Thursday, 5 September 2013

Chips with everything!

It was the third Roll for the Soul evening, and after the hoards that attended last time, this week we were somewhat fewer in number. Five, at most, with only four playing at once. At first, there were two: Adam and Joe, playing Zooloretto. I watched for a bit and discussed with the cafe owner the fact that board gamers don’t ask for a glass with their bottle of beer, for want of precious table space. The game itself is baffling, and Adam won as I recall. But Joe’s chips were the real winner. Very nice, they were.

Then Hannah arrived and we bagsied a bigger table (not the sticky one in the corner, though) and played Tsuro of the Seas sans dragons. I won, thanks to Adam and Hannah passing the chance to finish me off to each other until I was able to place a tile that sent them both off the board together. Joe came in second once the space in his corner ran out.

We were perhaps a little put out by the fact that, outside, a family were playing an interesting board game, which involved using a length of elastic to twang small wooden pucks through a gap in a centre partition, while your opponent tries to do the same. I wish we'd popped out to ask what it was, because I can't find it on the internet. Alas, our geek pride wouldn't allow it.

Then we played a new game. Sticheln. The simple game of trumps, except you want to avoid tricks with a certain suit, and the first card in a round is never trumps. If it sounds peculiar, then it should. But I think we got the hang of it fairly quickly.

Hannah misunderstood the rules and went through the first round trying to not pick up tricks at all, but she has an excuse. We were all distracted by a big bowl of chips being delivered to our table for free since the chef had made them by mistake.

After round one, Katy arrived, and watched us play a second round of Sticheln while she ate roast veg in a wrap or something. With chips! By now, though, we’d all had our fill so she did not have to put up with us diving in like starving seagulls.

As far as the scores went, Joe scored most (9) in round one and Adam scored most (10) in round two, with everyone else getting negative points. I enjoyed it. It’s got a flavour of 6nimmt, but without taking up so much space and also it has the added aspect of sometimes wanting to pick up cards.

Afterwards, we pondered about what the five of us could play. Then Katy said she had to dash off in a bit, so we pondered about what the four of us could play. Then Hannah said she should probably go soon, too, so the three of us decided to play Trains! The Japanese train game that is just Dominion with a board and cubes and stuff.

The idea is to use your hand of five cards (which gets recycled into your own personal deck a la Dominion) to connect and upgrade stations around Japanese cities. I chose the Osaka side of the board, since I’ve been there twice and I was able to say “I’ve been there” whenever certain stations were mentioned.

It was very Dominion-ish. I’m not convinced the board made a huge difference, but it has been a long time since I played Dominion. Adam said he was enjoying it even before he won (beating Joe by two or three points, I was miles behind). Maybe it needs a little more time for it to grow on me.

Otherwise, a nice evening and, hopefully with a little more publicity, we can get right back to an attendance in double figures next time.


  1. You didn't actually say you'd been to any of the stations did you?

  2. The yellow vp cards, while costing similar amounts as the VP cards in Dominion (3,5 & 8 gold), net far fewer points (1,2 & 4 VP), and clog up your hand twice as fast, so the board does have to be part of your strategy I think.
    And the board does make the game much more interactive than Dominion I reckon. The game we played was slightly odd in that we only had one card that would allow laying rails, at basic cost, so expanding our networks was a bit of a struggle at times.

    I enjoyed my first Roll for the Soul, despite the paucity of willing newbies - we were there, and that's what matters. And the chips..!

  3. I said "I've been there" a couple of times at the start. Adam, I think you were too busy working out your winning victory to hear me.

  4. Found it:

    I liked Trains, the waste cards and boards meant it played pretty different to Dominion, but still had the essential fun.