Wednesday, 21 October 2015

I’m absolutely shipping myself

Tuesday’s GNN had a new face around the table this week, as well as another one returning from the mists of the past. Ben was the first-timer, a recruit from my work, and Anja turned up for the first time in months. So there were ten of us in total around Sam’s kitchen table: Sam, Ben, Anja and myself and also Ian, Joe, Andy, Martin, Chris and Katy.

The first game was a brief first-to-11 game of Pairs while the early arrivals waited for those caught up in the Bristol Rovers traffic. Ian arrived halfway through the first round, so he was instantly dealt in and instantly went bust. I don’t think he’d even sat down.

I won in three rounds. Katy was no doubt baffled by the new design on the cards and she and Joe kept saying what fruit each card would’ve been had they been playing the original version..

Andrew 13
Ben 10
Sam 9
Ian 6
Joe 5
Katy 0

Once the others had arrived, we split into three groups. Andy, Sam and Martin decamped into the front room to play Yspahan. I’ll leave it to them to describe it in the comments. The score was

Andy 99
Sam 79
Martin 70

Katy, Ian, Joe and Chris chose Roll For The Galaxy. They sat at the far end of the table from me, Anja and Ben as we played Stone Age.

I didn’t really follow Roll For The Galaxy, but it seems to involve making a choice behind a screen and then complaining that no one else made the choice that would help you achieve what you wanted to do, such as exploring or shipping (hence the rather tenuous blog title). Early on, Chris was upset at his lack of planets, like a trainee Darth Vader who hadn’t been given any real responsibility.

The easy-to-follow player guide

At the other end of history, us cavemen were making fields and building huts out of gold, stone, clay, whatever was lying around, really. I went for fields early so food was never an issue. Anja began with an audacious one-meeple-on-gold move (it didn’t come off, though) and later went for card collecting. Ben built up his tribe.

Rather than give Anja and Ben enough time to pick up points with their cards/huge tribe I decided to burrow down through one of the piles of huts as quickly as possible and end the game, making sure my early good work was not undone.

Andrew 162
Anja 143
Ben 94

We finished at about the same time as the Rollers, and the noises coming from that end of the table were much more approving of the game’s qualities. Chris even managed to get his own planet, but a little too late.

Joe 40
Ian 38
Katy 31
Chris 29

A good win for Joe, although he did say that it helps a lot if you’ve played it before.

By this time, though, the guys in the front room had begun a game of Ra. Perhaps, after Andy’s recent record victory, Sam and Martin wanted to see Andy’s mastery of the game for themselves. Well, it wasn’t quite the whitewash as last time, but his run of form continues.

Andy 53
Sam 43
Martin 30

And while they played out that game, our groups joined forces (minus Ben and Anja, who both chose to bow out at this point) for a rousing game of Midnight Party. This game is a bit like Musical Chairs, except that you have to find a room, not a chair, and it isn’t the music that tells you when to run, it’s a ghost called Hugo.

The game consisted of the usual high jinks of stealing each others rooms and the inevitable self-Hugoing. Round two was especially brutal, with almost all the meeples being caught.

Chris –20
Ian –25
Andrew –34
Joe –44
Katy –48

Finally, we were all together. Just enough time for another game of Pairs. This time Martin’s fruit-themed copy, allowing us the chance to complain about being fucked by a blueberry.

Katy 22
Andy 15
Chris 14
Martin 12
Andrew 11
Ian 5
Sam 4
Joe 0

After that, I wended my home, but three hardy gamers weren’t done yet. Chris, Sam and Katy played two games of Bandu

1. Sam
2. Chris
3. Katy

The second game was a bit of an epic, with Sam apparently channelling the spirit of an alien architect.

1. Katy
2. Sam
3. Chris

As for the Division, at this early stage of the season, Katy is top in points, Matt has the best Points Ratio and Andy tops the medal table.


  1. It was definitely dice night - all three tables rolling away. Yspahan is a clever little game, but I'm not sure how much strategic variety it has. And the theme... what theme?

  2. I really enjoyed Roll For The Galaxy. I don't always take to engine-building games straight away as it takes me a while to get my head around resource management, but this felt quite enjoyable; it had a nice rhythm. Admittedly I was helped a lot by my starting ability, which allowed me to get double money back when exploring with yellow cubes, and supplied me with a yellow cube to do so.

    But yeah, I rather enjoyed it. Thanks everyone!

  3. Lovely evening folks. Yeah I was much buoyed by a second crack at Roll - it gelled for me. Mmmm, dices.

  4. There's a bit of a hump to get over with RFTG but as with all these games after a while the complexity actually boils down to a number of simple processes. I enjoyed it even when I didn't quite get it. It reminded me a little of Keyflower, with dice instead of meeples.

    Thanks once again Joe for your continued patience in fielding rules clarifications ever round. I must have asked you about shipping 3 times....

  5. I'm kind of with Martin on Yspahan. The theme is more of a veneer. You want your merchandise in the souks so the supervisor will put them on the camel trail - but if he does that you can lose points in the souks. An interesting twist, but thematically a bit weird. I enjoyed it but didn't wake up with an massive urgency to play again.

  6. Come on, at our age all we wake up with is a massive urge to pee!

  7. Indeed! I have to mention Katy Chris and I getting hysterical while playing Bandu. I can't remember what set us off but it's not the first time it's happened with that game.

  8. Thanks for the games, folks. Always happy to play Yspahan, though the caravan strategy is pretty powerful. My run at Ra continues, but surely not for much longer. And Pairs is just Pairs.

    For Yspahan, I didn't realise that there was an expansion, but reading on the Geek: "Make sure you are using the expansion revised rules. You must move the supervisor at least one space and only draw one card from the caravanserai when sending two cubes to the caravan at once. This mitigates the admittedly very strong caravan strategy."

    Embarrassingly, I find that the expansion resides in the Ystari box, which had been sitting unopened on my shelf! As well as the two rules above, it also suggests that you draw two cards, but only keep one, when taking the draw a card action, which would help mitigate against luck of the draw.

    As well as the three rule changes, the expansion includes a replacement deck of cards, with nine the same or similar to the original nine (of which there were two each) and nine new cards to provide more variety. I'd love to give that a whirl sometime.