Friday, 11 October 2013

Probably Thou Art a Cruel Mistress

Today, it’s me, Gonzalo, who takes the role of  scribe of these chronicles, so please we patient with my stumbling English.

Last Tuesday Adam, Joe and me met at Joe’s for some board game action. I felt like playing Smash Up, so I brought it and shamelessly forced them to humour me. It’s a crazy area control game, played with cards, in wich you take two factions (decks), shuffle them together, and fight over the dominance of several bases. The factions belong to epic nerdy themes like pirates, ninjas or dinosaurs. So you can have a team up of zombie plants vs robot ninjas and alien pirates…So much for traditional, non random, trading, euro games, eh? Long story made short, you have minions and actions. You use minions for controlling the bases, and actions for gaining adventages and messing with other players.
Joe fought along the fairy ninjas, Adam was robot-russian bear cavalry and I was ghost pirates. The game dragged a little at the start, because even if the mechanics are pretty simple, there is a lot to read in each of the cards. But soon enough, we were screwing which each other, killing minions left and right, and doing all kind of witty, complicate schemes.

Around the middle of the game, Adam and myself were a little ahead. Joe face a grave conundrum, having to decide whom to grant victory.  After some thought, instead of that, he decided in the most Salomon-like way, to kill both of our minions and call it a day.
After that, I saw my chance to win, and having the biggest mouth in the known universe, I couldn’t help but comment that I had a master evil plan. Of course, Joe, hearing that, decided to play a card on me that forbade me from playing actions during the next turn, and thus keeping me from victory.
Adam took that chance and won. Damn you, Joe!!!
The score was 16,15, 12 (Adam, Gonzalo, Joe)

Then we played Kingdom Builder, even if I was weary of playing it, having read about its dryness. . They explained me the rules, and it results it wasn’t that bad at all.

I found myself enjoying and planning, and thinking I wasn’t doing that badly, when suddenly, the game ended. I don’t know how, but when the game ended, I had still scores of my little houses to build. Also, it seems that when one of the goals say the part of the board with the least settlements, and you have one with 0 settlements, that is the one with the least settlements! Can you believe it?? How it dares, using logic and language and stuff to steal my victory! Again, Adam won with 45, Joe followed with 41, and I am ashamed to confess my lousy 24.

To wrap up the night, we went for a short game of Pickomino. I don’t really want to talk about it. Stupid worms grumblegrumblegrumble
Joe 11, Adam 5, Gonzalo 2

In despite of my losing streak, I had a blast!!And next time….Revenge will be mine!
Also, we had a charming chat about the proper way to address a group of worms.

Adam 2 1 1 1 2 7
Joe1 2 3 3 3 12
Gonz3 3 2 23 13
Andrew415 5520


  1. Nice write-up Gonz! I think you fell foul of the same rule Joe and I did, when we thought building no huts would be the "least". Adam interpreted it correctly and our dreams were blown out of the water.

    See you Saturday - we'll be four I think; possibly five...

  2. Damn it - why did my long and erudite comment not publish!? Aaaaargh! Oh well, I'll rewrite the short stupid version...

  3. It was the same rule Sam. I did point it out when the score card came out (I think), but it's impossible to assimilate everything when you're being taught a game.
    And later I saw Gonz move his only settlement out of a quadrant, and meant to reiterate it but was distracted by my own plans. Honest!

    I do like Kingdom Builder a lot - need to play more. I felt utterly at the mercy of my cards; early I scored two 'place new settlement on desert' tiles, and drew desert after desert. It meant I had an empty quadrant, which would have left me bereft of scoring that card. It took me most of the game fill the enormous desert but I managed it on the very last go, allowing me to play my final turn in the fourth quadrant, scoring that card and a couple more horizontal rows. Adam had unfortunately for me scored a couple of castles - something neither Gonz nor I were able to do - that would have swung it for me I reckon.

    Smash Up was mmm, okay. It felt a lot lke Blood Bowl: Team Manager - just as silly and chaotic, but slightly more streamlined, and not requiring players to invest quite so much in the theme. It played a bit too long given the chaoticness, but as Gonz pointed out there was a lot of info on the cards to get to grips with. Once you know what they do it would be much faster - however . . . given the number of factions, getting to grips with all the cards would take a *lot* of play, and I'm not sure I was enamoured enough to put in that kind of commitment. Had we played again I'd have wanted to go with the fairy ninjas again, rather than try and learn a whole new deck.

    Great write-up Gonz, thanks! Can't make saturday unfortunately, but have fun . . .

  4. Oaky I wrote the long stupid version.

  5. I enjoyed Smash Up far more than Blood Bowl, but I've no idea how I won - I suspect its a little bit random.

    Kingdom Builder is still great, I had a good first round and then coasted through without paying much attention to what anyone else was doing. Meaning I was surprised both when Joe ended the game a round earlier than I wanted and when Gon turned out not to have any settlements in one quadrant. Sorry for not spotting that Gon! I think there is a lot of depth to planning how to scatter your settlements around the board while leaving yourself the flexibility to deal with getting landed with the same card over and over. Although there wasn't much Joe could do with all those deserts...

    As for Pickonimo - are there magnets in that dice arena Joe?