Paid my second trip to Newcastle Gamers at the weekend, and decided to turn up a bit earlier this time… which was probably just as well, as the games that I joined turned out to be pretty lengthy ones…
First up was The Pillars of the Earth, with the expansion set added on to allow a full complement of 6 people to play:
I Enjoyed this one a lot. Pillars is a game that I’d considered buying in the past, but eventually passed over on the grounds that I was getting a tiny bit bored of games with the theme of “collect resources to build churches to earn victory points”. (Though I’d got as far as reading the rule book while making my mind up, which came in handy, since pretty much everybody at the table was new to the game).
Oh well.. another bad decision on my part. Turns out that Pillars is exactly the kind of game I like; a well-crafted exercise in worker-placement which manages to give you lots of options, but without an overbearingly-complex rule set. Everybody at the table seemed to pick it up pretty quickly, even with the expansion set added to the mix. It took us the best part of three hours to finish the game but the time flew past. Would definitely play this one again. Might even need to buy myself a copy after all 😉
Next up: Battlestar Galactica. BSG is a game that I’ve been keen to play; it’s been highly-placed in the Board Game Geek charts for as long as I can remember, and the whole semi-co-operative werewolf-esque “which-player-is-really-a-cylon?” mechanic always struck me as being interesting… but it’s another case of a game that doesn’t work with 2 players, so isn’t ideal for my own collection.
I’d already got wind that BSG is a particular favourite at Newcastle Gamers, so I’d done my homework before turning up this week (i.e. downloaded the rulebook pdf, and given it a quick read-through). Probably just as well… originally, we were going to play a plain-vanilla game (since a couple of us were first-time players), but a couple of the more-experienced BSG players at the club got the scent of a game about to kick off, and were keen to add in extras from the Pegasus expansion… so by the time we started, some serious scope-creep had taken place 😉
Verdict on the game? Mixed opinions. There are aspects I like, and aspects that left me cold. The core is decidedly ameritrashy; lots of dice-based combat resolution and random event cards – neither of which I’m a particularly big fan of. The psychological/deductive metagame – figuring out who is really human, and who is secretly a cylon – is kind of fun though (and very cleverly implemented), and you really can’t fault the makers on their fidelity the source material.
That said, Battlestar is probably my least-favourite of the games that I’ve played at the club so far. Nevertheless, it was still good to finally get to try it out! (another notch in the board-gaming bedpost…)
So… only 2 games played this week, but they still managed to take the best part of 6 hours to get through(!)… plus, the feeling of being a club newbie is now wearing off nicely (I’m even starting to remember people’s names… and I’m *rubbish* at remembering people’s names!)
All-in-all, a good night’s entertainment 🙂
CREDITS: Session pics gratuitously stolen from the Newcastle Gamers web site. Newcastle Gamers meets on the second and last Saturday of the month… usual cost is £3, but your first visit is free. More details here.