a copy of Skull and roses, possibly the easiest game on earth to play (this side of Knifey spooney) but no less good for that.

Skull and roses is the essence of poker.. with beermats.  It’s a bluffing game and it never fails to entertain, usually with boisterous shouts.  Conclave was no different. so when we got a game running a small crowd started to gather to shout encouragement and laugh at those who lost a round.

I love Skull and Roses and I love introducing people to it.  People pick it up after a round or two, it’s quick, it portable.

Each round you place down (secretly) either a skull or a rose (in your case a beermat with an X or not) and you then bid for how many roses you can turn over (starting with your own) without encountering a skull.  encounter a skull in your turning and you lose the round and a card.  rinse and repeat until someone has completed they’re bid (challenge) twice or everyone but you has lost their cards

Clean and Simple and a great filler especially with a good sized group.

Huzzah!

Vic

Conclave Eve Thur – Being a Drax Report

q2

Had a small group on Thur so we played those games you never get a chance to play normally.  In this case we got to play

QUARRIORS!

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/91536/quarriors

For some reason ‘got to catch them all’ keeps coming to my head when I see the adverts for this game but it couldn’t be further from the reality.  Quarriors is a fair bit like Dominion with Dice

Possibly a bit unfair but there you go.  I LIKE dice games.  I like liar’s dice, I really like roll through the ages and I WANT to like Quarriors but it’s doing a damn fine job of evading my love.  Granted we had too few to really give it a lash but it doesn’t seem to scale that well.  I reckon it’s a full cast or no game.

Just like Dominion you start with two ‘hands’ of dice, this time in a bag, representing money.  you draw six dice roll them and depending on what turns up you pay ‘qudditiy’ (gold) to power them or use your GOLD to buy creatures and enhancements.  it then becomes a bit like Magic the Gathering where you attack your opponent and they defend possibly sacrificing their creatures.

Creatures surviving a round score glory (points) and the first to a set point target wins.  it’s all harmless fun and the skill is in picking a winning strategy whilst defending against your opponent.  NOW here’s the thing, I reckon we must be missing something because it’s all a bit weak.  you build the biggest creatures you can afford and attack your enemy.  Rinse and repeat.  Fastest to get to the highest score wins.  There was a distinct lack of strategy in this game so I’m going to hold off my opinion (It sucks) for now.  As I said I like dice games (this one sucks) and want to like this so watch this space.

next up was ASCENDING EMPIRES

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/37919/ascending-empires

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Now THIS is more like it.  I must admit I had no idea about it outside of the fact that it was a 4x game and it had spaceships in.  As the saying goes, you had me at spaceships.

Ascending Empires is a very different game.  You move around the map land troops, conquer planets, fight battles, carve out an empire.  All standard stuff but movement of the ships is achieved by flicking your little round ships.  If they collide with an enemy both ships die, if you outnumber your opponents ships within a certain range you destroy him.

Ships can be converted to troops to land on a planet, to build structures and to summon more troops.  Structures can be used to score end game points or allow research of better stuff.

I LOVE this game.  its simple, the flicking mechanic works perfectly.  The board could be better.  The joins between sections are a bit iffy in places and can affect your flick but it didn’t when we played it.

I’m going to bring this to Conclave (and possibly everywhere I go) and show it off.  It’s a cracker and I’m surprised it didn’t make a bigger splash when it was released.

It’s no longer in print but there’s a few copies out there so you’ll get it secondhand easily enough.

So after Conclave tomorrow it’s back to thur and more Huzzahs

Huzzah!

Vic

Conclave 2013

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I’ll be making an appearance at Conclave 2013 in Thomand Park this year (15th June).  Looks like it’s going to be a good one.  I’ll be there from 2pm onwards on Saturday running a number of board and card games.  If anyone’s about give me a shout

Vic

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