Wednesday saw the usual gaming session, at P&Ds again given how depleted we were on numbers (too many selfish people leading lives of their own – of all the impertinence). We learned one new game: iello’s Big Book of Madness and had a round of Machi Koro with the Harbour expansion.

Big Book of Madness – it’s a two to five player co-operative game where players are rushing to seal a book of evil/monsters by defeating the creatures within and the curses that they unveil on the players. Everyone has a series of elemental cards (cards based on earth, air, fire and water) which are used to either defeat the curses or cast spells which can help players. Each turn, evil happens and then good has to respond. Depending on the number of players, each participant has at least one chance, possibly two to try and seal off the curses and banish another monster into oblivion. If the monsters are not defeated, more bad stuff happens although the rules of the game do say that sometimes the penalties are kinda light so you might consider taking one on the chin rather than burn through powerful cards in order to shut down a curse.

It took us about 90 minutes to get through a game – this is with a full explanation and checking up on minor points. It’s reminiscent of Betrayal at the House on the Hill where players work together, advising each other on their moves etc. And the spells and cards put you immediately in mind of Dominion the way they’re played and cycled. As it’s a game made by iello (King of Tokyo, King of New York, Steam Park), the box art and card art is kinda cutsey which does put you in mind of a kid’s game although given the way this works, is definitely not. Definitely family-friendly however.

And the Machi Koro expansion adds new cards and a different game mechanic to the way the game is normally played. In brief, instead of laying out all the acquirable cards at the start of the game, the first ten individually drawn cards are placed face up (multiple cards of the same type are stacked) and depleted piles are replaced from a stack of drawn cards. Also, once all players have at least one copy of a card (excluding the starting sets), no further cards of that type may be drawn and are pulled out of the game. Otherwise the game plays as normal. The Harbour building (which costs a mere two coins) allows the player to add two to the dice if 10, 11 or 12 is rolled on the dice. Some of the cards are so designed to take advantage of this mechanic and the other cards from the original set that were worth 10, 11 or 12 are more likely to be hit with two dice.

The Harbour expansion suddenly makes it very easy to acquire money (and you’ll need it – the airport card costs 30 coins) and a wide range of buildings but there are now even more ways to loot the treasuries of the other players which ups the “spite” ante. Well, only played through the once so can’t really get a firm handle on the expansion. It seems a worthy addition but I prefer the original game’s mechanic of having all purchasable buildings available up front.

Quiet old week otherwise. Re-imposition of diet is working, amount of alcohol had – three units, walks every day, some online gaming, starting to arrange things for September and October. Yeah, c’est tout.