Fun Board-Games-and-Fine-Food Day this weekend with our friend Steve! It started mid-morning with a rematch of Fantasy Flight Games’ Arkham Horror; last time we had a narrow, nail-biting victory over Hast’yr using the basic rules; this time we threw in the first expansion, Dunwich Horror.
The game featured investigators Mike McGlen the Gangster (Edmund), Leo Anderson the Expedition Leader (Steve), Sister Mary the Nun (me), and Kate Winthrop the Scientist (dead man’s hand, played cooperatively). It ended with a nail-biter defeat against Abhoth — we took him down to one point left before going down in a blaze of
glory gibbering insanity. I really don’t mind losing when it’s suspenseful and feels like we had a chance. I won’t go over the basics of the game since I have a thumbnail in my last game report.
After Abhoth (“a horrid, dark gray protean mass and is said to be the ultimate source of all miscreation and abomination”) had us over for lunch, we switched to another cooperative board game, Vanished Planet. This game completely relies on players cooperation to beat the system; there is no option for switching alliances or competing for resources.
Each player picks an alien species with its own special abilities and reaches out for resources — colonists, ore, energy, money, research — to build progressively more complex technology and accomplish goals. The players need to accomplish a varying number of points’ worth of goals; the more powerful the special abilities they selected, the higher the number of victory points required and therefore the difficulty of the game. The various civilizations are trying to stave off the advance of an amorphous entity which begins by devouring Earth at the centre of the board and advances tendrils of darkness towards each of the players’ home planets.
We picked the Tallis, whose 5-point special ability was the ability to hold two goals at the same time (Steve); the Saavyel, whose 7-pt special ability was to trade twice on their own turn AND allow other players to trade with the Saavyel in addition to a normal trade action during their own turn (me), and the Kyrin, who for 5 points were able to trade goals instead of a normal trade action (Edmund). Our objective was thus to get 5+7+5=17 points in accomplished goals.
Three is a small number for this game, but the three of us make a very good group for cooperative games; we plan well together but we’re flexible and don’t argue needlessly. As has been the case in most winning sessions of Vanished Planet I’ve ever been in, it looked easy on Turn 1, impossible by Turn 5, and was a victory on Turn 10 (it’s possible to extend the game beyond 10 turns, but challenging.)
For dinner, I cooked duck à l’orange while we played and some broccoli; and Steve introduced us to a delicious and deceptively simple dessert: fresh figs split open, stuffed with chèvre cheese, garnished with a drizzle of agave nectar or honey, and topped with cracked pepper. It was amazing!
Tally: one narrow loss and one narrow victory against two tentacled Ancient Ones; two friendly and delicious meals; and one fun day among friends.