Sunday, 9 July 2017

Keyed up and Clued In

Andrew and Ian joined me this evening for some late-weekend fun, and first to the table was Unlock, the game that mimics an escape room challenge. Stan and I had had a crack at one of the three adventures it comes with, and succeeded in the end, albeit not within the hour the timer give you and not without resorting to several clues (the game plays with an app).

We began the second adventure, trapped in an evil clowns lair. The game serves up a few cards and you work out ways to combine them in order trigger new cards, which then present a similar scenario. But it's not just addition - there are hidden numbers on cards to spot, and a degree of lateral thinking too - definitely not a strength of mine, but between us we ploughed on - calling on the odd clue from the app, and keying in codes at certain points in the story to open padlocks and so on. And... we solved the mystery, saved the world, and did it all with moments to spare!

Very exciting. I won't go into any further details in case anyone wants to borrow it and have a crack, but this adventure did involve cheese and sausages.

Next up was Barenpark. This is the game that famously puts Cottage Garden in the shade, a fact Ian knew despite not having played it. But it's a simple ruleset and easy to pick up and play. We included achievements: all the cement mixer tiles, three panda tiles and three polar bear tiles. Each of us managed two of them, but it was Andrew who both ended the game, and won it:

Andrew 96
Sam 87
Ian 85

Next up: Las Vegas! Ian had his revenge here. I thought I might be in with a shout after Andrew's early showing faded, but no! Hickman cleaned up:

Ian $430k
Sam $350k
Andrew $280k

We then played another big hit of recent weeks - NMBR9. I just love this game; it's so simple, yet devilishly tricky in the manner of Take it Easy. Andrew picked up his second win of the night with a strong showing:

Andrew 90
Sam 82
Ian 67

Finally we played Push It, which hasn't been seen in a good while. It still maintains its potential for swingy scoring and inadvertent humour though. Andrew surged off with strong start, at one point with a 6-3-0 lead. But then the pendulum swung, and Ian and I pegged him back to 7-6-5. Ian though was often unwitting kingmaker, handing points to Andrew or I. And so it proved with the winning round, when with both of us poised on 9 points, Ian bashed the puck right next to both my discs with the final flick of the game!

Sam 11
Andrew 9
Ian 6

We were so energised by Push It that despite me writing 'finally' before that last paragraph, we played NMBR9 again. This time I made a bad start, building too early and being secretly pleased I had made room for a 7 that refused to arrive. Andrew and I spread our base while Ian remained compact, but towards the end of the game he bemoaned his strategy, saying he'd made a terrible mistake. The last tile - an 8 - had to go at level zero, whilst Andrew and I planted ours high up. But as it turned out, Ian's good early work - including 27 points for a 9 tile - sustained him:

Ian 88
Sam 87
Andrew 66

Nice night, thanks chaps.


  1. Cheers for hosting, Sam. I admit to being a bit nonplussed by Unlock! It's quite different to what I'm used to and I wasn't sure what kind of clues to be looking for. The adventure we had seemed quite difficult at the start, easier again, and then a bit harder at the end. And we somehow missed a card by guessing a solution that skipped us past part of the game. It was okay, though. Very clever how it all fits together.

  2. The first adventure is better I think - more intuitive. The one we played felt a bit too clever for its own good at times. But I enjoyed the fact it's very distinct from what we normally play.

  3. I remember Tom Vasel (not that I always agree with the man who loves Dice Masters) saying the clown adventure wasn't as good as the other two.

  4. I should probably bring round Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective one day, see what you make of it.