Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Brush hour

Recently, I’ve been annoyed that my walk home after a games night has often been ruined by being caught short and needing to duck into a nearby pub or run the last few streets to my house. As such, I decided to try sticking to spirits this evening, which is why my recollections towards the end of the night are a little sparse.

After last week’s low turn out, it was a bumper crop of players around Sam’s table. While we waited for everyone to arrive, Sam kept us entertained with Hamster Roll, which is a balancing game played within a large wooden circle.

When we were all together we were: Sam, myself, Katy, Ben, Ian, Martin, Joe, Tim, Chris and Paul, making the journey across the country for one night only. We split into three groups. Four players went into the front room for a smorgasbord of shortish games. I’ve no idea how things went, but the results were

Roll For The Galaxy

Joe 47
Martin 44
Ian 27
Katy 19


Martin 32
Katy 26
Ian 22
Joe 22

Potato Man

Katy 22
Ian 16
Martin 14
Joe 12

In the kitchen, one half of the table held a game of Tinners’ Trail, chosen as the next step in the education of Ben. And also Paul, who’d played it once a long time ago (September 2011, according to the blog). I talked them through the rules and also guided them through the first round, although Paul constantly refused my advice because he wanted to see what would happen if he did something else.

What happened was he had a low scoring first round. He powered through the rest of the game, clearly showing himself to be a good learner.

It was a fairly kind game at first, with not much water on the map. But then, as the game entered the fourth round, the prices of Tin and Copper dropped to their lowest level, and we struggled to find profitable mines in the final round. Paul foolishly splashed out on a new mine which, although it only cost one or two pounds, didn’t make him any money.

I was a clear winner and Chris congratulated me for winning against two players with barely any experience in the game. But, hey, you can only beat who you play against.

Andrew 115
Paul 102
Ben 73

I was so focused on tin mining in Cornwall that I couldn’t get much of an idea about Broom Service. And listening to Sam, Chris and Tim didn’t help. They said things like “I’m being a Cowardly Fruit Gatherer” or “I’m going to have to play Brave Weather Fairy.” To which another player would reply with something like “I thought you might.”

Whatever the merits of the game are, it’s not the type of game you could confidently play in a crowded pub.

Chris 87
Tim 72
Sam 67

After all this excitement, the three groups came together as one and we played the only ten-player games we had: Pairs and 6nimmt.

Pairs was first and with ten players with winning score was raised from 21 points to 33. Paul started well, getting 19 points in two rounds. At the other end of the scale, Sam and Joe scored no points at all, with Sam going out in a cruel way: killed by the only two peaches in the pack.

Ian and Chris were able to draw close to Paul in round three, but Paul ended the game in round four by picking up the full ten points.

Paul 35
Chris 30
Katy 27
Ian 22
Ben 18
Tim 15
Andrew 13
Martin 12
Sam 6
Joe 0

Then 6nimmt hit the table. And it was the usual ding-dong battle against fate that it always is. Chris was lumbered with 39 points in round one, Paul picked up 41 in round two and Tim and Sam shared the pain in round three with 25 and 24 points respectively. I snuck a win away from Katy with just one point in the final round. Yay me.

Andrew 17
Katy 21
Joe 25
Ian 25
Ben 26
Martin 46
Tim 58
Sam 60
Paul 66
Chris 67

As it was past eleven, most gamers left but there was one last hurrah: the four creaking grandads of GNN stayed up late for a nostalgic game of 7 Wonders. Well, not too nostalgic, since I don’t think we played it when we lived in London. According to the scorepad, Chris and Sam both went for military and blue buildings while I put all my money on sciences and guilds. Paul had a quiet game.

Chris 57
Sam 54
Andrew 51
Paul 21

And that was that. I assume I walked home, since I woke up in my bed and I have a vague recollection of looking at a bus stop and wondering if Ben got back okay. Another games evening over and I hope it was as much fun as my hangover suggested it was.

Then there’s the little matter of the Division...


  1. G.Nome was an odd little game. You're gnome scientists, working in pairs, but with only one winner at the end. You each play one of your cards (numbered 1-9) simultaneously, Raj-style. The higher card in the team with the higher total gets first pick of the spoils in the middle, but the next pick goes to the lower card in the team with the lower total. So you either want to persuade your partner to go high and then go a bit higher or to go low and then go a bit lower. You're allowed to talk about what you're going to play, and you really don't want to play the same card as your team-mate, because then neither of you get anything!

  2. I thought Broom Service was a nice, (Not visually as it was generally agreed) fun game that balanced the luck and bluff elements quite nicely. I'm not adverse to games that can scupper your plans by a twist of fate if there is enough in it to allow you to hedge against it. Being gazumped is something you're just going to have to accept if you are going to play this game.....

  3. Broom Service was a success, I think, although I think I got hit the most by ambitious card play blowing up in my face. You're delivering potions and there's some other bits and bobs going on involving clouds and wands, but the crux of the game is whether you play a card cowardly (small, guaranteed reward) or bravely - bigger reward, but with the risk you won't get it. With such a slab of luck running through the game it felt rather long, but I think once you know it playtime would drop considerably.