Saturday dawned, and it was time for day two of the expo. Vicky and I had arranged to go for breakfast at 8.30 am, under the misapprehension that some of the late night gamers would not be up early. It turns out that we vastly underestimated the sheer volume of residents already waiting for breakfast. As we shuffled slowly forward among the crowd, one of the hotel staff called out that she had a table for 4. A voice from behind announced volunteered Vicky and me to join them as a four for breakfast, which we readily accepted. And so it was that we breakfasted with a couple of guys from Esdevium games. Fuelled for the day by a full english breakfast, and a cup of tea (but not quite enough tea …), we set off once more for the NEC.
We called in at the Czech Games Editions stand, where Codenames:Pictures was available to play. This game is based on the same principles as the popular Codenames. Instead of using words, as in Codenames, players have a set of pictures to give clues for.
As a team game, we needed an extra player to even things out. A fourth player was soon recruited from the observers to make two teams – Vicky and Jeppers on one team, and me and the fourth player on the other.
This game proved to be both fun and challenging. I enjoyed the guessing part more than the giving clues part – I struggled a bit trying to think of ways to link pictures together which the other team member would ‘get’, but we managed to scrape a victory. I duly took my selfie which I tweeted to enter the competition to win a copy.
This is certainly one I’d like to add to my collection.
We took the time to have a go at Ice Cool, which is a game of flicking weeble-like penguins through the “school” doorways and over walls to gather fish, before being caught by the hall monitor.
Another hit from Saturday was Five Tribes, from Bruno Cathala, and Days of Wonder. This is a variation on meeple placement. The game starts with meeple on all tiles, and players manipulate them around the board, to land on tiles such as Anothdesert, villages, temples and oases
The game is brightly coloured, with each colour of meeple having different special abilities. Play order is determined each round by auction.
When a player removes the last meeple from a tile, they get the bonus for that tile, and can place one of their camels on that tile to indicate ownership.
Goods can be collected in sets for points, money converts directly to points, and Djinn can grant bonuses in different ways by sacrificing elders.
The aim is to gain as many points as possible.
This one is on my wishlist, …. it certainly seems to be quite replayable, with different djinns, arrangements of tiles, meeples and goods for each setup.
We lunched once again at the food fair, and again quenched our thirst courtesy of the beer bus throughout the day. Having attempted to attend the evening live podcast and found a queue snaking around the corridor, we opted for an early dinner in the vain hope that we could find somewhere to sit and play some of our purchases.
We wandered from room to room, seeing others similarly hunting for elusive gaming space. After a while, the hotel staff opened up some extra rooms for gaming, and our hunt came to fruition in the aptly named Norfolk room. I say aptly named, as though Vicky and Jeppers have no ties with Norfolk, I do, and it was occupied by quite a few members of a Norwich Boardgaming group.zt
We were invited to sit by a father and son, who were open to playing some of our purchases.
Jeppers opened his copy of Contagion, as Vicky had never played it before. Contagion takes the theme of each player developing a disease to infect as many places as possible. A number of cities are set out to infect, and an event deck is created. A players turn consists of drawing a number of cards according to their incubation rate which match the colours of the cities, and place a number of their disease cubes according to their infection rate. These are tracked on a player card. Incubation, infection rate and resistance can all be increased by discarding a certain number of cards. At points determined by the event deck, new cities may appear, or scoring can occur for whichever player has the highest number of cubes on each city. Cities are destroyed when the number of cubes matches their population. Destroying a city gives 3 players on that city points, and a bonus for the player who placed the final disease cube.
The game ends when either the event deck is exhausted, or the number of cities in play is reduced to 2.
By this time we had been joined by some others – James and Lewis being two from the Norwich group. We were joined by Colin, who very kindly and patiently took us on a play through Mysterium.
I really enjoyed mysterium, a game of murder mystery, with some beautiful card art.
Another one for my ever-expanding wishlist!
Next up was Secret Hitler, a game to brew distrust. There are a number of liberals, fascists, and (thankfully) only one Hitler. For the eight players we had, the fascists knew who each other were, and they knew the identity of the Hitler player. ‘Hitler’ didn’t know who his supporters are. Each round a person takes the role of president, and nominates a chancellor who the other players vote for. the chancellor and president act together to enact policies. Each party has a certain number policies to enact in order to win.
At 10pm we experienced the fun of The Dark Room.
This was an hour of fun, based on text based games of yesteryear. A hapless audience member is selected as the escapee, who much choose from options on the screen. Responses to these choices are shouted back by the presenter, John Robertson, with great energy and much enthusiastic audience participation. Inventive and charismatic, the quickfire responses from John ensure there is never a moment of silence. This was well worth a visit.
You can find out more at John’s Website.
After this experience, I returned to the Norfolk room to see if there were any fun games I could get in on. The guys we had met earlier on in the evening were mid-game when I arrived, but this soon finished and I was introduced to a beautiful game named Kodama, a kickstarter game, courtsey of James .
In Kodama, players are caretakers of the tree spirits (these are the Kodama the game takes its name from). The game is played over four seasons, with each season having a seasonal ‘decree’.
Trees are grown by playing branch cards.Placement of these cards is key to the game, as at the end of each season a Kodama comes to visit, and points are scored depending on their individual requirements.
This was a lovely game to round off the end of a fantastic day. It was time for sleep and refresh for the final day!