Thursday, 31 October 2013

Small mediums at large

Hallowe’en. The evening before All Saint’s Day is traditionally a time of ghosts and ghouls, freaks and fools and we at GNN wouldn’t dream of ignoring such an old tradition. To commemorate the occasion, we... well, actually, we did ignore it.

On arriving at Roll For The Soul, I was distracted by the sight of a building being torn down across the road. I stopped to admire it for a minute before I entered, and so did Adam.

At first it was myself, Hannah, Adam and Martin. We chose Divinare, which was the closest we got to anything supernatural this evening. This game involves using your psychic powers (and memory) to guess how many of each type of card are in play as they get passed from player to player.

We at GNN had played it once before at a games weekend, but with the wrong rules, and it didn’t really work. We got it right this time, and it is a nice game of bluff, recall and a dash of luck. Out of us mediums (although Hannah pointed out that the plural of “medium” is “media”) Martin won, with Adam second and me in last. Hannah chose to concentrate on her egg and chips while we played.

After this was a period of transition. Hannah was going to leave but Katy and Mel had arrived but they wanted to eat/socialise before playing. How odd, we thought, but never mind. Adam, Martin and me chose a new game: Pala. It’s a trick taking game, but one in which the suits (which are colours) can be combined to change the lead suit. For example, if someone lays down a 5 Purple, you can put down a red card and a blue card and if they add up to more than five, then you win!

There’s more to it than that. There’s some bidding on what you think you’ll win and there are other ways to change the lead suit, and also the option to choose if you want to win or not if your card has the same value as the highest. Seems odd, but it is quite useful if you’ve bid on winning no hands at all.

I got the hang of it quicker than any of the other two, and I won. Being an artistic type, I instinctively know that red plus blue makes purple. I guess Adam wasn’t sure of a game where yellow didn’t win all the time. But it was an interesting idea for a game, and one that may reveal deeper strategies with more play.

After that, Mel and Katy joined us. Tinners’ Trail was chosen, due to it’s Cornish roots, and Mel and Katy decided to form a team. We explained the rules to them, and set off to pillage the peninsular of its precious resources. Katy rolled the dice to see how many cubes went in each mine and she was embarrassed by how much water she was rolling until it was pointed out to her that the water die had higher numbers on it than the others.

Copper started high and stayed high for the second round, too, before falling back. Tin remained pretty unexciting throughout. But there was a lot of copper on the map to start with, so we began with a lot of high bids for promising mines. Followed by a lot of pastie selling before we could actually mine.

Not for all of us, though. Adam started well and stayed that way, despite his discovery of an underground lake at the start of round two.

Meanwhile, his other mines were producing tin and copper in copious amounts, so it was no real surprise when he won. The big surprise was how we ploughed through the final two rounds in only twenty minutes, getting to the end of the game before the cafe closed. A lot of this was thanks to Martin saying “Speed!” whenever we started to slack off, and also thanks to Mel and Katy apologising to any friends who came to chat by saying they really had to concentrate now. A noble sacrifice.

We ended bang on ten o’clock, with Adam first, then Martin, me and Katy/Mel. But their score: 73 was close to mine of 77, so for a first game under strict time conditions, they can be proud of themselves. (For the record, Martin got 88 and Adam got a million billion. Or 115. One of the two.)

And that was it! We were gone! Until next time!


  1. It's great that demolition site isn't it? I always have to stop and take a photo when cycling past. Last time a homeless person spotted me and said "yeah, take a picture mate, wicked" very loudly and sarcastically. Awkward.

    Shame to have missed me some Roll for the Soul - I was busy scaring small children.

  2. Halloween. Just so, you know . . .

  3. I remember being tapped up for money by a homeless guy in London when I was sitting outside a pub. I said sorry mate, not today, and he launched into a tirade about me not knowing the meaning of the word. But I looked it up and I was quite correct.

    Anyway last night sounds like fun. I sat on a train and watched "The Selling of a Serial Killer" which was pretty bleak.

  4. Thanks for finally allowing me to play Pala, which I bought ages ago. I'm glad it went down well, even if I proved stupendously crap at it!

    Tinners' Trail was fun, but I felt the same way about it that I did the first time I played a while back. There are bits I really like (managing the water, balancing cash vs investing in VPs) and bits I really don't (the volatility of the ore market in particular). I feel like it's a potentially great game that doesn't quite get there for me.

  5. Andrew I think Joe was clarifying his comment rather than correcting you...

  6. Ha yes I was - can't edit bloody comments either! I'll try replying to myself . . .