Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Rules for fools

This week’s Tuesday saw a new venue marked on the wallchart of GNN Towers. But was the venue ready? FIFA officials had passed it as fit only recently, but the other day one of Gonz’s friends lent on part of the table, and it broke, making part of it a bit wobbly and not suitable for scorecharts, piles of meeples or too many drinks.

Zooloretto was first on the rickety table. Sam explained the rules to Gonz while Adam arrived and locked his bike up. It was the dice version, which is small and smart and has hidden depths to it. All of this was enhanced by the new surround-sound effect of jungle noises that played in the background. A new extra dimension to gaming: instead of music, choose sound effects. I don’t know if it made a difference, but Adam squeezed a win by a narrow margin.

Adam 13+5 coins
Sam 13 +2 coins
Andrew 13
Gonz 12

After this, we considered a different game. Sam was keen on Condottiere. Adam and I were keen on Gonz’s games cupboard. Turns out the games were on top of and next to the cupboard, but close enough. In the end we went for Kingdom Builder. With the Nomads extension. Sam wasn’t keen on an extension to a game that already confused him. Adam tried to reassure him by saying “The rules don’t change, they’re just different.”

Anyway, we ploughed on, despite Sam’s misgivings. Gonz put on some suitably over-the-top orchestral music that you would expect to hear when kingdoms were being built. And as the strings cut through the air, so Adam vanished off into the distance. Gonz was right behind him, though. Meanwhile, Sam and I huffed and puffed over last place, with my largest area giving me that coveted third place.

Adam 55
Gonz 51
Andrew 30
Sam 25

I had avoided it since the last (and only) time I’d played it. I won back then, but that was only because of a misunderstanding of the rules from my opponents, if I recall correctly. And I did quite like it the second time round. It’s not amazing, but it’s a decent amount of game that doesn’t last too long. I may play it again one day.

After this, Condottiere finally made it to the table. Gonz was given a run through of the rules by Sam, aided by his glamorous assistant Adam, who arranged the cards for Gonz to see. It was a harsh war. With winters sapping everyone’s strength, and bishops telling the best soldiers to go away. In the end, though, it was decided in the time it took me to go to the toilet! I went, still with a chance, and came back a loser. Sam had conquered most of Italy!

Sam 5 (+3 adjacent)
Andrew 3
Gonz 2
Adam 1

We ended with Love Letter, the Coup-esque game that we’d played once before and sort of enjoyed but couldn’t remember. Gonz explained the rules, and off we went: accusing and spying and swapping! What fun! After four hands, we stood at one apiece, so we said that next round wins. In the end, I got lucky with (another) guess about what card an opponent had, so Adam crashed out first. Then I got outed, before Gonz took first place in a final comparison of numbers.

1. Gonz
2. Sam
3. Andrew
4. Adam

My stay at the top of the form table is short lived, and Gonz takes first place after an evening in which no one really put a run of form together. In fact, every game tonight was prefaced by some rule explaining to at least one player.

Gonz1 3 2 4 1 11
Sam2 1 4 2 2 11
Andrew3 2 3 3 1 12
Adam 4 4 1 1 2 12
Chris1 1 3 4 5 14
Joe2 4 2 3 3 14
Quentin4 1 1 5 3 14
Matt3 2 5 5 5 20
Steve3 2 55 5 20
Martin1 5 55 5 21
Anja3 3 55 5 21
Hannah2 5 55 5 22


  1. Good old Kingdom Builder - anytime I want to feel like a total dolt, I know I can rely on it. I usually get at least one rule wrong but last night Adam was on hand to guide me - thanks Adam.

    Really enjoyed Love Letter - it's like a less brutal Coup, to coin a phrase.

    Thanks Gonz and all.

  2. Kudos on playing a game you're not too keen on though. Something I could be better at.

  3. I did say it was under protest. To be fair I think it's a good game, I just suck at it, big time.

  4. I wonder how much of that goes toward the desire to replay a game. I recently got stuck into Revolution because I found it difficult to get a strategy out of it. I guess if you know you're going to get a pasting you are going to be less likely to want to play it. Some games just suck though :)

  5. You can lie to me, but you cant lie to yourselves: you loved the jungle music! Also, I know the broken table only adds to the tension of the game, and if you feel like you are taking a beating, you can always make the game fly in an elegant, innocent looking way.Thanks for the games, and for coming to my place!.

  6. Argh I missed Kingdom Builder, Condottiere and Love Letter? They're three of my favourite games!

  7. Sorry Martin! Are you coming on Tuesday? Bring Love Letter with you!