Gaming hightlights of the week, #5 13-Jul-2007

I've been meaning to put this up for a few weeks now. Better late than never.

This highlight involves Pickomino. That's the game that you'll regularly see Brits bringing a dozen copies of back from Essen for friends. £20 to buy in England of 7 Euros in in Germany. Not really a hard choice.

Anyway, back to the point. If you've never played, here's a very brief summary. It's a push your luck dice game. You roll eight dice, some of which will be saved and others rerolled. You may save all of the dice showing a particular number, but only if you haven't already saved that number. All dice not saved so far are rerolled. Any time you save some dice, you can stop. You're aiming to total a high enough number to take a scoring tile.

There are also a couple of particularly pertinent rules. First, these aren't quite normal dice. They're almost normal d6, but instead of having a 6 on one face, the dice sport a worm symbol instead. These count as fives for scoring purposes. Second, if you don't save any worm symbols before you run out of dice to roll, you bust. And finally, if you can't save any dice, you also bust.

So there we were, stuck in a pub waiting for the rain to stop. Oh, the humanity of it! And as you've no doubt gathered, we were playing Pickomino.

Boog to roll.

He gets ... five worms among the eight dice. Five worms! Cue a big grin on his face, and rude words from everybody else. Twenty five points already, and he has his worms. Obviously, he saves the five worms and rolls the other three dice.

And gets .. three more worms! Bust! Cue rude words from Boog and big grins from everybody else. Huge grins. In fact, cue victory dance from everyone else.

 Comment by Boog   18-Jul-2007
I still can't get over the injustice of it!
I rolled FIVE worms.
Then I rolled THREE worms.
What are the odds?
To add salt to the wound I had a tile at that point and had to give it back.

Pah - stupid game.

Chess 11-Jul-2007

I played a lot of chess when I was young, starting at the age of 7 with friends at local chess clubs though to when I left secondary school having played regularly for all three of the schools chess teams one of which I captained for 2 years. I wasn't the best chess player in the school by far as we were lucky enough to have a number of very strong players who helped the school be top dog in the local school league at that time.

Anyway a recent game of Bilabong made me realize what an influence chess has had on my play style and even to some extent preference for games as a boardgamer. Bilabong itself has a couple of similarities with chess in terms of the board (i.e. a grid - although larger than 8x8 and with a no-go area in the middle), and the piece movement (i.e. Queen like movement, except you're jumping over pieces). But the main difference is really the thought process of figuring out your moves as you negotiate your kangaroos around the board.

Basically nine years of training as a chess player has equipped me to win more than an average number of games of Billabong and it’s interesting to note that the other person who has won a number of Billabong games was also a chess player in his youth.

There are a couple of other games we like to play which I believe share this trait - Ricochet Robot for example and possibly even Robo-Rally, both of which I tend to do well at. Anyway it's just interesting to me that something I enjoyed when I was young is still influencing my life today.

Too dumb to game 04-Jul-2007

I've never been accused of being an idiot by a designer before. Though I suspect that would rapidly change if they saw the way I murder some of their games. But now that's all changed.

A few years ago, Andy was given a game for Christmas. It's not really important which so I'll keep the name anonymous, even if it does spoil my punchline a little. So we made a space among the turkey and trimmings, cracked it open and gave it a go. Being Christmas, we'd had a beer or two. Perhaps more. So it's likely that we got even more rules wrong than we usually do. But the basic gist was a roll and move game. We weren't enthralled by it.

This was back in the days before the birth of The Piddinghoe Gamers website, and we were still putting session reports on Boardgame Geek. So of course I popped a session report up for this game. We'd added a whole bunch of reports between us. Some positive, some negative, and most of them likely riddled with rule errors. Either Knizia wasn't reading them, or he didn't really mind.

But out of the blue I got an email from the chap who designed this particular game. He wasn't very happy with the session report. Seems we'd played the game wrong and missed all of the subtleties of his strategy masterpiece. And to be fair I doubt I'd be happy if some fool got the rules to my game completely wrong. And then trumpeted to the world how bad the accidental variant was. So we exchanged a few mails and I posted a summary of his corrections.

I noticed this evening that he's now posted up a more extensive summary, which is what I should probably have done. Fair enough. And amongst them he's included his own little report on the gamer - "Doesn't sound like the sharpest stategy brain in action to me!"


I've never had a report on me before. Maybe I should get a badge. Or better still, I could get a t-shirt printed up with "Too stupid to play *** ******" on the front. And "But not stupid enough to play it twice" on the back :-)
 Comment by Iain Cheyne   05-Jul-2007
And via the magic of Google:'t+sound+like+the+sharpest+stategy+brain+in+action+to+me!%22+boardgamegeek

 Comment by Andy   05-Jul-2007
Tis bizarre indeed that the author is still defending himself 5 years after the session report. Anyway - would someone like my copy, free!!! just pay postage .... ?
 Comment by Andy   06-Jul-2007
p.s. I told you that you should have had it out with him at Essen last year despite walking past the games stand several times. Sharpened meeples at dawn I say!

Expo 2007 18-Jun-2007

"Who fancies a weekend in Birminham?". We waited for the punchline. "There'll be games. And beer!"

And so we decided to visit the UK Games Expo. And some pubs.

None of us fancied the journey from the south coast to Brum during the Friday night rush hour(s). We weren't too keen on rising at the crack of dawn to get up on Saturday morning either. So up we popped on Friday afternoon. No gaming to be had that day of course, but we were a stroll away from the centre of Birmingham. Which has pubs. So we drank beer and played Perudo.

We were an even shorter stroll away from the Expo, which was very handy on Saturday morning. We'd been discussing where to set our expectations, and the general consensus was that we expected enough to keep us busy for a couple of hours. Tel, ever the optimist, was fervently wishing for a gaming wonderland that would keep him occupied all weekend. We were keen to see who was right.

The Expo had a small queue outside, and signs that there was no more parking. A promising start then. Entertainment was provided outside in the form of people dressed up in their finest Star Wars gear. Darth Vader was suitably tall, but appeared to have taken a liking for pies since his last movie appearance. One of the Boba Fett's was obviously having the time of his life, randomly haranguing small children. And making Oggie's day by accusing him of having a Jedi beard.

Entrance was handled efficiently and we were inside after a couple of minutes.

We headed straight into the boardgaming section. Judging by the size of the first room, our two hour estimate was looking optimistic. A few stalls around the outside selling various stuff and tables in the middle set up to demo miniatures. On further reflection many of the stalls around the outside were selling miniatures, RPGs and demoing PC games. Two hours was looking extremely optimistic.

Fortunately the board game stuff was actually scattered across a number of rooms. Fortunately we had handfuls of items to mark our passage through the maze of twisty passages.

The next room was more promising, looking more like a miniature version of the small publishers halls in Essen. Warfrog were there with a demo version of Brass and Mordred. I’d heard good early mutterings about Brass and was interested to find out more. Sadly I got distracted with other things every time I went near the stall so I’m still none the wiser. I did note a large stack of tiles next to the board though, so I can confidently state that it’s a boardgame with some tiles.

JKLM had Phoenicia set up next door, minus a few bits. We spotted Sebastian Bleasdale, designer of last years random component fest, On The Undergroup, and thought to tease him about quality control again. We'd had a fine old time at Essen doing exactly that. He's obviously learning as he refused to meet our eyes.

Further along the room, the Ragnar Brothers were doling out upgrades to Canal Mania for purchasers of the first edition. Copies of the second edition were piled up for sale, and copies of the French edition of Viking Fury were being knocked out cheaply. A poster advertising their forthcoming game – Monastery? - adorned one wall. One of the brothers noticed us having a gander and filled us in on the broad details. It’s going to be a tile game where you score by collecting letters of a Latin phrase. Sounds odd. Hopefully good odd, but we won’t know for a few months yet. Their artist broke his hand; obviously a bit of a drawback, this has delayed release by a few months. Look to the end of the year for this one.

One of the more noticeable items in the room was an enormous, 3D, Settlers of Catan. Oggie seemed fascinated by this. Apparently the players weren’t very fast. Perhaps he found some kindred spirits.

Outside the main room, part of the hallway had been called into action for additional table space. A couple of smaller companies were set out here. Surprised Stare was showing a prototype of their forthcoming Essen game, Scandaroon. Somebody tried to encourage me to play, singing its praises. I figured him as part of the demo team, and besides they didn’t have room for all of us to join. I did get a short explanation though, and it appeared to be a trick taking game with special powers. Probably worth a look at in October.

Across the hall and into another room, we found the bring and buy table and a few more retailers. That, we assumed, was that until we wandered up the main staircase to see if anything was up there. Indeed there was. The top floor had another couple of rooms. One looked like the tournament room so we ignored that. The other had a café and a scattering of even smaller publishers than those showing their wares downstairs.

For those wondering, our couple of hours estimate turned out to be about on the nose. We were done by about half noon. I’m sure others stayed longer. There were a number of tables set up for people to play demos, and unlike Essen they weren’t all filled 10 minutes after opening. Most people seemed happy enough just poking about and browsing though.

All in all, a good effort first time round. Whether it was worth the distance we traveled is debatable, but the time we were there was enjoyable enough. It was a good opportunity to catch up with various UK gamers that we usually see just once per year too. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next year.

So half noon and we were done. But fortunately the hotel had some big tables, and we had a copy of Canal Mania. And we were near the centre of Birmingham, which has pubs.
 Comment by Geoff   22-Jun-2007
I feel you are doing them something of a dis-service with regard to "only 2 hours of entertainment". What they actually managed to achieve was somthing on their first try which was about 25 times bigger than the first ever Essen. What they now have to do is build on that. They need to expand their core base, so it's no use inviting you lot as you will probably go anyway, or me, or Wallace, but what they DO need to do is send out 20,000 free tickets for all the kids in Birmingham. Obviously, should there be a 10-15% take up of their offer the kids will come....with paying parents.

if 20% of those kids become involved in the hobby then thats a good thing. Next year do the same. Eventually you will end up with an Essen. Once the ground has been broken and the rush starts you will need both hands to hang on.

I too was very skeptical with regard to the show, however, I was made to eat my words by the fantastic results I believe the organisers acheived. I can only hope that it didn't cost them too much money.

 Comment by Andy   22-Jun-2007
Hi Geoff,

I think as a group, and having visited Essen for the last few years that we are somewhat spoilt. Personally, I agree 1000% that there was far more than 2 hours worth there it's just that the bits that drew us to the show as a group lasted 2-3 hours. If you take into account the competitions - which there were plenty (and none of us entered) and the minature wargaming stands (which we are not into) and probabally a dozen other things that I've missed then there was at least a day's worth there.

 Comment by Iain Cheyne   02-Jul-2007
That was a really nice write-up. I hope I can make it next year. I am sure the organisers will improve the convention with their experience.
 Comment by Paul   04-Jul-2007
Thanks for the comments guys. Cor, we have readers!

What I'd like to see more of next year is tables to play the new boardgames. They were a bit thin on the ground this year. And that's not meant as a criticism of the organisers. It's just a comment on the state of the British gaming industry at the moment. You can't supply what doesn't exist.

I noticed here that this is exactly what they're hoping to achieve next year. Here's hoping they manage. It's a very encouraging start so far. If they can keep the momentum going, and encourage the industry to grow, they'll make a lot of gamers very happy.
 Comment by JsymazCVIk   03-May-2018

Who's turn is it? 01-Apr-2007

I've just found a cartoon generator, and thought I'd have a play with it. Fortunately it has a lot of pre-drawn characters and so forth, which avoids me needing to use my "considerable" artistic talent. That just leaves the small matter of words. So I thought I'd cheat, and draw on this for inspiration.

Who's turn?
 Comment by Àíäðåé   25-Nov-2008
àâîëôàð âëûàâ ûðàëîâð àëîâûð îëûâðà îëâûðà îëûâ

Breaking ties 23-Mar-2007

We had a very close game of Industria this week. I'd held a small lead for much of the game, and everyone else had concluded that victory would be a formality. I wasn't so sure. As it turned out, I did win, but only by a single point. In fact, had Boog had another coin at the end, it would have been a tie. So out of interest I thought I'd have a look to see what the tie break condition would have been. Ties are broken in favour of most tiles played, which I think would have been Boog. Second tie break was most cash, which Boog would definitely have taken.

I remembered coming out on the losing side of both of the last tie breaks I'd been involved in - Fowl Play and Keythedral. To add insult to injury, the latter was after informing everyone before starting that we didn't need to worry about ties as we'd not seen one in the game so far. So I got to wondering what my record on tie breaks was.

It turns out I didn't have to go too far back to find the last time I'd won on a tie. Only as far as the previous tie in fact, which was in September, in a game of Mykerinos. Looking further back though, that, was an oasis of victory in a desert of losses as I'd lost the previous six tie breaks. Shear Panic after Andy unwittingly turned into a last round Kingmaker. Aladdins Dragon when I made the wrong choice of tiles to take, causing a tie. Our first play of Pompeji, in Essen, when Oggie got all of the omen cards and sacrificed too many of my people to the volcano. Star Fighter, as part of a five way tie. Goa, where Tel had just a bit too much cash at the end. And Industria, back in 2004, due to not building enough tiles.

So, that makes it only one win from the last nine tie breaks. A little unlucky, though not particularly significant statistically. And I did win the two tie breaks before that, so it all comes out in the wash eventually. I'm still not particularly keen on them though. They often seem quite arbitrary, so it's quite unsatisfying to have an hour or so's gaming decided on what could just as well be the toss of a coin.

While I was at it, I checked the records for the rest of the group. Given the luck warping fields which surround Oggie and Tel, it would have been no surprise to see one of those two coming out ahead. That's not, however, the way it's worked out so far.

Here are the tie break records for the group so far -

Andy - won 3/5 (60%), longest losing streak 1
Boog - won 2/2 (100%)
Paul - won 3/11 (27%), longest losing streak 6
Oggie - won 1/5 (20%), longest losing streak 4
Steve, won 5/6 (83%), longest losing streak 1
Tel - won 7/17 (41%), longest losing streak 5

Board games for the PC 12-Feb-2007

I've recently spent a couple of evenings gaming with Derek Carver's group. They're a good bunch of people, and it's an interesting change of pace to play with a different group. I know the rest of the Piddinghoe Gamers well enough by now to pretty much be able to guage their response to my moves, which is to stitch me up as efficiently as possible. And of course, it's my job to do exactly the same to them. While Derek's group seem to enjoy the art of the stitch up too, I don't know that they'll do it to me - I just strongly expect that they will. Which changes the gameplay enough to keep me on my toes for reasons other than the norm.

One of the other members of the group is George Crawshay, who's name will also be known to many of you. I first came across his name a few years ago, when I found a version of Breaking Away on the Fiendish Board Games site which he'd coded up in QBasic . Soon after that his name cropped up again in a copy of Counter. This was in a letter which mentioned that he'd converted a number of other games to the PC, but that they were no longer easily available. Intrigued, I managed to hunt a number of them down via the Wayback Machine, on what I think must have been an old version of his website. Again, they were in QBasic, but undaunted I downloaded a copy of a QBasic compiler and kept myself occupied for a few evenings compiling and playing the games.

However, it's no longer necessary to hunt through the dark corners of the Internet to get your hands on them. The good news is that George now has a new web site, from which his games are again available for download. He's even compiled all of them - with the exception of McMulti - so all you need to do is download them and play. The address is There is just one small thing to be aware of, and that is that you should use the option to download as zip files, not as EXEs. The latter option gives a missing file error.

It's well worth taking a look. George has done a good job with these, especially with the AI on a number of the games. You won't find anything released in the last couple of years here, but fans of Sid Sackson games will be very satisfied.

Thought I'd give this one a go 01-Feb-2007

Since Paul followed on Tel's "games that made him the gamer he is", I thought I'd give it a stab.
I followed the same idea, using Tel's tag lines and trying to work out what applied for me personally.
Perhaps unsurprisingly several of mine cross over with both Pauls and Tels.

Ah well, here they are.

10 The first game that really got me hooked and responsible in no small way for me wanting to play board games in later life.
I didn't really start playing board games until I got to University. Of course there were always the outings with Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and (god help us) Monopoly (involving all the Christmas family arguments about what the rules were and all the rest). Once I got there I got exposed mostly to games sold by Games Workshop, who in those days still sold games they didn't produce themselves. So I got exposed to Risk and Civilisation and Fury of Dracula.
The one that *really* did it for me though was Talisman. Me and my mates were mad for that game back then.
To the extent that I had the original plus all 4 expansions for it. I even went to the point of buying a load of the lead figurines Games Workshop produced for the game.
It'd probably all be worth money if I hadn't thrown away all the expansion boxes (took up too much space) and inexpertly "painted" half the figures in garish colours.
Probably not a game I'd get anything out of these days, but I have rose-coloured memories of it.

9 The first german style game I ever bought.
I don't have all that many, and most of them are card games. I couldn't tell you what the first one of those might have been, but I know the first proper "board" game I asked for, which was Vinci. Despite only having managed to win it once, it still features as one of my favourites. The variability provided by the different civilisations lends it a lot of replayability for me. Of course the fact that *my* copy has never been opened is not the point...

8 Tap card to be hooked on games for life - my gaming would be much more sporadic without this.
Aaargh. I could have killed Paul when he started us all off on Magic. Actually I totally bought into it at the time (and bought and bought and bought), but once I finally managed to kick the habit I could have killed him!
I still haven't managed to summon the will power to set fire to the cards though - soo much money spent on them, and I kicked the habit long before the others and spent less while addicted!

7 So you can play 1 game all day without getting bored.
Paul suggested Civilisation for this. That would only work for me if you skipped the last 3 words. You can certainly play it all day (and all night as well), I usually lost interest after 4 or 5 hours.
I'm not sure I can think of a game I could play all day without getting bored that doesn't involve being an undead priest, but Brittania might fit the bill. We used to play over two evenings (and on the most recent game those two evenings are standing at about 5 years apart and increasing!), and I always found it involving.

6 The game that launched my german revolution.
Gonna have to agree with Paul on this one. Settlers of Catan was a radical shift in my view of board games.
The first time I played it I was astounded that such a game could exist. The mixture of luck and skill mostly the former in my case), cards, dice, a random board and all the rest left me slightly stunned. Not one we play that much any more, but I have fond memories of the Travel Settlers we played on the ferry across to Holland.

5 An early favourite in the genre and partly responsible for my annual pilgrimage to Essen.
Since I've only been to Essen the once, I'm not sure I can comment on this one. Early favourites for me would include Vinci, Settlers and Medici, all of which I enjoyed a lot and which expanded my horizons about what board games outside the UK could be like.

4 Proving that in the right circumstances any game can become a favourite.
Tel has the right of this.
He'd just had some fairly major surgery, and was still on a drip for crying out loud. And we roll out Limits. Don't get me wrong, Limits was always likely to be the sort of game I like. But with Tel pleading with us not to make him laugh in case he pulled a stitch out, that game session is always going to live in my memory. In a similar vein games like Sticheln or 6 Nimmt are favourites in large part due to particularly unforgetable moments.

3 Games can even make commuting enjoyable.
Ah so many choices. For a few months Paul Tel and myself were all commuting on the same train. And we arranged to meet at the same carriage (with a table) so we could play games for the hour long commute every day. Needless to say there was a lot of very English sideways staring going on trying to figure out what we were doing, followed by a couple of people introducing themselves and even joining in.
We played Mystery Rummy, Al Capone, Lost Cities, Flaschentuefel and San Marco. And probably others.
My vote has to go to Flaschentuefel (bottle imp) though. Mostly because it's one of the very rare games
that Tel is absolutely hopeless at :)

2 As close to a gaming nirvana currently available.
I'm gonna have to go with Power Grid on this one. I'm not sure I've played the same variant more than once, but I've seriously enjoyed every single game of it. It's currently joint top with Puerto Rico (and a couple of card games) as my highest scored game ever. My only gripe with it (and it's a minor one) is that the unpredictability of the really large power stations can be a serious issue if they come out before anyone can afford them. Almost perfect.

1 The next one...or possibly the one after that.
Interesting. I'm always up for trying something new, even if it turns out to be pants.
You'll never know unless you try. Having said that, it'd take some pretty serious negotiations to get me to play a sequel to Richochet Robot!
Who can say what the next big thing will be. I imagine the Piddinghoe game vaults still contain a pile of unplayed games from last year's Essen, so it could be one of those. Or one from this year's Essen. Or even one picked up at random at a jumble sale.
Who can say.

Numchucks 29-Jan-2007

I'm glad to say after two months of waiting that I finally have my pre-ordered Nintendo Wii in my now hot sweaty hands. Now some people might be a bit fed-up waiting for two months - especially when the whole distribution of the console proved to be a complete lottery, but I should add that I pre-ordered on the last day of pre-ordering and so naturally I was towards the bottom of the list.

It's amazing the way the whole console thing works, people will probably go just as crazy for the PS3 next month as they did for the Wii, but I am just happy to have my Wii at long last - just hope that I don’t put the controller through the TV!

 Comment by Andy   30-Jan-2007
It's now Wii arrival+1 and in those 24 hours it has put a big smile upon my face.

One of the first things you do is put together a Wii Mii, in other words and Avatar that can be used in some of the games - like Wii Sports (which is bundled with the console). Ironically there are enough choices to get some similarity with ones-self, and that was quite good fun in itself!!

So far I have tried all of the Sports games in the Wii Sports pack - tennis, golf, 10 pin bowling, boxing and baseball and a quick go at Rayman Raving Rabbits. All of the sports games are best played standing up and require you to use the remotes to simulate each sport. For example when boxing you hold the remote in one hand and the nunchuck in the other act to act as physical boxing gloves to beat your opponent up with. For RRR, the remotes are used in a variety of sub-games to run, draw and even hurl cows around your head in some bizarre version of the hammer throw from track & field sports.

The good news is that this is all pretty energetic, it's a fusion of exercise with computer games and works very well. After three rounds of boxing, I could feel that I had done something physical without getting hurt! One word of caution is that I can see how excessive play could actually cause you to be injured (e.g. pull a muscle), so you need to be wary of what you do with the remotes.

 Comment by Boog   30-Jan-2007
Didn't know we were covering computer games here as well!
In that case I'd like to bring to the forum my shiny new XBox 360 and an extreme World of Warcraft addiction.

I'll post reviews of all three games I currently have on the XBox, and a detailed log of my two year odyssey in Azeroth and more recently the Outlands as soon as I have time.

I've got a lot of cameras too, but don't get me started on those ...

 Comment by Andy   30-Jan-2007
Works for me ...

Cameras? I'd heard about your sort!

Wiiiiiii !

Gaming highlights of the week, #4 29-Jan-2007

I haven't done one of these for ages, so I thought I'd throw this one in. A bit unfair to Boog on his initial play perhaps, but you have to take your material from wherever you find it.

This week we did something unusual, which was to play the same game twice in one week. Okay, it does happen, but usually only for fillers or card games. This time we got Maestro Leonardo into play twice. Now this is where the unfair bit comes in, as Boog had never played the game before whereas most of the rest of us had played a couple of times. One of which being two days earlier.

For anyone who hasn't played before, it's important to know that money is VPs. It's also important to know that you start off with 3 cash. You have the option of adding another 5 or 10 to that during the set-up phase. That turns out to be quite handy, as you're likely to have to spend some money in the first turn or so. More money, or VPs, is earned mainly by researching inventions. It's a race to finish research first, as that brings the biggest financial reward. But anyone who finishes an invention will be paid, just not quite as much as the first person.

So, enough of the scene setting and onto the game. It all started off normally enough. Tel explained the rules. Steve corrected them. We asked Oggie for bacon sandwiches. He refused. Boog looked a bit confused but generally seemed to have the idea. Paul tried to think of some sneaky rule loophole. All in all, par for the course. We played a couple of rounds. Tel grabbed a couple of inventions. So did Steve. Oggie decided to get in on the act. And then Boog noticed something. Something else which it's important to know is that each invention needs a set of ingredients. These must be tucked under your workshop before you start researching them. It's traditional to pick the ingredients that match the requirements for the invention to be researched. Or at least to pick ingredients which might possibly be used for an invention not yet revealed. Except Boog hadn't. A brick and a rope had somehow translated themselves into a brick and a lump of wood, completely unsuitable for any kind of invention. "Oh dear!" he exclaimed. Now I should note that I'm treading on slightly delicate ground here, having managed to make the same mistake not once but twice so far. So I'm being very careful not to mock. Too much.

So onwards and forwards. Realising that the current line of research wasn't bearing fruit, Boog decided to abandon it and start again. Except that he didn't have any ingredients for any of the inventions currently on display. So he set about collecting new ingredients, slightly hampered by the fact that he still only had his original three cash. Being helpful fellows, and noting that Boog had a problem with the inventions on display, we all made a concerted effort to help him by hurriedly researching them all. Usually, completing them just as he gathered the right ingredients, which by a completely mean and unwarranted rule meant he was unable to start researching them. So he set about collecting more. Again hampered by lack of cash.

And eventually the game, and the whole sorry episode, came to an end. At which point Boog revealed his score. Zero. Plus nothing for end game bonuses, making a final score of ... still zero. Now, you may remember that he started out with 3. And could have had an extra 10. So in the course of the game, he lost 3 points. Or 13. Whichever way you look at it, the final score was less than he started with. After 90 minutes of play. Passing each turn, and doing nothing, would have been a more lucrative strategy. And I thought I was the only person who discovered such mighty strategies.

Still, I have to admit he was a good sport about it. And I suspect he'll try something a little different next time. But for now, his personal best is there for the taking.
 Comment by Boog   30-Jan-2007
Pah. Crap game, we should never ever play it again.

To be honest I was mostly aiming for a zero score towards the end. I was so far behind I thought it would be funny. I could actually have made one of the things in the last few rounds, but didn't really see much point in it.

Game of the year, 2006 17-Jan-2007

For the last three years, the Piddinghoe Gamers have vote for their game of the year. Past winners have included Amun-Re, Oltremare and Ticket to Ride - Europe.

This year, the panel cast their votes for games released in 2006. That's any game. Expansions, re-releases, they all count. The only qualification is that we must have played them. And if a game is to have any chance of winning, most of us need to have played it. We're not particularly interested in fairness, so we don't wait until mid-year to give people a chance to play games released later in the year. We don't need to be fair. Unlike the Spiel des Jahres award, the Piddinghoe Gamers game of the year is unlikely to increase sales by several hundred thousand boxes. Actually, we buy most of our games later in the year anyway, taking advantage of the hugely cheaper prices at Essen, so later games aren't really at much of a disadvantage.

So, 2006 is history. The votes are in. And onto the winners.

And I'm pleased to announce that the winner this year is Canal Mania, by the Ragnar brothers. In second place, and only losing by the narrowist of margins, is On the Underground from JKLM. Third place, and quite a long way back, is Leonardo da Vinci by daVinci Games.

Congratulations to the winners. The awards are in the post. Honest. It is particularly pleasing this year that the top two spots were taken by British designers and British companies. The British games industry has long been in the doldrums so hopefully this is a sign of better things to come. Let's hope.
 Comment by    19-Jan-2007
CM is aworthy winner for 2006 with a good theme. I would reccomend it to anyone who is a fan of transport games. On the Underground is also a worthy runner-up and no supprise that the result was close.
 Comment by Andy   19-Jan-2007
The above gibberish having been written by me! :D

Pasteboard and Plastic. UK games day, Sunday 21 January 13-Jan-2007

Local gamer, Dick Ruck, has organised another games day. This is open to any local gamers, though I'm sure anybody willing to travel from afar will be welcome too. Here are the details -

After an absence of over a year we are delighted to announce Saltdean's second games day:

Pasteboard and Plastic.
Saltdean Scout Hut, Longridge Avenue, Saltdean
Sunday 21 January 10:00am 'till late!
Location Map:
Cost £3.00

As before, all proceeds from the day go to the Three Deans (Saltdean) Explorer Scout Unit.

Hot News!
Board Game Club will be coming to Pasteboard and Plastic. No delivery costs, no minimum order, just low, low prices. (Just don't expect any sort of service if they are playing Memoir 44!)

More Hot News:
Wings of War: world's largest game record attempt. (26+ planes!) If you own Wings of War, please bring it along and join in our attempt at the largest WoW game ever! The record on the 'geek is 25 planes, surely we can beat that!
Please let Dick know if you can bring WoW and how many planes you can 'field' (Sky?)
Game to commence at 3.00pm.

Even more Hot News:
Free game (collect on the day) to everyone who emails Dick to pre- register:
Please put Pasteboard and Plastic in the subject of your email.

Domestic arrangements:
The Scout Hut has been redecorated and a new kitchen installed.

We will not be able to organise food runs to the local chip shop or Wimpy. However the local Saltdean Tavern has a very reasonable Carvery and is about three minutes away by car.

We hope to provide Bacon Sandwiches during late afternoon.

Tea and Coffee will be available all day at a reasonable cost.

Please contact Dick on the email address above if you are interested. Due to a lack of definite responses, there is a chance that this may be posponed.
 Comment by Dick Ruck   13-Jan-2007
Thanks for posting this. It looks (Sunday 13th) that it will go ahead as we now have eight definite players and at least the same again in possibles. The word seems to be getting about!

However, PLEASE let me know (email address above) if you can make it so I can arrange for your free game! :-)


10 games that would have made me the gamer Tel is today 07-Jan-2007

Last year, Tel wrote a series of the 10 games that made his the gamer he is today. I thought it would be interesting to take the categories, or tag lines, he used for each of these games to see which games would make me the gamer Tel is. I meant to do this just after Essen, but for one reason or another never got around to it. Oh well, better late than never.

So here are the categories, and the games.

10 The first game that really got me hooked and responsible in no small way for me wanting to play board games in later life.

I'm tempted to give this to Frustration, which I remember playing a lot of. But that's basically Ludo, so perhaps not gamey enough. Cluedo is another contender, having a bit more game to it. But I'm actually going to give it to Mastermind, which chronologically arrived for me somewhere between these two. As such it was probably the first "real" game I played, and it got played a lot. It also has the distinction that I played a rule wrong all those years, setting a trend which is now a Piddinghoe Gamers tradition.

9 The first german style game I ever bought.

I'm not sure, but this might be Roborally, assuming that we're counting it as German style. I found a copy in the local Virgin Megastore, back when they sold games. This was a few years before we started gaming regularly, but Boog was down for the weekend to visit so we played it. Pretty much all weekend. Even after coming back from the pub, when somehow we managed to manouver over conveyer belts with a lot less mental anguish than we have now. Though Oggie shortly afterwards gave us our first inklings that beer and Roborally don't belong together, when we decided to play on New Years Day. The previous night being New Years Eve, some beer had been consumed. And Oggie had had his fair portion. Possibly more than his fair portion judjuing by his showing in this game. We dealt out the cards. He looked at them. For forty five minutes. And when he finally laid down his program and we ran through them all, he ended up in a pit. Lest anyone think another robot had got in the way and meddled with his plan, they hadn't. His program led him straight there. No outside help needed.

8 Tap card to be hooked on games for life - my gaming would be much more sporadic without this.

It's difficult to argue with Tel's choice of Magic here. It bridged the gap between RPGs and boardgames for most of us, and certainly had us all hooked for a while. It's also the game that led to the founding of The Piddinghoe Gamers, and a regular gaming group has certainly led to more frequent gaming. Before Magic, gaming was restricted to an occasional weekend when I had a gaming inclined visitor. That more or less meant a handful of games each getting a couple of plays. Instead, I now have a couple of hundred games each getting a couple of plays. Ho hum.

7 So you can play 1 game all day without getting bored.

This one, I think, will have to be given to Civilisation. Mainly because whenever we did play it, it really did take all day. And all night. At least I presume so. We never actually finished a game, normally quitting around midnight nowhere near the end. We always decided to play it on a Sunday, which sadly meant we had to go to work the next day. Playing through the night was never therefore an option. I don't remember ever being bored while playing though, more surprised that a whole day had disappeared somewhere. I'd like to play a full game one of these days, but faced with playing half a game - and giving up at midnight - or playing half a dozen other excellent games to completion, it's not something I see happening soon.

6 The game that launched my german revolution.

The first German game I played was Fair Means or Foul. The first I bought was Roborally. But the revolutionary one was Settlers. I know, a predictable answer and probably an all too common one. I found it in a bookshop in Woking, put it on a shelf for a bit, heard some buzz from a couple of places. Left it on the shelf a bit more. Then finally had a game inclined visitor and got it to the table. It spent a lot of time on the table after that, at least for the next few months. It also led to the rapid purchase of a number of other games, and the rest is history.

5 An early favourite in the genre and partly responsible for my annual pilgrimage to Essen.

I'm going to have to cheat and nominate Settlers again. I'm sure another game would have done it soon afterwards though, as this was around the same time that I discovered that London had game shops. That, you see, was before the days that this sort of information was readily available on the Internet. So instead of typing "game shop London" into Google, the actual method of discovery was to walk down a street for the first time and find a shop called Just Games there. Sadly I only managed to get into it for 5 minutes as it was closing time, and even more sadly it had closed completely by the time I got there again. There was, however, a notice in the window advertising a new games shop near the British Museum. And, again due to the earliness of the Internet, it was chock full of games I'd never heard of. Many of these would have had the opportunity to claim the crown of early favourite and Essen prompter.

4 Proving that in the right circumstances any game can become a favourite.

Tel had it easy. He got to pick a game and then invent a tagline. Picking a game to match this tag's not so straightforward. Mind you, with the circumstances Tel described, perhaps he didn't have it quite so easy.

Actually, I've a few contenders so it's not so tough. I'm going to go with Royal Turf. The circumstances being Essen 2004, introducing the game to a young Canadian by the name of Chris Kovac. The name will be familiar to any readers of Spielfrieks; he's the guy who regularly lights the touchpaper on a topic then steps back to see what happens. Chris had played a couple of games with us during the previous couple of evenings. He'd probably got us pegged as a little odd but mainly harmless. But this evening was different. Because we'd been to the local brew pub, and we'd been drinking *pints* (think Hobbits and Lord of the Rings for the reference). And so we felt it compulsory to chant "horses head .... in the bed!" every time a head was rolled. Largely, it has to be said, for the expression of pure bewilderment on Chris's face every time we did it. Oddy enough, he hasn't played with us since. We still have a couple of chants in his honour each time we play the game though.

3 Games can even make commuting enjoyable.

An easy one this time. The first Mystery Rummy game, Jack the Ripper. A game which never gets dull. Even after playing it a hundred times, something new will occasionally get thrown up. It's still the only game I've seen somebody win before they'd even had a go. The theme was also great for generating interest amongst other commuters. We got no end of odd looks, and even had a couple of people join in for various games. The only downside is that it doesn't play very well with four people - that makes it far too easy for the Ripper to escape, making the game a bit of a luck fest.

2 As close to a gaming nirvana currently available.

Another tougher one, as there are so many good games out there. And I'm not really sure which is "the best". So I'm going to go with Princes of Florence, my higest rated game according to the stats elsewhere on this site. And ironically the game that was supposed to be rendered redundant by Puerto Rico, which was Tel's pick. Lots of different strategies, some of them quite surprising, and lots to think about throughout the game. There rarely seems to be any downtime as most of the other players activities seem to whiz by while plotting how on earth you are going to get these works done.

1 The next one...or possibly the one after that.

Well, we'll have to see what this one turns out to be. Interestingly, Tel's almost turned out to be Top Trumps, so I'm hoping for something with a little more meat than that.

So there we have it. The ten games that would have made me the games that Tel is today. Any more takers?

 Comment by Tel   08-Jan-2007
10 Mastermind - I played a lot of this as a kid. I'm intrigued to know what rule you played wrong.

7 Civilisation. - I'd like to think that I will manage to play a whole game of civ at some point in my life. But then I always was the eternal optimist

4 Royal Turf - HORSES HEAD, IN THE BED!!! - ah memories are made of these.

3 The first Mystery Rummy game, Jack the Ripper. - To be fair this could've been any of 4 games. Mystery Rummy:Al Capone, Mystery Rummy:Jack the Ripper, Flaschenteufal and my original choice Lost Cities. I gave the nod to Lost Cities as that was the game that started our train games.

2 Princes of Florence - PoF, PR, AoS all work for me.

1 Luckily I had to buy some duty free so missed the first game of Top Trumps
 Comment by Paul   11-Jan-2007
The rule I had wrong in Mastermind concerned placing the black and white pegs to show how accurate the guess was.

I don't know why, but I got it in my head that the pegs had to be placed in the same positions as the guesses. So if peg x was the right colour in the right place, then a white - or was it black? - peg had to be played in the same position to show that. Now the fact that the guesses were placed on a 1x4 row, and the answers on a 2x2 grid, might have been a bit of a clue that something was amiss with this ruling. And indeed I did spot that something wasn't quite right. So at this point I had two options. I could check the rules, or I could declare the game designers to be complete idiots for making such a fundamental error when they designed the board. And invent a mapping between the row and the grid to fix their stupid error. Guess which I did!
 Comment by Andy   12-Jan-2007
I believe that same "Horses head" session was also notable for a certain game of Tonga Bonga - once of the sweetest dice rolling moments I have ever witnessed. Me, having been helplessly loosing thought "sod this" and put all my cash onto the board and up for grabs. Tel, seeing that if he got the right roll, could then win the game from Paul became extremely excited!!

His subsequent roll was one of the worst possible rolls I have ever seen in TB, Tel almost choaked to death laughing as a result. Three 10s and a 9 were the resulting scores which must put it as one of our highest ranked individual games ever!!!!!


Games played 2006 01-Jan-2007

As another year of gaming is about to start here is a list of the games I managed to play last year. All these are face to face games although I have been playing a few games on Spielbyweb. Fewer games played than last year mainly due to not being able to make as many Sunday games days as I would have liked and also missing a whole gaming weekend due to a family holiday. Well enough of the excuses and here are those games...

5&10 for Stephen
1/1/2006 thru 12/31/2006
297 Games Played
137 Unique Games Played
#Plays Game

10 Mystery Rummy: Al Capone
9 Alles im Eimer
8 Trans Europa
8 Thurn Und Taxis
7 Guillotine
7 San Juan
6 Puerto Rico
6 Robo Rally
6 Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
5 Cloud Nine
5 Funkenschlag
5 Age Of Steam
4 For Sale
4 Perudo
4 Trias
4 Geschenkt
4 Zug Um Zug
4 Das Zepter Von Zavandor
4 Mesopotamia
4 Hacienda
4 Zug um zug:marklin
4 Indonesia
3 Basari
3 Don
3 Hare and Tortoise
3 Ricochet Robot
3 Metro
3 Feurio
3 zug um zug: europe
3 Louis XIV
3 Amun Re
3 Caylus
3 Santiago
3 Ys
3 Siena
3 Battle Cry
3 Gheos
2 Acquire
2 Carcassonne
2 Durch die Wüste
2 El Grande
2 Family Business
2 Flaschenteufel
2 Die Fürsten von Florenz
2 Gods
2 Kardinal und König
2 Offline
2 Pit
2 Wiz War
2 Mystery Rummy 3: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
2 Transamerica

2 Der Untergang von Pompeji
2 Wallenstein
2 Formula De Mini
2 Fresh Fish
2 Wings of War
2 Colossal Arena
2 China
2 Colosseo (Joe)
2 Finstere Flure
2 Jenseits Von Theben
2 Blue Moon City
2 Canal mania
2 Contraband
2 Rise of the Luftwaffe
2 Space Dealer
2 Maestro Leonardo
1 6 nimmt!
1 Adel verpflichtet
1 Attila
1 Babel
1 Billabong
1 Bohnanza
1 Carolus Magnus
1 Cartagena
1 Evo
1 Hattrick
1 HellRail: 3rd Perdition
1 Limits
1 Lost Cities
1 Medina
1 Mississippi Queen
1 Modern Art
1 Morisi
1 Polarity
1 Ra
1 Rage
1 Royal Turf
1 Samurai
1 San Marco
1 Save Doctor Lucky
1 Stephenson's Rocket
1 Tikal
1 Timbuktu
1 Tonga Bonga
1 Vinci: The Rise and Fall of Civilizations
1 Balloon Cup
1 Carcassonne die Stadt
1 Street Soccer
1 Keythedral
1 Reef Encounter
1 Railroad Dice
1 Magna Grecia
1 Oltremare
1 Alhambra
1 Der Turmbau zu Babel
1 Pirate's Cove
1 Industria
1 St Petersburg
1 Razzia
1 Il Principe
1 Byzantium
1 Stimmt So!
1 Aqua Romana
1 Carcassonne: The Discovery
1 Das Ende des Triumvirats
1 Victory & Honor
1 History's Mysteries
1 Diamant
1 Santa Fe Rails
1 Cityscape
1 Gloom
1 Glory to Rome
1 Euphrates & Tigris : Card Game
1 Heave Ho!
1 Flagship
1 Antike
1 Mykerinos
1 Cleopatra and the society of architects
1 Hey that's my fish
1 Metromania
1 Null & Nichtig
1 Hermagor
1 Khronos
1 Hamelyn
1 Fiji
1 Fowl Play

5 & 10 Generated by GameTracker
 Comment by Derek Joiner   09-May-2007
Bob has a new game called 'Camp-er Van'.
Might be of interest. Has an additional Pots and Pans module!

The Debating Game - Playing Quickly v Taking Your Time 11-Dec-2006

“Playing Quickly”

Nobody likes excessive downtime in a board game, in fact many of the most popular games in our group are 4-5 player card games which have little downtime, are great fun and a fair dollop of stitching each other up. Of course it would be completely unfair to suggest that it is just the game speed alone which makes these fun, but it is a factor none the less.

Analysis Paralysis – ugh what a term, and what an impact upon games! I don’t think that the average German game was ever intended to be dissected into a million pieces before making the perfect move. Many games are intended to be played in 45-90 minutes, but instead we see people slowing them down just to eek out that extra point or two with the net result that an otherwise entertaining game takes 2-3 hours to play.

Of course if winning at all costs is a player’s vogue and they feel that they simply have to evaluate all of the infinitesimal permutations which exist in the multiverse as we know it, then so be it. What such players fail to realise is that they are actually boring the tits off all the other people who are playing the game and come the revolution, they in their sloth-like state will be first against the wall!!!

Many games suffer from the player not being able to make their decisions until it is actually their turn – this is fair enough but surely some planning head is possible or, as seems to be the case, they sit there whilst it is not their turn going “la la la la la la twiddle-dee-dum”. Often in game I find that I have already chosen my move long before it’s my turn and only stop to adjust what it is I am going to do if the situation changes markedly.

I know that I am not alone in this and many games have enough down time that you can actually figure out a strategy before your go. A five player game with everyone on the ball and taking no more than three minutes on their turn gives you fifteen minutes of total thinking/playing time to complete your go. I think that you could argue that even ten minutes would suffice for many games.

So in truth playing quickly is not really about playing quickly – you actually have ages to plan your turn or strategy and making best use of that time is key to not slowing the game down and annoying your fellow players.

Anyway I look forward you your counter arguments, just be snappy about it!!

 Comment by Garry   12-Dec-2006

Relax. Take your time. A great game is like a fine wine and needs to be savoured, not gulped down at breakneck speed. Playing games is a leisure activity and should be conducted at a leisurely pace, not a chore that you need to get over and done with at the soonest opportunity. I mean, it's not as though there are so many games to play that you couldn't possibly get through them all if you didn't play quickly. Err, scrub that, there probably are that many games!

Seriously, I know what you're saying and agree that AP is not a good thing. However, when I'm playing a game for the first time, I am more willing to allow people the time to think about what their next move might mean. Sometimes, if you just play without thinking, you miss some of the subtleties and may dismiss the game unfoundedly. That said, playing a well known game like Settlers in the same way won't make you any friends (especially me).

In truth, I think it is a question of balance and who you are playing with. If someone is, uncharacteristically, taking longer than they should, tell them - hopefully they'll take notice. If someone always plays too slow for your liking, more fool you for continuing to play with them in the first place.

Previous page   Next page