Back to Thur – Being a Drax Report

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

Huzzah!

Vic

 

 

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Stormy Thur – Being a Drax Report

It wasn’t actually called Stormy Thur but It’s late and I’m not checking my mail so with that in mind it’s back to 1888 for more MURDER MOST FOUL!  it’s Letters from Whitechapel

I’ve had an interest in this game for a long time and wanted to like it, so it’s great that I do like it. a lot.

As I said last week it’s a bit like Dracula but it’s simpler but it’s in no was less of a game.  In fact it’s a damn fine game on par with the Fury of Dracula.

Last week I was caught short, in the middle of my second murder (jack has to complete 4 to win) and each gets tougher to complete as the police start to close in on his hideout.  So this week a new Jack replaced me (a man used to wearing black) and boy did he lead us a merry chase!

It would have been charitable to describe the investigative team as bumbling.  the first murder happened quick sharp and jack we had NO clue where he was.  We attempted to up our game by using cheesy quotes from cop shows but even this bold step didn’t help.

Murder two happened quickly and the mayor was chewing me a new ass when we started to get a clue as to where the coffee cups in the kitchen were.   I was going to crack this case if it cost me my badge

Murder 3 (a double header) kicked off and we had at this stage used most of the clichés.  It was desperate times so we applied more brainpower to the problem and despite me getting the backup to move in and let jack free we eventually caught up to him and it came down to a 50/50 shot for him to make it to his hideout.  he lost, we won.  Brilliant detective work all around and much back slapping

Fun little game, well worth the entry fee.  It’s a definite btw for Knavecon

In a repeat of last Thur and a need to do better we washed the first game down with a Notre Dame Chaser

It’s pure worker placement with a certain amount of cock-blockery.  It’s a better game than it appears and the whole plague thing is great fun.  Can’t bate rats for entertainment.

Last week I lost on 58 points with the winner (drax) /spits on ground  getting 59

This week, he RACED ahead with a neat set of points from supporting the church early on and often.

There’s going to be a third game of this and next time it will be different (He’ll probably beat me worse and I’ll burn the game and bury the ashes)

I have a hankering for Struggle of Empires.  Once I figure out the rules (HA!) We’ll have a lash of that, maybe even next thur

Huzzah!

 

Vic

Thur Most Foul – Being a Drax Report

“He’s Hardly gone back to the scene of the crime to hide in plain site has he?”. Thus ended my promising career as Jack the Ripper in the game Letters from Whitechapel

It’s a deduction game in the vein of Curse of Dracula (highly recommended) and Scotland Yard (no idea).  One player takes the role of Jack and has to commit a number of heinous murders whilst the others take the roll of the police and try to apprehend him

Jack has to be sneaky (check) and resourceful (check) and more importantly in last nights game sneak past the Sauron like view of inspector Drax (no check).

I’m a huge fan of Fury of Dracula having played it many times and always enjoyed it.  Although the rule book looks daunting this is a simpler affair but no less fun for that.  Apart from the theme it could be easily played by youngies so maybe scotland yard which is quite similar could be substituted for this.

It’s a cracker of a game.  It’s brain meltingly hard for the police who are constantly scanning for traces of jacks movements or where his hideout might be (he has to return there after each murder).  I got to play Jack and I loved it, sneaking, backtracking, leading the police in the wrong direction, epic stuff.

The game is back in print with some minor tweaks (not to the rules) and it’s definitely one that will be replayed again and again, like say next thur

After my swift demise it was a revisit to Notre Dame

No not that Notre Dame, the other one

Notre Dame is pure worker placement.  I liked it when I played it first and I like it a bit more.  I did NOT like scoring 58 points and having Drax score 59.  That aside it’s still a nice solid game, a little different and it certainly need a number of plays before you get the swing of how it works and more importantly what’s going to come up.  Like Whitechapel this one will definitely make a reappearance , losing by 1 point aside it’s a very interesting game, theme works and it’s the right length of time to play.  I like it, not as much as Whitechapel but I still like it

More of this sort of thing next thur I say

Huzzah!

Vic

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