Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Art and Kraft

It was a rather sparse Tuesday again this week, with GNN stalwarts Andrew and Ian both absent, and Adam unable to make it despite actually hosting. Hannah welcomed us into their abode: Katy, Martin, Joe, and myself (Sam).

Not realizing there'd only be five of us I'd brought Scythe as an option, but my only response was a mere sniff of disdain from Martin, who couldn't even rouse himself to a withering verbal assessment. Fatherhood is clearly taking it out of him.

Instead after a short discussion we played Reiner Knizia's classic of auctioning horrendous paintings: Modern Art. I had last played this game literally about 15 years ago, possibly longer, so I needed a rules refresher. Basically you have art, you sell art, when the market gets flooded with a certain painter the round ends and paintings are worth money depending on their popularity.

Yoko rips off Lichtenstein

There's more to consider than first appears - because the round ends instantly once a fifth painting by the same painter is put up for auction (that auction doesn't even happen) you're juggling what paintings you collect with what paintings you have in your hand with what paintings other people are collecting with what paintings they might have in their hand - along with the accrued value of each painter, as their worth can increase over subsequent rounds if they've been popular previously.

Christian P is all the rage

As it turned out, I was a terrible juggler. Perhaps I'm naturally too cautious, as I never wanted to pay too much for a painting. The fact they all look horrid doesn't help. Martin, despite his insistence that he was rubbish at it, seemed to lurch into action in the last two rounds like a latter-day Frankenstein art dealer, suddenly realizing (or perhaps realizing his plan) that he needed to buy some art.

Although Joe said Charlotte has won the game in their house before by only selling art.

Martin 399
Joe 369
Hannah 324
Katy 310
Sam 300

With that slightly long 'filler' done and dusted, we moved on to another game that was new to me - Mamma Mia. It's a very untypical Rosenberg game of effectively warring chefs scrabbling over pizza ingredients that have been thrown into a massive pile. Chuck some ingredients in, then add a recipe if you think when everything is revealed later, there'll be all the ingredients you need underneath your pizza to bake it. Baking: points.


I tried to complete my pepperoni pizza first, but hoping to pick up pepperoni cards didn't work. Then I tried to throw a recipe in the deck and pick up pepperoni after the event (to add from my hand later) but that didn't work either. Basically I picked up a lot of jalapeños and olives, when I needed other stuff. So to me it felt rather luck-dependent, but clearly the others were finding their way around it:

Katy 6 (wins on tie-breaker)
Martin 6
Joe 5
Hannah 2
Sam 1

Despite my shabby showing I enjoyed both games, Mamma Mia particularly.

The hour was still relatively early but with almost everyone present now a parent we elected to call it a night. The early season leaderboard will show that Martin and Katy remain the sharks in the GNN water, while my Tuesday night form remains resolutely in the doldrums.


  1. I really love Modern Art - the ebb and flow is kind of fascinating; it all seems to have so much to do with the players. It seems to be a game that really fosters table-talk. And I like the different styles of auction. One of the good Doctor's finest, in my opinion.

    And Mamma Mia was a revelation, since the one time I'd played it before with my girls (one of whom got it in her stocking (clever Father Christmas!)), we played it wrong. It's lovely. I offered to sell my copy to Katy but I think I'd like to keep it now. Sorry Katy.

    Thanks Hannah for hosting, Sam for blogging and everyone for a fun, if short (and lacking in Captain Sonar) evening.

  2. Holy crap. I was probably at that last time you played Modern Art and it doesn't seem like 16 years. Jeez. I hooked it out again at Bracknell and played it a couple of times. It sits with some other games like Taj Mahal, which are great solid games but just don't get played very often.... What others are there? I'm sure we could make a top 10.

  3. "with almost everyone present now a parent"... it had been a hell of a night.

    Thanks for indulging me in a few oldies but goldies.