4th May 2023 - Wildcatters

by RobinFri, 5 May (Updated at Fri, 5 May)

I was spoilt for choice at the club this week, with at least 4 games listed that I would have loved to play.

First up was Distilled, a brand new game about making the finest spirits. So a more legal version of Bootleggers, or a higher-concentration version of Vinhos? In terms of gameplay probably neither, and in terms of complexity more in the Bootleggers mould. But it looked great and I'd definitely up for playing that if John brings it again.

There was also Orleans, Reiner Stockhausen's original bag-building classic, courtesy of Pedro and Elsa. And upstairs they were playing Magnate: First City again, which is a property development city-builder with a push-your-luck element that I really enjoyed when Ian brought it in previously.

We also had Brian Boru, which I've not played but has been well-subscribed whenever it's been listed on Looking To Play. By the time I looked in at about 9 o'clock they had finished and were onto Ra; and they went onto Tsuro as well later. And there was another game of Mombasa which, just for the record, I would not have loved to play.

But I missed the opportunity to play any of those games, having signed up for Wildcatters. One of the great benefits of the new website is that I can see what I wrote here previously; and so I'll draw your attention to my write-up from 19th Jan, when I predicted that David-E would be bringing in Wildcatters soon. Apparently he didn't even own it at the time, but he does now. So watch this space for future predictions - maybe a racing tip for next time Ian brings in Ready Steady Bet 🙂

So after Lignum ("the wood game") and The Ruhr (which I was told off for referring to as "the coal game"), we came to Wildcatters, which is definitely the oil game. It has been on my "want to play" list for some time now, and I really enjoyed it. We were oil companies drilling, pumping and transporting oil all over the world, and obliged to work together extensively throughout the game.

None of us having played it before, it took us an absurdly long time to get started (the Brian Boru group were already onto Ra by the time we finished the first round). After that we rattled through the next 4 rounds nice and quickly, but still ran out of time to get through the prescribed 7 rounds. Hopefully next time we can whisk straight through and be done in time for our own game of Ra.

According to David, we all played really badly; which may well be the case, though we didn't see the full arc of the game play out, having to end 2 rounds early. So I'm not sure I'd play any better next time. But I do hope there is a next time. Wildcatters seems to have slipped under the radar slightly - as a rather off-beat Eurogame from a little-known designer - which is a shame. From what I saw, it could be really good.