Match Report 21st June 2010

Our Bedroom - work in progress!
Well in the midst of chaos (to call Ian’s efforts decorating, given the that he is knocking down walls, boarding lofts, putting in loft ladders, covering our artex ceilings with plaster board, wallpapering and painting would be to significantly undersell his talents and the level of work he is putting in, more like house renovation - see inset photo of our bedroom) somehow we found time to play a few games and had a bumper turnout to boot, with many comings and goings but 8 yes that was 8 people at the high water mark of the evening.

Our team for the evening were our old favourites Pauline, Daniela, Natalie, joined once again by Ian and Helene joining us for her first evening, plus obviously myself. Malcolm sent his apologies being called away to a committee meeting. Again for the mathematically minded you will spot that makes only six. To find out who the remaining two were you will have to read till the end (ish).

Two stylish white buckets at the foot of our drive!
As an aside Daniela commented on her arrival on the reason for the two very large white containers at the foot of our drive. My initial answer of we wanted something different from the standard lions and griffins met with a very sceptical response. Thankfully this was asked outside the hearing of Gwen who has been asking me to move them for a few weeks now. So having a guest commenting on these eyesores would have vindicated her frustration at the slow rate of progress I am making on this particular element of the renovation project.

Bohnanza (Age 12+, 2-7 players, 45+ min playing time)
Our initial game of the evening was Bohnanza played at a very sedate pace and with a much more open trading system than normal (i.e. most of us had our hands face up so we could explain to Helene how the game worked and how we played the various options presented to us). This game was notable for my
inept explanation of the rules, miscounting and other forgetful activities. When combined with the open handed play this probably wasn’t the best game of Bohnanza we have ever played, not helped for the others by my amassing a significant leading score, but never mind they can’t always be brilliant games.

Sushizock im Gockelwok or Chicken Sushi (Age 8+, 2-5 players, 20 min playing time)
With Pauline needing to dash off to refuel her car, to be sure of getting home (promising to return not least in order to pick up Natalie) we picked up one of my recent additions that is intended as a fill-in game and one that would be good with younger children Sushizock im Gockelwok (yep that’s its name, roughly translated as Chicken Sushi) although I have no idea how anybody could put the concept of chickens eating sushi together but if you suspend trying to work that out then it is a cracking little game, for 5 players, that left everybody keen to play it again.

The idea is that that you collect either sushi or fishbone domino sized playing pieces by throwing 5 dice, up to three times (ala Yahtzee) with each dice having symbols rather than numbers: Blue Sushi, Red Fish bones, Blue chopsticks and Red chopsticks.

As you throw the dice you can reserve some if they show the symbol you want and re-throw the remainder to try and get as many of your chosen symbols as possible. Each domino like piece has either a sushi symbol in blue with a positive number or a fish bone symbol in red with a negative number.

Depending on your throw of the dice after three throws you can select either a sushi or a fishbone playing piece from either those laid out in the centre of the table or someone else’s pile. J

Over the course of the game you amass a pile of red fishbones and blue sushi playing pieces hopefully with high positive numbers on the sushi pieces or low negative numbers on the fishbone pieces. The winner is the player with the highest net score. However any sushi playing pieces that are higher than your pile of fishbones have to be discarded, so the art of the game is to manage your piles! Never an easy thing.

I am pleased to say that our resident head teacher (retired) and our latest recruit Helene won this amusing and fun little mathematical game convincingly after another poor explanation of the rules from me with corrections from Ian – thank you.

In time honoured fashion we broke for coffees and yet more lovely cakes from Natalie- thank you. On this occasion I believe they were coconut and cherry and I thought I would honour them with a photo, and to make Crispin jealous! However the resultant photo did not do them justice – sorry.

Art work from the box cover for Saboteur
Saboteur (Age 8+, 3- 10 players, 30 min playing time)
With Pauline now back from her dash to the petrol station we were joined by Gwen fresh back from London and Joe who had just got back from Wimbledon and had phoned at 9pm on the off chance that he might be able to join us for our last game – good effort. With Ian, Gwen and myself having played Saboteur with some friends the night before and having thoroughly enjoyed it we thought it would work well with our Monday night group.

The idea is that you are a bunch of Dwarven Miners some of whom are good guys after the gold. Then there are the bad guys, called Saboteurs whose aim is to stop the Miners getting to the gold before the cards (tunnels and actions) run out. Maybe they are actually environmentally activists trying to stop the exploitation of the earth resources and so arguably, the good guys are the bad guys and visa versa ?!

The passages through the mines early in the game
Anyway each player is given a card in secret telling them what role they are to play in the game (Miner or Saboteur) and a number of path and action cards. These can be used through the game to either:
  • Dig tunnels towards the treasure (or away from it if you are a Saboteur) 
  • Play an action card that breaks a piece of mining equipment so stopping that player from laying any more tunnel cards. 
  • Play an action card that repairs a piece of mining equipment allowing either yourself or a fellow player to resume mining. 
The players wondering what Joe will do next or maybe how they will wreck our plans to get to the gold
The game played in three rounds (with your role, Miner or Saboteur potentially changing in each round unless you are Ian in which case he is always a bad guy) saw the first and second go the Miners, with the first game notable for the shock of both Pauline and Natalie being Saboteurs, and we thought they were such nice people! The third round was deftly won by the Saboteurs (Ian, Gwen and Daniela) as they continually turned our tunnels away from the gold and then caused a cave in on the last go severing our only possible tunnel to the gold.

When the players gold was counted (each round the winners, be they Saboteurs or Miners, get varying amounts of gold) Daniela was the overall winner having been on the winning side in each of the 3 rounds.

Gwen using an action card to check where the gold is
The resultant confusion over who is on which side and the ability for nobbling your fellow player’s leads to much hilarity and a game that was again one that everyone was keen to play again.

With Saboteur priced at £7 and Sushizock im Gockelwok priced at under £10 the games don’t have to be expensive to be great fun.

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