Tuesday, 20 April 2010

There was quite a selection of games to choose from this week, with Crocker, Jimmy, Hal and myself all lugging games down to the Ribs. We were also blessed with two tables of five, which was the ideal number of players for most of the games. Requests were made for Antike and Pillar's of the Earth.

Jimmy, Hal, Wesker, Ben and myself played Antike. A euro efficiency game about building cities, temples, fleets, technological developments around the Mediterranean with a bit of ransacking temples thrown in to keep the bloodthirsty players amused. All went well until Hal (Rome) quite legitimately ransacked one of Ben's (Germanic) temples. This angered Ben and in a stupid move he threw all he had at Hal's empire, Hal took a beating, but Ben left many of his cities undefended. This pretty much handed me the game as my Carthaginians waltzed into five of his cities, gained an extra victory card and put me in spitting distance of the finishing line with little chance of reprisal.

Meanwhile Crocker's table (the twins, Lovely Rich and Pete McCall) were racing to build a cathedral in Pillar's of the Earth (based on Ken Follet's book of the same name). I say race, but building a cathedral isn't something one does in a single evening, oh no. I played a full game of Anitke, helped Jimmy pack away, reset the room, chatted about giant ash clouds, gave Hal a lift home, had a light snack and a drink, kissed the wife goodnight, and I've written this entry. I've just texted Luke and they're still playing...

Beer. Iceni's Raspberry Wheat is on a the Ribs. This is my favourite beer, but I foolishly chose to drive so missed out on it's awesome tastiness. Gutted.

I'm NOT playing with YOU again

Adam and Rachel played Stoneage (played last week with Ben) with Cpt John and partner. It was enjoyed immensly and Rachel trimuphed. Wierdly they played it and finished it in around an hour, last week it took much longer......

Meanwhile Jimmy Led Pete, Luke and Ben in a game of Princes of Florence, with the new expansion. I loved princes of florence and until relatively recently when we had a puerto rico contest POF had been the only game with the honour of having been played on two tables simultaneously way back in week 2 or 3 of the official NBG (possibly amun re too). Since then more modern games have taken many of the concepts and tweeked them and POF can be critisised as being a fairly solo game with only minimal interactions. There are seven rounds, each round consisting of two phases, the first phase being an auction (the only real interaction) the second phase being two personally selected actions (limited resources could be seen as a slight interaction), this gives players only 14 actions in the entire game to play with so quiet a few people out there have crunched the game and experienced players know how to spend most of these limited actions.

The new expansions adds a third phase in the middle (after the auction and before the actions). There are 8 (?) different role cards which each have a bidding track around the outside and in turn order players choose to bid on a role, possibly outbidding other players who subsiquently re-bid on their turn, until all players have a different role. This of course adds further interaction but also adds significant depth to the game as many new tactics are worthwhile. I wont go into all the roles but they include, a bank awarding a set amount of money which increases if nobody took it last turn. One role allows you to not pay for your next first round auction (or take some vp should you prefer). There is a bonus to works being produced equal to the round so in round 5 you get a qualifying score of +5. One role gives alternative role scoring counting improvements as scoring +3 buildings and arcitects as +2 and workers as +1, allowing alternative building strategies. A take a free bonus or presige card role and finaly a role which gives you 3 rather than 2 actions. the bidding process is similar to Amun-Re and well understood by us so most of the time the stronger roles went for more money. on two occassions everybody wanted different roles and cards where cheap.

All in all I prefered the game with this expansion as it added significant levels of replayability to a game that had previously been played to death. Its not that it had been played alot more that it had been explored and been found out. This new expansion gives princes of florence a new life at NBG and Im sure it will be played again relatively soon.