Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Revolution nmbr 9

As England baked under a midsummer heatwave, Joe's call to host this week's event was met with a bumper response. Ten of us (Sam, Andy, Matt W, Matt K (previously known as Matt and Matt2 respectively), Martin, Katy, Ian, Adam, Chris and myself) arrived for an evening's entertainment that spilled out of Joe's kitchen and into the garden.

The first game to be done and dusted was Nmbr 9, a new game with Take It Easy tones in that everyone has the same options, which quickly diverge among the players.

Adam 95
Ian 79
Sam 61
Chris 50

I was one of the four lucky enough to start outside. Me, Martin, Joe and Matt K played Montage, a crossword game without any letters. Instead, colours stand for a group of letters.

The aim of the game is to give clues (maximum five words) to words whose letters fit the coloured counters on the board. It's a team game and you hope that your partner gets the clue (indicated by knocking on the table) before both - and it must be both - of your opponents do. The board is divided into nine sectors and the winning team is the one that gets a majority of its pieces in four sectors.

All of this takes place under the watchful eye of an hourglass. Everything in a turn: choosing the position, thinking of a clue, giving the clue, solving the clue, must happen before the sand runs out. Obviously, planning ahead is key.

I paired up with Matt and Joe was with Martin. Up against two giant intellects meant Matt and I were the underdogs. When Joe gave the clue "Prince's reign" and Martin got it with "purple" I thought we were in trouble. However, they were perfectly happy to go route-one with the clue "Number two" from Martin, meaning "poo" which Joe got without even looking at the board.

Martin & Joe 4
Matt & Andrew 1

Inside, Adam, Ian, Chris and Sam were flying the flag for chunky Eurogame with Raiders Of The North Sea. While Matt1 and Katy waited for Andy to arrive, at which point they threw themselves into Flamme Rouge. I know nothing other than the result.

Early days with Flamme Rouge and Raiders...

1. Andy
2. Matt
3. Katy

They followed this with Nmbr 9.

Matt 86
Andy 61
Katy 56

Meanwhile, us outside moved onto Movable Type, continuing the recent trend for word games. Joe sold it to us by saying "It has a fun aspect."

Sheer folly!

This time, there are four rounds of trying to make the highest scoring word using the five cards in your hand and three open cards that anyone can use. The better you do, the more cards you can take from the array of all cards that were used that round. Then, in the fifth and final round, those cards would be used to make the highest scoring word you can manage.

A ha ha!

Martin 20 (he won with Mashable)
Joe 19 (ticketing)
Andrew 17 (fleshy)
Matt K 16 (jilted) (I think. Can’t read my writing)

Apart from the marauding Vikings in the North Sea, the rest of us had finished our games at the same time, so we had a quick reshuffle. Katy, Joe and Martin brought a card table outside and played Cobras.

Cobras in the long grass

Joe was first to hit the game ending score, but then fell back due to negative cobras on his card at the end of the round. This allowed a delighted Katy ("We've screwed Joe!") to grab a win.

Katy 113
Joe 105
Martin 75

An unimpressed cat

Meanwhile, Andy, me and the two Matts played Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space. This is a game of hidden identities and escaping and/or attacking. I didn't have much of an clue how to play, and the game for me may as well have been called Have A Nice Stroll Through A Spaceship.

My unhelpful notes during Escape...

The two Matts were more clued in. Alien Matt W killed Human Matt K early on, just because Matt K made a noise near him. This meant the last human, Andy, had to escape. He managed to get to an escape pod, but it malfunctioned. Rather than try to walk across to another escape pod, he played a card the allowed him to mutate into an alien and the game ended in a draw.

Not a bad game. Would probably have been more fun if I'd known what was going on.

Still playing Raiders...

On the card table, Cobras had been replaced by Eggs of Ostrich.

Martin 15
Katy 10
Joe 9

The four of us played Andy's print and play (and laminate) version of Red7. After a rules explanation, I played a card that immediately knocked newcomer Matt K out. A very steep learning curve. But he came back well, and we ended after three rounds. We had to, since the light had faded so much that most of round three was played under the light from my mobile phone.

Really quite dark now

Matt K 39
Andy 12
Matt W 0
Andrew 0

By now Raiders of the North Sea had ended. Everyone else had gone through multiple games and rules explanations, but the pure of heart on one half of Joe's kitchen table had gone through an epic. A game, after which, they all stood around proudly and talked about what they'd just done.

Nearing the end of the game

Ian 43
Adam 39
Sam 36
Chris 31

And they even managed to squeeze in a game of Nmbr 9. Ian quickly said he’d got off to a bad start. I couldn’t tell how he knew this so I took a photograph, hoping that one day I’d look back and understand what he’d meant.

He was right, though.

Adam 72
Chris 67
Sam 61 (“Again!”)
Ian 52

Finally, we were all together and all inside. So we went for a rule-stretching 11-player game of 6nimmt. We could only manage two rounds before time caught up with us. Short, but agonising, as the quotes I jotted down demonstrate:

“Joseph, you wanker!” me, probably.

“It’s like golf!” Ian

“My dreams were ruined years ago.” Sam

“I’m going to get boned and not in a good way.” Katy

It ended like so:

Adam 10
Matt K 12
Matt W 14
Chris 14
Sam 19
Ian 28
Katy 35
Andy 39
Joe 39
Martin 43
Andrew 52

Thanks all. A bit of a classic.


  1. I'm ahead in points ratio! - If you ignore Adam, and circumstances force me to.

    Enjoyed Raiders but a little long with four, and didn't like missing out on Cobras.

    NMBR9 is great. Been playing it at home with the boys too, and even having the odd solo crack at it. Unfortunately my scores all remain rubbish, but hey ho.

    Thanks everyone, that was good fun!

  2. Really enjoyed all three of the new-to-me games! Montage was delightfully bonkers and Cobras very clever indeed. I do love a good TWAT (tricktaker with a twist).

  3. You'd also need to forget Andy! Great time last night, thanks for hosting Joe and Andrew for his write up. I really enjoyed all the games, I'd like to give them all another go again soon please :D See you all soon I hope x p.s. No need for you to be a twat though Martin!

  4. It was a marvellous evening, thanks everyone!

  5. I liked Raiders a lot, but a player fewer would probably make for a faster and more predictable (in a good, strategic way) game.

    NMBR9 is pretty fantastic - it took me back to playing Princes of Florence with Anja and Steve fifteen years ago.

    Then 11-player 6nimmt just made me want to push the boundaries even further - one day we will play it 20-player...

  6. Having now had time to ponder Raiders I feel that I might have been influenced by the down time between turns. With a few more plays this would come down significantly as I noticed that Sam was pretty brisk with all his turns and it was us newbies crunching the numbers.

    And even the mechanism actually isn't that confusing as I thought. Need to be able to play tactically rather than strategically which is actually my preferred method!

    1. I was pretty brisk. But I was also pretty third. I never really settled on any strategy and tried to weave between you all to an extent.

      But yeah it's pretty straightforward on the mechanics. Better with three I think.