Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Cheap hills

Oh, Tuesdays. You wend through our lives like a glittering river through open dales and fens. This week it wended through Joe’s house, with Katy, Adam, Matt, Ian, Sam and myself making up the seven combatants for the night.

The main point of interest at the start were the snacks. I’d brought these new Dill Pickle flavoured Pringles, which were either loved or hated, while Sam broke out the Roast Beef Monster Munch.

By the way, combining the two was strangely underwhelming.

Then Joe brought out some Honey Mustard Broken Pretzels and Adam, not to be left behind, had a packet of Skittles. We need a leaderboard for snacks!

We began with a seven player version of Dice Heist. The official game only goes up to five, but when Sam asked Joe if he had any spare dice, Joe’s slightly offended expression that Sam even had to ask told us that he had. Before too long, we all had a black die each and plentiful supplies of white dice to use as sidekicks.

It works okay as a seven-player. A bit of a gap between goes, but otherwise perfectly serviceable. Mind you, I would say that: Some games and artifacts and the best collection of paintings pushed me into first. Poor old Joe had a hard time stealing anything, ending up with a solitary painting that at least meant he didn’t get the minus four points for worst art collection.

Andrew 18
Adam 14
Katy 14
Sam 8
Matt 5
Ian 3
Joe 0

Next we split into two groups. Joe, Katy, Ian and Sam went for Fools’ Gold, the new push-your-luck worker-placement game that’s taking GNN by storm. Adam, Matt and I went for Kingdom Builder.

Now, each of us have some kind of form on Kingdom Builder. I used to be top of the KB Division in points ratio, but that was a long time ago. Matt’s win ratio is 50% (played four, won twice) and Adam is... well, he’s Adam.

Once again I fell behind when it came to picking up those bonus-move tokens. Adam was quickest off the block to grab them, and they helped him finish off his settlements first and claim a win.

Adam 74
Matt 69
Andrew 51

Fool’s Gold was only halfway through, so we began a game of 7 Wonders to keep ourselves occupied. I found it odd to unbox Joe’s copy 7 Wonders after being so used to Sam’s copy. Where was the molded plastic insert? Why weren’t the cards already sorted for a three-player game? So confusing.

The game itself wasn’t, though. It was as familiar as old socks. I avoided military and went for blue buildings and my lovely 20-point Giza pyramid. It worked.

Andrew 65
Matt 58
Adam 49

At the same time, Fool’s Gold ended. It had certainly seemed like an exciting game, with everyone commiserating with each other about how bad their luck was, not matter if they were in mountains or hills, rivers or lakes.

Sam 35
Joe 29
Ian 23
Katy 23

And with us all back together it was time for Dead Man’s Chest! This game of bluffing is so simple that we keep forgetting the rules. Lower is bad, right? Anyway, I played well. At least, I just passed on Sam’s bid, raising it by one, to Matt who then had to decide what to do. He chose badly, and was out first.

Adam won kudos for getting Katy to lose a gem by bidding “Dead Man.” Your only choice is to challenge or shake and bid Dead Man again, neither of which are very likely to end in success.

That was the only gem she lost, though.

1. Katy
2. Adam
3. Andrew
4. Sam
5. Joe
6. Ian
7. Matt

And finally, it was time for Pairs. It’s been a while since we played it and we initially forgot the Lowest Card Starts rule. We played until 21 and Matt wrapped it up in four rounds, never going bust once.

Matt 23
Sam 21
Katy 13
Adam 11
Joe 10
Andrew 10
Ian 3

And with that, we were finished. Someone spoke about a league at Chance & Counters and also a singles night was mentioned. Joe said “Surely every night is singles night at Chance & Counters” and we all laughed heartily, taking our joie de vivre home with us.

Meanwhile, with one week left, the Division looks like this...

Ian is still top, but I take back my lead on the medal table. Hannah jumps to top in Points Ratio without actually playing since I noticed today that my spreadsheet hadn’t included the scores from A Fake Artist Goes To New York.


  1. Dice Heist is great for a few players, seven felt like too many though. Fool's Gold was great again. I love the luck-pushing!

    Why is Dead Man's Chest so unintuitive!? It's weird. Good game though. Thanks all

  2. It should be Chance 'n Counters. I'm unhappy with that branding.

    Also: Great night folks!

  3. Surely Chance 'n' Counters? But I think the ampersand is fine - board games are about chance, and about counters. And when you say it it sounds a bit like 'chance encounters'.
    I'll stop here. Though I need to point out that I didn't make the vaguely Wildean quip about every night being singles night - unless I was so drunk I forgot how witty I am.

    I liked Fools Gold a lot - in visual terms so much so that I tracked down the graphic designer online to offer my praise. It's definitely my kind of game. There's lots of luck, as we all said on the night, but the scope for manipulating yourself into pole position on each track is really nice.

    The silt cards remind me of Thebes (though I've only played the tomb raiders version) - nicely thematic to be sifting out the precious stuff from all the crap. I guess it's feasible that there may be nothing left in some of the decks by the final rounds, something that didn't occur to me at the time.

    Yeah I like Dead Man's Chest too, and remain consistently confused by the rules.

    Great to play Pairs again too, feels like it's been a long time!

  4. Yeah, I like the way the gold fields (or hills, or rivers) slowly empty and even though you have more workers, there's less gold to be had. Theme, man.