Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hillmann’s Imps

Due to a lack of potential attendees on Tuesday, this week’s official GNN meet was brought forward to Monday, with Adam and Hannah offering their humble abode as the venue. There were nine of us: the two hosts plus Sam, Martin, Katy, Ian, Matt, myself and Martin’s friend Tamsin.

We started while we waited for Tamsin and Matt with a hilarious game of In A Bind, the meanest Twister since Sharknado (see what I did there? Twister: Tornado: Sharknado: Comedy) except that everyone’s sitting at a table. Matt arrived mid-game and was promptly invited to join. His first card was “Top teeth always showing” which he failed to maintain the moment he took a sip of his beer.

In the end, it was the two rivals Katy and Martin, who cared enough about winning and little about how they looked, that ended first and second.

Martin 11 cards
Katy 10
Sam, Andrew, Adam 5
Ian 4
Hannah 3
Matt 1

Tamsin arrived after we’d finished (thank goodness) and was present for the game discussion. Since we were nine in number, it made sense to split into three groups of three. Katy, Hannah and Matt went for Takenoko. Ian, Adam and Sam chose Caverna. Normally, I’d be keen on either of those games but I was tempted by a return of Kingdom Builder. It was quite the regular when Gonz was a GNN member, but little has been seen of it since.

Plus, we decided to play the game outside, in the balmy rays of the evening sun. It was delightful. It was also Tamsin’s first game in a long time, and she needed a rule refresher. Perhaps the worse that can be said of KB is that it doesn’t lend itself to excitable commentaries. The main aspect of the game was that Tamsin kept to the third of the board nearest to her, while Martin and I focused on half the board furthest from us.

Andrew 53
Martin 46
Tamsin 28

Since Takenoko was still mid-game (and Caverna just about in its early stages) we chose Red 7 as a nice filler until we could join up with them as a group of six (and also go inside, since the balmy rays of sun had long since sunk under the rooftops by now).

However, there’s no such thing as a “nice filler” in Martin’s gaming vocabulary, and he cruelly took us to the cleaners, hitting the target of 35 points after just three rounds.

Martin 39
Tamsin 6
Andrew 0

During Red 7, Katy came out to tell us about her triumph at Takenoko:

Katy 38
Hannah 37
Matt 27

So now we were a group of six, and the three of us “outsiders” (literally) decamped to the front room, passing the kitchen table groaning under the weight of Caverna’s tiles and meeples.

In the front room, we decided to play A Fake Artist in New York, to give it a proper airing after last time. I took a note of the scores, but to be honest, it doesn’t lend itself to serious strategies, as each drawing brings forth new waves of hilarity. During the six rounds, all of us were the fake artist at least once except Martin. Katy crashed out worst in her turn as fake artist, trying to represent Pictionary (Category: games) by drawing a hill underneath a stick-man that someone else had drawn. Despite this, she was able to guess the subject and, technically, mark up a win. Not that I really understand the scoring system.

Then we played Pairs, the game that rewards facing down cruel fate with a steely-eyed glare. Matt and Katy didn’t score until the final two rounds, but even so they matched my slow-but-steady approach. The trouble was that no one got out. Twist followed twist followed twist, as Hannah, Martin and Tamsin collected impressive collections of fruit. After four round, those three were tied on 17 points each, effectively making round five the last round.

And it was Martin what won it, as Tamsin and Hannah both went bust before him. Once I went bust too, he just had to stick and collect his four points for the win.

Martin 21
Tamsin 17
Hannah 17
Katy 10
Andrew 9
Matt 8

After this Tamsin and Martin decided to end their participation. But Caverna was still half an hour from completion, so the remaining four played Deep Sea Adventure. This was, I believe, Katy’s first attempt at explaining the rules to a game (to Hannah), and it mostly involved explaining the basics while remembering other rules and then finally saying that we should just play it.

Don’t knock it, though. It worked. While Matt constantly drowned inches from the boat, Hannah proved herself adept at diving for treasure and getting it back. It was a low scoring game, with everyone drowning on the fourth round. Matt was especially disappointed that his last round haul would’ve won him the game.

Hannah 20
Katy 16
Andrew 10
Matt 0

Finally, we went into the kitchen to find the Cavernites counting up their final scores. After a little confusion about which shields to count and when, Adam was a clear winner with a new high score for the game.

Adam 92
Sam 76
Ian 51


  1. We did keep overhearing all the hilarity in the other room and had to reassure ourselves we were having fun too. Just a different type - no laughter, smiling, or happiness.

  2. I did really enjoy Caverna, still haven't worked out how to balance doing everything I want to do.