This weekend saw the annual return of Anery’s Not Bash, a long weekend of beer, board games, and bacon. As usual it was a small affair, with Anery, Pnut and me for the most part, but that was more than enough to keep us entertained.
Friday began with me timing my arrival perfectly with the 30-minute window of Anery picking Pnut up from the train station, and sitting on his drive needing a piss. Which is an improvement on leaving part of my car on it last year, admittedly. They arrived before too long though, and after unloading and initial greetings we went into town to grab some supplies. Mainly beer and meat, although I also picked up an old lady at the checkout.
We played games on Friday night. I know this because I took notes so that I wouldn’t forget. We also drank quite a bit of beer. I know this because of the massive pile of empty bottles and stinking hangover I had on Saturday. Unfortunately I also forgot to take photos, so I’ve improvised with some pictures I found on Google.
We started off simple with Exploding Kittens, a card game in which you avoid drawing the exploding card by screwing the other guys over. Which was perfect for us, and also hilarious, mainly due to the stuff they put on the cards. For example, that the phrase “a butt tuba” is a palindrome. Parp. We had a couple of games and I know I won one. Pretty sure.
Next up we played King of Tokyo. That’s a pretty simple game about huge monsters. It’s a board game in name only really – all the board is for is so that you can stand a monster on it and see who’s currently ravaging the titular city. Still, it gets pretty intense when the dice and claws are flying, and I got a photo of it on Sunday so I’ll come back to it later with more clarity.
The third game of the night was Cthulhu Fluxx. Fluxx is a card game which starts off with the barest of rules, but whose cards add more as it goes along. There are many themes to it, all compatible, and this one was Lovecraft. We were drunk, the rules rapidly escalated in complexity, we became drunk and baffled, the game went on far longer than it should have.
Perhaps unwisely we attempted a final game that night, the rather wonderful Smash Up. It’s another of the board-games-with-cards-instead-of-a-board variety, but definitely one of the better ones. Everyone chooses two groups – mecha-dinosaurs, ninjas, zombies, robots, pirates, etc. – and mashes them together into one deck. They then use those combi-decks to put points roughly equating to the value of the thing (robot pirate or whatever) onto objectives. Once the objective reaches its limit the player with the most points on it wins, and whoever has the highest valued objectives at the end wins. In the process of doing this you use your minions to attack and remove the other guys’ minions, or buff your own, or some other thing common to CCGs. It hits a nice spot beneath the complexity and horror of CCGs, and also happens to be for more than two players. Best game of Friday for me, I think. Did I mention I was zombie robots?
Saturday morning brought a slow game of Zombicide, in which Anery later confessed it felt like he was playing alongside a couple of zombies. Zombicide is a good game, a semi-regular at not-bashes, but we fluked a rush escape on this one and I felt kind of like we conned ourselves out of the game.
Next up was Discworld. We always play several games at every not-bash because it’s great fun and lets you screw your mates over. This time Pnut went even further, trolling Anery and me by declaring victory, then announcing that he’d got it wrong and hadn’t won after we started to clear the board away, then beating us legitimately the exact same way in the next game.
Most of the remainder of Saturday was spent playing a very long game of Relic, Fantasy Flight’s Warhammer 40k take on the classic Talisman. Relic can be a long game at the best of times, but Pnut and I were still feeling pretty fuzzy and it took a few beers for us to get into it. Round and round we went, for hours and hours, until I eventually went for the centre and blitzed it. Not Relic’s shining moment, but I still think it’s a great game.
We managed to fit in a couple of games of Elder Sign before bed. I’ve been playing the Android version of that for a while, and the card version was just different enough to prove very entertaining. We failed hard on the first game because I’d carried over a rule from the phone version that meant we had half the amount of time to win. Second time round we did much better, cooperating to chip away at the objective until we sent nasty Azathoth back to where he came from.
Sunday began with a game of Super Dungeon Explore, run by our pal Justin who had come for the day. As you can see from the picture, SDE has some lovely miniatures. It also has a great arcade theme, with cartoony characters, power-ups, and a fucking nails boss. Really good fun, but the end was so hard that I’m not sure how we could have beaten it.
The mini-bosses were much more fun. Still pretty hard, but beatable with a bit of tactical thought. The first mini-boss, a kobold knight called Ser Snapjaw, popped up to give us a kicking before his minions were dead, but wasn’t very lucky and succumbed to being set on fire by Anery’s shaman. The second, Boris the Basher, below, was pretty hard. As well as being tough and doing a lot of damage, he kept dashing in and out of the room he was in and clubbing us. Chasing him was risky as all his mates were waiting in ambush, but it’s what we had to do in the end.
That’s Boris in green, with Pnut’s Dragon Blade tanking him, Anery’s Mistmourn Shaman just getting back to his corpse and retrieving his gear, and my Questing Knight chucking his lance. Despite getting a kicking by the final boss, I’m looking forward to playing this again some time. It feels like Hero Quest crossed with Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts.
After the intensity of trying not to all die last game we chilled out with another couple of games of King of Tokyo, which became ever more brutal and hard fought. As I said before, it’s a pretty simple game. You roll a handful of dice, keep a few, reroll some a couple of times. The results can attack other players, heal, generate energy, or earn victory points. The first monster to 20 victory points, or the last one standing, wins. However, being in Tokyo earns VPs faster but everyone attacks you and you can’t heal, so it’s an exercise in risk management. Then with energy you can buy special abilities (the cards on the right in the picture), which adds another layer of tactics. All in all it’s a good, fast game.
For the rest of the day we played X-Wing. I’ve been looking forward to this all year. It has all the tactical consideration of a wargame with none of the complexity of pissing about painting models. You buy pretty ships and play them. It’s also fairly small scale, four or five ships per side usually. This was a bit tricky with four of us, so we just decided to field four squadrons on the table instead of two. That made things a bit more interesting, and by interesting I mean claustrophobic. There were many collisions.
We played the same game twice. First up Justin and I took the Rebels against Pnut and Anery’s Imperials. I’d started to take plenty of pictures at this point, mainly for insurance purposes.
Things immediately got off to a chaotic start. Anery immediately pranged his Decimator, a big Imperial gunship, into an out-of-position TIE Defender. Pnut’s TIEs and Firespray can be seen on the left still in their starting positions.
On my right flank Anery’s Defenders made a very quick joust with my A-Wings, causing the Imperial ships to do a 180 and fly straight into the Decimator again. On the other side Pnut’s TIEs, slowed down by their tight formation, fall foul of each other after avoiding an asteroid. His Firespray, on the other hand, flies into it.
The situation on the left hand side of the board gets more congested as all of Pnut’s ships converge for a group hug, as well as one of Justin’s X-Wings. The other two Rebel ships don’t feel left out as they’re having a shunt of their own.
Eventually everyone got untangled, for the most part, and the first pass went by with many dents but no casualties. Pnut’s TIEs are off shot to the left, back in formation, but from what I remember (and from the cards in the background) the Firespray was in a bad way after being mauled by Han Solo’s YT-1300. Han always shoots first, you see.
A few turns later and Pnut’s TIEs start their attack run as the casualties start to stack up. The Firespray is gone, as is is one of my A-Wings and one of Anery’s Defenders, and I think one of Justin’s X-Wings bit it too. Some very close formation flying in the background, between two of my ships.
The Rebels held out slightly longer and fewer Imperial guns meant higher attrition. Once the tables started to turn Anery lost his second Defender and eventually the Decimator went down, leaving only two of Pnut’s TIEs. This was their last stand – they didn’t make it out of the other side of this furball.
Game two was switched to see if the victory was due to a better squadron design or flying skill. I have to admit I’d ripped off a competitive list I found on the internet, vs two quick homebrew lists of Anery’s. Game two would tell how important that was.
This is a shot of the initial joust, two turns in. Claustrophobic is an understatement, especially with three large ships. I managed to thread the TIEs between the asteroids, anticipating Pnut’s X-Wings colliding with them (to my advantage), but left it too long to get the Firespray out behind them. Unfortunately Justin’s Decimator is heading right for the TIEs’ path, a bit of bad team coordination. In the background Anery’s Rebel fighters keep a tight formation and play chicken with Justin’s TIE Defenders.
On the far flank the Rebel formation is scattered more than the Imperial, but my TIEs suffer a casualty as they fail to evade the space bulldozer. The Firespray, meanwhile, does an about face and shits a proximity mine. Pnut skilfully dodges his X-Wings around it, but the YT has to park itself into an asteroid to avoid explosive funtime. Whichever side wins, the standard of flying is much higher this time round.
A few turns later and things have gone bad for the Empire. The Firespray, pursued by the X-Wings and hit head on with two A-Wings and an E-Wing who have split from formation after taking out both TIE Defenders. The Firespray is taken down by weight of fire, and the two remaining TIEs don’t last long after. Justin calls it as the Decimator would take ages to bring down. We agree that a couple more Rebel ships would probably be lost, but with only two ships down they would win in the end. Was it the superiority of the pro-built squadron that won out? Maybe, but either way I’ll be going homebrew in future. I have a Crazy Phantom TIE build I can’t wait to try next year.
And on that note, until next year. Many thanks to Anery for inviting us around, to Pnut for being his usual convivial self, and particularly to Anery’s other half for putting up with our noise and smell all weekend.