Alles für die Katz (31st)
Can't Stop (3rd & 10th)
Die Tafelrunde (31st)
Family Business (10th)
Mamma Mia (10th & 31st)
Midnight Party (31st)
Mole in the Hole (3rd & 31st)
Poker Dice (3rd)
San Francisco (31st)
Take it Easy (3rd)
The Reef (Das Riff) (31st)
The Treasure of the Incas (10th)
Zero (3rd & 31st)
Zirkus Flohcati (31st)
Zoff im Zoo (31st)
Thirteen again - lucky for us - and stacks of games played. I'll concentrate on what I played and just list the rest.
I just arrived in time to join a game of Ausgebremst - the motor racing version of Ave Caesar. The main differences to the other game are that you can tailor your deck slightly before you start in order to have faster or slower cards, you place two cards into the pits which can only be picked up if you make a pit stop and before you start you go through the pack once, dividing it into four stacks. All elements which add to the skill involved, but somehow they also manage to knock down the fun element a bit as well. Anyway, I got off to a roaring start, blocking everybody and staying in the lead for the first lap and a half. I realised at this point that I would need to let someone past so that I could use my sixes (which you can't use if you're in the lead). Somewhere, that plan went wrong and everyone got past me in a succession of blocks, resulting in me only being able to beat those who were unable to finish anyway. Doh! I knew that extra skill element wouldn't help me. Result: SO+GC, JO, TC, KB, T? (Jonathan's friend Tom).
Next, we played Millionenspiel. A gambling game with a very small amount of control in the form of wrecking each other's chances. The first to increase their initial £5 to a million wins. We eventually abandoned the game after Karl's last chance of winning the game was dashed again and we were all on low cash again. Karl needed to leave anyway. A good enough game, but you have to stop if it goes on too long.
I then went over to join a game of Zero that had just got started. This is yet another card game from Reiner Knizia. The cards are in a number of colours and numbered from 1 to 8. Each player is dealt nine cards and five are placed face-up in the middle. On your turn you take one of the face-up cards and replace it with one of your own. The aim is to collect five cards of one number and five of one colour (one card must be in both sets) - or as close to it as you can. If you don't want to change a card you can knock (pass) and as soon as two players have knocked (or one has knocked twice) the round ends after one more turn per player. Any sets of five do not count, other cards count points, but only the first of each value - the aim is to get as low a score as possible. As always from Reiner, an interesting game and it will take one or two more tries to see if it deserves putting on the 'to get' list. We played five rounds and Garry won through by dint of an excellent first two rounds, despite poor performance later and despite (or because of) spending much time away from the table advising his daughter in a game of Hera & Zeus. Result: GL, TC, SG, SO, CD.
Garry left at this point and we were joined by Laura as we rounded out the evening with a bit of Poker Dice. We played it a bit like Exxtra - each player gets to roll three times with up to the five dice and gets the best 'hand' they can before passing the dice to the left. If that hand is still unbeaten by the time it returns to the roller, s/he gains a point and start with a new hand. I got off to an early lead, thanks to a lucky cow I had present. I the started losing to Laura after she swiped the cow and stole some of its luck. But, I managed to retrieve the bovine beneficiary in time to seal the win at the end. Yes! Result: TC, LN, SG, CD+SO.
Other games played during the evening, with results where provided, were:
- Mole in the Hole (twice).
- Can't Stop using a makeshift new board that Chris had made up on the computer (and then got me to print for him).
- Take it Easy (twice). Winner of one game: RL.
- Elchfest (twice). Although, in the first of those games, I found Karl and Geoff playing such that each player only got one flick of the stones at a time. That could lead to a very long game indeed!
Seven adults and five kids meant three tables in operation again and four of us spent the whole evening on a game if Vinci. This is an interesting game that I first played at Manorcon and is in the running for my game of the year for 2000. Players take control of civilisations, each of which has a character and special abilites defined by two chits drawn from a bag. For example 'Barbarians' and 'Agriculture' would give a populous civilisation that was able to gain extra benefit from arable land; 'Weapons' and 'Fortification' would give a civilisation that was better at taking areas from others and that was able to hold onto those gains for longer. Because gaininng areas is what it's all about. You get your new civilisation and spend two or three turns expanding it to take over a region of the board (which depicts Europe) by invading the subdivided areas that the board is split into. The expansive capabilites of each civilisation are limited, though, and after a few turns you can opt to put your current civilisation into decline and pick a new one for future turns from a selection on offer. Your old civilisation continues to earn points until it is overrun by that of another player - a fate which can also await your active civilisation. The game is quite well balanced and it is quite fun to try the different flavours of civilisation that the chits give you - onec you get used to them only lasting for a short time. It's still not quite on my 'buy it' list, but it's waiting in the wings. Anyway, surprisingly enough I managed to win and Chris was rewarded for bringing in a new game in the usual manner - by being beaten at it. Result: TC, GL, GC, CD.
Other games played during the evening were:
Having arrived late to find one table full of adults playing one game and another full of children playing another, I never did get to do a head count. I had missed the previous two weeks through being on holiday and no-one had kept any records so I don't know what they played then.
Chris turned up about the same time, so we had a game of The Reef (Das Riff), another in the long line of two player games from Kosmos. This one has a strange theme to do with fish. Players buy fishing boats which allow male and female fish in various colours. They can also catch sharks, pearls and bits of reef. Once caught, a fish must be placed into a previously caught piece of reef, each of which can have one male and one female fish. A pair of fish on a reef must be able to breed and produce one of the multi-coloured sets of baby fish on offer, inheriting one colour from each parent. If so, the baby fish card is taken as a victory point and a new one is offered, allowing a new combination of parents. The requirement to catch a fish, as well as a boat, is one or more worms in the same colour as the fish to be caught. Worms are dished out each turn as a result of dice rolls. Not a bad game, but not a world-beater. The game is supposed to be played until one player gets five children cards, but we decided that this might take too long, so we played to three instead. Result: TC, CD.
Soggy and his boy, Jonathan, had turned up by this stage so we went on to a game they had played last week, Die Tafelrunde (The Round Table). This is a card game only available commercially in German, but that has action cards that you need to be able to read. To get round this problem, the author has provided English versions of the cards on his web site and Chris had taken these and got them professionally printed and laminated to make an attractive little set. On the table, each player has two person cards and these, along with two others are placed in a circle to represent them sitting round a round table. One of the two extra cards is the king and the other characters are trying to keep in the kings favour. The king has a (changeable) favoured side and, when the scoring comes round, the four characters closest to that side earn their players points. At the same time, the two characters on the other side of the king earn minus points. Between scoring, players play cards that cause characters to move around the table or change the king's favoured direction. The other character in the game is a balancing mechanism that belongs to the richest player and can only earn them negative points. Jonathan decided to spend the game supporting his dad, so it is surprising to see that he finished second. As for myself, I lost so badly that I was out of the running for quite a long time. Result: CD, JO, SO, TC.
Time was running out and the others had left, largely to take children home, so we split into pairs. The Ogdens had a go at The Reef while Chris and I played Rosenkönig, another of the Kosmos two-players. I quite like this one, but have never managed to beat Chris at it. This time I seemed to be doing well and looked on course to win when we ran out of time and had to go. I won't say that Chris delayed things...
Other games played during the evening were: