Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Duff and Chuff

This week, seven gamers gathered together under rainy skies to forget about the struggles of life in favour of some entirely self-inflicted struggles of our own.

Adam and Hannah hosted, with Sam, me, Gonz, Martin and Joe in attendance. At first, while Adam and Hannah ate their supper, Sam and Martin began with a quick game of The Hive.

At first, Martin corrected Sam on a rule: that when placing a piece, it must be next to one of your own tiles. Some minutes later, another look at the rules clarified this: you cannot place a piece that touches an opponents piece. They started again. Then they saw the rule that you cannot move a piece until your fourth piece has been placed. The game was abandoned in despair. Still, it’s almost as if Sam has a new game! I wonder what it’s like.

We split into two groups. I had texted Joe earlier to ask him to bring Hab & Gut, and when it was suggested, I was pleased to see it get a favourable reaction. Adam, Gonz and Martin chose Kingdom Builder, and set off into the other room, while the rest of us got ready for a little Hab & Gut.

Hannah had never played before, so Joe explained the rules. We wheeled and dealed in the six commodities which, at the end of the first round of fluctuating prices, were almost in a line across the board just a few spaces further on from where they’d started.

Into the second round, and people started getting cagey about when to donate to the church. Whenever someone decided to donate, the other players would tut annoyed at having to play our dues. In the final count, Hannah donated the most, and I donated the third largest amount, allowing me to avoid the wrath of the church.

Andrew £625
Sam £550
Hannah £420
Joe OUT!

In the next room, they’d played one game of Kingdom Builder and had started on another game.

So we filled in the time with a round of Biblios. Much like Hab & Gut, a glut of church cards sent several dice values soaring, and while I did my best to bring them back down again, I wasn’t at all confident of my chances, having only really enough to secure the red dice with its lowly “2”.

As we totted up the scores, we saw how well Joe had played the game: he’d kept pushing up the value of the orange die so that no one else went for it. He picked it up with a score of just three. On the other hand, he did mistime his spending, which meant he was able to bid 13 gold on the last useless card. I got a stroke of luck when I picked up greens to go with my reds, giving me a winning score.

Andrew 5
Hannah 4 (wins on browns)
Sam 4 (wins on blues)
Joe 4

The Kingdom Builder people were strangely coy about sharing the results but the positions were:

Game one: Gonz, Adam, Martin
Game two: Martin, Gonz, Adam.

I think that’s right. I'm still waiting to get the results.

By now we were all together again, and Joe suggested a seven-player game of Take It Easy: the game where you really don’t take it easy at all. He had procured a second set, which meant that up to eight could play! Newbies had the rules explained to them, and we were off!

Take It Easy: the reaction of Martin (top right) indicates
that the tile he needs has not been drawn from the bag.

Being so simple and yet so agonising, it was probably more fun to listen to the agonised wails or curious squeaks of your opponents than it was to play the game. Suffice to say, a lot of those noises game from Gonz who sounded like he was slowly deflating as the game wore on. The rest of us took turns to display bullish confidence and angst-ridden despair. After three rounds, the final scores were

1. Sam 485
2= Joe 457
2= Martin 457
3. Adam 445
4. Andrew 432
5. Hannah 411
6. Gonz 326

What a great game! Sam, Gonz and I went off early, but the remaining four were discussing what to play next, so there’s still more to come for this report. (EDIT: Joe has updated us in the comments below)

With the scores from the last game of the evening in, the form table looks like...

Martin1 2 1 3 2 9
Andrew4 1 1 2 1 9
Sam1 3 2 2 4 12
Adam2 3 3 2 3 13
Joe3 2 4 4 1 14
Steve3 31 55 17
Gonz6 12 5519
Hannah5 23 5520
Anja2 45 5521

Martin leaps to the top on the best-most-recent-score rule.

And the blog title came from Sam’s description of his board during a round of Take It Easy. Something like that anyway. I can’t remember that either. I really need to start taking notes...


  1. After you left, Hannah went bedwards and Adam, Martin and I played Sticheln.
    Three rounds, and I made dumb mistakes in the first two. Its a fame we don't play often enough, and it's only by the end of a game I'm remembering how to play. That's my excuse anyway.

    Final scores were:
    Martin 36
    Adam 21
    Joe 16

  2. Three good games - I always enjoy Hab and Gut, and Take It Easy feels like a bit of a classic. Anything that can elicit those sagging-tent-in-the-wind noises from Gonz must have something to it.

  3. I'm pretty sure Gonz took a picture of the final scores in Kingdom Builder, but you got the order right. The first game was really close but Gonz's clever use of the 'build on the edge of the board' power to make a long line for the Knights card was the difference. The second game Adam got screwed over by being first in turn order with the Lords card in play. That meant I could do just what I needed to overtake him in two of the four areas.

    Sticheln was closer than it looks. After a disastrous first round, Joe matched me in the next two. I agree that we need to play more often! (PS Joe seems to have escaped his '3' in the form table).

  4. Andrew, have you ever thought about a system where you get one point per person you beat? At the moment it's no better to win a 6p game than a 3p, but you've got a lot more to lose!

    I know it's just a bit of fun though :)

  5. Martin, the form table punishes losers more than rewarding winners, true. The Division (always capitalized and said in a baritone voice if poss) is more your thing. It appears every month.

  6. Having won a seven-player game last night, I think Martin's suggestion should be implemented immediately

  7. Here comes the scores for kingdom builder!
    First Game

    Second game:

    And now I understand Sam's comments about liking Kingdom Builder but being terrible at it! I enjoyed that take it easy game (if ofnly for a while) but it was so frusttating! I suck at spatial intelligence!! Give me some Dixit any day of the week! I think I need to buy that game and practice it like there is no tomorrow....

  8. . . . or download it Gonz - there's an iOS app, not sure about Android.

  9. While I hand the Mr Biblios Crown of Monkishness to Andrew, I just want to point out that had he not beaten me alphabetically on the green tie-breaker, I'd still be sitting in the Mr Biblios throne, wearing said crown.

    Not that being Mr Biblios is important to me, of course.