Board Game Saturday on Wells 03 December 2011

A week late, but hopefully that’s better than nothing.

Dungeons and/or Dragons

The afternoon started of with some good old fashioned Dungeons and Dragons. The session was slow to start as we invited Heng Lin to join in at the last minute and got him to create a character (Protector Druid from the new Heroes of the Feywild book). Once we started, I did some recapping since we had not played in a month and also to get Heng Lin familiar with what was going on. Had a few scenes with the PCs to give them their item rewards and also integrate into their backstory. Hopefully Jin Wei got some clues on his lady patron and a potentially significant plot point was introduced for Jonathan’s character.

Next it was time for the party to decide where to go from there: Ruins of the old imperial capital, a draconic temple lair or explore the fallen sky island outposts . I had prepared a few encounters ahead of time that could fit into any of the scenarios, but naturally the guys decided to go for the one I was least prepared for. Fortunately, I transplanted some of the plot elements from the fallen outpost encounters into the ruins and quickly came up with some more things on the fly. I personally prefer this style of seat of the pants DM-ing, as it tends to lead to some cool spur of the moment ideas added to the plot. I usually plan out the combat encounters ahead of time, but only have a brief outline of plot points I’d like to cover, which lets me fill in anything in between with whatever seems interesting at the time. For this session, I had to quickly come up with an acrophobic gnome delver who always had to clip a safety rope everywhere he went, and wraiths spawning from magical glass sculptures until the sculptures got smashed and releasing their memories when they dissipated, all of which I hope my players enjoyed. I’ realise that this group is very combat oriented and tend to stick to “safe” or “direct” options for resolving problems (the smashy-smashy approach), and may be time to dial back on the plot for a while and let them do some smashing. I think for the next few sessions I’ll try to have some more combat oriented encounters to let them play around with their new levelled up powers.

Innovation

Board games started soon after we wrapped up the D&D session. Turn out for board games was pretty good, with I think 16 people in total. First game I taught was Innovation, which I have mentioned before. I think Jin Wei liked it and Steven laments the tiny printed text and inadequate lighting in my apartment. I think they finished 2 games before I joined in later for the third. I managed to win that game, but it was a really close one as Adam’s late Monotheism managed to steal a crapload of points and he would have won the next turn if I hadn’t. The more I play it, the more I like this game. It scratches my combo-loving itch and craving for variety as each card has its own crazy unique power.

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

While the first game of Innovation was going on, I started on Discworld: Ankh-Morpork with Daniel, Evan and Adam. Started out as a Lord Selachii and then Zorgo-ed as soon as I could, but winded up as Lord de Worde. Oh well. Game started out well enough, but I soon tagged out with Callan to go teach Isla Dorada. Apparently Evan was inadvertantly cock-blocked many a time as Dragon King of Arms since there were several times when there were more than “that number” trouble tokens after his turn, but they always managed to traipse off the board before his turn came around. In the end he still managed to win on points, as noone was Vimes. Good jaaarb.

Isla Dorada

Next, I taught Isla Dorada to Adrian, Rei and Kat. Heng Lin is already an old timer to the game and he helped to set up while I explained. I could see they were kind of wary of the game during the initial explanation but after the first round, it all seemed to make sense (Isla Dorada is one of those games where it’s easier to play than to explain) and they seemed to enjoy it a lot in the end. Heng Lin, sly master that he is, managed to cheat everyone into letting him win with his good looks and innocent demeanour (I cannot confirm the veracity of this claim, as I was not there the whole time, but I’m sure that’s how it happened). After all the games were set up, I went of to get some pizza and start up the deep-fryer for some yummy banana fritters.

Dixit

While we were in the kitchen deep frying whatever we could, a game of Dixit was started and I think everyone enjoyed that one as well. Dixit has been a huge hit with almost everyone I’ve played it with, and is probably the best “Family Game” I own. I’m not sure who won the game, but with Dixit I’m sure everyone ended up “winning” that evening. It’s a really really fun game, and I heartily recommend it to anyone with a soul.

Kingsburg

Finally, I also set up and taught a game of Kingsburg to Vong, Other-Vong, Heng Lin, Jonathan and Wern. This one ended up being a semi-disaster. After explaining the rules and running them through the first two steps, I left to finally play Innovation. Turns out they ended up doing production even during non-productive seasons which ended up making the game twice as long and twice as easy for winter. Ooooops. In hindsight, I should have stayed for another season at least to make sure things went right. Anyways, even though the game was a write-off (they ended it after Year 2 and 16 rounds, which should have seen them near the end if it was played right, since it was getting late by then) the players seemed to enjoy it and said they were interested in trying again the right way next time.

All in all, a very fun and satisfying day of gaming, pizza and deep fried foods. Didn’t actually get to play many games myself, but it was fun just to teach and watch everyone have a good time. That’s the Wells Street Board Game Saturday guarantee.

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