Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Cries against humanity

Tuesday. Adam and Hannah hosted. Martin, Sam, Ian, Anja and Steve arrived. Chipsticks and salted popcorn were eaten. Games were played.

We began with Hannah putting the baby to bed and Steve and Anja on the way. The five of us chose to play Abluxxen, the tricky game of trick-taking and spoiling other people’s plans. Sam and Adam were both new to the game, but they seemed to pick it up okay. I was concentrating on building up an nice hand of a six of a kind (of fives), hoping to cash out with that.

Then Sam and Martin battled it out with six of a kind in threes and fours. I thought “If I play my fives now, I can screw them over and win with my next turn,” and it almost worked, except that Martin also had a six of a kind of sevens, forcing me to take my fives back into my hand. And then, Ian finished the game (just the one round) by his remaining cards in one go. Damn him!

Ian 15
Adam 8
Andrew 0
Sam -5
Martin -8

Then, with Hannah, Anja and Steve in attendance, we split into two groups of four. The guinea-pig-intolerant Anja went into the other room with Sam, Steve and Adam to play Concordia. And, for once, they rejected any use of modern apparatus such as tables and chairs, and instead preferred to lounge on the floor, just like the decadent Romans did in the olden days.

In the other room, we went super space-age hyper-tectonic. Or something. Impulse was brought to the table. It was new to Hannah, but Martin Ian and myself had all played it before. She got an explanation of the rules, and she admitted that not much of it sunk in. And at first, that appeared to be the case, with her becalmed on one or no points for much of the game. But then she made a late sprint up the score chart.

Ian found himself in a lot of trouble. At one point, he was down to one solitary ship, and in serious danger of going out of the game. He was able to build more ships, and he then consolidated them together in a fierce three-ship fleet. Unfortunately, it was too big to actually move, and he spent the rest of the game picking up points by trading and mining.

By now, though, Martin had made a mockery of the game by finding a way to clock up points by flying round in circles! It was enough to get him six points and leave him teetering on the point of victory with 19 points. We tried to stop him, but he only needed on more ship on the central core (or whatever it’s called) for the win.

Martin 20
Hannah 13
Ian 11
Andrew 11

Phew, we all thought, after that space epic. Concordia was still about half an hour from completion, so we embarked on a jolly game of Hana-bi to fill the time. Being a co-operative game, it wasn’t leaderboard, and considering how much we bent the rules (mostly to prevent me from throwing away a useful card) that was just as well. Finally, we ran out of cards which signalled the end of the game and our final turns couldn’t complete the firework display. Close, though.

Everyone: 22 out of 25

When we went into the other room, we found the scores of Concordia being totted up. Steve, in his own inimitable way (of professing bemusement while “accidentally” putting together a winning strategy) took first place. Sam was hit by Explainer’s Curse. Or by his reliance on the Saturnalia card bonus. One or the other.

Steve 112
Adam 89
Anja 81
Sam 74

Then Anja and Steve had to go, and Sam was on the verge of calling it a night too. We managed to coax him into a swift game of Cards Against Humanity, a simple card game which is best described as Dirty Dixit that can be played by as many people as you want.. I made the hilarious quip that it's the only game who's number of players is wider than the age-range.

The basic theme of the game is that one central card suggests a sentence (such as “My first sexual experience was with a _______”) and the players have to supply the funniest answers from the cards in their hand which have phrases on them like “rusty cheeseboard,” “paranoid mountaineer,” etc.

It was a lot of fun, and we laughed a lot at the thought of Sean Penn helping the victims of an earthquake in Haiti with hot cheese. If your card is chosen as the funniest, you win a point. It was a close thing, with Ian coming out victorious in this game of depraved imagination. Well done!

Ian 4
Andrew 3
Martin 3
Hannah 3
Sam 3
Adam 2

That was the penultimate week of the season! Hope to see you all next week for the grand finale! Adam and Ian push their way to the top of the form table! Can they stay there? Don’t touch that dial!

Adam 3 2 2 1 1 9
Ian 1 3 1 3 3 11
Martin 2 1 5 1 2 11
Chris 1 2 13 5 12
Andrew 2 3 3 2 3 13
Joe 6 1 3 1 2 13
Matt 4 1 4 3 2 14
Hannah 2 2 3 4 5 16
Sam 2 4 4 5 2 17
Steve 1 1 5 5 5 17
Paul 2 2 5 5 5 19
Katie 3 3 5 5 5 21
Anja 3 5 5 5 5 23
Jim 4 5 5 5 5 24


  1. Not Cards Against Humanity! Isn't it like the most sneered at game amongst gamers?

  2. I, for one, was ready to sneer at it too. I usually don't trust games that claim to be funny, but if you're drunk and/or tired enough then it's a pretty good game. But it's not really what you'd chose to start an evening with.

  3. The same sneery gamers who think Russian Railroads is a riot...

  4. It's definitely one to play with friends and beer and not too often. But we laughed so hard Hannah nearly choked!

  5. I'm still disappointed that Sean Penn didn't take the Hot Cheese.

  6. I've never played it so I can't pass judgement. I can see how it would be fun with the right crowd.

  7. I was dubious about Cards Against Humanity in our cerebral little group, but with Sam's acting skills and Martins infectious laughter it just about worked...

    After giving it two chances I'm not sure I like Concordia. I like the idea that your cards provide the multipliers allowing you to concentrate on selected areas for your points. But it gives you one of each multiplier at the start of the game, so actually specialising isn't that powerful and you need to have a bit of everything anyway. Also, as Anja observed, it's a game of scarcity (like Notre Dame) which for me feels stressful rather than fun. I want to play something with spaceships in next time...

  8. I enjoy Concordia. It's a puzzle where you're never able to do everything you want, but unlike Year of the Dragon, say, which is very fire-fighty, at least you can always do something productive - and it can be fast-moving. Steve. Steve!

    Even getting your discarded cards back gets you some money.

    That said I can appreciate the criticisms of it. I deliberately spread as wide as I could and got as many Saturnus cards as possible to reward my ranging colonists. It was enough to finish a not-close-at-all last place… but that just makes me want to play it again and try a different strategy.