Monday, 17 October 2016

This One Goes Up to 12

On Friday Andrew and I recruited Joe to teach him our current favourite 'long' game - Scythe. Joe was willing, in fact he was openly keen, but first he had to go through the warm-up games with Stanley and Little Joe: we bashed out a quick game of PitchCar (Big Joe won after my third lap collapse) followed by FUSE (which we all won) before the little folk were packed off to bed, and Scythe set up.

Scythe is like Eclipse - only on land, not in the future, and faster-moving. And different in other ways too. In fact I'm not sure why I keep equating the two in my head, other than the fact that I'm happy to break my no-long-games rule for both. Also! - Scythe isn't actually that long, although thematically it feels broad in scope. There's worker-placement, but also worker movement. There's engine-building, but also luck. There's combat, but the winner can potentially be the most placid (...although you'd have to wonder what on earth the other players were up to if that happened).

Joe took to the game much as Adam had done a couple of weeks previously. Like Adam, he focused on production, whilst Andrew and I mobilized and traveled the board. Andrew's special ability - workers can swim! - was one I'd previously pooh-poohed as rather prosaic, not to say silly, but he showed quickly the benefits of spreading the net wide, claiming territory as well as resource rewards.  Mine and Joe's workers baulked at the sight of water. Joe bunched his workers together for what I assumed to be reasons of cosiness, whilst I delayed building my mechs until they were really cheap.

But by that point the game was approaching its final chapter - both Andrew and Joe had reached the factory and had a decent spread of territories, whereas I was slightly hemmed in on the western side of the board.

Joe's mechs look rural

Andrew triggered the end of the game, but he wasn't as popular as Joe or I - popularity deciding exactly what your monetary rewards will be for objectives/territory/resources. Despite his strong presence on the board, might he have moved too soon? It's all very well completing objectives, but do you have enough respect from the people, man? As it turned out, he did:

Andrew 60 - wins on tie-breaker!
Sam 60
Joe 49

A strong showing from Joe on his first play, and I'm glad to say he liked Scythe. Hopefully we'll play again soon.

Joe enjoying himself, despite paparazzi

Thanks to Scythe's aforementioned brevity, it was still early. So we played Joe's new purchase Junk Art, which I'd missed out on at the last GNN meet. Each round has a new rule that players must obey, so it's like a scrambled Bandu: no currency to avoid blocks, just various rules to implement them. It was a lot of fun, and I think Joe won this.

Because Scythe doesn't take that long - have I mentioned that? - we still had time for another game!

We introduced Joe to Cosmic Run, our current favourite short game. Roll dice, race to planets - before they blow up. Possibly the most fatalistically-themed game out there, where you are essentially on a protracted suicide mission. I had a good run of results going on with this game, but -whether it was the hand of fate or the wine - Joe handed our arses to us despite insisting he didn't have a clue what was going on. The old Steve Dale manoeuvre! Works every time.

By now we were rather merry. I do recall Joe playing a recording he'd made in his studio: whilst a somber and plaintive piano track played, someone in the studio next door was tuning an oboe to combined comic effect. How we laughed! Although I must confess I misunderstood Joe's explanation at the time and thought we were merely listening to an odd and badly-recorded bit of jazz improv.

After the last planet had imploded cosmically, it was nearing midnight, so we called an end to proceedings, safe in the knowledge that the next day nobody would be waking us up at 6am mistakenly claiming the goldfish was dying*.

Also: chipsticks give you ulcers.

*not necessarily true for me


  1. My plan for Scythe was to spread my workers aorund so that any mechs might squash them underfoot and recieve poor publicity. It didn't really work, although the resources did come in handy.

    Sam and Joe had very little going on in terms of territory. Sam was very late in getting his first mech down, and for most of the game Joe shuttled all of his workers on his mech from one hex to another.

    Nevertheless, despite my poor popularity I had to stop the game when I did because Sam or Joe or both were about to reach the highest echelon of popularity, leaving me hopelessly out of reach. I'm just glad it worked.

  2. What was the decider? I actually missed that bit. Scythe is so fast...

  3. It was number of mechs, workers and structures.

  4. Little bit too much of a close-up on me there perhaps Sam? "That's attractive", says Matilda.
    Lovely evening - I enjoyed Scythe and I would like to play again - it would really click for anyone coming to board games from strategy/cav style video games. Very slick.
    I was plastered by the time we played Cosmic Run, but I vaguely remember enjoying it. Glad I won - I'd completely forgotten that bit.

    I was woken up at 6.30 on Saturday morning by the phone telling me that a mattress would be delivered in 10 minutes. That was most unwelcome. Sorry to hear about the goldfish...

  5. The goldfish is in rude health. Did the mattress arrive?