Match Report 26th April 2010

Well what an evening, but let me start with an addendum to the last report. I omitted to mention a whole new feature to the evenings; musical accompaniment. As we were Racing for the Galaxy we were listening to David Bowie "Space Oddity" and the techno music of Jean Michel Jarre's. This feature was omitted from this weeks game as we were just too engrossed in the game but it might be amusing to have some suggestions for other games?

Well we had big turn out, with the welcome return of Beryl after her winter hibernation Natalie (having baked some really lovely ginger buns, again in those strange multicoloured silicone cases – thank you), Pauline, Daniela and Crispin.

Carcassonne, at the end of the game with most markers already removed
Well to the games, we started with one of the groups favourites Carcassonne, which as a 5 player game could have caused some difficulty, the mathematicians amongst you you will have noticed that we had reached the heady number of 6 players. However Natalie and Pauline kindly agreed to work together and so we started building our French landscape of castles, monasteries and roads. A simple enough game but one which whilst on the face of it is collaborative provided significant opportunity for nearly everybody (even the most angelic members of the group) to provide guidance on how other players tiles should be placed, invariably to their own profit and not that of the person who was having their go. Beryl rose above such Machiavellian behaviour, however I don’t think that could be said of any one else. This turned out to be one of the funniest games we have played with the self interest always being blatant and so drawing the heckling attention of all the other players.
As is the way with this game at just over the half way mark you begin to start seeing farmers appearing laying down in their fields ready to provide food to the growing towns and castles. This effort to get farmers into the fields become quite frenetic with one area collecting a total of 8 farmers (it should be noted that farmers score 3 points for each completed castle they can access from their fields so a well placed farmer is a valuable asset when it comes to counting up the points). At the end of the game the significant lead that Pauline and Natalie had built and maintained throughout the game was overtaken by my rush to farming, with Beryl coming in a close third.

Castle Panic, but the panic hadn't started at this pointCastle Panic - The ladies feeling quietly confident, little where they to knowHaving taken a quick break for a chat and to get the coffees in (thank you Gwen from all of us for the lovely latté’s etc) we embarked on Castle Panic (aptly named as it would soon transpire) a really excellent collaborative game where all the players work together to stop the nasty monsters that encircle the castle, in the middle of the board, from destroying it and all inside. Given previous successes we started gently with the monsters electing not to kill as many as possible on the first go in the sure knowledge that we would get them next time and anyway Daniela wanted to leave some monsters for Natalie (the next player) to kill. Well the monsters obviously thought we were a soft touch because in the absence of Pauline who should in future be known as the ‘Destroyer’ given her prolific efforts and the mountain of monsters that fell at her feet, sadly the rest of us were pretty useless. As things heated up Crispin was repeatedly heard (only he wasn’t because nobody was listening) to cry fortify the walls, use my bricks and build new walls - increasingly loudly. The monsters though just kept increasing in number and in spite of the supposed random nature of the game mechanic that moves the monsters they managed to co-ordinate their efforts in a scarily organised fashion leading to increasing infighting and panic behind the walls of our castle. A castle that went from solid, to perforated, to tenuous Castle Panic, things are not looking good! The finger shows our last remaing tower (there were once 6) and its impending destruction by the monstersand finally to nonexistent. As things became desperate suggestions of small cheats were made (and you will be glad to hear rejected) and an increasing sense of gloom and despondency pervaded the expanding ruins of our once impregnable castle, a place that Fraser out of Dad’s army would have felt right at home in. Well with this lead in you will by now realise that we lost and the monsters won, a first and hopefully something not to be repeated. However it does go to prove how well balanced the game is, in that it is by no means a certainty that the good guys (that's us) will win.

A cracking evening which I for one thoroughly enjoyed and given the hilarity and leg pulling going on was I think enjoyed equally by everybody else.

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