Wednesday, 3 February 2016

How very a-neue-ing

This evening almost ended before it began for me, as I got into my car and found that the interior rear mirror had fallen off. Quickly I strapped it back in place with some masking tape, just enough to get me to and from Martin’s place for this week’s gaming goodness.

At first there were six of us: Martin, myself, Ben, Katy, Ian and Andy. While we waited for Sam and Chris to arrive, we decided to have a game of Why First? This game rewards coming in second and, as such, we did wonder if it was too unthematic to play it first. But that didn’t stop us.

Andy shot off into an early lead, and then tried very hard to make someone else do better than him. In fact, both Katy and Ben scored more than him, but Ben was just too good at being second and so he lost. We ended with Martin muttering something about stupid random games.

Katy 9
Andy 8
Ben 11
Martin 5
Ian 0
Andrew 0

By now, everyone had arrived and we split into two. Martin, Katy, Ben and Ian quickly decided they would like to try Discworld again. The remaining four debated our options and I mentioned Tigris & Euphrates. This got a certain amount of guarded interest but perhaps it was Martin’s anger at us playing his favourite game without him that helped us decide.

And so it was, four players sat down to a game that they barely remembered. Martin kindly stopped setting up Discworld long enough to explain the rules to us. Once we were going, it was a slow thoughtful process. We vied for territory and struggled to remember the difference between an internal and an external battle.

I played quite badly, never getting anywhere near a temple, and I sealed my defeat near the end of the game by taking on Chris in a hopelessly misjudged battle. He won easily and picked up a load of points in the meantime. Sam was first to get a temple down, which meant he ended the game with 17 points in one particular colour. But it’s your weakest colour that is scored, and in the final tally Chris had the best all round game.

Chris 10
Sam 7
Andrew 6
Andy 5

And with that done, Andy was satisfied that at least he now knew for sure that he didn’t like T&E and he could trade it away.

As it happened, Discworld ended at the same time:

Ian 96
Katy 81
Martin 73
Ben 44

With Martin especially keen that I should note “piss poor” next to Ben’s score.

At this point, the teams shuffled. Sam, Martin, Andy and Ian went for Neue Heimat, an abstract-looking game with coloured blocks and hemispheres. Ben, Katy, Chris and I went for Safranito: the fun game of spice mixing.

There was a distinct lack of garlic throughout the game, which made things difficult to finish those garlicky recipes. Chris went for the secret recipe option twice, but seemingly had little luck. I was the first to complete three recipes, thus winning the game. The final places were decided by a money tie-breaker.

Andrew 3 recipes
Chris 1 recipe and $220
Katy 1 and $160
Ben 1 and $70

And also at this time, Neue Heimat ended. Martin worked out the scores and they sounded more like something you’d get at the end of an episode of QI.

Martin 9
Ian 0
Andy –17
Sam –79

I’ll leave it up to them to explain what went wrong or, indeed, if this is a normal spread of scores.

And with that, the evening was done. At the last minute, Katy said we’d forgotten to play a game in Joe’s honour (since it was his birthday, hence his absence). So, as a last minute substitute, we put Martin’s table back the way it was in honour of Joe. Hope he appreciates the gesture.

And this is the Division


  1. Neue Heimat was good, if a bit weird. Martin described it - or maybe I thought he'd described it - as a building game, and therefore I set out on a quest to build early and let them fight it out after me. But this was a ridiculously naive strategy, as Neue Heimat is about building in the same way Tigris and Euphrates is about ketchup. There's a whole bunch of things going on, and when I jokingly suggested that stashing a cheque each round would be a silly way to play, I didn't realise that Martin doing exactly that would lead to the victory so convincingly.

    By the way I scored more points than anyone else. I just also happened to score more - about a hundred more - minus points as well.

    I think I actually enjoyed Tigris! Before now I've always felt I should have enjoyed it. This time I did. Happy Birthday Joe and thanks to all. Still wanna play Why First though...

  2. I hope your enjoyment of Tigris wasn't correlated with your not playing with me :) Happy to play any time!

    Yeah, Neue Heimat is a tricky one to describe but I find it really interesting. Haven't had a a game work out quite that way before...

    I described Why First as SRB (stupid random bullshit) I think, but I actually quite like it.

    1. No, not at all Martin! Unless just having somebody there who clearly knows what they were doing has psychologically unnerved me. That's possible. But I think I finally started to get it. re Your point below, it's definitely not heavy on the rules, but there is quite a lot going on.

  3. I actually enjoyed playing E&T again, but not in that modern table top game kind of a way but rather like how I don't mind a game of Chess once in a while. It stretches your brain and you get a feeling of accomplishment afterwards.

    1. I guess I can see what you mean in that Tigris isn't really like anything that followed it. But with experienced players (who don't need to be worrying about getting the rules right any more), it plays faster (I've finished games in 45 mins), more aggressive, more dramatic and funnier! I don't actually see it as a particularly 'heavy' game at all, but it does have a big learning curve.

  4. Thanks all - I did feel as though someone, somewhere, was putting a table back the way it was in my honour on Tuesday night - around 11-ish.
    Count me in for more Tigris, I love it.