Last weekend was the third "NimrodCon", our annual trip to Hay-on-Wye to enjoy 4 days of boardgames, books and beer. It was an enjoyable weekend, with very good weather after a brief initial "Welcome to Wales" spell of rain. Celtic Lodge was more comfortable than ever, with a couple of new sofas in the lounge, and chairs and a table on the new balcony overlooking the garden and the river. We made good use of people's talents - Phil cooked us all a lovely vegetable curry on Friday night, and on Sunday Nick took us to a couple of standing stones up in the mountains and gave us the benefit of his archaeological knowledge. I spent a bit more time in the bookshops this year, picking up two Don Camillo books, John Keegan's "The Face of Battle", and "The Hardest Day" a book about the Battle of Britain. Phil came home with 3 classic cookbooks (Mrs Beeton, Elizabeth David, and Delia Smith). And we made better use of Shepherds as an excellent place to relax with coffee and cake and chat or read the paper.
Oh yes, we also played one or two games.......
Yinsh - I played this a few times with Phil and with John, and Phil taught Nick how to play as well. I wasn't sure that an abstract game would go down well, but everyone enjoyed it a lot and vowed to buy their own copies as soon as possible.
Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation - I played about five games of this with John and with Phil. The good guys won every time. Naturally enough there was a discussion with John about game balance.
Illuminati - I managed to avoid getting roped into this late on Friday evening. Although I quite like the concept and the humour, it just takes far too long for what it is, and in my experience it tends to be a fairly bad-tempered game as well. I think Phil won, but I'm not sure - I was tucked in bed and fast asleep when they finally finished.
Struggle of Empires - as I predicted, this was the big hit of the weekend. Five of us had a lot of fun playing this on Saturday afternoon. It took over 3 hours, partly due to explaining the rules, which was a little too long. I played Spain, but never formulated a clear strategy, instead just reacting to events and accumulating a lot of unrest through loss of armies and fleets, several at sea. Steve (England) seemed to be in the lead until the last few rounds when John (United Provinces) really pulled ahead.
Titan - oh dear! I was actually hoping for a quite 2-player game with Dave, who is a fellow enthusiast. However, when I mentioned this on Sunday morning lots of other people volunteered to play - people I strongly suspected of being Titan-phobes. People can change, I thought, I'll give them another chance. It din't work out. John and Phil got knocked out early, cursing the game. Steve found it difficult to make the many decisions required in Titan within a reasonable time. He finally got knocked out just before our 7pm deadline, leaving me Dave and Nick as survivors. We scored up and I won, but Nick also professed a desire to never play the game again. I was disappointed, but have made a mental note to only play Titan with fellow enthusiasts from now on.
Euphrat & Tigris - playing against Simon, Dave and Steve, who all know the game, was a real pleasure. I felt I was being badly punished by Dave's blitzkrieg tactics, so was surprised and very pleased to come in second.
Zendo - was played in the pub on Friday night. Good fun, but a bit intense with this group of over-competitive gamers!
NanoFictionary - Phil got this out in the pub on Sunday night but it was aborted after a glass of beer was spilled all over the cards. I felt sorry for Phil because a) this is one of his favourites and he was excited about teaching us b) he only possesses about three games, so to see one ruined by beer was a hard blow.
Lord of the Rings Risk - Dave was very excited about introducing Steve, Phil and Nick to this. But sadly it didn't catch anyone else's imagination in the same way. People actually drifted away (bad form), and poor Dave was left on Monday morning completing the game in solo mode.
Finally, here is a link to my photos of the weekend.