Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Cautiously Unlimited

Hey, Internet, have you ever played board games? We have. By “we” I mean: myself, Sam, Katy, Martin, Ian and Joe. And by “have” I mean: at Sam’s house on Tuesday evening.

I arrived a few minutes late, just in time to see the last few seconds of Bandu. This a building game, with each player constructing some sort of tribute to public art sculptures of the 1960s and 70s. Last tower standing wins.

1. Martin
2. Sam
3. Katy
4. Ian

Codenames is the new craze that’s sweeping GNN and tonight the six of us split into two teams of three for three rounds of this crazy guessing game. Joe, Sam and Katy took on Martin, Ian and me. Katy and Ian were the spymasters in the first round. Katy found it hard going, and was 5-1 when she said “Mr Tumnus” and said it had a “cautiously unlimited” number of answers. They got up to 5-4 but then guessed wrong, and Ian’s team closed the deal 8-5.

Next up Sam and Martin were spymasters and controversy reigned when Katy unthinkingly touched a card that she was suggesting might be the answer. Martin pounced, saying since she touched it, she had to choose it! She quickly retreated, saying it was a mistake, but then Sam swooped in and accepted Katy’s “guess” even as she was disowning it, since it was a correct one. Martin ended the game (at 7-5 to Sam’s team) by steering us to the assassin with the clue “beak” (I think) and the assassin was hiding behind “Kiwi.”

Finally, it was Joe and I as Spymasters. A far less exciting round if my lack of notes are anything to go by. Joe (and Katy and Sam) won 8-7.

After this we considered splitting up, but Verflixxt/That's Life tempted us, especially since Joe hadn’t played it before. It’s a colourful game, but mostly due to the language we used when reacting to each roll of the die. Katy did best, picking up those all-important clover tiles to convert her minus points into plus points. I did not pick up any.

Katy 25
Ian 15
Sam 8
Joe 6
Martin 5
Andrew –7

By now it was around half past nine. Usually, this is the time where we start considering lighter fare to finish off the evening, but in the pile of six-player options that Sam brought in from the other room was Medici. This caught mine and Martin’s eyes and it was chosen.

I started well, getting the biggest boat for the first two rounds, but my attempts to get enough commodities in the final round fell short. Sam surged up from third in mid-game to take a handsome win. Katy said she did not like it.

Sam 103
Martin 89
Katy 76
Andrew 67
Joe 65
Ian 53

All that's left is to say congrats to Martin on his forthcoming new addition to his household. No, not another game. And he didn't tell us straight out. Sam was talking about how much space was needed for his games collection and Martin sympathised, saying that he had to reorganise his games too because "we will be needing the spare bedroom soon." And then he paused while we worked it all out.

Honestly, why couldn't he bring that form to Codenames?


  1. I am slightly ashamed of my placing a card in the Katy's Finger incident. But on the other hand I did keep stoically silent for the most part, in contrast to some of the spymasters (ie Martin) who employed a litany of indignant reactions to his spies suggestions! Great game.

    Sorry Katy and Ian didn't take to Medici. I blame the board.


    Ah Codenames, the game in which the Spymaster is a moron... until you're the Spymaster.

  3. I remember playing Medici before and I think I enjoyed it, but this time around my brain refused to get into gear and I couldn't weigh up the cost / benefit of any set of tiles, nor keep track of who was after what and how much competition there would be.

    The board didn't help! I would play it again, but maybe earlier in an evening and with fewer players...

    Still, thanks folks, still an good evening! Codenames is great, though I have to agree with Katy that the words I had as spymaster were easier. And Verflixxt is ace.

  4. REDBACK! A lovely night, thanks all x

  5. Ian, I've never played Medici with maximum players before but with 4 or 3 it's great. It's been around for a bit and like Taj Mahal and El Grande it still stacks up against todays games.

  6. I think I like it best with 6, because all the tiles are in play.

  7. Yeah it feels different with all the tiles knocking around. You can mange your hand a lot more whereas with less players it's a bit more chanced-based I think. But I like both iterations.