With all the excitement of the last few months, school residential trips, birthdays and parent consultations, I have been unable to attend the St Ives Board Gaming Groups sessions. This has meant that I have been unable to play many games at all.
One great thing that has come from my non-attendance is that I have seen the group I set up become self-sufficient and able to run without my being there. With an average of seven gamers attending each session from a pool of around 20 people. If only we could get all twenty people together at once!
It was with great excitement that I made my way to Farm Club on the last Thursday of November. Not only was I going to get to play some games with experienced and enthusiastic gamers but I also had a number of new games with me that I had received from kick starter campaigns I had backed.
Upon arrival I put together the 3D wrestling ring that comes as part of Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice 2nd Edition and waited for the first people to arrive.
A few minutes later Myself, newish member Peter and first timer Andrew prepared for a three way battle for the World Championship belt.
Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice.
This was a game I saw when visiting the UK Games Expo, a game which I was lucky enough to have demoed by the designer Mark Riviera. My friend, The Bear Feet Gamer, and I played the first edition of the game with the second edition rules under Mark’s tutelage and I was incredibly impressed with the game, it seemed like a fun party game which would fill a niche in my collection very well.
I decided to back the kick starter campaign for the second edition of the game as the improvements and additions were fantastic, especially the 3D board.
Not only did this kickstarter have brilliant communication throughout it also delivered ahead of schedule.
The game is a dice rolling game in which players take on the role of one of a selection of Mexican wrestlers, the titular Luchador!, and through the result of dice rolls compete to either pin or knock out their opponents.
Each player has four die which they roll simultaneously into the ring at the start of each round. Any dice which does not end up in the ring is disregarded, something made all the more visceral by having the 3D ring.
Players can either roll a block, counter, hit, miss, or pin. If you roll a miss that dice does nothing, if you roll a hit you can roll the hit dice and determine the damage you have caused to your opponent, if you roll two hits you may roll the Luchador dice and perform on of your characters special moves but beware this is risky and you could injure yourself. Blocks negate opponents hits and counters convert an opponents hit into a hit for the player who rolled the counter.
As we were waiting for others we decided to play a free for all match with the simple rules. In a free for all match up to four players fight simultaneously, before the dice rolls all players take a shuffled chit which is kept face down. After the dice have been rolled players turn their chit over and the player who reveals the lowest number takes their actions first.
We decided to stick to the simple rules as we were using Luchador as a warm-up. Once we had all decided on which character we were going to fight as, redundant in the simple game, we got under way.
The action was slow to pick up as we got the hang of ensuring the rolled dice stayed in the ring. Unfortunately I was having trouble rolling any block dice, leaving me open to attacks from both opponents and within a few rounds I was KO’d and out of the game.
The match finished just as the rest of the group arrived ready to play.
As has been the practice since a few weeks in we split into to groups, one group played Ginkgopolis while the other group sat down to play Ancient Terrible Things.
Ancient Terrible Things.
ATT is a yahtzee style game with a Cthulhu/Lovecraft theme. Players take on the role of a number of different adventurers trying to claim the battered journal. Players accumulate points, in this case Ancient Secrets, by defeating various Ominous Encounters around the board.
There are six different encounters at different locations on the board, each with a different specific goal to be achieved ensuring you defeat the encounter. As the game progresses new encounters are added each getting progressively more difficult. Players collect one of four different tokens (yellow/treasure – the game currency, green/focus – which can be used to re-roll individual dice, purple/courage – which can be used to defeat an encounter without rolling, blue/feat – which can be used to purchase feat cards, one shot effects to improve your roll.) Certain treasures you purchase in the game can make these tokens worth points at the end of the game.
Encounters are defeated by fulfilling a specific goal using the 5 focus dice, this could be runs, pairs, three of a kinds etc. Players may re-roll but, unlike King of Tokyo etc, if you re-roll all the dice must be rolled. Unless you use focus tokens or feats.
When you defeat an encounter you collect it, if you fail the encounter card is discarded and you must take a negative point token. Each encounter card also has a designated colour identifying the type of encounter, players with the most of a certain colour type earn a bonus at the end of the game.
I was playing as the journalist which meant I started with one extra courage token. It took me a while to get into the game but pretty soon I got a grasp of what I needed to do to win, something I usually can’t do, and I was collecting specific encounters.
As you can see I was doing pretty well but I had to take photo to chronicle this momentous occasion. Of course this jinxed me (cos that’s a real thing!) and once the game was over and we counted everything up I came in second in a close game. It isn’t all bad though as the winner earns the journal and is then thrown into a furnace.
I really enjoyed ATT, I would be interested to see how re playable it is however. In this game we saw all the encounters but not all the feat or treasure cards. I have a feeling it would be a good play for another couple of games but not much beyond that.
With that game over and Ginkgopolis coming to an end we decided to end the session with a large group game. Eventually after some long discussions Citadels was decided upon. This was a game I had never played so was happy to give it a try.
Citadels is a card game for 2-8 players. Players chose a role at the start of each round using a card drafting style system, and then, if players survive, they collect gold and erect buildings with the aim of building eight different districts.
I say “if players survive” because some of the players roles, like assassin, can kill other player characters at the start of their turn. This game certainly seems to be dependant on the players you are playing with, more so than most games I have played.
Unfortunately things didn’t start well with an argument about rules, which set the tone for the rest of the game. Another issue in this game was analysis paralysis. A few players took a long time to make their decision in the card drafting element of each round.
I was knocked out of the first few rounds via some of the character actions, this did nothing to help my view of the game.
It was tedious waiting for players to make decisions, so much so that I countered this by not actually making decisions. When the role cards reached me I just took one card at random and put it down in front of me without looking at it. At this point I found the game a lot more exciting as even I didn’t know who I was.
It is quite telling of the groups mindset that when it reached the designated end of session time the game stopped abruptly. Unsurprisingly I didn’t win the game but, much to my surprise, I didn’t come last considering how I ended up playing the game.
I would like to play Citadels again but this time with a selected group of players.
The next games night for St Ives Board Gaming Group is going to be a Pandemic Party which I can’t wait for and look forward to reporting to you all.