Saturday, 23 May 2015

And I would walk six thousand miles

With the mud of old Japan still clinging to my shoes, I found myself at Steve and Anja’s place after a day of planes, trains and Bristol traffic jams. Steve and Anja had recently been to visit Snowdonia and were now inspired to play the game of the same name. There was even talk of a double-header, with two tables of Snowdonia competing simultaneously. Such decadence!

Joining us tonight were Andy (complete with his unused copy of Snowdonia), Martin, Adam, Hannah, Katy, and Sam. Some of us began with a rousing game of Pairs (keeping the score on a child’s blackboard) as others of us were caught up in baby duty or still stuck commuting.

Pairs invited people to tempt fate as they ask for just one more card. Martin did especially well, confidently saying “The mushrooms are all in here” (meaning the discard pack) before being dealt another mushroom to go with the one he already had.

Katy did so badly in her first few rounds that she decided to shoot for the moon and go out each round. Meanwhile, Anja had started the game but was called away before too long. We kept dealing her in and guessing what she might have done if she’d still been playing. There was also a lot of quick dealing, with a couple of occasions were cards were given out before the word “twist” was uttered. Martin was handed a card just because he thoughtfully said to himself “I need...” He went bust. It’s a cruel world.

Andy 25
Adam 24
Andrew 14
Martin 14
Sam 13
“Anja” 10
Katy 0

Then we split into two groups. Andy, Steve, Anja and myself set up Snowdonia, while Adam, Katy, Martin and Sam tried Sam’s new family game Relic Expedition. Although in the capable hands of Martin and Katy, there’s no such thing as a family game as the swearwords flew thick and fast. Or maybe I misunderstood what I overheard, and they were actually discussing Balzac. I know nothing about the game though.

1. Martin
2. Adam
3. Katy
4. Sam

By the time that had finished, we’d just about set up Snowdonia. Adam went home to complete his daddy duties and the other three played The Game, a co-operative card game using a pack of 6nimmt. They succeeded, with Sam declaring “This game’s too easy!”

Next they played one of the games they’d asked me to get while in Japan: Deep Sea Adventure. This game of risk and reward, where people dive for treasure while risking running out of air, has been such a hit with Katy that it became the first board game she ever bought. There were cries of despair and joy (about a 3:1 ratio, I think) and it ended with Katy pointing out how much she liked it, even though she lost.

Sam 24
Martin 21
Katy 11

About halfway through the evening, us playing Snowdonia noticed that we had overlooked the very part of the game that triggers the end: building the track up Snowdonia. All we had were some very well appointed but remote stations dotted along the route, with no means to get to them. It was already getting late, so I bit the bullet and started building tracks with Andy following suit.

There was enough time for the other group to play another new game from Japan: Go Stop. I don’t know anything about this, and Martin has only a rudimentary knowledge of the rules with some details still unknown.

Sam 3
Katy 2
Martin 1

Snowdonia was still not quite complete, so the other three had a conversation! Amazing! Nobody noted the scores, though.

Snowdonia finally ended. My trainless/coalless strategy did not work.

Anja 107
Andy 101
Steve 100
Andrew 77

And that was that for the evening. Having used the power of board games to fend off jet lag, I got a lift back home and fell into bed.


  1. Sounds like a very fun evening, sorry I missed it. Welcome back Andrew!

  2. I will charitably say that Relic Expedition was... not for me. It didn't seem to quite know whether it wanted to be a fun, silly, family game or a serious game with a big rulebook and lots of fiddly little chits. I'll be interested to hear how it goes with your boys, Sam.

    The Game definitely seems too easy so far. If we try again, let's do it with 3 cards per turn instead of 2.

    Deep Sea Adventure was great - a nice fresh take on the push-your-luck of Incan Gold et al. And so pretty!

    Hard to judge Go/Stop on that play other than that it's definitely not a 3p game. I suspect the more the better, so I'll suggest it next time we've got that awkward 6.

  3. Yes good fun. Martin Stanley and I played Relic Expedition today (6.45am) and I'd say that A. yes, too fiddly and B. animals too snarky. Stan and Joe were excited by the animals but slightly underwhelmed that they just did rotten things. I reckon having helpful animals would be nicer - monkey carries something for you, panther can carry you two hexes instead of one and boar through the scrub for one action... that type of thing.

    We had a similar endgame where I had all the relics I needed and was sat on a helipad only to twice roll a 2 on the action die. That was all Stan needed to catch me up... whilst that element was funny today (and last night) I think repeated plays would just annoy. The game as a whole isn't quite friendly enough for kids yet not deep enough for adults. But as I said I think some house rules could make it a keeper - certainly the exploration is fun. And hearing Martin's voice climb an octave every turn was also entertaining!

    Deep Sea Adventure was really lovely.

  4. I wasn't sure about Go Stop at all at first but I think that was the sheer amount of gaffing about moving cards around the table. Once we streamlined that it improved but yeah definitely seems like a 5 or 6 player rather than three.

  5. Good to have you back Andrew - shame Hannah and Adam couldn't hang about.

  6. Hey a snake in Relic Expedition could function as a vine!

  7. Turns out Deep Sea Adventure has the same designer as Kobayakawa and also Hattari, which I enjoyed when I tried it too.

  8. Love Deep Sea Adventure - excellent choice of purchase, Katy!

  9. Really pleased to have got a game of Snowdonia in - must do it again soon while I remember how to play.

    One thing we did get wrong was that you can place on any numbered space on the action cards, you don't have to place them in order from one to however many spaces there are. Important for that spot to nab the first player for the next round.