Yes, play more games! Well, I have just had a most excellent weekend of gaming down in Chelmsford with m'buddies Derek and Brendan. Derek's sons were there too for part of Saturday and had a riot (not a student one!).
I had not played this in ages but it is really easy to pick back up again. The games went quickly with much hilarity and picking on each other as much as possible. The first game proceeded with a clear demonstration that the participants of the game were largely warmongers with a couple of clods that might inadvertantly cause a war instead. The second game was much the same, but it also provided a clear demonstration of the insanity of mutually assured destruction as a doctrine; I was wiped out first, but my retaliation killed Derek and Elliot. Their retaliation then wiped the other two out. Ouch! All in all, it was a brilliant game and well worth returning to after all these years.
Groo the Wanderer
Groo is a very stupid barbarian who inadvertantly destroys pretty much everything around him. You are the mayor of a town that Groo is likely to visit. Your goal is to build up your town before the others while avoiding Groo's visits. This is a card game based on the brilliant comic by Sergio Aragones. The game plays quickly and saw all of us trying to ensure that Groo spent more time at our opponents' towns than at our own. We laughed, we howled, we cursed each other. Yup, definitely one to return to. Again, like Nuclear War, I have had this game for ages but not played it often enough.
Shadows over Camelot
I had never played this before. The idea is that each player is a knight of the round table. You are supposed to go on quests to recover the Holy Grail, Excalibur and Lancelot's Armour, which help you win the game. Each quest puts one or more white swords on the round table. When there are twelve there, you have won. The twist is that one player may be a traitor. A card is dealt to each player that tells them whether they are the traitor or not. The traitor is trying to get seven black swords onto the round table or to place twelve siege engines outside Camelot. Siege engines can get placed by the knights, because they have to take one evil action in their turn as well as their good actions. Black swords are placed by failure to complete quests or by falsely accusing a good knight. It is entirely possible that no traitor is present, but I wound up being the traitor. Not knowing the game, I just played it gormless and eventually wound up in position to place the twelfth siiege engine and win. I was never unmasked as the traitor (yay!) and enjoyed the game a lot. It was tricky trying to make sub-optimal plays all the time, but that just added to the fun.
Fire and Axe: a Viking saga
This has to be one of my favourite games ever. You play a Viking, whose goal is to trade, raid and settle your way into the history books. In this game you can settle the New World, pillage Rome or Constantinople, or sail down the Volga to trade in the East. The length of the game is controlled by the saga cards. There are nine of each type and the game deck is made up of six from each level. The saga cards describe activities that you must complete to score them. The person that completes the final element of the saga gets the card and the cards can be worth points at the end of the game. I really like the fact that there are several ways to score points and win the game, and the game play is tense as people compete to score the saga cards. It is rarely evident who will win until the end and the final scoring is done, which enhances the experience. This was a really competitive game and the final scores were close. Most excellent.
Overall, this was a brilliant weekend and all the games we played were fun. It helps to have great people to play with but the games themselves are all ones that I would recommend too and enhanced the whole thing. If you are tempted, you can check the games out at Boardgamegeek by clicking the links in the game list to the right.