Games in a Pub – 16th September 2012

The group gather after a summer break and immediately head off to Manila

Returning to the group after an absence of three Sunday’s gallivanting around Europe - make that a long drive to Venice for a camping holiday with family and more games of Uno than I care to think about – it really isn’t that good a game.

On the upside I played quite a few games of Hive which I needless to say lost to Gwen, Army of Frogs although one of the green frogs went AWOL, presumably preferring the Italian climate, Zooloreto Würfelspiel a game the boys enjoyed and has inspired them to play its big brother a number of times since they returned and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small which I played on my own whilst the team went to Aqualandia losing to virtual Gwen (how can she beat me when she isn’t even present?!) and Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers a game I had acquired via a swap and which the team were distinctly unimpressed with.

Back to the Blue Anchor; whilst I had been away the group had played numerous games of King of Tokyo, and Takenoko plus Quarriors and Mansions of Madness.

Coming into this Sunday’s meeting there had been a lively discussion on Facebook about what games to play and as we gathered this came down to Manila, a game Gwen had particularly liked on the one occasion she had played it previously.

This is essentially a betting game where boats laden with commodities (there are 4 different types in the game) return to port and in each round players get an opportunity to place one of their three men either :

  • On one of the three returning boats.
  • Attempt to adjust the speed of the boats, positively or negatively.
  • Act as Pirates, taking control of a boat and throwing all the other players off it.
  • Position their men on the quayside to welcome the successful craft as they land their goods.
  • Position their men to salvage those craft that do not make landfall.
  • Underwrite the potential loss of those craft that do not land.

Manila - A close up of the board and the three boats making their way to port
Each players starts with 30 coins and a share in 2 of the commodities (allocated randomly and kept hidden). Through the course of the game they bid for the role of the harbour master (start player), buy additional shares and invest / place bets by placing their three men on combinations of the above options most of which have a cost and most of which give the opportunity for some form or enhanced monetary return.

Manila - The players considering their next move
After round two Simon and myself (playing as a team as by this point we were 6 players) had lost our gains of the first round and were well below our starting money. At this point I was swinging towards the view that this was a rubbish game (based largely on the if you loose it must be rubbish!), then the winds of fortune changed and we had a massive success landing two men on one successful craft and as a pirate taking control of a second yielding 36 coins in one go! On the last go we managed to lure Martin into bidding for the first player role and then withdraw leaving him deep in hock to the bank so we somehow managed to win with 140 coins. Obviously I now see that it is a brilliant game!!

Seriously whilst it has a high degree of luck, it has a quality feel about it (typical of most of the Zoch games) and will probably suit those who don’t mind a bit of chaos in their games. So is more likely to appeal to social gamers than hard core gamers who may be offended by the lack of control they have over events. For what it is worth Gwen really enjoyed it again and has asked that both Martin and I keep our eyes peeled and try to secure her a copy at Essen Spiel next month!
For Sale - The players
With the first game out of the way we moved onto For Sale, won by Oliver and then a short game of Bohnanza won by Gwen.

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 30th September starting at 7.00pm - £1 per head. More details can be seen on our Facebook Page Social Gamers - Crowborough

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