Thursday, 7 August 2014

Cornish Pastimes

Last week Sally and I took the boys to Polruan, Cornwall, and though most of the time was spent on the beach we did squeeze in a few games. I'd taken Ice Flow, Flash Point, Hey That's My Fish and Sumeria, the latter an incongruously popular choice with the boys (usually; we didn't actually play it this time).

Castles of Beige

First out of the box was Hey That's My Fish, or Hey, That's My Fish as Jon correctly emphasizes it. This was a two-player with me and Little Joe. After some early shenanigans of Joe's penguins slaloming toward the more rewarding tiles, we settled into a neat pattern of Joe picking up the most fish while I made suggestions as to how he could block me off. It ended closely:

Joe 52
Sam 46
(two tiles left on the 'board')

My apple

Stanley had spotted Blokus at the cottage so we pulled it out. The board is a grid of 1cm squares and each player is given a collection of tetris-style pieces in their own colour. I looked for the rulebook only to find there wasn't one, and I was thinking ho-hum... until I realized the rules are printed on the back of the box. Genius. Here they are:

1. Each player starts in a corner.
2. On their turn players place a piece that cannot be adjacent to any of their own pieces (they can be adjacent to other players') but must touch one of their own pieces at at least one corner.
3. Whoever manages to play the most pieces wins.

The key is squeezing between the corners of opposing players pieces really, and making sure you don't have all your biggest pieces left in the endgame. It was so simple and the boys really liked it - even Sally did, in fact. What I don't understand is how it works as a 2-player - there's so much room on the board you'd have to make a concerted effort to not get all your pieces down. There's probably something on BGG about it…

We played lots of games of this and there were many winners. We also had some pub lunches and I messed about with my phone:

Stanley and I played Ice Flow. I'd remembered it as quite simple but it's actually a bit of a puzzle, trying to get three explorers across the Bering Strait while being pursued by polar bears and stymied by the opposition. There was a fair bit of head-scratching, and although Stanley won (a collaborative effort) it was not requested again.

The other popular game was Flash Point. Stan is not one for tantrums when he loses but he can occasionally get a little forlorn, so I think he liked the fact this was a team effort. Together we put out many fires and rescued many victims, but we also (courtesy of my longstanding blind spot) played a rule wrong, making it easier for ourselves than it should have been. Having corrected it we both died as the building collapsed on us. Oh well.

Finally upon returning to Bristol I suggested Lords of Waterdeep, which Stanley has played before. Joe did not play but was The Shopkeeper - in charge of cube distribution.

Last time Stan needed a little help with some of the reading, but no such qualms for him this time. In fact he shot off into a healthy lead, and although I assisted by 1. once pointing out he could get wizards by going to the harbour and 2. not nicking cubes off him when I could have, he pretty much bossed the game, picking up handsome endgame bonuses that I didn't see coming:

Stanley 145
Sam 122


  1. It was! And re: Blokus, it seems with two players the idea is both get two colors each.

  2. I've only played Blokus once or twice, but I liked it quite a bit. There's also a 2-player edition. My only problem with it is pronunciation - block-us or bloke-us?

    Nice write-up Sam - we'll be in Polruan later this summer, though not at Jenny's this time. Last time we were there I nearly left Agricola - that would have been a shock for you!

  3. It must be Block-us, surely. Bloke-us sounds like lads-only quiz night at a Harvester.

  4. Played Waterdeep again last night by the way: Sam 177 Stanley 176.

  5. My friend's parents live in Polruan. We spent a bank holiday weekend there last summer - lovely place.