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.

xmas Eve Thur – Being a Drax Report


I learnt a new word (and it’s not a curse this time) “Peloton” and I’m going to use it at least half a dozen times in the review of  LEADER 1 which I received as a swap for something else that displeased me.

Leader 1 is a bicycle racing game where players through careful management of their energy race across a varied race stage against the others.

In it’s favour it’s got

  1. Can accommodate lots of player (10 I believe)
  2. It’s quick (about and hour or so)
  3. It’s fun
  4. It’s got really keen models of cyclists in a variety of colours


The rules are pretty poor being translated from another language (possibly Vulcan) to English.  That said there’s a number of rewritten rules available on the web.


It’s a fairly simple game, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and the rules can be revealed slowly to new players as the game unfolds without shouts of “you never said that!” which can often mar other games when experienced gamers sometimes try and protect new players from the intricacies of games by revealing critical rules just before they slam dunk a win.

The game starts with the Peloton, a bunch of riders all huddled together like emperor penguins and all breaking wind in front of each other seemingly, (these cyclists are a rum bunch)  The pelton which is led each turn by a different leader tips along the course which consists of flats, hills, steep climbs, descents and more flats or whatever you’re having yourself based on the setup.

Each player has one or more cyclists, each a specialist in hill climbing or sprinting or a bit of both and can decide to go for it and break from the bunch and try and make it to the finish line before the others.  The trick is to decide when to go for it and to manage the cyclist’s energy so they don’t get burnt out before the finish line.

There’s a real skill in this and real schadenfreude in seeing a rider who’s burnt all their energy get caught again by the pack.

Things like cobbled roads, slip-streaming, feeding stations add to the complexity but the game remains fast and really good fun.

The closest game to this would be Formula De or Rallyman however I think this is a far superior game to these two. There’s less luck involved (certainly less than Formula De), the tracks are much more variable and it has nice little models of cyclists (who have a habit of falling off)

One funny thing is there are no win conditions in the rules (I had it checked), so we figured it was first over the line although it could be interesting to give points based on finish position.

There’s extra rules for playing a longer game with a number of stages.  Overall like Ming I’m pleased with this and will not blast it into space until it displeases me

I didn’t win btw

Next up was the old favorite Lords of Waterdeep.  This game is still hugely popular and we had some new players who learnt it very quickly.  I DID win at this.  Great game, best game ever

More of this Next Thur




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