Sunday night, and after missing several GNN meets recently, I (Sam) was keen to break out some cubes. Just back from Greece, we'd played some Dice Heist and Pairs, and a lot of Heck Meck - but even in the land of Socrates I couldn't have gotten anyone to play a Greek-themed Euro - especially as I don't own one. So I was craving for something a little heavier - Eclipse, say.
However the evening started belatedly as Sally and I and the boys dashed back from Wales later than planned. My phone was dead and Sally had dropped her phone in the toilet. With no way to contact the guests, we could only veer wildly between traffic up the M4. Luckily they were loitering outside like middle-aged teens, and having gained entry to the house, Ian, Chris and Andrew began playing King of Tokyo whilst Sally and I did housey and parenty things. I didn't witness much of the game, therefore, but Chris was declared King.
Ian then suggested we play Eclipse but by this point my yen for something deep and strategic had slightly waned. Sorry Ian! Instead we proceeded to play a whole bunch of short games, that Chris won. I can't actually remember the order of them all now, despite drinking no alcohol at all. I must have been drunk on games!
I think the first game was Blockers. Chris was new to it, but it's not hard to pick up. Everyone seemed to have a strategy; Chris going for a ever-widening single group of tiles, Andrew and I going for two groups. Ian berated his tiles, which seemed to come out as some kind of biblical penance. As the game closed out we were all forced to make unproductive moves, and my insistence on sticking to plan A meant I picked up four of Andrew's tiles. Silly game!
Then we played Pharaoh's Gulo Gulo, which is exceedingly silly. It's fun though, although the finale can feel a bit of a damp squib if when someone (me, in this instance) enters the Pharaoh's tomb the curse (lifting balls out of a bowl) has been recently reset. Sam wins!
Next up was Spooky Stairs, which is very like Midnight Party in that ghosts are after you, but different in that the hiding in Spooky Stairs is the player's pieces, which get consumed by ghosts. The winner is the first one to the top of the stairs, but the main task of the game (and fun it generates) is all about attempting to keep track of which ghost is yours. When a ghost is rolled, you may swap the positions of two ghosts - even with the early hour, we were thrown into doubt by these shenanigans. I won, but only because Andrew moved my ghost to the top thinking he was winning. And Chris indulged in a (successful) spot of bluff when he deliberately swapped someone else's ghost instead of his own.
We decided to go for a bit of an old-timer after that, breaking out Poison. It's a filler that takes a little longer than a filler really should, but nice to revisit it all the same. I thought I might be able to snatch the victory from Chris, but a final card with a sting in the tail put paid to me:
We brought in a few short games to try out but then ignored most of them in favour of playing the quiz game About Time. I've never actually tried the board and bits that come with this game - maybe it's worth a pop, but I can't help feeling the fun is mostly in the cards, were you are trying to identify a year from several facts. We played first to five cards, and Chris won!
There was just time for a little game of Push It before we called it a night. Chris won...