Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Get the puck out of here

Tonight, after an absence so long that I started to think they’d gone off board games, Adam and Hannah hosted for an evening’s gaming goodness. Including the hosts, we were eight in total. The visitors were Martin, Ben, Katy, Ian, Andy and myself.

Amazing snacks courtesy of Ben

We split into two groups. Martin, Adam, Ian and I fancied a bit of Kingdom Builder and so we decamped into the front room. Andy, Katy, Hannah and Ben stayed in the kitchen and played The Castles of Mad King Ludwig.

Kingdom Builder is a great but cruel game. A series of fields and desert cards meant that I was stuck in a tiny portion of the board, which was no good when one of the scoring criteria rewarded placing houses in all four quarters. However, I can’t completely blame the cards. Ian got four flower cards in a row, yet he still scored more than twice as much as me.

It was all about Adam versus Martin, and poor old Martin howled with agony (or looked a bit miffed) when his counter on the score track fell just two points short of Adam.

Martin surrounds Adam's wagon, rendering it useless

Adam 58
Martin 56
Ian 44
Andrew 20

We set up another game with new boards and new goals. It was very, with one large body of water that curled across all four boards. I got more tiles this time, and had more options. Adam, however, found it difficult to get going. This was made even harder when Ian and I managed to block him from making his preferred final move. We didn’t mean to, but it was satisfying to find out that we had.

Martin 78
Andrew 58
Ian 52
Adam 46

In the other room, they were heading towards the end of Castles... but, as Martin reminded us, the final scoring can go on for ages, so he suggested we play the original Biblios: Scripts and Scribes. And if there were any doubt that we were going retro, it came in its own VHS cassette box.

The game was essentially the same as Biblios, but with quite different designs which took some getting used to.

There was a bit of saying “Eat shit” when putting down a one gold card, but there’s no such thing as Extreme Scripts and Scribes. Especially when Martin shuffled the Auction deck before the second phase of the game. It’s not cricket, I tell you.

During the game, everyone became more and more convinced that Ian was going to win. Martin spent all of his money way before the auction deck was finished, leaving him with limited options. But Adam won again, picking up two dice. He even grabbed the most valuable die (with a value of 5) from Ian by a tiny margin. Had Ian got that die, he would’ve won.

Adam 8
Martin 4
Andrew 3
Ian 0

Finally, Mad Ludwig came to a close. I noticed with interest that they were playing the proper version of the rules where doorways can only match with doorways, with no option to brick over them with walls as Sam and I would play it (which is more like what a real mad king would do, too, I think).

An early version of Hannah's sensible castle

Katy 96
Andy 92
Hannah 89
Ben 67

After this, since we were all together with two copies of Push It we had a big old game of Team Push It to finish the evening. And what a game it was. Martin & I leapt into an early lead, picking up two points, but then didn’t score again. Andy & Adam collapsed to a woeful –3 points while Hannah & Katy and Ben & Ian tussled on three points, just two points from a win.

Then something miraculous occurred. Adam & Andy scored enough to get them back to positive numbers. Then they got to two points, level with Martin & I. In the next round it looked as if their steady rise up the rankings was finished, since their red pucks were safely distant from the jack. But Martin’s last puck was sent into the fray, and hit the jack which then slid to a spot pretty much equidistant between the three reds. What a victory.

Andy & Adam 5
Hannah & Katy 3
Ian & Ben 3
Martin & Andrew 2

And let’s look at that rags-to-riches story in the form of a graph.

And a quick mention to Ian's amazing shot which went from one corner of the table to the opposite one, and ended like this:

After this, we set off home at a sensible half past ten. Thanks Adam and Hannah for hosting. It was lovely to see you and the guinea pigs again.


  1. Wow, even more amazing in graphical form than it was at the time!

  2. That graph is amazing, Andrew. Sorry I missed out, been a while since I saw the Guinea pigs. And Adam and Hannah...

  3. Sorry I missed it too! Confusion at our end due to our failing mind-reading abilities... however I managed to tempt one-time GNNer Andy Mosse over to my place for a very worthy GNN substitute!

    For the record we won game of Istanbul each and then had a few rounds of Take It Easy to follow.