Wednesday, 14 January 2015


Today we were six in number: Joe (host), Martin, Sam, Matt, Katy and myself. As is usual whenever the number of attendees is six, Joe suggests I’m The Boss. Sam said he’d be willing to play it again if there was enough support from everyone else. There wasn’t.

So instead we all played Skull and Roses. This simple game on betting with beer mats is such great game, I was glad that it was picked. Although I was sad that it beat Igloo Pop to claim its place on the table.

Skull and Roses was meant as a gentle warm-up, but ended up in being a fantastic display of bluffing and brinkmanship. From the very first round, only eight tiles had been played face down when Joe said he could find seven roses among them. Amazingly, he succeeded.

After this, it proved harder, especially with Sam ruining other people’s chances with his skull card, while winning a round of his own (thanks to Martin accidentally putting down a rose card, when he thought he’d placed a skull). Finally Joe won it by finding six roses among seven cards. A worthy winner. Sam came second and Katy and I came joint third, having never made a bet that we had to act upon. Basically we just watched the game.

Katy was so amazed by Joe's guessing abilities 
that she dropped half a biscuit into her coke

1. Joe
2. Sam
3= Andrew
3= Katy
4= Matt
4= Martin

Then we split into two groups of three. Sam, Joe and Katy went for the Madness of King Ludwig’s Castles while Matt, Martin and me went for Impulse. It was Matt’s second game, but since that was some time ago, he could a brief recap of the rules. It was also Joe’s and Katy’s first play of Castles, so before long, the room was humming with simultaneous rules.

On Impulse, I forgot how one action can trigger another one. I thought I’d finished my first go, but Martin pointed out that I hadn’t: if I discover a new card, I get to action it immediately. This went on for a while until I finally shot one of Martin’s ship out of the inky black sky.

My initial boost up the score track was soon matched by Martin. Matt never really got going. He did, however, invent a technology that allowed him to use a technology, thus risking the kind of infinite regression that all gamers dread.

Martin 20
Andrew 17
Matt 6

One Castle of Mad King Ludwig, Katy revolutionised mad castles by placing her foyer the other way round. Joe sped off into an early lead but Sam, like the tortoise in the fable, build a more profitable castle, ending the game cash rich.

Sam 112
Joe 87
Katy 77

While we three were waiting for them to finish, we played a game of Red7, which would be unremarkable were it not for two things: the number of times I got multiple fives in my hand; and the score. It’s only Martin’s first appearance of the year but he’s already staked his place on the End of Year Review for biggest victory.

Martin 50
Matt 0
Andrew 0

Finally, we all joined up for a game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf. This non-leaderboard game is like The Resistance in that you’re trying to discover people’s true identity. An identity that some people don’t even know themselves, thanks to some card exchanging during the period where everyone’s eyes are closed. The options were werewolf, drunk, seer, trouble-maker and some very bland villagers.

In our first game, we did the card exchanging during the eyes-shut phase in near-silence, with only the voice from the One Night Ultimate Werewolf phone app to disguise any sound. It didn’t and Martin was soon outed as the werewolf, much to his disgust.

Then we played again, cards nearer the centre of the table, everyone standing, and everyone repeatedly knocking on the table to hide any movement. Guess what? We still successfully found that Martin was the werewolf. His dislike of these kind of games was not even slightly overturned.

I’ll put up the form table tomorrow evening. Thanks to Joe for a really enjoyable evening. Still wish we’d played Igloo Pop, though.

A happy table

And here is the Form Table...

Sam 2 1 2 2 1 8
Andrew 2 2 3 3 3 13
Katy 3 3 1 1 5 13
Joe 2 1 2 4 5 14
Ian 3 3 2 3 3 14
Matt 2 3 4 5 1 15
Andy 6 2 3 2 2 15
Martin 1 1 4 5 5 16
Adam 1 1 5 5 5 17
Steve 3 3 4 5 5 20
Anja 6 5 3 4 5 23


  1. Thanks Andrew and all for coming. Yes we should have finished with Igloo Pop instead of Werewolf, that would gave been fun - though I don't share Martin's loathing of deduction games they don't totally thrill me.

    I liked Ludwig - similar to Vegas Showdown but with more combo-ing, it seemed to me. There seem to be a multitude of possibilities for scoring points, and maximising those whilst keeping a close eye on what your opponents want so as to correctly value the buildings for sale (on your go, at least) is quite a challenge - on a first play, anyway. I like it though.

    And I love Skull and Roses; just brilliant. Sorry Andrew and Katy didn't get in on the action - but when you've still got all your cards you can afford to take a long-shot. I forgot to mention, my skull was the first card I lost, so I was toothless for most of the game - glad no one realised!

  2. Yes thanks all. A good night. Castles of Mad King Ludwig is fast becoming a firm favorite with me - although Joe's right that there's a lot going on, there is a kind of sense to it all. Certain rooms like to be adjacent and other ones don't. In fact Joe and Katy's aversion to the noisy rooms - I realized later, so can't claim to have cannily exploited it - helped me enormously. They kept making them cheap so I kept building them. OK you don't get any adjacency benefits but on the other hand they score you a lot of points by themselves, both on placement and completion - this also meant I was slowly accruing more and more money, so could afford the 15,000 needed on the last round to build the room that gave me... bonus points for all my noisy rooms!

    I doubt I'd get away with that again. I think it's a corker though. Also enjoyed Skull and Roses too, which to be honest I usually don't that much. Ultimate Werewolf on the other hand... I do like The Resistance but there are just two possible roles in that and no card switching and flipping. It's much simpler. Werewolf I just felt like the game played me for the first 5 minutes and the next 5 I spent wondering what the hell was going on!

  3. Werewolf? Glad I missed the evening!

  4. In the meantime I managed to get in a game of Valley Of The Kings with Jake, so one less unplayed game on my shelves. :-)

  5. See, I like deduction games. That... thing.... is not deduction. It's shuffling some cards and then having a five minute argument :)

  6. Red7 is clearly a game of pure skill though.