From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
The original Winter Retreat involved Napoleon and his army leaving Russia when they realised the Tsar was not going to come to terms. A long march through frozen, Cossack-infested woods followed. It did not go well for them.
This Winter Retreat was much more enjoyable, as it involved 50+ tabletop gamers going to a mountain retreat for a long week-end of playing games. Everyone brings a few games (or a lot) and so there are more games available than one person could possibly play over a week-end – you are welcome to try!
Accommodation and meals are provided as part of the trip, you have to bring your own toiletries and bedding – and a towel! Plus as many games as you can carry. This is an event that my gaming club has been putting on for over a decade now.
Between Friday and Sunday lunchtimes, the challenge is on. As always, I played a mix of games I had played before, and games that were new to me. Some of my favourites like 7 Wonders, Lords of Waterdeep, and Zombie Dice were all sampled throughout the week-end. I also tried a couple of new games on the Friday evening:
Stone Age is an agent placement game that also uses dice. That doesn’t sound great in theory, but it actually works in practise. Unless you roll poorly throughout the whole game, of course! Your stone age tribespeople hunt, gather, and build to gain you victory points. You can also excuse two of them from working for a turn and send them to the ‘love hut’ to produce a new member of the tribe!
Formula D is a fun racing game, where your small car races through a track representing a city, trying to beat the other racers while avoiding crashing out at corners and occasional gunfire from angry residents. Ten cards started the race, seven finished.
That took care of Friday afternoon and evening. Saturday I played a game that has been out for a few years but I hadn’t played: Kingsburg. Like Stone Age this involves dice rolling, and the dice are then placed on the board to activate certain squares. You can split your dice on the lower value squares, or combine them for a bigger bonus. Another enjoyable experience.
Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures got a look in too. Someone with a large collection took the time to set up a table with a choice of ships. As you can see below, some asteroids and a decorative mat kept the game looking interesting.
The gaming moved outdoors too, and I don’t just mean the people who moved their tables outside to play. Finska is a fun game from Finland where you throw a piece of wood to knock down wooden skittles. The aim of the game is to be the first to reach exactly 50 points. If you overshoot this target, you go down to 25. You gain points by knocking down groups of skittles (e.g., knock down any five skittles, get 5 points). If you knock down a single skittle you get the points printed on that skittle. So if you knock down only the ’10’ skittle five turns in a row, you win. Good luck with that strategy, as the skittles are stood up where they fall after being knocked down. As the game progresses, the skittles move further apart from each other and further away from you.
As always Sunday lunchtime comes around too quickly. After a nice lunch (steakburgers) it was time to clear out the rooms and pack away the tables chairs and games. Next year promises to be just as good.