RogerBW's Blog

Uxbridge Boardgames 2 February 2014 03 February 2014

Thanks to Manuel, the group has survived the loss of its coffee-bar venue; we met at his home. I played six different games, and enjoyed them all in different ways.

We started off lightly with a couple of rounds of Polterfass. A dice-style game (though it actually uses small beer barrels, that can land on either end or on their sides), each round has three phases: an initial roll, a wager from everyone except the leader for the round, and continued rolling (or not) for the leader. A failure to work out sensible strategies left me trailing here, but I'd play it again though I shan't be rushing out to buy it.

Next was Augustus, a bingo-like game with a Roman theme. You have visible objective cards (senators or provinces of the Empire), and as someone draws discs from the bag you put your (limited supply of) legionaries onto the relevant spaces on the cards. The other players do the same thing with the same discs at the same time, until someone completes an objective. Some of them just get you points; others give you extra legionaries, let you assign some of your existing stock, nobble other players, and so on. I did moderately, being honourably "in the pack" with the winner far ahead; I put too much effort into objectives that would get me more objectives, rather than ones that would score me bonus points. I'd definitely like to play this again, and might well buy it if I see it second-hand.

We moved on to The Resistance: Avalon, with 7 players and Merlin, Morgana and Percival. After a false start, this went quite well, though the loyal knights (rebel team) managed to do a solid job of ignoring the spies' flimflam and pulled out a victory on mission 4. I'd love to play this more at sessions at my place, but the minimum of five players is tricky.

Saboteur was a logical progression: players are dwarven miners who are trying to get to a lump of gold somewhere inside a mountain by playing cards representing the tunnels they dig. Some of them are saboteurs who want to prevent this, by sending the tunnel off in the wrong direction or by sabotaging the good guys' equipment, but unlike the Resistance game family they don't know each other. I didn't do particularly well at this, but did enjoy learning and playing it.

Since we were now up to nine, the group split, and I plumped for Galaxy Trucker. I've been wondering about this for a while: in effect, it's a tile-matching game with a protracted scoring phase. You fill your spaceship template with component tiles, trying to get the various connectors to match up so that they don't fall off, under time pressure. Once that's done, everyone's ships are put up against a deck of random space hazards (the same for each player), which will knock off various bits, but may occasionally end up being useful. You're then paid for the freight you've picked up and various other things, assuming you made it all the way through. With two novices (including me) we didn't get off to a good start, both of us falling out at the first card since our thrusters hadn't been gaffer-taped on firmly enough. The second round was more successful, and in the third I romped home mostly by having more cargo holds and batteries than anyone else. Not perhaps a very deep game, but enjoyable.

We finished off the evening with Flash Point, my current favourite cooperative game. With three players we managed a fairly effective zone defence with CAFS, Generalist and Imaging Tech, and got out our requisite seven victims with something like six damage cubes to spare. This is a game that usually seems to come out either very well or very badly; this time it was well.

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