Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Do Not Pass Ghost

Tuesday, Sam’s. Eight players in attendance, and Midnight Party was on the table, ready to be played after its tantalising cameo last week. In this game each player (myself, Sam, Ian, Matt, Anja, Andy, Joe, and Martin) gets two meeples, who are then placed in a corridor along which a ghost will soon travel, eating all in its path. The only way to escape the ghost is to duck into a room, but the rooms are available until Hugo the ghost reaches the corridor. Players roll a die to either move their meeple or the ghost.

It was a fun game. Once we got used to the idea that the point of the game is to avoid getting minus points rather than scoring points, we all stopped trying to get into one of the two rooms that actually got points, and instead flung ourselves through the nearest door to safety. It still wasn’t enough, and the Hugo is fast when he wants to be. I was especially keen on the number of times a player rolled the die, only to have one of their own meeples eaten by Hugo. Martin captured the mood when he wailed “what is probability doing to us?!”

Sam –12 (and he scored +3 in the third round)
Andy –13
Anja –17
Andrew –18
Matt –26
Ian –27
Martin –27
Joe –29

Actually, we had played one game before that before Anja arrived. It was a single round of Go Stop, which Matt won immediately since he got the 10 card (which can’t be beaten) in the first auction. Bit of a damp squib, really.

But after our midnight party, we split into two groups of four. Andy, Anja, Sam and Martin chose Municipium and Joe, Matt, Ian and I went for Lords of Vegas. It was Matt’s first time, so we talked him through the rules. However, it can be a ruthless game for a newbie, especially against three players who’d all said they’d bring it to a desert island with them.

It was a very swingy game. I went from thinking I was definitely third, to hoping for first place if the game ended soon, back to thinking I was in third again. Joe battled with Matt over control of a six-tile casino, as its ownership c hanged hands. Luckily for Joe it was under his management when the strip paid out and also when the game ended. This was enough to edge ahead of me.

But it was all about Ian, who got an early five-tile casino (was I wrong to sell him that plot of land early on? Oh well) and it paid dividends. A late four-tile casino also kept him ahead when Joe and I were at his heels. He kept his cool though, to hold out for the win. A great game.

Ian 49
Joe 44
Andrew 40
Matt 23

I was especially proud of my early tactic of sprawling into a neighbouring lot that I didn’t own. It remained unclaimed for most of the game, getting me a decent amount of points. As I said, “That was a game-winning move, if only I’d won the game.”

While we’d been living the high life, not wanting the evening to finish, the other end of the table had got through three games. Municipium (which I still haven’t played) ended with Martin as the winner

Martin 5
Sam 4
Andy 3
Anja 2

Then they played Pickomino with, apparently, a whole bunch of rules that Sam didn’t know about. Didn’t seem to put him off, though.

Sam 10
Martin 5
Anja 2
Andy 1

And finally, after Anja left, they waited for us to finish Lords of Vegas with a tense game of Love Letter. After two rounds, Andy was ahead 2-0-0. It ended:

Sam 3
Andy 2
Martin 2

“Joint second,” said Martin, phlegmatically. “Joint last,” I insisted, clearly addled by my time gambling on the Strip.

We set off home, weary but amused.

On the Division, with three Tuesday’s left to go until the end of the season, it’s between the top four for the three titles. Ian is still top, but only by two meagre points. Martin is still ahead on the Medal Table, but for points ratio Ian and Andy are locked in a duel, neck and neck.


  1. I found the weird round of Go/Stop quite amusing, but we could probably do with figuring out a way to score over multiple rounds.

    Municipium felt a bit like I was leading the others through a world of bafflement, but Anja was sufficiently intrigued to borrow it. I suspect she'll be back to school me next time.


  2. What a wonderful evening. I did at one point during Municipium note to Anja "they're having fun over there" as cries of joy and anguish came from the direction of Las Vegas. But having felt slightly like I underwent the game rather than played it, I did wake up with a fresh appreciation of it this morning. And like Martin says, Anja was clearly impressed too. Even though it's hard to get your head around it is - what else would one expect? - a clever game.

    I loved Midnight Party. Brilliant.

  3. The Lords of Vegas game was wonderful. It's definitely cemented itself as one of my top games now.

    On most evenings, Midnight Party would have been a definite highlight, but LoV somehow managed to even topple Hugo.

    Really enjoyable evening, thanks everyone!

  4. Lovely evening all - I've been trying to get a copy of Midnight Party in a trade, and now I muuust have it!

    Lords of Vegas - what can I say? Awesome, and was very tense right up to the end - it didn't outstay its welcome at all!

    Apologies to Matt - it was a bit of an 'in at the deep-end' experience, and it was mainly me squabbling for his silver casino.

  5. Midnight Party (with 8) is sort of super-slow-motion push-your-luck. You get one chance every 8 goes to actually move - and then you might roll Hugo - so you can easily go 16 or 24 turns without being able to move.

    Suddenly ducking in to the nearest available room begins to look like a viable strategy - I can imagine we'd all play quite differently next time. Imagine - a high score of 0!

    The stuff dreams are made of . . .

  6. Glad everyone enjoyed Midnight Party; it is great fun. As Joe says, you can go quite a while without moving your own pieces, as Sam demonstrated in at least one of the rounds. Not that it did him any harm, of course.

    I couldn't seem to roll anything except rubbish in Heckmeck, with inevitable last place consequences, whereas in Love Letter I started far too well, and you just don't win from 2-0-0.

    Municipium wasn't really my kind of game, requiring too much planning for too little game enjoyment reward for me. I feel that it's all a bit too clever for its own good.