18th May 2023 - Bus, Barton In Bloom, Chinatown

by RobinFri, 19 May (Updated at Fri, 19 May)

Well. You wait years for an opportunity to do the "you wait ages for a bus" joke... and then Ian writes it in the newsletter. Should have done my write-up of Bus last week. Never mind. If anyone knows of any other cheap jokes that you're already bored of, please suggest them to the admin committee, and we will start using them regularly too 🙂

So much for the repetitive tedium: meanwhile at the club right now we're enjoying a fantastic diversity of games. Pride of place goes to Barton In Bloom, Dan-B's new game about planting a beautiful garden to win the village "best-garden" competition.

I say "new game" in the sense that it's new to the market, though it is already known at this club, having been first playtested here a couple of years ago. I tried it then and enjoyed it very much. This is a proper Eurogame with lots of nice mechanics and at least one that I've not come across elsewhere. It's now been AI-artworked and professionally presented, ready for the outside world. Sadly the unsolicited working title of Terraforming Yards has not made it to the final cut - though hopefully the paying public will do more paying this way.

In my opinion, Barton In Bloom stands quite comfortably on a par with many of the games that are regularly played at the club and, if Dan would bring it more often, would prove popular here - and elsewhere. I gather it's already available online so we should presumably all be downloading it. I suggest it would be rated 3.7-ish on the BGG complexity score - and of course 10/10 for quality 🙂

So hopefully we'll see Barton In Bloom back again soon. And it's just the first in a homegrown double-bill, as we will have The Steam Legacy here next week. I'll try to persuade someone else to do a write-up of that one though.

At other tables we had some better-known games including Caylus (1303) and Mosaic. We also had Cape May, which I don't think is well-known, but John has brought it a few times now so it is familiar here. I think I've mentioned in these posts before that I'd like to try it - though once again I managed to miss the opportunity.

But I was very happy with my choice of Chinatown. In this classic trading game, Michel, David-K and I took the role of businessmen in (I think) New York's Chinatown, setting up, buying and trading the various businesses. The bigger the businesses, the more money they make; but in order to expand you need to trade with the players who own the neighbouring plots, among other things. It's a game with nice simple rules where the challenge is all about your interaction with other players. We had a great time and finished all separated by just a few points.

And, on the subject of nice simple rules and lots of player interaction, we also had Bus. One of my favourites, but it got a distinctly lukewarm verdict from Andrew. What can I say? One man's Bus is another man's Mombasa. I'm not sure what people didn't like about it - maybe you prefer games with less scope for other players to ruin your gameplan? Or maybe it's just not thematically plausible, what with the distortion of time and the passengers who will go home to any empty house.

So I'm sorry if Bus isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I'm glad that it has found so many fans at the club since Karen first nominated it for the tournament a few years ago. I'll continue to wax lyrical about it here and work through the pantheon of bus jokes, so there's always an upside (maybe). What do we want? More Buses. When do we want them? Regular intervals. Just another 6 weeks of this to go.