Games in a Pub - 22nd July

A trip to Tokyo plus more paranoia

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.
Panic Station - The players

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).
Panic Station - The station with human and android tokens plus two parasites
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!
Panic Station - The station with human and android tokens plus a lot more parasites and the Hive in the bottom right hand corner!
Stéphane noted that playing as the Host was pretty tricky, given that everyone just offered gas and how was he supposed to infect anyone? (He hadn't managed to get anyone when the game ended) We briefly discussed the tactics of trying to figure out who doesn't have any gas and working on infecting them, and so on.

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).
King of Tokyo - Stephane explaining the game to the other players
The dice determine attacks, healing, money ("energy" in the game) and victory points. Six dice, and you get two extra rolls to create sets (like in poker dice) - aiming to do damage by scoring attacks, or to heal oneself, or to get sets of three or more of numbers to score victory points. Money is used to buy action cards - either keep (so their effects typically last for the rest of the game) or discard (a one-off instant benefit). Action cards are unique and have some great artwork (see the photos), tying in with the common themes and settings from the source material. The "Jets" proved to be very useful for Robin, a card enabling a King of Tokyo to get away without being harmed - this kept him alive on one occasion (although he also had "It Has A Child", which resurrects the monster with the original starting attributes, so he would have stayed in the game anyway). Martin's "Psychic Ray" also played a tactical role - allowing him to change one die of anyone else's roll to a symbol he preferred!
King of Tokyo - Two charachters from the game
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.
King of Tokyo - Two charachters from the game
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.

More photo's of the evening can be seen here.

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

1 comment:

  1. Well done Oliver for the report that was an interesting read. A few things I wanted to comment on:

    Paranoia Station: the game left me frustrated to be honest. Being the host there’s no way I could have contaminated anybody with the level of trust on the table. I tried to be as devious, sneaky as possible but I’m clearly not Martin. Targeting people without gas is the way to go but most players had some and if one hadn’t he would hardly make it public. It means that you have to gamble on who doesn’t have any and take the risk to revel yourself. Without having contaminated anybody and alone against 4 players, you’re left with little options. I got a tiny bit of hope when the hive was revealed behind a locked door and I was the only one with the key card, my plan became to slow the game down and hope for the viruses to do some damages. However, I find the viruses very weak (1-2 damages on players with 2 characters with 4 life points…), not helped by the fact that all the players by that time were full on armour and health kits. It meant that the players finished undamaged with little injuries, a smooth clean win if anything a bit boring. Maybe it was my lack of experience in the game but replaying it now, not too sure what I would do differently.

    King of Tokyo: I really like that game, I thought it was good fun even for a group of new players. What has to be mentioned about it is that all the cards are unique creating surprises in every game unless you’re playing it 24/24. It’s easy to learn without been silly, a step up from “Zombie dice” imo. Artwork is awesome and can play up to 6. The elimination thing, I personally don’t see this as a problem. An average game last about 30mns, if you’re dead after 10, well you miss a bit but not that much. Plus, the game accelerates and finishes quicker with fewer players. There’s an extension coming up soon called “Power up” which will include a Panda Giga-monster and some new rules giving special powers to the monsters. Exciting^^…