Scottish Border Wars, German Tile Pushing and Scary Big Silkworms

Another Thursday has rolled by and Sarah and Jobby head into the depths of Suffolk for some games (and a sandwich!)…

Chicken Bonus!

On Thursday we decided to arrive a bit earlier at the pub and try out their food. After all, the Bennet Arms does have a lot of us use their space and it felt right to give a little more back than just the price of a pint! As it happens their fish finger sandwiches are lovely! I’m such a grownup! 🙂

Whilst we ate and waited for others to arrive Sarah challenged me to a game of Schotten Totten, the Scottish re-theming of Reiner Knizia’s Battle Line. Well, not only did she win for once but she won by claiming the stone with the chicken on it! So, at last, Sarah really did get the chicken bonus!

Sarah actually won a game of Schotten Totten with the chicken bonus! Gah!

With that out of the way we both got a shock as Whiskery-Simon turned up… sans whiskers! Ye gods! What am I going to call him now? I’m going to go for initials so he shall be henceforth known as Simon S.

Sliding Tiles in Germany

With that shock out of the way we broke into three groups for games. Simon S. had brought along a football management game which sounded like it was going to take the whole night to play. Nick was up for that. I have little interest in football so passed. Sarah asked Tom if he would show us Ulm and he was happy to so the three of us, plus Giles sat down to play this. Across the room Lisa and a couple of others began playing Tokyo Highway.

So, what’s Ulm? Well, apparently it’s a German city famous for having a very impressive cathedral. It also has the Danube flowing through it. At least that’s what Tom told us.

In the board game there is a cathedral whose roof is used to track the rounds. Each round another tile is added to the stack until it has a complete roof. There is also a river with each player having a boat. The further along the river a player’s boat is, the more it is worth at the end of the game. The boat’s position dictates which districts a player can add their discs to for extra abilities and points. Oh, and there is also a 3×3 grid of tiles which players will slide extra tiles onto and then play actions according to which tiles are in the row or column which they just moved.

The grid of action tiles in Ulm. My green discs ensured that I was getting plenty of sparrows during the game. Everyone wants sparrows, of course!

So there’s quite a bit to think about. Along with trying to work out which tiles will be available come your turn, you’ll also need to keep an eye on how much money you’ve got, how many sparrows you’ve got and which cards you are collecting! Whew!

I settled for a strategy of scoring district crests which just gave me points straight away rather than relying on other players visiting my districts. I also tried to ensure that I got lots of sparrows as these can traded for the ability to swap the action tile for the turn which meant I had a better chance of doing what I wanted. I also tried to power up the river to get big points.

Sarah immediately set about collecting the three cards required to make a panorama of the cathedral (it’s a bit like the panoramas from Tokaido which she also loves building). She actually succeeded in this for some big points at the end.

Tom had obviously played before and he strove to collect sets of cards for big points. Meanwhile, Giles seemed to flounder a littler bit and got left behind on the river. Some confusion over the district boundaries meant that he probably wasted a turn as he didn’t get to play a disc where he’d hope to. A harsh lesson but he took it well!

This was a very enjoyable game. I managed a not-too-bad second place but Tom proved that experience is king and comfortably won. Sarah’s panorama wasn’t enough and left her in third place.

Shepherding Sikworms

Ulm seemed to take a lot longer than I would have thought. It was getting late but the room decided to stay at their tables: Simon S’s table was properly slogging through football management whilst Lisa and co. had started another game. Tom seemed interested in playing Silk. Sarah thought it would be a bit long but I wanted to give it a go as we hadn’t played it since UKGE.

I gave a quick rules explanation and everyone seemed happy enough. In fact, once you’re used to the hierarchy of shepherd bumps mastiff which bumps Ookami which eats silkworms then you’re fairly good to go.

I happily set about trying to build a long segment of wall only to have Sarah cut it off. Boo! Sarah was trying to get her nurseries out so that she could raise worms in sensible places. Tom seemed thoroughly perplexed and couldn’t seem to get a handle on the game. Giles, however, seemed to catch on very quickly and was soon feeding his worms the lushest grasss around.

The layout might look a touch strange, that’s because the photo was taken as we were tearing down the game! 🙂

The game picked up pace as it went on. Tom started to work out that he could build upon my hard work using my fences to score himself points by extending them. Giles, though, just kept feeding and feeding his silkworms. In hindsight, this is the point of the game and I really should have stopped trying to be clever and got on with this!

Time did run out on us so we made sure each player got the same number of turns. In the end, Giles was the clear winner. Sarah was a good second with Tom in third. Note to self, stop pratting about with fences and just feed the worms!

So it was time for us to head home. Alas, with a large segment of the A14 closed we were treated to a mystery tour of Suffolk and it took us far too long to get home. We’ll come better equiped with knowledge of alternate routes next time

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