The last day of the season, but it was thought that there were to be no last minute changes in fortune with Martin way ahead on the medal table and points, and Sam only needing to avoid a nightmare to keep hold of points ratio from the threat of Hollie.
There were seven of us at Sam’s house. Apart from the host there was myself, Ian, Martin, Joe, Katy and Andy. I arrived first and found Sam in the kitchen looking over his new acquisition, Mystery of the Abbey. This is a simple game: a sort of cross between Cluedo and Guess Who? and The Name Of The Rose. It looked intriguing and Sam and I decided that this would definitely get played tonight.
When the others had arrived we decided (after minimal chat) to split into groups of three and four. Joe, Andy, Martin and Katy chose a tournament of Baseball Highlights 2045. Ian, Sam and I donned cowls and went all Cadfael in an attempt to find the murderer.
In order to guess the identity of the suspect card removed from the pack and placed under the game board, each player has to ask other players questions about the suspect cards they hold in their hand, such as “How many Franciscans do you have?” Answers should help you tick off suspects on your sheet. However, the answers are public so they will help your opponents. A player may refuse to answer, taking a vow of silence.
Through this process of elimination you can identify the killer, but there are other ways of getting points: by making a revelation. This means stating out loud a particular feature you think the killer has, i.e. bearded or not, hooded or not, fat or thin, which order he belongs to and which rank. But you get minus points for wrong revelations or accusations.
All of this makes for an entertaining game of deduction. I went early for the killer being a Benedictine monk, and was wrong. Eventually, the game ended with all three monks running across the abbey, trying to get to the room to accuse their suspects. After one round of all failed guesses (you can tell if a guess is wrong because another player can reveal that they have that suspect in their hand) we tried again and Sam just pipped me to the post. It was Brother Malachi! That little shit.
On the other half of the table, newcomers Andy and Katy had the rules explained to them, and then Andy explained the rules back to Joe later on. He’s not a player to be underestimated, as he eventually went through to the final against Martin. Katy and Joe played a third-place play-off.
There was a slight gap between the ends of the two games, so Ian, Sam and I had a rousing game of three-player Pairs.
And this was followed by a non-leaderboard game of psychic pairs, whereby you have to correctly guess the next card. Ian correctly guessed six cards, Sam got four and I got a mere two right.
Next, since we were all together we managed to convince Andy to agree to a game of Pairs before he left even though he isn’t a fan of the game. The main talking point of this battle of Pairs came at the end, when people told me I had a choice: twist and Sam wouldn't win the game that round, or to stick and end the game. I stuck, and Sam got his points. I checked, and the next card would've bust me anyway, so I did the right thing.
After this, Andy and Martin left so Joe, Ian, Katy, Sam and I played Bandu. Joe quickly collected coins thanks to my habit of passing pieces on. However, his “tower” collapsed before he could use any of them. Like getting a Game Over in Defender when you still have three smart bombs left. What a waste!
Then it was just down to us four. Ian amazed with his high-density, low altitude building. I went for the skies. But when mine fell down, the reverberations also send Ian's crashing to the table top, gifting Katy a win.
Then Katy and Joe left. Since there would be no Thursday meet we thought we'd recreate a little bit of that atmos now. So, Ian, Sam and I squeezed in one more game: Love Letter. With whiskey! Even though I still had half a bottle of 7.4% cider still to go.
Ian won the first two rounds (one of which he won with two shitty Barons), and then Sam and I clawed our way back into contention, only to see Ian take the last round and the win.
Which leaves the end of season table. Well done to Martin and Sam. Especially Sam who's always said the Points Ratio is the true measure of a champion and now he's finally won it!