Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cracking Skulls

Six gamers at seven for Sam’s house. We began this early to give Sam’s boys, Stanley and Joe, a chance to play a game before they went to bed. We chose Midnight Party which had recently been a big hit with the family on Sam’s holiday. We began before GNN regulars Joe and Matt arrived, but since Joe arrived soon after we’d begun, he was dropped into a couple of random positions on the corridor. Meanwhile, little Joe decided he wanted to be on a team with Sam.

This time we played a variant where Hugo speeds up each time he goes around the board so that in the fourth and final round Hugo was moving six squares at a time! Oh what fun! Ian started well, getting no points at all (in this version, points are bad and you start at 10) in the first two rounds. But then Hugo got the better of him, and Joe was able to sneak a win at the last minute. Martin often found his plan ruined as people ducked into rooms immediately ahead of him and Stanley went on a bit of a suicide mission in the last round, starting at the top of the stairs when Hugo was moving five squares at a time.

Joe 26
Ian 27
Martin 33
Andrew 34
Sam (and little Joe) 37
Stanley 50

Matt arrived towards the end of Midnight Party so when Sam took his boys to bed, the rest of us played a couple of rounds of For Sale. It was Ian’s (and maybe also Matt’s) first game, so Joe explained the rules. He must’ve slipped some strategising in there too, because I got stuffed both times we played.

Martin 52
Ian 51
Joe 47
Matt 43
Andrew 37

Joe 58
Martin 44
Ian 44
Matt 40
Andrew 38

Then Sam came back and we split into two groups: Joe and Martin tried Baseball Highlights 2045. Meanwhile, Matt, Ian, Sam and I considered playing Lords of Vegas. However, we couldn’t be that cruel to Joe to play his favourite right under his nose. So we went for Tinners’ Trail, the classic evergreen of boardgaming. And what a damp game it was. I feel like we say this every time, but there were a lot of areas with the maximum amount of water.

So we got mining. The most notable feature of the game (apart from the collapse in prices in round four) was adit-stealing, as Ian and Matt built adits into neighbouring unclaimed regions, only to be outbid for them by Sam and me. Ian cut a particularly morose figure, as he surveyed the damp county with a sigh of despair. He’d have made a great 19th century tin mine owner.

Sam 113
Andrew 102
Matt 65
Ian 63

Martin and Joe were still deep into their game of baseball so we played Sumeria, a simple game of area control. Too simple for me, since I had little idea of what the best strategy would be. No worries for Ian or Sam, though. I guess Ian must have taken great pride in my downfall after I stole half his adit.

Ian 23
Sam 20
Andrew 6
Matt 5

By now Baseball Highlights ended and Martin won the world series 4-3 from 3-1 down. I know little about the game, bit apparently it all changed when Joe went for a piss.

Since we were now all six again (in number, not in age) we decided to play a rousing game of pairs. I found myself in the unusual position of being in first place with 20 points, just one short of ending the game. Martin had 18 as we went into the last round. I cautiously decided to stick on just one card, meaning Martin had to push his luck. Alas, he didn’t have any and got out on his second blueberry. In fact, a lot of people got out that round, which meant my lone card came in second and got me five points.

Andrew 25
Ian 20
Martin 18
Joe 15
Matt 12
Sam 11

Finally, we ended on Skull & Roses. And what an odd game it was. A flurry of skulls early one meant that no one could make any predictions at all. Joe and Martin were first out, with Matt taking out Martin twice in two rounds by putting down a skull which Martin foolishly flipped. Matt and Sam finally managed to make one correct guess as to the number of roses everyone had put out. But Matt’s luck didn’t last.

In the end there was me, Ian and Sam, and I only had on tile left: a rose. And it was my turn. And I played rather well, even if I do say so myself. I guessed that neither Ian nor Sam would want to give me any leeway in my guesses so they would both put down a skull. I bid “one rose,” and I was right. Neither of them could outbid me without losing a tile (which might have been the right thing to do, Sam later pondered). So I got one prediction right.

Next, I figured that Ian would want to be able to make a bid, so he’d put down a rose. But Sam was last in turn order and unlikely to be in a position to influence things, so he’d probably put down a skull. I guessed “two roses.” Ian must’ve thought the same thing, since he didn’t try to outbid me, and nor did Sam. And I was right! My second correct prediction, and my first win on Skull and Roses (I think)! What a way to end.

Andrew 2
Sam 1
Ian 3 tiles left
Matt out with 1
Martin out
Joe out


  1. Great night! Baseball Highlights is fantastic fun, as were all the other games.

  2. Yeah baseball highlights was very neat, would definitely like to have another go.
    Great game of Skull too - a deserved win for Andrew.

  3. Skull was a classic. Andrew played the endgame brilliantly.

    Always nice to get Tinners Trail out too.