Sunday, 29 January 2017

Cold War Kids

Five of us assembled around the table: Andrew, Ian, Stanley, Little Joe, and myself. We were having a crack at Colour Wheel, one of the games in the compendium that makes up Pyramid Arcade. This box comes with a big bunch of multi-coloured pyramids, and rules for 22 games.

Colour Wheel is a co-operative effort, where several pyramids are laid out on the eponymous wheel and then, turn by turn, arranged by swapping places (matching size or matching colour) until all seven colours are collected into groups. It's quite a thinky challenge and obviously very abstract, but fun. And we won.

We followed this with a stacking game (it's called Ice House Verticality) which continues until only one tower is left - which was Ian's, as the rest of our efforts collapsed. Finally - pyramid-wise - we tried a multi-player game called Pharaohs (I think) which we eventually gave up on, as Chris has arrived and I needed to put the boys to bed.

Sally had been preparing for a hen night, and her pal Lizi seemed intrigued by the pyramids. When I joked that she would rather stay here and play games, she agreed this was the case. Hard to know how serious it was, but her gaming mettle would have been tested by the main course of the evening...

Before that arrived, Andrew, Chris and Ian bashed out a game of Las Vegas whilst I read stories upstairs. Not being present for most of it, I don't know the story of the game, only the final chapter:

Chris $370k
Ian $300k
Andrew $270k

Vegas babies

With beers and pork scratchings at our disposal, we now set up Covert. This is a Cold-War themed spying game where each player tries to complete missions to score points. You do this by collecting Mission Cards and using either/both Agency Cards or the location of agents on the board to fulfil them. If your mission card states you need an agent in Budapest, in possession of a tape recorder, then you get your agent there and hand in a tape recorder in order to complete the mission.


The catch - there's always a catch - is that all your actions are decided by dice rolls - not only might someone else beat you to the number you need for a particular action, but dice have to be placed adjacent in a 'wheel' of numbers, from 1-6. Throw in the deciphering option for code-cracking (equalling extra points/extra equipment) and you have a game heavy with pauses whilst everyone juggled the possibilities. One round in and I did remember reading that four players can make the game an AP fest...

But we all enjoyed it enough, and certainly Andrew and Ian were intrigued enough to posit another play soon; though perhaps with 3 rather than 4. My one play with Stan stood me in good stead as I claimed the win:

Sam 56
Chris 44
Ian 36
Andrew 35

We then bashed out a quick game of Timeline, during which we cursed Ian for spilling his whisky all over the cards, and Chris for knowing that the creation of the Earth was older than anything that happened subsequently:

Chris 0 cards
Sam 1 card
Andrew 3 cards
Ian 5 cards

...before breaking out Push It to allegedly finish the evening. By now three of us where reasonably jolly, and Chris' lack of drunkeness placed him into pole position for the win. I even managed to flick the jack off the table entirely... but Andrew came from behind to pull off a surprise win:

Andrew 11
Chris 10
Sam 7
Ian 4

Chris then took his leave, and we decided to revisit Colour Wheel from the Pyramid Arcade box. The rules are simple and no challenge at all. The real poser here is keeping track of how many turns you've had, as you have to complete the challenge within 27 moves. We succeeded first time, but failed the second.

wheel of misfortune

Pyramid Arcade is fun so far: need to revisit the Pharaohs, perhaps with two or three - but the colour wheel and stacking games were a hit. But with the clock nearing midnight, it was time to say goodnight.


  1. Forgot to mention the Welsh secret service.

  2. Chris won at Las Vegas thanks to Ian and I getting in each others way.

    Covert was good, although I didn't get it at all at first. So many rules and iconography to take in. Would like to play it again soon.

    That Colour Wheel thing is pretty intriguing. It reminded me of the old children's show The Adventure Game. It's not really a party game, though, since it should be played in silence to be a real challenge.

  3. For me Covert falls in that category of game where I'd play it if someone else wanted but would probably never suggest it myself like Nippon for example. For a similar kind of game I prefer Marco Polo.

    I'm liking Las Vegas a lot. Simple agonising decision making!

  4. Can understand your stance on Covert, Chris - you did make the point that it doesn't ramp up but stays at the same pace which I think on last night's showing is a reasonable accusation. Four players felt too many; but I think I'd enjoy it a lot with 2 or 3; and I realised near the end that actually the 'rewards' for completed missions are that subsequent missions are (potentially, at least) easier to complete - I bashed out three in the last ten minutes of the game.

    We sped up substantially too!

    Pyramid Arcade is just gorgeous, from the box to the pyramids themselves. I hope the other games live up to my initial impression.

  5. Looking forward to playing some Pyramids! Ice House is supposed to be a bit of a classic isn't it?