Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ailing Frontiers

Where would we be without games? Just a bunch of people, aged thirty plus, sitting around a table and staring at each other. Or rather, sitting around two tables. For tonight GNN split into two groups in two different places. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Both Joe and Sam were housebound this Tuesday, so Martin went to Joe’s for some two-player Wir Sind Das Volk, the game that tries to work out what Honecker did wrong, apparently.

We, on the other hand, were four in number: host Sam, and Ian, Andy and me all braving the elements.

Our first game was Alien Frontiers, undergoing a bit of a revival. Sam and I had both played it recently and enjoyed it, and Andy mentioned on the blog that he liked it, so it was only a case of teaching Ian and we were on our way into galactic super-space with knobs on!

Well, all I can say is that I got an abrupt reminder of why it got traded away in the first place. In a four player game, there is a lot of waiting between goes, with no opportunity to plan ahead. I found it really quite dull. Waiting that long to roll some dice which won’t be what you want is no fun at all.

Andy 10
Sam 5 (wins on Alien Tech cards)
Ian 5
Andrew 4

After this, we looked for something to fill an hour or two. We chose Ra and what a unique game it was. Not just because I won (my first leaderboard win on Ra) but because of the very few successful bids that Andy made. He made none in the first round, two in the second, and then none again in the final round. Unsurprisingly, he scored fewer points than he began with.

I managed to get my Nile to flood each round, and Sam got the Pharaoh bonus later in the game. Ian had a few buildings.

Andrew 43
Sam 33
Ian 21
Andy 8

We ended with a rousing game of Love Letter. It was first to three. We bluffed and battled and at one point it was Sam 1, Andy 1, Andrew 1, Ian 0. But then the Ian machine shifted into gear (ie, poured himself another whiskey) and won three in a row, sealing the win.

Ian 3
Andy 1
Andrew 1
Sam 1

And all of this means that the form table looks a little bit something like this...

Katy 1 3 2 2 1 9
Andrew 2 1 4 1 1 9
Martin 2 2 1 3 1 9
Jon 2 2 2 2 1 9
Matt 4 1 2 1 2 10
Sam 2 2 2 2 3 11
Andy 2 4 1 2 2 11
Ian 1 3 3 3 2 12
Hannah 3 3 2 2 2 12
Joe 2 1 3 3 4 13
Chris 2 5 1 1 4 13
Anja 2 1 1 5 5 14
Adam 3 2 2 4 4 15
Steve 3 3 5 1 3 15
Stanley 3 2 4 1 5 15


  1. Honecker increased the living standards of East Germans to unsustainable levels, forcing a total economic collapse at the end of the 70s. At least he did I our game, the first where I've played the special Honecker card.

    You guys Ra-ed without me! Pharaoh nuff I suppose. Good old Ra.

  2. The problem with Alien Frontier is that the best way to win is to have lots of cards, and the best way to slow the game down and ruin it is to have lots of cards. This can be overlooked in the two-player game. It can't be ignored in a four-player game.

  3. Might be worth trying a non-card variant, where the thing-that-gets-cards gets you something else instead. Maybe a run of four means you can pick up 4 resources of your choice from the bank, or move a settlement. Or X.