As I was returning from our holiday in Greece Oliver took over duties as scribe for the group whilst Martin was the man behind the camera.
I (Oliver) was running late and found that the game was just being set up for a round of PanicStation when I got there. Great - paranoia all round, please! I forget who arrived after me (it may have been Simon) but we got down to a run-through of the rules, and then we were off.
Having played this several times now we are comfortable with the rules and it ran smoothly. There were several pre-emptive denials of being the Host, before the cards were even dealt out (I got mine in, just to be sure).
Initially, everyone seemed to be very cautious about trading - every trade (except for those with Stéphane who rejected offers, a point I missed early on) went, "Do you have gas? I have gas. Let's trade gas." A healthy dose of ammunition for two of our crew of plucky commandoes (or convicts) and their cyborg partners, meant that we were able to keep a lid on the parasites to start with, while we went exploring. Then we ran into the security doors and, as luck would have it, the Hive was on the other side of one, and no one was admitting to having a key card. Robin had the gas ammunition to destroy it, I had a handy energy drink to get my human wherever he needed to go, but we needed to find that key card. That mean repeated searches, which led to a proliferation of parasites that seemed to congregate in front of the locked door to the Hive!
Finally, I found a keycard, traded a health-pack to Simon (who definitely needed it) in exchange for the gas I needed, and then it was on. But before that, Stéphane kind of revealed his hand by creating a whole lot of parasites and then trying to blow some people up.
However, my plucky human drank his energy drink and heroically raced through the corridors, dodging parasites and "humans" alike as much as possible, and with the final action torched the Hive!
For the second game, Stéphane explained to us King of Tokyo, which is themed around comic book and Japanese monster thriller movies like Godzilla. Basically, it's a dice game, with a "king" position whereby 1 player at a time (or 2, if playing with 5 or 6 players) is occupying the throne (or the city of Tokyo) and is a target: everyone outside can attack the monster in Tokyo (but not each other); the monster in Tokyo attacks everyone else at once (the King of Tokyo can yield to an attacker at any time if the damage is getting too much to take).
I found it surprisingly fun to play - the mechanic didn't immediately appeal until we got down to it. However, it has one drawback: it has an elimination factor - as my Cyber Bunny monster found to its cost. I was, alas, knocked out embarrassingly early, and settled down to take notes instead. This left Alienoid (Robin), Meka Dragon (Martin), Giga Zaur (Simon) and giant gorilla "The King" (Stéphane) to battle it out to reach 20 victory points. It came pretty close, with Giga Zaur looking dangerously close to triumphing for a while, Meka Dragon snapping at his heels, only to have the Alienoid get a great roll of the dice to sneak up the inside and snatch victory.
I think it was Simon who commented that it's quite a good game to get knocked out of when you have to make Sunday dinner, and can leave the rest of the gang to play without them getting in the way.
We all agreed that it was a lot of fun and, although I was sceptical to start with, the consensus (with which I agreed) was that the mechanics were engaging and involving, the art was lots of fun and I think we would all play it again soon.
Our next event at the Blue Anchor, Crowborough is in two weeks time on Sunday 5th August starting at 7.00pm - £1 per head. More details can be seen on our Facebook Page Social Gamers - Crowborough