December 27th, 2009


Games played over Christmas

Vinci - now out of print, this plays like a simpler, more fun version of Britannia - civilisations invade the map, expand as far as possible and then "go into decline" so that the player can bring on a new civilisation. Each civilisation has two special abilities (bonus points for capturing certain types of territory, bonuses to attack in certain ways, etc.) We thoroughly enjoyed this a few Christmas' back, and Hugh was unhappy to discover that it was out of print due to a publisher going bust.
Small World - is basically a recreation of this game in a fantasy setting from the same creator. There's a set of races/tribes and a set of attributes and these are randomly combined to give pairings (Wealthy Hobbits, Flying Orcs). Other than that it's basically the same game, with a couple of tweaks. It was very good fun, and I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone - Mum managed to pick it up in three rounds, despite having had a couple of drinks.
Bohnanza - was also great fun. A simple card game where people collect bean cards (Bohn being German for bean), swap them with others and plant them in two bean fields (with an optional third one). It's much more social than the board games we played, with constant interaction between all the players as they tried to get the cards they wanted and dispose of the ones that were blocking them (you have to play your hand in the order you got the cards). I'm actually tempted to pick this one up myself.
Caylus is a game that I feel conflicted about. You build buildings, buy favours from the king, build bits of the castle for victory points and try not to give away too many points to your competitors. I enjoy it somewhat, and I feel I have a decent grasp on the mechanics, but I've never managed to come up with any kind of decent strategy for it. It always feels tactical - lots of little advantages that scrape out a point or two, rather than something that gives me direction during the game. Which is fine, it's just not terribly satisfying. It's ranked 10th on BoardGameGeek, so clearly lots of other people disagree with me (and generally I agree with their ratings - I love the current top three.

Holiday pics

Walking the dogs. Uther (10 months old) on the left, Tara (7 years old) on the right

Eating Christmas Pudding. Meredith, Noah, Mike and Hugh

A traditional Christmas Scene. Me, Noah and Hugh warms ourselves with the white heat of technology. Noah's a big fan of the Special Agent Oso website. Also, "Thomas Tank!" as he puts it.

Noah helps make Hugh's birthday cake. (Hugh's unfortunate enough to be born on the 26th. Bad planning if you ask me)

Noah's reward. Nuff said, I think.

These deer are far away. In the mist. At dawn. Prizes for identifying species and gender.

My elves prepare to strike deep into the halfling homelands. Take that, dirty hobbitses! Note that I'm wearing my Happy Birthday t-shirt. The birthday spirit did not go as far as letting Hugh actually win anything.

Uther, Tara and myself pose for the camera. Uther, spotted here chewing my fingers, is the one that keeps stealing my duvet, rolling onto his back to expose himself and then snoring. Also spotted, bottom right, is Herbert, who was mine as a child, and is now adored by Noah for periods of up to 17 seconds (double his normal attention span).
it must be true


Back home again. Aah, sweet broadband, how I've missed you. Seriously, the inability to watch videos, download even small files in less than 10 minutes, or use Spotify really drove home how reliant I am on broadband, and thus on city living. Although apparently 95% of the country has 2MB or better, which means my parents just live in the middle of nowhere...

Anyway, flight back was fine - delayed by only 15 minutes, which is nothing. Flat is in one piece, boiler seems to have held together too. I'm exhausted, have a bit of a cough, and am missing Julie. The quiet, thoughm after a week of being around people 24/7, is fantastic.

Now that I _can_ watch all the videos I've missed in the last week, have this:

via andrew rilstone