Batman, Settlers and Rattus

 Quiz picture 1 - for "roll the dice and move the dobber" this is a great game

Quiz picture 1 - for "roll the dice and move the dobber" this is a great game

This time the quiz picture is of an old British born game, it plays excellently and is quite thematic, ideal for Halloween, its only drawback is that it is a knockout game. If one quiz picture was not enough I have slotted another in below last weeks answer as I had a spare photo slot.

The last quiz picture was Bauernschlau. It is one of many superb German games that have never reached the UK shores for sale. visiting the flea market at Spiel in Essen was a good (and the only) way to pick up gems like these.

 Quiz picture 2 - a 2 player game is your only clue

Quiz picture 2 - a 2 player game is your only clue

Before I start the rundown of games played at the club this week I wish to say that I have posted a list on the geek of games that I think are good multiplayer but which I also consider to play very well 2 player, so if you are thinking of starting or expanding a games collection mainly for 2 players but with some versatility for multi-player play you may find it helpful. It is at :- https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/196499/2-player-games-work-well-multiplayer

The club was a little low on numbers this week but we still had 2 tables running. We started with a warm-up game of Love Letter: Batman, although played before at the club it was my first time and I found it to be a good fun game of deduction where coincidentally I deduced nothing. With a round lasting about 3-5 minutes it is an excellent filler game.

 The Joker, the top ranked card

The Joker, the top ranked card

Our next game was another recent club favourite BANG! The Dice Game. A change of character for me, no longer was I Rose Doolan, I also had a change of role, my two deaths as Deputy had not gone un-noticed and I was promoted to Sheriff. The odds were against me though as there were 3 Outlaws and a Renegade against myself and my Deputy.

 My new character and role as Sheriff

My new character and role as Sheriff

My Deputy and the Renegade were the first 2 to be eliminated which left me against 3 Outlaws, with malicious intent my nemesis from the previous 2 games peppered me with bullets and the Outlaws won.

We split into 2 tables, my table opted for a game of Pergamon  which is not a complex game but does carry a bit of weight. The game consists of 12 rounds of which only 4 are scoring. Each round is split into 3 different phases the first of which is placing a meeple on the funding track, this will not only dictate how much cash you are likely to get but how deep in the catacombs you may dig, cash cards are then revealed (the only luck element of the game) and funds taken, careful calculations will limit risk here.

 The Catacombs showing the 5 levels of artifacts

The Catacombs showing the 5 levels of artifacts

These funds are then used in the second stage of the game which is digging in the catacombs, each turn 5 new tiles are placed on the board and players may dig as deep as they have permission for in that turn, they choose what level to dig at and are not compelled to dig to the deepest level they are allowed, pay the cost and remove all tiles from that level, the deeper you dig the better/older the treasures are but the more it costs.

 Three exhibitions valued at 19, 18 and 1

Three exhibitions valued at 19, 18 and 1

The last stage of a round is exhibiting in the museum, each tile shows 2 halves of different artifacts and tiles are matched to make complete artifacts, a string of these tiles create an exhibit which is then displayed for victory points. The game is quite dry and would probably get little play except that the superb mechanics which mesh well together and the tightness of cash flow make it quite a compelling game.

Table 2 started with Catan: Junior, this is a simpler form of Settlers of Catan, only 1 die is rolled for resources, Villages are replaced by lairs, roads by ships and chance cards are replaced by parrot tokens. The rules are much simplified in that lairs can be built at every tile intersection, the pirate who moves on a 6 does not steal from players just from the bank, and trading is with the board or bank not with other players (unless you use advanced rules). The game is playable, works well and is an excellent choice for the younger gamer.

 The junior version does not have tiles but a preset player board.

The junior version does not have tiles but a preset player board.

Table 2 next played Phantoms of the Ice  originally this was called Slapshot and is an excellent card game, it has had several incarnations but Phantoms of the Ice is the one I prefer. The game is fairly straightforward each player is dealt 3 attackers 2 defenders and a goalkeeper from the respective decks, the cards show a character whose strength ranges from 0 to 10. On a turn a player can do one of three things, they can exchange a card with the relevant deck, they may steal from an opponent or they can challenge another player to a game.

 A players hand consisting of a goalkeeper, 2 defenders (1 a bruiser) and 3 attackers. This is an above average team likely to win its next match but then liable to thievery from the other players

A players hand consisting of a goalkeeper, 2 defenders (1 a bruiser) and 3 attackers. This is an above average team likely to win its next match but then liable to thievery from the other players

When you steal from an opponent you take a card at random from your nominated player and then you MUST give them back a different character card but of the SAME role, for example if you steal a goalkeeper you must give the victim of the theft your goalkeeper. If you challenge someone in a match then in turn you each reveal a card from your deck and compare them, a goalkeeper always blocks a goal unless both players play a goalkeeper in which case the higher value goalkeeper scores, if neither card is a goalkeeper the highest value card scores a goal. The winner of the match is the team that scored the most goals, in the case of a draw there is a sudden death where goalkeepers are very useful. There are a few more rules but that is the general gist of the game.

 1/3 of one of the matches, 1 goal each is shown in the 2 shots above

1/3 of one of the matches, 1 goal each is shown in the 2 shots above

There is plenty of player interaction throughout the game and there is a good fun element to it too, however it works best with 4 or more players. Judging from the laughter from the table 2 everyone had an enjoyable game and was won by “Maidstone Marauders” who beat “Death to Kevin” in the final match. One has to question the naming of one of the teams “Death to Kevin” as poor old Kevin was playing peacefully at another table blissfully unaware that he was already the target in the next game of Bang!.

Table 1 moved on to Rattus, lighter in play to Pergamon though perhaps not in theme which is the Black Death running across Europe.  It is actually quite light hearted the idea being to end the game with the most population counters on the board. A turn consists of 3 parts 1) taking a character card (non-mandatory) either from a display or from another player, 2) placing some population cubes of your colour on the board and using the abilities of any character cards you have and 3) moving the plague activation counter which reveals rat counters possibly causing the removal of population from the board and placing new rat tokens in neighbouring areas.

 Three of the characters, the Merchant, Witch and King

Three of the characters, the Merchant, Witch and King

 The Iberian Peninsular was the safe place for most of the pieces

The Iberian Peninsular was the safe place for most of the pieces

I think this game plays best with 4 players, less than that and there is not a proper circulation of the character cards, our game was quite tight with the winner also being the victor in Pergamon.

Last game of the evening was 6 nimmt! for which both tables got together for a 6 player game, despite my previous theories on this game which has stood me in good stead in the past I suffered badly and crashed out very quickly managing to achieve -70 points in just three rounds (usually a game will last 4 rounds or more) and taking the wooden spoon.