Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Ships, towers, and submarines

This week's GNN nearly didn't happen, which I believe (I cannot fully recall) would have been a first since the inception of the blog. With the Eastonites busy with nappies and sleep deprivation, Joe unable to host and Andrew poorly, it took a plaintive email from Katy to stir the collective consciousness to life.

I was supposed to be off out on a beer-laden jolly at work, but I decided I was too tired to face two hours of drinking before tea even started, so stepped in to host at the last minute.

Come 7.30 Katy, Ian and Andy appeared at the door, and I forced them to play Riff Raff. This game (see previous post for description) is a lot of fun, unless you're Andy, who announced near the end he didn't like balancing games at all. This began a trio of disdainful verdicts that ran through the evening, with Ian next to bring judgement.

 Riff Raff

But before that happened, Katy won her inaugural seagoing adventure with Riff Raff drawing to a close tight at the top, but with Andy rolling around in the hold, being sick on himself:

Katy 0
Sam 1
Ian 2
Andy 18

We stepped into the front room to admire my shelving pick the next game. I got a bit excited when I realised Andy knew the rules to Firenze, and made an executive decision that he teach us. "It's not a long game!" I trilled, like a town planner in front of the media expecting a bus to sail around the corner on time. Oh, Sammy.

So in Firenze we're all trying to build the towers in the town and get points for doing so. That much was straightforward and easy to pick up. The vagaries of strategy and tactics come in the cards, of which you select one at the start of every turn. The problem was my set of Firenze is German, so there was an awful lot of checking the photocopied English rules, making sure we had the right card, and then attempting to remember what the card did. Andy had been playing online and felt comfortable, so much so that he did at one point get labelled "tower c**t".

Germ of an idea

Katy didn't seem to be that perplexed after some first round confusion. I remained slightly bamboozled throughout, only relaxing slightly when I focused on an obvious plan and ignored everything else (probably to my cost). Ian however had a gaming meltdown, going from semi-fluent in German and semi-lucid on the game to suddenly unable to compute anything - and fatalistically allowing Andy and Katy to take his last two turns for him while he sat and shook his head, like a broken man.

a building site in Florence

Andy, as we thought he might, walked away with it. Ian announced he didn't like the game, with a reasonable degree of conviction. I was disappointed but I don't really feel I've played it yet - I never truly got past asking for translations and wondering what the hell was going on.

Andy 61
Katy 41
Sam 38
Ian 27

It had taken what we in gaming circles call "fucking ages" to play, and we desperately needed some light relief. I was canvassing for Push It when Katy announced she had Deep Sea Adventure so we played that instead. We also played Pretense (non-leaderboard) which I won by getting Katy to change seats with me and dismissing her suspicions that I was about to win Pretense by saying how far-fetched the idea was.

That was mid-adventure, which Katy played with abandon, announcing she never wins whilst going to hair-raising depths of the ocean while the rest of us legged it back to the sub. Andy, despite trying to play safer, never got anywhere. I hedged my bets, mixing some safety play with one bit of luck-pushing.  Unlike my similar Incan Gold tactics, it proved a decent manoeuvre:

Sam 30
Ian 23
Katy 20
Andy 0

With 11 o'clock showing on the clock, we drew the curtain on an unusually quiet Tuesday that had a little bit of everything  - old favourites, new brain-burners, dexterity challenges and push-your-luck dice-rollers. Plus Katy dissing her own game at the end, making up the trio of unimpressed gamers.* But despite that, we had fun.

*she didn't diss the game, actually, just her record in it.


  1. Firenze was odd. I quite liked it initially, but as the game slowed down and became a bit more mathy my enjoyment waned.

    After spending a bit too much I found myself in the position of having no bricks to do anything with, and I couldn't compute what would maximize my points. So I basically gave up! Quite ignoble of me and I apologize if I went a bit sulky.

    All that said I'd be tempted to give it another go, but perhaps only if some translated cards turn up.

    I think Riff Raff and Deep Sea Adventure are great though, and it was an enjoyable evening as usual, so thanks folks!

  2. Sorry to have missed it. It sounds like it was fun. Although maybe not for everyone at the same time.

  3. Ian I had a similar experience, albeit more dilute and spread across the game as a whole. I could never remember what my own cards did, so the idea I would factor anybody else's into my equations was unlikely. I also forgot about the flag-scoring and when I saw them pointed out I remember them wrong. Ah, games eh?

    I too think Riff Raff (and Depp Sea Adventure) are great.

  4. Firenze is ranked as a 'family game' on BGG...

  5. Given your noted lack of love for 'text on cards', Sam, I can only imagine what 'text on cards in German' must have done to you . . .
    Sorry to have had to bail out at the last minute - was a great shame, but sensible all things considered. Damn sensibleness! Damn its eyes!

  6. Yeah, I should apologize for foisting it on everyone. But I do remember watching a run-through and thinking "that looks fun!" And Andy didn't correct us, so it's partly his fault. Right, Andy?

    Sensibleness schmensibleness

  7. I had a lovely evening yesterday just looking through old entries on the GNN blog, and I found two occasions when a GNN meet didn't happen: 31st May 2011 and 20th July 2013. Both times it was due to holidays and families. And next week is the Tuesday after Easter! Will it happen again?

  8. Yeah I was fairly sure there was a precedent for a no-GNN week.
    I'm keen and optimistic that i should be able to host or travel next Tuesday....

  9. Firenze is a fairly short game, but there's a lot to take in for a first play, and most of that is the cards. Ihave clocked up more than sixty plays of the game, but that was my first ever face-to-face play of the actual boardgame. It's easier when the computer does the work of reminding you of the rules...

    I'm hopeless at dexterity games, which is probably why I generally dislike them.