Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Discovery of Fingers

... by Europeans

Today Sam hosted a number of gamers (Joe, me, Katy, Ian and, making his leaderboard debut of the season, Chris) this week and, as you may have guessed the first game we played was Timeline (The Discovery of Fingers was Joe’s alternative title for the card that illustrated The Invention of Sign Language.)

This was the choice of Sam’s son, Little Joe, as a quick game for him before he went to bed. Despite his young years, he managed to win the game with only sneaking a peek (apparently) at a couple of the dates. He probably thought he had to after the first round when his father gave him the wrong advice about where to put a card.

Little Joe 0
Andrew 1
Katy 1
Ian 2
Joe 2
Sam 2

With Joe off to bed and Sam’s other son back from Ju Jitsu, so Sam went and did the dad thing and put them both to bed. The rest of us (now with late arrival Chris) played For Sale. Chris was given a quick precis of the rules and we were away. Among the usual banter (“You know where you are with a one”) were some new comments (“You’ve no idea where you are with a fifteen”) and, just like last week, Joe dealt out the wrong number of cards in the first auction round and no one noticed until half way through.

In the final reckoning, Katy came top.

Katy 58
Chris 54
Ian 51
Andrew 44
Joe 43

Then, with Sam back, we split into two groups of three. Joe, Chris and I went for the point-salady Euro-goodness of Gold West, while Katy, Ian and Sam went for Martin Wallace’s least Wallace-like game, Hit Z Road.

The hum of simultaneous rules explanations filled the air. When Joe explained how you get points for chaining your camps in a group, I wanted to say “It’s a bit Kingdom Builder-y,” but instead it came out “It’s a bit Killdem Bingery” and Chris looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.

The game itself was fine. A bit odd on first play and not very intuitive, with the mancala-like method of activating your pieces on your go, and also there's a wide variety of options available to confuse a newbie. Joe sped off into a massive early lead, leaving Chris and I feeling like we’d just been suckered into a game chosen by Joe just so he could win. He kept insisting that’d it would all be much closer in the final count but Chris and I were sceptical. And, it turned out, we were wrong to be. To be exact, Chris was wrong to be sceptical. I was bang on the money.

The worst episode of Wacky Races ever

Chris 98 plus most camps
Joe 98
Andrew 79

On the other half of the table, with it’s nightmarish vision of America gone crazy (insert political joke here) Sam, Katy and Ian seemed to be having a whale of a time. I noticed that Katy was a hoarder, keeping a healthy stash of resources in front of her. Sam, meanwhile, looked far less prepared and before long, he was a lone survivor, making his way through the landscape twitching at every shadow.

He almost made it, too. In one round he was attacked by twelve zombies, and had killed off eleven when the last one got past his valiant defence and killed him. The cry of anguish at that last roll was genuine and heart breaking. It could’ve been one of those stories you tell your grandkids. Instead, it got him last place as Ian and Katy both survived.

Ian 20
Katy 16
Sam 0

We actually ended at about the same time, so we ended the evening with two six-player games. Verflixxt/That’s Life was first, with some questions about whether Katy’s copy had any bits missing since there seemed to be only six clover tiles and we thought maybe there should be eight. Still, it was the same for everyone.

We were still baffled by the illustrations and we came up with the theory that maybe they illustrated German proverbs, for example “It’s like when you get a package in the post and it’s a live dog.” As for the game, Chris did splendidly picking up more than his fair share of clover tiles.

Chris 25
Sam 15
Katy 6
Ian 0
Joe –2
Andrew –11

Next up was Fuji Flush and what a game it was. For a start, we began by all playing a “2” and pushing through together, which would never be allowed to happen if Martin was here. As we chuckled happily in our moment of solidarity, I wondered out loud why we even bothered dealing out six cards.

Dick points were spread out pretty evenly, and soon four of us were on one card. Katy managed to push through her 19 just before Sam’s 20, giving her the win.

Or did it? That night, in a fitful sleep beset by doubts, Katy realised that Sam’s 20 should’ve wiped out her 19 (or 5, see comments) but she’d forgotten to discard. No one else noticed. But her guilt was too overwhelming, so she emailed us the next morning to explain her mistake and give the win to Sam. What a nice gesture and I hope Katy didn’t feel too bad about her honest mistake. After all, as they say in Germany, Es ist wie wenn du ein Paket in der Post bekommst und es ist ein Live-Hund.

Sam 0
Katy 1
Ian 1
Andrew 1
Joe 2
Chris 3

Thanks for hosting, Sam. And thanks to me, Katy and Joe for bringing snacks which were pretty much hoovered up the moment they hit the table.

It’s the penultimate week of the season, so no shenanigans for the Division. Just cold, hard numbers. Ian hangs onto the lead, with Katy and Joe within striking distance and Martin still with an outside chance. Adam's hold on Points Ratio is a bit slim, too.


  1. Nice write up, Andrew, and nice honesty Katy. I think she actually had a 5, not a 19?

    HitZRoad was almost beautiful, but turned out to be tragic. I don't think I've actually flung myself on the floor like that for a good few years. Maybe Battlestar Galactica was the last time.

    1. I do remember a lot of 5s on that last round. If only I'd taken a photo. But as they say in Germany...

  2. Thanks all for a very entertaining evening and I'm pleased to see I'm not banned from games for life for my unintentional faux pa. I'd like to play Hit Z Road again, I enjoyed it!

  3. Lovely evening, thanks all. Gold West is just the right amount of thinky for me, and shorter than your average Feld. Ah, BooBoo.

    Hit Z Road looked entertaining - is like to try it!

  4. My game-snob geek buddies tell me Gold West is an "Excellent example of a highly polished, circa-2015 point-salad game for the masses".

    1. "Let them eat point-salad."

    2. Point salad was mentioned and I think it was agreed you wouldn't like it Martin