Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Against the odds (and evens)

This week’s GNN saw a welcome return to Easton, with Adam (without family) hosting. I gave Ben a lift and as we pulled up near Adam’s house, the car was at such a tilt that Ben learnt a new word: “camber”. As in “The camber near Adam’s house is so severe you need ropes and crampons just to get out of the car.”

We were ten in total. Well, eleven to be exact, since Effie was strapped to her father. But she showed little interest in playing, and slept through most of the evening.

We began the evening with Chinwag, a game of conversational gambits about what people had been up to, etc. Some of us thought this game went on far too long, and a call to finish it quickly was made.

Martin was keen to try Medina before Effie woke up, so he, Katy, Sam and Matt went into the front room. Us remaining six went for Team Play, a simple game of set building, but with the added twist of having a partner to who you could give cards to help them complete their sets.

The cards came in two suits, red and blue, and ran from one to eight with four examples of each. The sets that the players had to build were drawn at random from a stack of cards and had things like “Collect two pairs of consecutive numbers” or “Collect 1, 3, 5, 7 of any colour.” All of this was denoted in easy to understand logos, where straight lines meant even and squiggly lines meant odds.

And each set had a number of points attached to it, depending on how difficult it was. There was also another set face up in the middle of the table that anyone could complete.

The teams were Ben and Adam, Joe and Ian, and Andrew and Andy. In order to complete sets you can pick up two cards, you can complete a set, or you can hand cards to your partner. Simple enough, but I was confused enough to ruin my final go by picking up two cards from the deck hoping for a red four or seven, only to notice afterwards that there was a red four already face up. If I’d noticed, it would’ve got six points for the team. Luckily, it made no difference.

Ben and Adam 34
Andy and Andrew 25
Joe and Ian 24

Since the end of Medina was a long way off, we decided to play it again. I went in, determined not to make the same mistake again. This time, Ian and Joe quickly picked off easy sets, trying to trigger the end of the game by getting eight sets. However, Ian got bogged down with a 5-pointer, and the rest of us had the chance to catch up. Ian and Joe still got the eighth set, but by now their low value counted against them. Andy and I, on the other hand, seemed to get everything we needed.

Andy and Andrew 31
Joe and Ian 22
Ben and Adam 19

Medina was just finishing. Halfway through, I’d gone in to check on their progress, and Katy said she was enjoying it. By the end, we could see why, as she built and claimed her way to a win.

Katy 46
Martin 41
Sam 37
Matt 26

Which is all well and good, but it does mean the search goes on for a game that Katy likes but is bad at.

With us all ending at the same time, and Effie still asleep(ish) we joined together for a big old game of 6nimmt. With ten-players, there are no missing cards where a player can hope for a brief respite, and it was brutal. I thought I was doing well to keep my first round score down to 18, but in fact I was in seventh!

The was no time to improve matters either, since Andy went on one spiral of death after another. He picked up 55 in round one and then 52 in round two, bringing the game to a swift end. Perhaps just as well, since Effie was beginning to stir. The final few cards were played in a state of high tension as to whether or not Effie would wake up properly. We made it just in time!

Martin 1
Adam 6
Ben 16
Katy 18
Ian 22
Matt 23
Andrew 34
Joe 36
Sam 45
Andy 107

So Martin set out into the evening, with a win under his belt and a grizzling baby in his papoose. I’m sure if Effie had known about the lovely present Katy had made her, she might not have been so upset.

Or maybe she would have been, since it was food she needed, not needlepoint.

Meanwhile, us remaining gamers pushed the envelope of what was suggested on the side of the box and played a game of nine-player Dead Man’s Chest. Adam, the newbie, got a rules rundown, and at first he couldn’t understand why you wouldn’t always call 31, and then he wondered what the point of calling low was. This confusion showed in his play, and he was second to be eliminated.

Other notable events were Sam first three dice results: 33, 33, and 44.

The players fell as follows:

Matt, accidentally bid lower than the previous player, so had to shake and bid again. Was challenged.
Adam, Andy called 62 and Adam wrongly challenged.
Ian, called 65 and Sam challenged.
Andrew, Sam called 65, I called 11 without looking and Ben challenged.
Joe, Katy called 53 and Joe was cajoled into calling Dead Man!
Katy, she called 11 and when Andy challenged she said “Really?” in a slightly incredulous manner.
Andy, challenged accidentally by Sam when he opened the box without realising.
Sam, challenged Ben’s 65 and it was 65.
Ben wins!

And with that the night was over. I sped Ben back to his house where he had a pie waiting for him that had an hour and a half before its expiry date! I hope he ate it in time.

Meanwhile, on the division, we’re halfway through the season and it’s a close battle on all fronts! Ian is still top, but Joe and Katy are in close pursuit. Katy has taken back the points ratio lead, but with Joe and Martin mere fractions behind her. And Martin now leads the medal table, but he is one of four players (along with myself, Ben and Katy) with six wins.


  1. Medina was excellent (even though I didn't win), but I think we heightened its cramped feeling by playing on the 2p side of the board.

  2. Nice to be back at Adam and Hannah's, and a very jolly evening. I liked Team Play, and I like that it plays six (always on the lookout for six player games, for some reason).
    Andy proved the skill inherent in 6 Nimmt by going Dirk and scoring possibly the highest two rounds we've ever seen! Martin proved the same thing by being good at it.
    Spookily good - at one point he threw a card nonchalantly on to the table and it flipped and positioned itself right where it needed to be.

    Dead Mans Chest worked okay with nine, but with only two gems each there's a fair amount of sitting out once you've lost two challenges.