Murder in the Forum was the abstract strategy game Andrew picked up at the UK Board Game expo while I (Sam) was loading up with kids' games. Tonight we got the opportunity to see whether it could hold it's own against HABA.
The game takes place in the forum just after a civilised debate has deteriorated into violence. Players are trying to surround each other to 'take' pieces, but depending on where you are on the board this may involve two attackers, or three, or even four. Additionally, there are two guards and a magistrate who keep changing sides every time a piece is taken; the guards will assist you in rubbing people out, whereas the magistrate will protect anyone (from either side) who is adjacent to him.
At the start I couldn't see where the conflict would come from - it seemed long a drawn-out Mexican stand-off. Andrew finally drew first blood, but we were still circling warily. Then I hit upon the tactic of, whilst in control of the guards (who are more aggressive than the schoolmasterly magistrate) to line up two killings: one with the guards, then one immediately afterwards to bring them back under my control. This seemed to give me momentum Andrew couldn't stop, and I picked up the win.
We both enjoyed it, and I'd like to play it again, though I can't see it being a GNN hit for a number of reasons; mainly, it only plays two.
Next up was Castles of Burgundy. It had been a while but we know this old friend like the back of our hand and needed very little refreshing. Andrew surged into an early lead and I surged back. But then my plans to complete an 8-hex bonus came to nothing, and such was Andrew's success it may have made no difference anyway... it was a floor-wiping:
We finished off with the HABA games I mentioned earlier, trying out Pharaoh's Gulo Gulo for two - it's better with more, but was still fun. Andrew overcame his initial phobia of blue balls to clinch a win.
Then we played a couple of games of Space Planets, and I won both. In this game you're trying to roll a die geographically - what's on the die is less important than where it stops. Our first game saw some pretty diabolical rolling in this regard, but we picked up the pace.
And having gone from dry abstract to full-on Euro to two men with a combined age of ninety playing games for children, we called it a night.