Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Dead Men Don't Bluff

Tuesday night is, as usual, games night. Arriving at Joes at 7.45, we broke up the gender politics discussion Katy, Joe and his family were having and set down to the serious business of balancing cards on a tripod.

There were five of us to start; me (Ian), Joe, Martin, Katy and Ben. Librium's second appearance at Games Night lasted slightly longer than the first play. We got through the entire deck, at which point we had to start removing cards from the structure. There was some discussion about the aesthetics of the game; I personally quite like it but I can't deny it does look like a corporate desk toy.

During Libirum Andy arrived, but he didn't have to wait around too long before the game wrapped up. I can't recall if we agreed this was leader board or not, but for posterity the results were:

1st. Ian
2nd. Joe
3rd. Katy
4th. Martin
5th. Ben

There was a brief discussion about whether we should split into two groups of three, but we decided to stick to one large group. Andy had boughtColt Express and several people seemed keen, so we assembled the cardboard train and cacti and, after Andy explained the rules to Joe, we were off.

As usual, it was a chaotic, delightful play. Andy went for an aggressive shooting strategy, seeming to not pick up any loot for much of the game. Joe and I raced to the front of the train to try and claim the suitcase after the guard had deserted his post.  Despite Ben having no loot and being stuck at the back of the train due to repeatedly being knocked back by a series of punches, the guard seemed to be making an inexorable bee-line for him.

It was Joe who claimed the suitcase, but it wasn't quite enough to earn second place. Andy's trigger-happy approach won him the game:

Colt Express
1st. Andy  $2200
2nd. Ian  $1800
3rd. Joe  $1750
4th. Martin  $1650
5th. Katy  $1250
6th. Ben  $250

Interesting to note that Colt Express was the first game this evening where Katy felt compelled to describe the turn of events as "a crock of shit". The second game to provoke this reaction was For Sale.

For Sale has seen a bit of action recently, Joe's new copy having been played for three weeks in a row now. There was a particularly interesting auction where the houses were split between three very lower cards (2, 3, 4) and three reasonably high cards (21, 23, 25). Who was going to crack first and take the lower cards?

Like last week we ended up playing two games of For Sale.

For Sale
1st. Martin  $50k
Joint 2nd. Ian and Joe  $45k
3rd. Katy  $43k
4th. Andy $42k
5th. Ben $34k

1st. Katy  $49k
2nd. Ian  $48k
3rd. Martin $46k
4th. Andy $37k
5th. Ben $38k
6th. Joe $36k

Dead Man's Chest was next. The hidden-dice rolling and bluffing game hasn't been seen since early March, and it's  absence has been a slight mystery as it proved to be highly entertaining.

After clarifying  the rules regarding a "Dead Man" (when the dice show a 21), Joe started proceedings by calling Dead Man on the very first roll of the game. Surely it was some kind of audacious bluff? Katy seemed to think so and called him out on it. It was indeed a Dead Man. 

Martin seemed to be constantly rolling doubles, at one point claiming the dice were showing 33. I called him out. They were showing  44, losing me a gem. There was a lot of bluffing and a lot of cracking up; icy-faced poker-bluffing this was not. Joe called Dead Man at least three more times. One by one we dropped out until it was down to Martin and Joe, both with a single gem left. The tension was palpable, akin to the Russian roulette scene in The Deer Hunter. Only with a tiny box of dice instead of guns.

This tense situation couldn't last long though, and Martin emerged victorious.

Dead Man's Chest
1st. Martin
2nd. Joe
3rd. Ben
4th. Katy
5th. Ian
6th. Andy

What better way to follow one bluffing game than with another? Kakerlakenpoker was dealt out, and we were off.

Martin seemed to go into an early death spiral, ending up with two cockroaches, two scorpions and a toad. But Martin held on admirbaly, correctly calling out other people's bluffs and playing a war of attrition as other people slowly collected cards of their own. Katy seemed to be entering a death spiral of her own, but ultimately Martin couldn't keep from collecting the third card of a set.

Martin loses

With time for one more game, Katy and Martin bought out their Push It sets and we prepared for some co-operative battles.

Katy and I took and early lead, being five points towards the winning seven. Unfortunately, I was on Katy's team and I knocked the Jack off the table, knocking us down to three points. The scores remained fairly even from that point; several of us seemed to veer between accurate and fluffed shots. Somehow Katy and I clawed our way back up to six points, closely followed by Joe and Martin on five and Andy and Ben on four. The Jack ended up coming to rest very near me, allowing me to slide my puck next to it for a safe win.

Push It
1st. Katy and Ian  7 points
2nd. Joe and Martin  5 points
3rd. Andy and Ben  4 points

And with that, it was time to flee into the night. Thanks to Joe for hosting and everyone else!


  1. Excellent night of six-player silliness. Great to see the veritable classic For Sale back in the rotation.

  2. I enjoyed Colt Express a lot more than I expected to - delightful, as Ian says.
    For Sale is a perennial classic, and Dead Man's Chest is pure brinkmanship, hugely enjoyable, as are Kakerlaken and Push It!
    What a good bunch of six player games!

    Librium really should have prettier cards - branches like Kodama would be perfect (which I criticised last week for not liking the artwork - that's how contrary I am).