After a brief tour of Chris’ new home the four of us sat down for some games. We began with Pairs. With only a few players, choosing to stick is more tactical since there are fewer points to win per round. Sam kept us amused with his exciting descriptions of our demise (”Crushed by blueberries!” “Graped out!”) and Chris cursed himself by saying how exciting it was just before dealing himself a pair and crashing out of the round. I missed my chance to win, since I felt I needed to stay in as long as Paul did but I went bust. Paul romped home.
First game, and one bag of crisps already demolished
Then we chose Sheriff of Nottingham, a game of bluff and a little bit of set collecting. Each player takes it in turn to be the sheriff, and the other players put cards depicting goods that they want to take to market in a pouch and hand it over to the sheriff. They then tell the sheriff what’s inside (“three apples” or “two chickens”) but you don’t have to tell the truth. The only thing you must be honest about is the number of cards.
I forgot to take a picture of the game itself,
but here's the player mat.
This means you can hopefully slip by some contraband in the shape of crossbows or silk or (gasp) rye bread. The sheriff can chose to either look inside your pouch or let you past unchecked. If the sheriff catches you with them, then they are confiscated. If the sheriff opens your pouch but you were telling the truth, they have to pay a penalty. Finally, a player can bribe the sheriff to leave their pouch unopened or to open someone else's.
Chris had played before, but it was new to the rest of us. It was fun, even if I was never sure if I was paying the right amount to bribe. I enjoyed accusing people of being bare-faced liars. Sam went for mostly contraband, which gets lots of points per card, but no bonus points at the end for most of a particular good. Chris had bonus points coming out of his ears and won comfortably.
Next up was Quantum. This was our sort of Eclipse substitute, since it was far too late to start that. I took an early lead, while Paul went big on research, getting a card that boosted his research and then going for cards in a big way. At one point he picked up a card “Scrappy” to which Sam asked “What’s ‘Scrappy’ do?” How we laughed at Sam’s inadvertent reference to children’s TV.
Brilliant, cruel and intelligent. That's Paul.
Sam took the lead mid-game, and stayed there, with Paul missing a chance to screw Sam with a Relocation card. Oh well. It was a new game to him. Chris was distracted by having to clean up bits of worms and grubs that his cats kept bringing in.
Sam closed the game swiftly, boosting his dominance by sacrificing his research and he got his last cube down long before any of us had a chance to challenge him.
Sam 0 cubes left
There then followed a few rousing rounds of Kakerlaken Poker. More bluffing and lying as we try to pass off insect to each other, and the first to three of the same loses. Paul was told the rules and lost so quickly that we called the first game a test run. Then Sam went out early in the next round, trying to get rid of a scorpion from his hand when he already had two showing in front of him. The rest of us had two cards.
Then there was a slightly longer round, that ended with me going out on stinkbugs thanks to Chris. Paul and Sam had three cards showing (so they sort of won) and Chris had four.
Then we played 6nimmt. Oh, 6nimmt, will you ever be kind to us? As everyone dashed to get rid of their highest cards, so the rows quickly filled up. Cue groans of pessimism all round. And after all that, Sam and I rejoiced in our joint victory.
After that Sam went to the toilet and came back with a big smile and a copy of Perudo. Chris’ new house really is a marvel. And so am I at Perudo, it seems.
In the first game, Sam went out playing a round without looking at his die. He explained that he had had four beers by now. Apart from that, highlight of game one was went Chris and I faced off with two dice each. He said “one three” I said “one four”. He then said “one five” and I said “one six.” At that point we both realised what dice we had: 3 and 5 for Chris and 4 and 6 for me. I won that round.
Then we had one more go for old times’ sake. This time it was me and Sam as last men standing, with four dice each, but I then went on to win the next four rounds to end the game quickly.
And then to bed.