Last New Year's Eve was the scene of a gaming disaster for me, where I torpedoed the slim chances of Sally ever saying "I love the games of Martin Wallace" forever. The masochistic part of me was tempted to start a tradition; of attempting completely inappropriate games with the close of every year. But I couldn't face the opprobrium.
Instead, with Katie, Mark, Peppa and Lula in attendance, Mark and I scrutinised the cupboard. We agreed on a novel choosing strategy - games that weren't rule heavy (my department), and box artwork that appealed to Mark. Happily that coincided with the game I really wanted to introduce them to: Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Also in the pile was Black Fleet, Trans America, and Love Letter.
Trans America is a favourite of Katie and Mark's, and while Sally beavered away in the kitchen we played a three-player game. I got off to a great start when they built enough track to give me simple connections for my last three cities, and with Katie still ten links away, it only took another round for me to wrap up the game.
After tea there was a brief hiatus as the kids put on a show upstairs, where Stan belied his status as a convalescent by embarking on an energetic drum roll that lasted about 11 minutes. Peppa and Joe played guitar whilst Lula danced. I have tried to upload a movie of it to show how startling the sheer amount of energy in the room, but Blogger has failed me. Here's Katie and Peppa post-huge dessert instead:
Having been blown away by the inaugural Zombie House gig upstairs, we ignored the game stack and broke out Raj. Peppa has played this before and joined us. We simply played one round = one game, and Peppa and Sally won the first. I think Mark won the second and I won the third.
After that I realised the situation was crying out for the simplicity of Take It Easy, and while Katie took a gaming breather myself, Sally, Mark and Peppa played a round. I tried to introduce the rhyming couplets of old, but I think I merely succeeded in looking odd. Or odder.
In compensation I won the first game (a single round) by a narrow margin, and then Katie joined us as we played twice more. I won the second round too, but the third was taken by Mark.
It was now 11pm and the four kids were still up - while Peppa played with us, Joe and Lula were roaming the house in their onesies and Stanley was doggedly watching all the extras on the School of Rock DVD. Mark and Katie decided it was time to head home - but we went out on a high, ending the evening with a rock disco in the front room - School of Rock soundtrack on the stereo, children on the coffee table. We even had the obligatory disco drama as Sally and Katie insisted on listening to the Stevie Nicks track: whilst Stan buried his face in disgust Joe sat it out on the stairs saying it was "stupid".
In the kitchen I looked longingly at Castles of Mad King Ludwig... was it really too late for a two-player?
It was. We watched an episode of Breaking Bad then saw in the new year watching the fireworks, and listening to a neighbour banging a saucepan with a serving spoon in celebration. 2015 was here.
I do normally update on the tiny KMSS leaderboard but I think this was all non-competitive.