got game’ label dates to my 5th post back in August 2005, and the label itself is second only to ‘boardgames’ as the most used label). As well as being satisfying to write, these posts have also driven the development of my use of graphics on the blog, which in turn means that they have been the engine of my learning how to use the GIMP. These posts don’t come without their problems:
- They’ve taken ever longer to prepare the more graphic-intensive they’ve become.
- Writing them is very much ‘of the moment’; ie. they have to be written very soon after the gaming session, when my memory is fresh.
- Taking notes during a game- for the sake of adding detail to a session write-up, can be more than just distracting: it can also disrupt my enjoyment of a game and my attention to the flow of the game- at the expense of my decision-making.
Return of an old favourite
A new wargaming opponent!
Combat Commander: Resistance!). So it was a pleasant surprise to receive, back in January, an email via RD/KA!’s ‘Contact’ link from someone looking to play wargames. Events initially moved slowly, what with one thing and another (mostly my bipolar downswing) but eventually Przemek and I (who else?) did the coffee-meet thing, meeting soon thereafter for our first wargaming session in early April. Fittingly, Przemek and I began our new gaming acquaintanceship with a game of Up Front. In subsequent months, Przemek has proved to be a tactically talented and sporting opponent with a pronounced interest in all that is most innovative in games design.
September’s wargaming sessions with Przemek saw us play 2 of Przemek’s new favourites and another classic Courtney Allen design I hadn’t played since back in the day.
Long story short: playing the Germans, my plan was poor; my shooting mostly poorer; and I had suffered 25% casualties in a mere 2 turns!- things were looking bad. Still, my grasp of elementary fire and movement improved to the point were I was able to put some pressure on the British before we ended the game after turn 4 (of 8) due to lack of time. My defeat was assured all the same, I’m sure. Basic tactics aside, I’d also forgotten just how tense this game is: the move or fire alternating impulses; the increased vulnerability of units so committed; and the drive to engage the enemy the victory conditions impose upon the Germans- these all combine in a game of endless nerve-wracking decisions.
A new game in new genre
Ticket to Ride: Europe after our games of Ivanhoe. The basic mechanics of this best-selling game by veteran designer Alan R. Moon are simple enough: you collect sets of cards so that you can build rail routes between cities section-by-section; complete routes score points, the longer the route, the more points it’s worth. There are complications, naturally enough: the routes are colour-coded so that you need cards of specific colours to build on each route; each player has some secret routes- long and short, which are worth bonus points if they’re completed; and, of course, competition for routes means that there is potential for some serious screwage.
I’ve heard it said that there is a significant flaw in Ticket to Ride: namely that it’s often more rewarding to ignore your own routes in favour of just blocking your opponents'; in other words: optimal gameplay goes against the game’s theme. I guess that might be possible, to which my answer- after that first play, is pretty much “So what?” Screwage is screwage and, as frustrating as it is when you experience it, it’s part of the fun of competitive boardgaming. Mind you, there wasn’t that much screwage going down that night, so maybe I might change my tune in the face of more malicious gameplay. But maybe not.
Either way, I enjoyed my first game of Ticket to Ride. Kasia and Przemek are more experienced players of this game than I, so I wasn’t surprised to come last. Still, my score was respectable enough. I’m looking forward to trying again to see if I can’t do better.
The weekend sessions
new Saturday group plus the revival of the old Sunday gaming (now on a monthly schedule) meant that there were 2 weekend gaming sessions last month. It turned out that we played exactly the same games in each session:
- 2 games of Infiltration: which I’d first played in the Edinburgh Games Hub on it’s grand opening day.
- 1 game of Alhambra.
One of the 2 sessions was particularly enjoyable for me because I was able to try out a new strategy for Alhambra which I’d developed in light of a previous game:
- Pick 3 kinds of tile and concentrate on buying them first and foremost.
- Keep lengthening your wall at almost any cost!
Club night: new grudges in a familiar setting
G3 one night last month. Andy P and I sat down to renew our old Crimson Skies rivalry. The game proved to be the usual comedy of errors as I brought my own fortuitous bad luck to bear against Andy’s all-too-familiar poor piloting. I showed my typical skills as my pilots were continually getting Andy’s planes in their sights. Meanwhile I was enjoying the most ridiculous luck: every time Andy’s planes would’ve got their own guns to bear, my pilots failed their piloting rolls for extreme manoeuvres, and ended up miraculously careening out from under Andy’s guns. The upshot was that, by the midgame, Andy’s 2 planes were seriously damaged while both of mine had only suffered wing-stress fractures due to their failed manoeuvres.
Andy did eventually manage to get a shot in, but it was too late by then: one of his planes had to flee because it had lost all its weapons; the other went down in a ball of flames shortly thereafter. Both pilots lived to nurse a grudge for another day though. And you can be sure he’ll be back some time or another to exercise it!
September turned out to be the 2nd best month’s gaming of 2012 so far, while October has already proved to be something of a quiet month. Still, there’s another Saturday session still to come; Badger will soon be back at the table after having undergone the rigours of moving house; there will most certainly be many more games with Przemek to look forward to; and Andy will have his re-wenge (or not) when our Crimson Skies pilots return to fight for supremacy once again. So I’ll be back soon with a round up of October’s gaming. ;)