Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Cheese a Devil Woman

One thing I do remember from Tuesday evening was a brief discussion about how baffling the notes made in the drunken haze of a games night could be the next morning. And so it was that today I found myself staring at the words now being used as this article's title with little idea of what prompted me to write it down in the first place.

Last week's Solid Six turned out to be a little flakey this week: with Martin unable to come and no one else to take his place, we were just five. Sam the host, Ian, Joe, Katy and me. At the appointed time Sam was out collecting his son from martial arts training so the four of us entertained with a jolly game of Mamma Mia.

Joe's copy of Mamma Mia seemed to have an
exclusive expansion pack

Midway through the game, Katy was doing so well that she set her sights on making a complete set. Ian, on the other hand, played very few recipe cards in the first two rounds.

Round three, though, reminded me of the final stages of Eclipse, with everyone piling in because, why not? Katy didn't complete the set and I came close to a tie for first.

Katy 7
Andrew 6
Joe 4
Ian 3

By now Sam was back and settled so it was time to decide on the evening's entertainment. Sam and Joe were keen on revisiting Great Western Trail before they forgot the rules and we're happy to play a two-player if no one else wanted in. Which was the case.

Us remaining three perused Sam's games wall, trying to decide what to play and then chose Katy's copy of Isle Of Skye.

"Watch out for moneybleed!" warned Ian
as our respective currencies threatened to merge

We set up swiftly (both games, with Sam and Joe arranging the pieces of GWT with lightning speed) and started our respective adventures. We got a good selection of scoring tiles, meaning we had to concentrate on sets of buildings, completed areas, sheep, and money. Which is more or less the point of the game anyway.

I fell behind, but midway looked like staging a comeback, only for Ian and Katy to speed off without me in the final stages.

Katy 7
Ian 70
Andrew 63

Still, it was fun and relaxing, especially since some of us were still recovering from the AP overload of Saturday.

When we were done, GWT was still in full flow so we picked out another game. Ian and I suggested Quantum, but then preferred Cosmic Run as lighter fare.

After explaining the rules to Katy, complete with confusion over the role of the aliens and a remarkably lucky roll of three fives to illustrate a point I was making, we got down to it.

My luck with the dice during the tutorial did not desert me. Throughout the game I think I wasted maybe a couple of dice. Ian and Katy, though, both had opportunities scorned by Lady Fate, returning home unrewarded for their dice rolls.

Andrew 87
Katy 59
Ian 58

We finished as Joe and Sam had totted up the scores and were packing away.

Joe 55
Sam 48

With Sam commenting that the win was more convincing than the score would suggest.

Since we were a five again, we played a lovely communal game: 6nimmt.

Oh, the agony. 6nimmt is a game that seems to hate its players. We wailed at our grim fate, or delighted in others' discomfort. I got a hand full of multiples of eleven, and didn't know how to play it. Joe put down a card which would normally be safe except that everyone else crammed onto that row before him. This prompted another baffling drunken note: "Amazing. Write that down. Gareth Hunt."

Joe started well with a clear round and Katy and Ian also went clear later on. But it was Katy who clocked up another win as I edged over the 66 limit.

Katy 17
Ian 19
Joe 40
Sam 46
Andrew 67

After this there was time for one more game. We considered Dead Man's Chest, but when we found out that Katy had never played Perudo, it was brought to the table, quicksticks.

With her familiarity with Dead Man's Chest, she had no problems with the rules. As we played, Joe was first to go down to his last die, but he then survived while myself, Ian and Sam all fell by the wayside. A remarkable performance, which ended with him facing off against Katy, die versus die.

He made a bid, but Katy couldn't work out why he would lie. Sam explained the many bluffing techniques open to Joe but Katy wasn't having any of it. She made her bid as if he was being honest and won.

1. Katy
2. Joe
3. Sam
4. Ian
5. Andrew

And that was that. Another evening of cattle trading, space exploration and clan building in the Outer Hebrides. And there's not many hobbies where you can say that.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Counting Cows

This Saturday meeting was initially organised as a chance to really get to grips with Great Western Trail, a recent acquisition of Sam’s that promises 150 minutes of playing time, according to BGG. So it was no surprised to find GWT already set up, with Joe sitting beside it having already reserved his place, along with Sam. Matt was the third player, preferring cattle trading to the epic space adventure being organised on the other half of the table.

Apologies for the fuzziness.
Camera lens is damaged.

Chris, Ian and I chose Eclipse as our Saturday epic, going for an all alien battle against upgraded ancients. I ended up going for my usual Swarm of Wasps tactic, only because Interceptors were cheap, and resources were in short supply. Chris was cash-rich, but went through the whole game with very little in the way of building resources. He could hardly ever build more than one ship per round. Oh, but what ships they were, bristling with advanced tech and improved hulls. He also ignored aliens in his own sector, preferring instead to head towards the centre. Ian, too, had ships stuffed with hulls and +2 and –2 die-adjusting computers, but weaker weapons.

As is usual in Eclipse, the final round played out with everyone piling into the centre, currently controlled by Chris. I put my interceptors in first, not as a serious challenge, but simply to pin his ships down so he couldn’t invade. Then Ian decided to join in too.

After this, there was a lot of cagey attacking around the perifery. Ian invaded me, just so I couldn’t invade him. Chris explored a sector, hoping for a route to me, but found only ancients (which I then attacked and beat) and finally Chris attacked and defeated Ian’s home planet. Oh, the humiliation!

Chris 38
Andrew 28
Ian 26

Since Great Western Trail hadn’t finished, we quickly whipped off a game of Love Letter.

Chris 3
Ian 2
Andrew 1

Finally, Great Western Trail had ended, with the scores at:

Sam 116
Matt 97
Joe 73

Although Sam said he’d inadvertently cheated. He didn’t go into details (with a game like GWT, that might have taken a good few minutes) but we salute his honesty.

Then we went to the chip shop, except for Joe and Chris who stayed behind and played a card game that looked like Race For The Galaxy. I didn’t note the score, but I think that Chris won.

After food, while we waited for our last arrival, Katy, we played Fuji Flush.

Andrew/Chris 0 cards left
Matt/Joe/Ian/Sam 2

And when this was over, Katy was here and we split into two groups: the foursome of Chris, Ian, Joe and Katy went for the high tension of Ponzi Scheme. The remaining trio chose A Feast For Odin.

It was Matt’s first play of Odin, but the rules aren’t difficult, just remembering what some of the iconography means and how the options should go together for best results.

I decided to simply ignore most bonuses on my player mat, preferring instead to build over them. I regretted this when I saw Sam’s use of the bonuses on his player mat and the Faroe Islands net him an increasingly impressive haul each round.

I think this game was the first time that the grey tiles from the oval bit of the board (I forget its proper name) were extensively used, with Matt and Sam buying stuff there regularly, and even I nabbed a couple of things late on. Buildings, too, were built by Matt and I. Meanwhile, I don’t remember Sam playing a single occupation card. He didn’t need to.

Sam 109
Matt 62
Andrew 59

By the time we’d finished, Ponzi Scheme was long over, with Katy being the sole survivor as you might expect since she confidently predicted her imminent demise mid-game.

Katy 19
everyone else went bankrupt

They filled in the time while we finished our final round by playing Vegas

Chris 500
Joe 360
Katy 280
Ian 260

And, post-Odin, we trotted out No Thanks, with Matt’s clever choice of high cards meaning he only had one run of cards in front of him by the end, compared to Sam’s and my three or four. Maybe five, in my case.

Matt 31
Sam 39
Andrew 67

After this it was just past ten, but I seemed to be the only one winding down. I had to turn down Matt’s offer of a game I’d never played before in favour of Dead Man’s Chest, about which Katy observantly noted “the best bit about losing is that you get to play.” Honest Joe did well just by telling the truth, until he lied and got caught out.

1. Sam
2. Katy
3. Joe
4. Chris
5. Andrew
6. Matt
7. Ian

After that, there were a few rounds of Spyfall. Sam, as the spy, guessed the first location after only two questions. Then Joe was too honest, and his inability to keep a straight face swiftly got him collared as the spy. This was followed by another round where Joe was the spy, and he got so close to winning, with the old Polar Station/Space Station confusion.

After this, Joe tried to accuse Chris based on the fact that Chris was perusing the list of locations in a suspicious manner. No one agreed, though. Sam was the spy then, but he didn't guess the location.

Finally, we all accused Matt when he asked an odd question, but it wasn't him, it was Ian. Matt explained that he was also asking questions according to the role he was playing, not just answering. We'd never thought of playing it that way. Spyfall Extreme, anyone?

After this, Chris and I left – I was so keen to get to bed that I dashed out without my notes or a beer. How lackadaisical of me.

Once I'd gone, the remaining gamers launched into a little Cube Quest Tournament. Sam texted me the scores and notes.

Matt beat Sam when Sam flicked his own king off the board.
Ian beat Katy with a long shot.
Joe beat Matt with “Hari Kiri” method.
Katy beat Sam “early doors”.
Ian beat Joe in an epic

Thus ended the weekend. Thanks all. Good to get some epics undertaken. See you guys on Tuesday.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Great Western Trail Blazing

Friday. With Sally and the boys away, I was immersed in work at home. After 11 hours of reading and writing, my morning plans of watching a movie evaporated at the notion of spending another 2 hours in front of a screen. Instead I broke out Great Western Trail.

I'd spent about two hours looking through the rule book last week and needed to return while I still had any recollection of them. I spent another half hour refreshing/finishing the rules, including this particular bad boy...


...then I was off!

In Great Western Trail you're competing cattlemen, driving your cows across the ranges to Kansas, whereupon they are loaded onto trains and delivered to cities, where - the game doesn't show this bit - they'll presumably be eaten, with pepper sauce. 'Tis a game tinged with sadness.


Your cattleman starts on the bottom right of the board, and on your turn you may move him up to three locations along the trail. Wherever he stops, you get to take an action. If he stops at a building you own (or a neutral building) you take the juicy local actions, or the more arid auxiliary actions. If he stops at an opponent's building, he only gets to take the auxiliary action. It's just as I imagined being a cattleman would be!

There are other places on the trail too - flood lands, gorges and deserts, replete with dangers that you must pay to pass. Or you can pay to get rid of them, and get victory points later.

The local actions are stuff like buying more cows, selling cows, and doing a lot of fun cow-related stuff, like discarding a cow in order to move a train somewhere. Or hiring a worker, who'll either help you move your train, build your buildings, or buy more cows. Cows are really the thing here.


At some point though, you're going to reach Kansas, and this is where the cows you have in your hand get you money. There's a seam of deck-building going on here, because you only ever deliver four cows, and you only get money for each type you deliver. If you have three Guernseys and a Jersey, you'll only get paid for one of each. So really, you want to deliver as diverse a bunch of cows as you can - in the old west they hated having too much of one cow. It's probably to do with breeding - diversification is inherently stronger, come the day of the revolution, etc.

Then, having delivered cows, you rush back to the start in order to drive some more. Except drive better! With more buildings, and more diverse cows, more cowboys, and maybe a station master.

For whatever reason, when you move your train, you can sometimes take a station master and replace it with one of your workers - like a cowboy, for instance. Now you've lost a cowboy to a new career, but gained a station master, who won't help you buy cows, but will give you end-game bonuses instead. Like I said: theme!


As the game progresses, the board fills up with buildings - Dirks, in this case, as I became bovine-obsessed and rarely bothered with construction - and they start to get in your way. If I go to Dirk's Bar, I can't spend the night there. But I can dispose of a cow and get another, or maybe just manifest a coin out of thin air!

Really, Great Western Trail is quite ludicrous. It starts with the theme (cows) continues with the not-remotely-thematic mechanics (collect money because your buildings are next to a forest!) and extends this madness right into the scoring, which is not so much a point salad as a five-metre vegetarian kebab. I even missed something out and had to add it after - it takes a whole page of rulebook to explain the scoring.


All of which makes it sound like I think GWT is crap - but I don't. It's awesome! For one, it looks great. Two, it moves really fast. Turns take literally ten seconds when all you're doing is vanishing a cow, after all. And because cattlemen love to share, there's no blocking here, meaning those AP lulls where someone says "I was going to do that" and stares at the board sullenly for five minutes are completely negated. You can just do it anyway.

Three: the game is really tactical. I sped off into the lead and when Dirk kept building buildings (and hampering my progress into the bargain) I wondered if it was yet another game where you're supposed to forsake those early gains and look for the long-term rewards. But GWT didn't do that. Mainly though, the game has an inherently silly aspect to it - and just as I enjoyed the tetris-loving Vikings of A Feast for Odin, I enjoyed the cattle tomfoolery here.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Hopes go up in flammes

Tonight was an unusual event in that the six attendees were the six most frequent players, and no one else. Where once we had the Core Four, now we have what I considered calling the Solid Six, until I realised it sounded like something from a medical chart detailing different types of faeces.

We were Sam (host), Joe, Martin, Katy, Ian and me. And, initially, Stanley and Joe. I arrived late, and a game of Fuji Flush was in full flow. Stanley was already on his last card, but couldn't push through, picking up three fours in a row. Katy was busy instructing everyone to stop Martin since, with her cards, she was pretty helpless to do it herself.

Ian 0 cards left
Martin 1
Joe 1
Stanley 1
Sam & Joe 2
Katy 3

After this, we split into two. Joe, Katy and Ian played Cities. Sam, Martin and mep layed Flamme Rouge. We went for a random set up, with Sam using his skills honed over years of improvised train track building with his sons, to swiftly put together a stage fit for the Tour de France. Once we'd flattened down a couple of mountains, that is.

I tried to be sensible, but even so I ended up with a lot of exhaustion cards. Mid game it looked like exhaustion cards were the key to finishing the game, since Sam found both his riders with slim pickings in their decks of cards. He had visions of them just stopping mid race, as if they were working to the clock.

As we rounded the final bend, Martin was in first, Sam right on his shoulder and me not out of contention but needing luck with the cards. I got no luck, and neither did Martin. He saw his rider overtaken by Sam, who also managed to edge over the finish line, to end the game and claim the win. An astonishing win, and one that Martin would mention ruefully throughout the evening.

1st Sam
2nd Martin
3rd Andrew

Then we tried Game Of Thrones: Hand Of The King, a simple but deep game of card collecting by moving around a 7 by 7 grid. It was okay, but I wasn't hugely impressed and keen to move on to something else, so when I saw the chance to end the game, I took it, even if it meant I placed last.

Sam 3
Martin 2 + tie breaker
Andrew 2

Cities had ended...

Joe 63
Katy 60
Ian 59

And in an attempt to synchronise with us, they were playing a game of For Sale. There were some mutterings that it wasn't great with three, and also some mutterings from Katy about how badly she was doing. For once, she was right.

Ian 82 + cash
Joe 82
Katy 80

There was then another reshuffle, and Sam, Ian and Joe chose Gold West, while I had to face the two headed dragon that is Katy and Martin. While we thought about our choice, we tried to identify a game once described by Katy that she'd like to try. Something about a market place in the middle. Was it Portobello Market? Was it that game with the walls that I played once and now can't remember? By sheer chance, Pueblo was mentioned, and Katy recognised it as the game she was talking about! So we got it out with the promise of Biblios afterwards.

Katy got a rules explanation and we all got some kind of understanding of the rules regarding placement, until Martin checked BBG and found out we might be wrong.

Martin started well, tucking himself neatly into books and crannies. I, too, was happy with my start, but then I built upwards and then spent the rest of the game trying to hide it. Katy didn't seem happy as she picked up early points when she made rookie errors. But Katy's skill can never be underestimated, and Martin and me (especially me) were hit heavy in the final scoring round.

Katy 37
Martin 45
Anderw 57

Then we played Biblios. Plenty of pessimism and foretelling of doom in the first round from everyone. Bishop cards were especially useless this game. After five had been played, we found ourselves with the dice the same way up as at the beginning.

In the final reckoning, though, Katy won.

Katy 6
Martin 5
Andrew 3

After this we played Eggs Of Ostrich, agreeing to sum our totals over three rounds into one game. I needed a rules explanation midway through the first round, but otherwise we were fine.

Martin 31
Andrew 22
Katy 18

Gold West had finished.

Joe 123
Sam 100
Ian 95

And we were all together again. Since three of us had copies of Push It, we played a game with three teams of two players with three pucks each. Madness. And a possible six points to win in a single round, which is noteworthy in a game where the target is seven.

Martin & Sam got off to a flier with three points in the first round. After this, they only had to stay one step ahead of the rest of us to secure a comfortable win.

Sam & Martin 7
Katy & Ian 3
Joe & Andrew 2

After that, the evening ended with us having squeezed 5 hours and 25 minutes gaming (according to the figures on BGG) into 3 hours of normal time. And we do this every week! No wonder we look so old.

The Division, meanwhile, looks like this...

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Berger Interlewd

Seven hearty gamers descended on Joe's house to join him for this week's GNN - Martin, Matt (2), Katy, Chris, Laura, Ian, and myself, Sam. Katy met Laura for the first time and immediately apologised for "all that was to come", which meant she had plenty to live down to.

We had the perfect number of players for Captain Sonar, but Joe rejected the idea on the grounds his table was the wrong shape and size - more of a rubber ring than a submarine, and therefore not worthy. Instead we began with a rousing game of Fuji Flush. I didn't keep a tally of the dick points, but there were plenty to go around. Most of them were handed out by Matt, who seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of high cards:

Matt - out!
Chris/Sam: one card
Martin/Laura/Joe: two cards
Katy/Ian: three cards

After this, we split into two groups, with Martin leading the Flamme Rouge splinter - himself, Ian, Joe and Matt - and the rest of us left to stare in awe at Joe's rejigged games alcove, which he had arranged as most-desired: most-accessible. I asked if the ones out of reach were never to be played, but these were actually in another building. We settled on Castle Crush, as Katy said the rules were simple. Joe still had to explain them though, which may have affected his performance in Flamme Rouge...

I'd not played Castle Crush before but often wanted to. Apparently the original rules are ludicrously complicated and Joe had found a replacement set, which was pretty simple: build your castle, hope nobody knocks it over. Particularly your King and General. Your king needs to be high up, but on the other hand, he can lie down, whereas the General must stand. Having negotiated building, we then try and knock each other's castles down... Chris led the early running, but made himself a target by doing so. Before we knew it, it was over!

Laura 65
Sam 61
Chris 56
Katy 48

So we played again. And again Chris led early, and found himself targeted. I jumped into the lead as we entered the final round, but we neglected to pay attention to Katy's sneaky 2 and 3 level castle (more levels: more points) and she grabbed the slenderest of wins:

Katy 62
Sam 61
Chris 52
Laura 51

On the other half of the table, Flamme Rouge was still being contested, so we bashed out a game of Top Secret Spies, where you move whichever agent you like around the board, and score their positions whenever any of the agents reach the safe. You're trying not to give away which spy you are, as that would mean you get moved onto the shitty spots, but we almost disguised ourselves too well: I was convinced Laura was green when she scored loads of points for it, but then Katy moved it back into contention after it was subsequently ignored... hmmm. The one thing I was sure of was that green wasn't Chris. Except it was, and all my who-is-which-colour guesses at game end were utterly wrong. Katy fell foul of the same inaccuracy, whereas Laura got a couple right - and Chris every single one! He still lost, though:

Laura 48
Sam 42
Chris 41
Katy 39
Rogue Spy 38

And Flamme Rouge had come to an end!

1. Martin
2. Matt
3. Ian
4. Joe

There was now time for Joe's 'interlewd', whereupon he told a smutty joke he'd seen on TV. Katy did not approve, but the politics of it all is probably too complicated to cover in detail here. But after the joke, and the post-joke analysis, and Martin saying he knew another joke that was also about an elephant having sex with a lion, the hour was still early. So we split into two new fours, with Martin and Chris effectively swapping places. Chris, Joe, Ian and Matt went for Mamma Mia, while the rest of us played the trick-taking shenaniganiser that is Sluff Off: win tricks to lose minus points!

This was described in more detail in the last post, but suffice to say, fun was had, even though we couldn't quite work out why the third re-theme of this old game had taken a turn for the sluffy.

Sam -3
Martin -12
Katy - 15
Laura -26

Mamma Mia, meanwhile, had had a couple of restarts due to the disappearance of Joe, a misunderstanding of the rules, then the reappearance of Joe. Eventually though, Matt won:

Matt 6
Joe 5
Chris 4
Ian 2

I was out of the room when Joe jotted down the scores, so he'll have to explain why he added the note 'tactical pepperoni' in the comments.

Laura called it a night at this point, so down to a bare seven, we broke out Midnight Party and explained the rules to Matt. Hugo was a busy boy in the first round, snaffling up the guests like nobody's business, before having a quieter second round then a mixed third. Charlotte - who had banned the game previously - returned towards the end, but it was a mostly tense pessimism rather than the uproarious despair of yore, and we were able to continue. Katy and I rejoiced in our shared victory:

Katy/Sam -11
Joe -12
Martin - 14
Ian - 22
Chris -29
Matt -37

Chris now made for home too, which left the six of us to end the evening with Dead Man's Chest. For once, we didn't have to explain the rules - apart from what happens when you get handed Dead Man, which curiously enough, happened several times this evening! It was a game of a lot of high rolls, and one or two extravagant bluffs. We even had two Dead Mans in a row, causing much mirth for Martin, who Joe noted is blessed with the ability to find great humour in probability. Plus the immortal line "Who do you like to screw over the most?"

My evening of first and second places imploded as I was first out, followed by Ian, Matt and Katy, leaving Joe and Martin to face off for the win.

Joe handed over what he called 'double sixes' - Martin challenged, and then revealed: Dead Man! Which Martin pointed out Joe should have called himself, rather than undercutting, as Martin could have handed them back, successfully calling them Dead Man. But - it worked.

Joe - two gems!

A nice collection of games and people. Thanks all!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Choose your demise!

Chippenham, April. Paul Jefferies had made the long journey from Croydon to Chris' house, so I came the other way from Bristol, armed with a small selection of shortish games.

When I had arrived, they'd just finished playing Carcassonne, which Chris had won by a narrow margin:

Chris 120
Paul 117

And they were in the mood for something reasonably short, reasonably luck-driven, with a side-helping of watery death. So Deep Sea Adventure it was, which Chris roped Jacqui into playing. She liked so much, we played it twice!

 what a dive

first game:
Sam 16
Paul 6
Chris 4
Jacqui 3

second game:
Chris 34
Jacqui 31
Paul 16
Sam 10

After that, Jacqui retired from gaming for the evening to rustle the kids to bed, and the three of us played Sluff Off. This is a trick-taking game where it's all but impossible to finish with zero points - you'll usually have less. At the start of each round players take tokens (minus 2 points) showing how many and which colour tricks they think they'll win. Win the trick, and you get rid of the token. But win a trick you don't have a matching token for, and you pick up a -3 token.

what a card

But - one person can also play the Sluffer, who doesn't care how many tricks they do or don't win. Their role is to be Loki - making mischief, and trying to get the other players to pick up the -3 tokens. The Sluffer scores -4 points at worst at the end of the round - every -3 token the others pick up improves their play by a point.

Paul/Sam -7
Chris -10

Chris's old pal from the Reading Board Game Club, Laura, arrived, as we finished up; so we quickly explained the rules, and played again.

Sam -7
Laura -10
Chris -12
Paul -14

There was no plan for an epic game this evening, so we kept with reasonably lighter fare, setting up Flamme Rouge next. We went with one of the game's suggested tracks, only flipping the final stretch to give exhausted riders a nice downhill finish. I played a cagey game, never attempting to get into the lead, but my careful hedge-betting counted for nothing when I realised that Paul's exhausted roullier was about to freewheel over the line, and I was miles behind!

Laura leads, but Paul is in pursuit

Paul: triumphantly puffy
Chris and Laura: consolatorarily breathless
Sam: knackered and last

what Paul's winning rider had left in the tank

Chris bought in a selection of games but the general feeling seemed to be erring toward HitZRoad, the game of zombie fight or flight. I made the same mistake I made before by not bidding, and only broke this rule when I bid eight resources in order to pick up five. Not very good apocalyptic economising, and I was out first, eaten before we even reached the final third of the game. 

Laura made it a lot further, but couldn't quite reach California before being turned into a zombie pudding. Only Chris and Paul survived the trip alive...

Paul 10
Chris 8
Laura dead last
Sam dead first

rotten luck

We finished our four-player adventures with some Fuji Flush, in which your demise is more frequent, but less grisly.  Everyone professed not to understand it. But you don't need to understand Fuji Flush in order to win it...


Everyone enjoyed not knowing what was going on so much, we played it again:


Laura made for the hills - or Bristol - with the time now past eleven. But with nowhere to drive to, us boys were up for one last game or so, so after not much debate we ended up playing 6Nimmt. It might not have the utter chaos of an eight-player 6Nimmt, but it was still entertainly replete with wails of despair. My strong start disintegrated into a final two rounds of terribleness:

Chris 52
Paul 59
Sam 69

There was just enough space left before bed for Push It. So we pushed! Paul pushed rather hard, even flicking the jack off the table at one point, and it became a two-way fight between Chris and I, which I managed to finagle at the death:

Sam 11
Chris 10
Paul 2

With midnight approaching, the evening came to a close. Thanks all!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Like, wow, Holmes

I arrived at the opening week of the season a little late, and found Sam's kitchen crammed with eager gamers. Nine of us were present: Sam, Matt, Ian, Joe, Katy, Chris, Martin, Andy and myself. Also joining us for the first game was little Joe, Sam's youngest. We chose Pairs and Sam teamed up with his son.

There were hardly any occasions when people went out on their second card and, indeed, most people lasted three or four rounds. This was bad for me since my strategy relies on other people being unlucky quickly.

In this race to twenty one, little Joe called the shots in the father and son team, and he made the early running, too. Only a poor third round for them allowed other players to catch up and eventually overtake.

Andy 25
Ian 23
Sam & Joe 21
Joe 17
Chris 14
Andrew 10
Katy 9
Martin 8
Matt 7

After this we split into two groups. Flamme Rogue was still in demand, and Katy , Martin, Matt all joined Andy in a game. The rest of us pondered. Watson and Holmes was mentioned but received a guarded response. But five players is a difficult crowd, and after some umming and ahhing, Chris decided that we should play Watson and Holmes after all, reasoning that if we can't decide what to play then we may as well play something new.

We set up in the front room so we could deduce in peace, away from the rowdy rabble of cyclists.

Sam explained the rules and read out the opening scene. Mr Porterfield was murdered! During a piano recital at his mansion, no less. Whodunit?

I got off to a good start, visiting a location that was dripping with clues. After that, though, I mostly wandered about aimlessly, learning very little. The most exciting moment involved the character cards we're dealt at the start of the game. I took great pleasure in announcing that I was Lestrade! And was therefore able to move all the police tokens currently in play. Didn't help much, but felt good.

Joe was the first to go to 221b Baker Street, and he checked his theories against the game, but turned out to be wrong. Despite still technically having a role in the game, he was tempted away by the other group who'd finished Flamme Rogue.


Katy credited her win to a cyclist she'd christened Rob, after her better half but then, in case I misunderstood, she specified that she had won, in case I gave Rob a win on the leaderboard.

We remaining four kept deducing until Ian made his move by going to 221b Baker Street and successfully answering all three questions.

Ian wins!
Joe, Sam, Chris and Andrew don't.

Once the murder was solved, Sam commented that all three of his guesses would've been wrong. I only got one right - the murder weapon. It was fun, but it did feel a lot like we were all playing the same solo game at the same time. There was a little more interaction than in the three player game, but nothing pivotal.

In the kitchen, the group that stole Joe was playing New York Slice. I didn't pay it much mind, but it ended:

Joe 28
Andy 25
Martin 22
Katy 21
Matt 13

While they played that, the four of us returned to the kitchen and perched on the end of the table and played Cosmic Run. During this game, Chris and Sam both tweeted almost identical photos of the game. A special treat for anyone who follows both accounts.

I kept losing points for planets, but conquering the five dice planet and having aliens made it respectable. Chris clocked up his first win thanks to a last minute grab for treasure.

Chris 54
Sam 52
Ian 51
Andrew 49

As we finished, the others played For Sale. The 30 came out in the first round (along with two other cards in the high twenties) and Martin made a big bid for it, prompting Joe to ask if he was spaffing his wad in the first round. If I remember right, Andy took the thirty. It didn't seem to help.

Matt 61
Martin 59
Katy 56
Joe 47
Andy 33

And so that meant they wee packing up For Sale as we were ending our Cosmic Run. Which meant only one thing: 6nimmt!

During this game, our collective astonishment at the cruelty of the cards was summed up in the phrase “Like... Wow.” Which Joe had learned from his daughters. Joe had special reason to utter these words as he went from first to eighth in the space of a single, terrible round. Martin also suffered a collapse in form, picking up 37 points in the final round.

Ian 17
Sam 24
Andy 32
Andrew 32
Katy 50
Joe 50
Martin 57
Chris 62
Matt 66

And so, we bid farewell to our host and took turns in the toilet before going back home. For some reason, Joe, Katy and I talked about Coldplay. Perhaps we will never know why.

There’s no Division, what with it being the first week and all, so instead I leave you with the 6nimmt Division, ordered by points ratio. Thanks all!