Portsmouth On Board - 22 January 2014 - Explorers, Freaky Weather and Paradoxes

And the members keep on coming! Ever since we started up on Meetup.com new members have been turning up every session. I lost count of how many there were this time, but at least 20-25 again there must have been. Can't complain though, it's great to see more members and especially those who are new to the hobby and willing to delve into something new and different. 

"Expedition: Famous Explorers"
 
So many games to photograph, so little time it seemed tonight! I've now come to the conclusion that I will likely only be photographing the main games that are played and ignoring fillers at this rate as it's a massive overload of photos each time, especially when trying to remember the names of them all! 

"Concordia"
 
But onto the first game of the night for me. Cast your minds back to the 80's when Ravensburger was publishing a lot of games. Does Expedition or Wildlife Adventure ring a bell? No? Shame, as the latter is still in my family's collection and it gets played so often at home, being a simple cut-throat game of laying down routes on a map to score the cards in your hand while diverting the expeditions away from the other players. Works well, easy to teach and good family fun. Well imagine my joy when I saw on the Dice Tower that 8th Summit had published a re-theme of this game using explorers and landmarks instead of endangered animals with some additional advanced rules to keep it in check with modern style games. 

"Agricola"
 
Expedition: Famous Explorers is born and with four of us in tow I tried it out for the first time tonight. As before you have three expeditions that you lay out trying to reach your cards and score them, but you can do more funky things with the placements and the secret locations and explorer/event cards add a nice twist to the game. On top of that, we kept laughing at each other's predicaments and the score was literally two points apart from first to last . . . . .sadly I was last. Ah well it's nice to not win my first play of a new game for a change (engaging Ego circuits. . . . Ego circuits engaged!)

 "Smash Up"

Around the club, so many other games were going on. To my surprise someone brought Agricola and managed to get a 5+ player game of that going - nice to see that back in action, it's still a fun Euro for me, but I fear it's been overshadowed by Caverna now. Elsewhere my buddy Jim was teaching the new members a really intriguing card game he's acquired called Chrononauts. I don't know much about the gameplay yet, but essentially you get to mess around with established time-lines in history causing paradoxes, generally resulting in laughs galore. And I have to admit, it did look hilarious from observation to have World War 3 in motion at one end, a cure for cancer with the aid of chocolate cake at another and the Titantic avoiding the iceberg at another. I'm going to try this on Friday and am looking forward to it.

 "Chrononauts"

With Expeditions completed with generally good praise for the game (review to come another day after Co-Op month is over I suspect after I've had more plays of it) we needed something more meaty. Luckily for me this was answered by a chance to play Robinson Crusoe, the highly regarded "Euro style" Co-op game. Finally! It's been on my playlist for a long time.

"Pandemic"

One word of warning, to keep the game thematic they use the old fashioned style calligraphy font on the player boards and on some parts of the main board game. This works in a thematic sense, but boy did I have to squint to decipher the words! After a long rules explanation we got stuck in and it didn't take long for me to realise just how much this game likes to slap you in the face, no actually, punch you in the stomach every turn. There's never enough of anything you need and the weather constantly destroys your supplies each turn. What's weird though is that you look at the island tile and it's like a tropical paradise with lush fields and palm tress and Caribbean style beaches, yet somehow we're constantly being bombarded by intense storms and even snow! When was the last time you saw snow on a palm tree?

"Robinson Crusoe"

It reached a point though where you just knew you were going to lose. In some Co-Op's you feel you can bounce back and survive no matter what's going on. Ghost Stories is the best example of that. I've come back from such adversity in that game and triumphed - in fact I did so last week in a solo game where I was over-run by 11-12 ghosts for several turns, but got that last shot I needed right at the end. With this game, half way through I just knew that we were boned and you just have to delay the inevitable.

"Battlestar Galactica"

It does look like it has a lot of variety though in the different scenarios it has and as a solo game, it could be pretty entertaining, but I never felt like I was the cook helping out the group as I barely ended up doing any cooking, as you never had any food to do it with! I did however get to take on a gorilla and goats (bizarre) in hand to hand combat and I had their heads as trophies on sticks right up to the point where our entire team froze to death on the same night!

It is very Euro in it's style so food comes in cubes, etc. Still a good laugh though and I was glad to have finally tested out this game, but for it's price tag I can't see myself acquiring it just for a solo game (though saying that Marvel Legendary cost me a pretty penny but then I love superheroes!) - in a co-op I fear the Alpha Gamer issue would simply arise.

"Kakerlaken Poker"

That ended my streak of games for the night, but elsewhere a few interesting fillers had broken out but the highlight which I wish I hadn't missed out on was Shadow Hunters, which in my mind is the game that The Resistance wishes it could be. I've burned out on The Resistance and rarely enjoy that game, but Shadow Hunters spices it up with some great variety, less chaos and the ability to beat down on everyone!

"Shadow Hunters"

To wrap up the night, I found myself discussing superhero games with other co-organizers - always a fun topic for me. The classic trio being Sentinels of the Multiverse (a game I'm tempted to purchase), Legendary (which I own) and DC Deck Builder (which I refuse to play based on it's major detractions from theme).

A good session as always - looking forward to the next one!

Games Played

Android: Netrunner
Expedition: Famous Explorers
The Agents
Chrononauts
Pandemic
Robinson Crusoe
Modern Art
Shadow Hunters
Battlestar Galactica
Agricola
Kakerlaken Poker
Concordia
AND MANY MORE!




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