We began with Kobayakawa and, while we all enjoy this slimmed down betting game, the last round does seem overly powerful. Once again, the player who won the final round won the whole game.
Next we split, not into the more usual 3 and 3, but into 4 and 2. Martin was keen to play Witness, a game for four players only in which each game has a new brief scenario and each player is given a piece of evidence. We then whisper this evidence to the person beside us, who then has to whisper what you said AND their own piece of evidence to the person next to them. Very simple and very confusing as we try to remember what everyone said.
As me, Martin, Joe and Matt were setting this up, Ian and Sam went for a game of Letters from Whitechapel. Ian managed the best performance yet as Jack, lasting into the third round before being caught, leaving four dead bodies in his wake. Well done, Ian! But, technically, it’s a victory to Sam.
Board games! Such fun!
As for Witness, each case is solved by each player successfully answering three questions. The team needs to get 9 out of 12 or more to succeed. We played three times, solving a murder (9 out of 12) despite one piece of information getting lost somewhere, then we failed in our attempt at helping some people out of a maze of tunnels (6 out of 12, but Joe got all three of his right) and finally we opened up a combination lock with a five-letter word. 12 out of 12! Excellent. Although Joe took a surprisingly long time to work out the word from the letters C, E, H, I, N. (answer below the Division, if you want to work it out yourself)
Mortimer seems appalled at our deduction skills
After Witness, Jack the Ripper was still at large on the other table, so we played Potato Man. This superb trick taking game starring Evil Potato Man, Super Potato Man and Sexy Potato Lady is always a favourite. Especially with Martin. I can’t imagine why.
By now Letters from Whitehall was over and Ian and Sam had begun on another two-player game, Lost Cities. I kind of recognised it, but didn’t pay much attention to it, I’m afraid.
Then just to fill in the time for Sam and Ian to finish off Lost Cities, we played Rattlesnake, the clever game of placing powerful magnets on a board on a rickety table. More challenging than usual. Martin was first to put down all of his egg magnets.
Martin first to have 0 eggs left
Matt second to have 0 eggs left
Andrew 1 egg left
Joe had lots left
Finally, we were all as one again, so we chose a couple of six-player games to round off the evening. First was Skull and Roses, the simple bluffing game that I’m really quite bad at. Boldest move was Joe who correctly guessed that there were 8 roses out of a possible 9 cards placed face down. Equally impressive, especially since it was for the win, was Sam’s guess of five roses out of six. It was correct, got him first place, and Joe revealed that his card (the one Sam hadn’t chosen) was a skull. It’s a game of fine margins, is Skull and Roses.
Sam 2 correct
Joe 1 correct
Matt 1 wrong
Martin 1 wrong
Ian 1 wrong
Andrew 2 wrong
Finally, Pairs was put to the table as a nightcap. On my way to the toilet, I heard someone suggest Timeline, but Martin firmly demanded Pairs. A decision he may regret. By the way, I recently picked up a handylittle cheat sheet for Timeline.
Pairs remains full of queer coincidence and strange self-defeating predictions as each player tries to avoid picking up a pair of any fruit/vegetable. Martin is an expert at this: his first was expertly aimed at Sam. Martin boldly said “There’s no way a lemon can kill anyone in this round” seconds before Sam was dealt a lemon to go with his other lemon, sending him out of the round.
But Martin didn’t learn his lesson, and his powers flew back in his face in the next round. Buoyed up by a first place in the last round, he optimistically said “I could get back in this!” just before being dealt his second cherry. Poor old Martin went bust four times out of five. I, on the other hand, didn’t go bust at all.
And with that, the emergency games evening was over. It was just left for me to negotiate a tricky hill start crossed with a three point turn to take Sam home, and the tension and excitement was done for another week.
The five letter word was niche.