Saturday, 30 November 2013

Bad Lieutenant

Friday, and I realised the next three nights I'd be home alone, bar the gentle snoring of Stanley and Joe upstairs. I quickly despatched some desperate texts and managed to wrangle two people to play with me - GNN linchpin Andrew, and Matt, who has been tempted to join us for some time but until now unable to.

It was not exactly a baptism of fire. We didn't start with Brass - I don't have it, for a start. And I don't remember it. But Lords of Waterdeep, whilst being friendly to the newcomer, offers enough depth to feel like there's something going on beneath the surface. Matt might be new to GNN but he's played his fair share of games - Samurai and Cosmic Encounter were mentioned - and quickly got up to speed.

Unfortunately for him he picked up the Lieutenant quest. Normally that'd be a good thing, but the Lieutenant has history with us of being a little too effective, and Andrew was not about to let Matt get him operative early in the game. Matt's cubes became targeted as Andrew began a series of intrigues down at the docks, and whilst he forwent helping Matt out I became the grateful recipient of a bunch of intrigue by-products.

Andrew was going for his big-scoring quests, and surged into an early lead. Matt was trying to recruit the Lieutenant but became side-tracked with other, more achievable targets, and didn't actually recruit him until the end of round four.

consider yourself placated

I was smiled on by fate. The first quests I completed were Plot Quests and gave me cubes and money whenever I picked up Fighters or Rogues. Andrew and Matt both built buildings that gave both resources. And I had a Lord who rewarded Warfare and Skullduggery Quests - which in the main require fighters and rogues. Though I only managed one big mission I accrued a series of small ones, and picked up 48 points at the end of the game. Matt also had concentrated on the bonus missions, and skipped past Andrew into second for an impressive debut second place at LoW:

Sam 227
Matt 194
Andrew 192

As has been said many times - except by Adam - it's such a good game. Once you know the basic premise - complete quests - almost everything else pretty much explains itself.

It was still fairly early, so we decided on Medici as a reasonably short game. A few years back this got played a lot but Andrew and I were both a bit rusty on the rules. For those not in the know, the idea is you go down to the docks three mornings in a row and try and maximize what you're picking up from the ships unloading there. Similar to Ra in that you can play it safe or push your luck; either can end up the winning strategy depending on what the luck is - for both you and others.

a shipment of toilet brushes were thrown in the sea

Matt and I began well and after rounds one and two we were fighting over the lead while Andrew lagged ten or so points back. But in the final round I was out-savvyed by both and ended up with a free set of junk - I was lucky to scramble past Matt in the final reckoning, but we both stared open-mouthed as Andrew cut a swathe through the docks, picking up most valuable boat and beating us out on the colored bonuses on the board:

Andrew 156
Sam 119
Matt 111

Matt unsurprisingly was more enamored of Waterdeep than Medici, and though I like some things about Knizia's boat auctioning, I was surprised we played it so much once upon a time. But I guess that was before Joe and I lost all self-control over games purchasing...

Nice to see Matt and hopefully, now he sees his name on the leaderboard, he won't be able to resist joining us one Tuesday soon!

Adam 2 2 2 1 3 10
Andrew1 3 1 3 3 11
Gonz1 1 3 5 2 12
Sam2 1 3 1 5 12
Chris1 1 3 4 5 14
Joe4 2 3 3 2 14
Quentin4 1 1 5 3 14
Matt3 2 5 5 5 20
Hannah2 5 55 5 22
Steve2 5 55 5 22
Anja3 5 55 5 23


  1. Second on the form table! Get in!

    I got a pile of luck in Medici on that last round, as there weren't enough tiles in the bag to finish everyone's boat. I had three spaces, and there were three tiles in the bag. I could just pick them up cheap, while Matt and Sam sailed off still with space in the cargo holds. Also, the colours were kind, as they pushed me into the bonus areas on three different types of goods. Certainly my best showing on the game.

  2. It's okay but it's not Ra (not that I'm an enormous Ra fan) I think a better board for Medici would really help - and not having to faff about priming the bag before each round...

  3. I think it's a great game and it plays fast. I'm probably in the minority here but I prefer it to Ra. I quite like those types of risk reward games as they rely on a bit of calculation but also gut feel and weighing of the individual situations.