Games, eh? Remember when they used to be popular? Four of us do. Me, Sam, Ian and Chris arrived at Sam’s for our weekly fix of board games. Where was everyone else? Some had gigs, others had babies and maybe the rest had just seen the weather forecast. Whatever the reason, it was a sparse night.
And so Sam invited his two sons down to help get the evening off to a lively start. Chris hadn’t arrived yet, so the five of us sat down for a typically boisterous game of Midnight Party. No chance of waking the kids here: they were making the most noise!
Strangely, despite Ian starting with both his pieces next to Stanley’s, he was caught first in round one, while Stanley scored minus points to claim an early lead. However, luck never lasts long and it was Sam’s clever (if dull) strategy of popping in and out of the same rooms that kept him safest for most of the game.
After this, the boys were sent to bed while we played Igloo Pop. We dove straight in, without any practice, so I guessing, especially at the start. Guessing quite well, even if I do say so myself.
By now Chris was here and we decided on giving The Tales of the Arabian Knights another airing. This game has recently got into Sam’s good books by enticing an increasingly apathetic son back into board games.
It was new to Chris, so there was a little explanation of the rules. But it’s mostly a game that you can pick up as you go along. The four of us set off and, like before, Sam’s early game was beset by bad luck. He was sold into slavery before the game even begun and before long he was wounded, ensorcelled and sex-changed.
My game could best be described as “an eventful holiday”. I got in trouble with the local police, and sort of dawdled around Northern Europe, ending up pious and outlawed. Ian started off with an apparent plan to be evil when he abducted a destitute sage. However, the story took a happy turn when Ian taught the sage so well that he mastered a skill.
Chris spent most of the game being envious, and trying to steal any treasure he happened to come across. The moral to this story is that greed and selfishness, if nothing else, get you what you want. Chris ended the game the richest.
We decided to end the game at nine thirty rather than let it continue to its ending, since it was getting late. We filled the last hour or so with lots of fun and jollity.
We began with Spyfall. Katy’s classic “What’s the atmosphere like?” question was almost replaced by “What’s it smell like?” but we are too canny to keep returning to one question. We were probing, yet cagey. Insightful, yet vague to the point of confusion. We played four rounds. I was the spy twice and guessed the location both times. Ian was spy and got caught. Chris was spy and guessed the location wrong, although he was close: he said Space Station and it was the Polar Station.
Next we played Raj. A lovely card game where you usually end up wishing you didn’t know the people you were playing against as the rules seem to encourage a sort of telepathic cock-blocking whenever you see a tile you want.
The rule of drawn cards cancelling each other out meant that Ian picked up a 7 tile when Sam, Chris and I all played 15s. And Sam got an 8 tile when Chris and Ian played 15s, Sam played a 2 and I played a 1.
Despite this, I did well. I paid attention to when the 15s had been played and I won the first and third rounds to give myself a less-fraught-than-usual win.
Then Sam suggested Team Push It, perhaps forgetting that there were only four of us this week. Instead we played individual Push It. Sam and I started well, with Chris not scoring at all. Then Ian cancelled out his lone point by sending the jack off the table.
Then Chris started scoring points. One after the other. He stormed past Sam and was hot on my heels. At this point, I was mocked for a bit of gamesmanship. In one round, I had the last go, and my lone puck was already the nearest to the jack. Rather than risk ruining that just for an extra point, I weakly flicked my second puck harmlessly away, prompting cat-calls and boos from Sam and Chris. Ian said it was a good move, though.
With that, Ian and I called it a night. Sam and Chris tried out Cartography: a two-player game that Sam had got for Chris on his birthday. I watched for a bit, and left them to explore it’s Go-like depths.
I set off into a misty drizzle that turned into an icy downpour. Thank goodness I had decent waterproofs on.
On the Division, with Martin unlikely to attend with his new baby to attend to, it’s all about the chasing pack. Unfortunately Ian did an excellent impersonation of Arsenal this evening, losing vital opportunities to reduce the gap at the top. Meanwhile, my twelve point haul sees me jump from sixth to third.