The Return To Rougham

Tokyo Highway being played. Many grey wooden components have grey lollysticks balanced on them. Tiny, colourful cars are placed on some of the lollysticks.

Having finally got over the Holiday period and returned to normal, Jobby and Sarah head back to Rougham for fun and games with the Bury St Edmunds Board Games Group…

Fun with Forgeries

Sarah and I arrived at the Bennet Arms very early and so amused ourselves by playing backgammon on a phone until the others showed up. Soon enough Tom, John and several others showed up. Tom was expecting a couple of new people to show a bit later so seven of us sat down to play Belratti.

This game’s name is a pun on the name of famous German forger Wolfgang Beltracchi who claims to have forged and sold dozens of paintings. Sure enough, players in this game are working together to get nice, genuine paintings into an art gallery and to stop the dastardly Belratti (who is a rat) from getting his paintings exhibited.

It’s a weird mix of Codenames and Dixit. Some of the players are gallery managers who are trying to get artwork that matches a couple of random theme cards. The other players are the artists producing the art which is offered facedown with a number of cards shuffled in from the deck, the cards from the deck representing Belratti’s fakes. The cards are revealed and the managers must deduce the cards the artists chose and which theme they chose them for. Any fakes that are selected score for Belratti. Once Belratti has scored 6 the game is over and the players tot up how many they scored.

Belratti being played. There are two cards: a dolphin and an ice cube. Seven other cards with apparently random items are underneath.wolfgang beltracchi
FIshing rod with the dolphin? Do people fish for dolphins?

It’s all a bit weird and silly. There were some fun moments where a manager would suggest a painting for a reason like “That pill goes with the ice because you use water to take a pill” only to get shot down by the other managers. In the reveal at the end of the round it turns out the manager was spot on! And yes, that example actually happened with Tom making that guess only to be poo-poohed when it turned out that really was Sarah’s card!

Fun with Flowers

We now had a full gathering of players in the pub so we broke into smaller groups for more meaty fare. Tom took the newbies (Joel and Flo) to one side and taught them Five Tribes. Sarah went with John and learned how to play Dice Settlers. Damien and Jenny (not that one, the other one! Sigh, too many people and not enough names!) joined me and I taught them how to play Tulip Bubble.

This game made it into second place on my Top 10 of 2018 and surprised me last year with its simplicity and depth. Sure enough, the rules explanation was pretty quick and everyone felt happy enough as we proceeded to try to lay claim to the various tulips that were laid out on offer.

Tulip Bubble in action. Currently in the buying phase with players' bid tokens on the tulips.
Three of us fighting over tulip dominance.

Throughout the game I really felt like I was on the back foot. Right at the beginning I had overreached and found myself with very little money and so out of the bidding. Jenny fulfilled a couple of collectors’ needs very quickly (oo-er!) and so she seemed naturally out in the lead. Damien had a slight misunderstanding with the financing rules which put him back a turn but again, he was fulfilling collectors’ needs and I thought he was obviously in second place.

The game ticked along nicely. We got near the end of the game without anyone hitting the magic 120 guilders to buy the black tulip. The game was obviously going to run until the bubble burst and there was much discussion about whether it was worth still trying to collect sets for collectors. Jenny and Damien obviously thought so as they went for it. I played a little more cautiously and bought a couple of cheap tulips that looked to rise in price.

In the end my caution paid off. Right after Jenny and Damien’s purchases, the bubble burst on the tulip market. The game ended with Damien crying out “45 guilders!”. He had 45 guilders worth of tulips that were now worth nothing and had only 11 in cash. Jenny had a single guilder to her name. Despite my fears, I had won with 47 guilders! Hooray for caution!

Fun with Roads

For my final game I joined with Sarah and John again to play Tokyo Highway. Damien elected to play as well (it’s the one game he can beat his daughter at!) I’d had my eye on Tokyo Highway for a little while and was interested in giving it a try. This was John’s game so he gave us the rules explanation. It seemed simple enough – build roads, always going up or down. If your road crosses someone else’s road (either above or below) and no-one else has crossed that road before then put one of your cars on the road. The first player to place their last car wins the game.

Tokyo Highway being played. Many grey wooden components have grey lollysticks balanced on them. Tiny, colourful cars are placed on some of the lollysticks.
So many lollysitcks! So many little cars! So much to knock over!

Simples? Well, almost. It actually takes a fair bit of thinking to decide on the best route to take to ‘capture’ your opponents’ roads whilst avoiding giving away an easy point to another player. Also, if you knock over someone else’s piece then you must replace it and give them one of your stacking cylinders. I got a bit over-excited and tried a bit too hard to cover two roads at once by placing a tall stack in the middle of loads of roads. In the process I knocked over plenty of Damien’s pieces. This event was eagerly photographed and tweeted by Sarah:

Well, in the end I did ok but victory went to Damien. He had a plan of using a special junction cylinder to build two down ramps to the table. Each down ramp allowed him to place a car so this was a cunning two-turn finishing move. Well done Damien!

With that game finished we chatted a little with the others before bidding each goodbye. A good fun return to gaming with the BSEBGG and hopefully there will be plenty more in 2019!

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