Monday, May 23

Beer and Pretzels 2016

It's been a great week of gaming, culminating in my weekend con trip of the year at Beer and Pretzels 2016 in Burton on Trent. Wednesday I went to Manchester with Ian, so once I'd finished my presentation slides we played a few games on the iPad (including 6 Nimmt! which works better than I expected pass and play). Thursday was Games Night featuring 6 Nimmt! (again) a couple of games of Race for the Galaxy, King of Tokyo and a couple of games of Zombology. Friday I had a night off gaming and an early night to try to recover from a few bad nights sleep and to ready myself for the early start.

Five AM on Saturday I planned to quickly turn off the alarm and get ready as quietly as possible to avoid disturbing The Wife (who doesn't deserve a 5am start just because I want to go gaming). Sadly at 4:58am every house alarm in the street (including ours) went off due to a very brief power outage. I sprinted downstairs to turn it off, The Wife, thinking it was a fire alarm had dashed into The Daughter's room, where she was happily sleeping through it! The Wife went back to bed and I got in the shower only for it to happen again and this time The Wife has to sprint downstairs. Sub-optimal.

Burton Town Hall

Still, it meant I was definitely awake and didn't miss my train to Burton! Beer and Pretzels has been held in the lovely Burton Town Hall for the last 27 years, but sadly this may well be the last one. The council are putting the rent up by a huge amount and Sal and Phil who organise it have yet to find a suitable replacement venue. Three out of the last four years I've been down and met up with Terry, one of my old Bedford gaming chums, for a great weekend of gaming, beer and catching up with friends.

On Saturday Terry and I played a few games with Paul and Carol and their friends Tony, Callum and Phil and a few 2-player games together. We started with Kodama, then Port Royal, Zombology, Magnum Sal, Roll for the Galaxy (ticked offf my ten plays list!), The Voyages of Marco Polo, Patchwork a couple of times, Murano, Kodama again and ended with another play of Port Royal.

Port Royal, Magnum Sal, The Voyages of Marco Polo, Patchwork and Murano were all new to me and all good games. Patchwork stood out as my favourite of the bunch with Port Royal and Marco Polo also particularly good fun. I can see Port Royal being popular at Games Night, so I might have to get that. As I expected, Kodama is growing on me the more I play it, I imagine I'll tick off the remaining 7 plays required to get to ten quite quickly.

Beer and Pretzels 2016

Sunday was a shorter day as I had to get the train home at 5:30, but I still managed another 9 games. We played Oh My Goods!, Kodama (again), Roll for the Galaxy (again), Burano, Kigi, Koi Pond, Port Royal (again), Hamsterbacke and Roll again!

Oh My Goods!, Burano and Hamsterbacke were all new to me and it's becoming clearer to me that I'm moving towards lighter games. I thought Oh My Goods! was great fun, and surprisingly deep for a little card game. Hamsterbacke was also very enjoyable with plenty of screwage.

Burano on the other hand (where I was flailing around completely unsure of what I was doing) I really didn't enjoy. It has a mechanism where at the start of each round you have a minute to build a pyramid of cubes which affected what actions you could take for the next 12-16 rounds. It was immensely frustrating since as a beginner I had no idea what to do and then ended up hamstrung for the next 45 minutes four times during the game. What's more, it's didn't seem to add anything to the game. Needless to say I am not a fan.


All in all a fantastic weekend. Patchwork was my favourite of eight new to me games, putting me well on the way to my 24 new to me games this year goal. We played three games three times: Kodama (which Paul bought after our play), Roll and Port Royal.

In addition, I spent 8 hours programming on my German language app on the train journeys and on Sunday morning!

Next week will be noticeably quieter!

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