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.
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...
They followed this with Nmbr 9.
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."
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.
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.
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
Matt W 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
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.
Sam 61 (“Again!”)
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:
Matt K 12
Matt W 14
Thanks all. A bit of a classic.