Match Report 27th September 2010

With continued distractions keeping some of our members away it was great to welcome a new face in the form of Matt. Having expressed interest in the evenings in the past he managed to squeeze a little time into his busy scholastic schedule to join us – great stuff. The rest of the line up for this weeks meeting consisted of Ian, Malcolm, Crispin, Daniella, Alex and of course, me. With apologies received from Liza and Joe, both deep in ‘A’ level course work and Pauline studying photography at the moment.

Straw (Age 6+, 2-6 players 30 minutes or less playing time)
Amusement as the scores are tallied after the Camel's back has been broken again
With Alex indicating he would be a little late and me distracted with various other duties around the house Ian kicked the evening off leading a game of Straw, with Alex and I joining as it progressed. This is quite simply a brilliant card game that is
quick to teach and play, with lots of interaction and opportunity to drop your fellow players in trouble. In this game you are trying to maximise the camel’s load without burdening the camel with objects weighing more than its limit of 50. So you can feel the tension in the air as one player takes the weight up into the 40’s and the players sitting nearest to right and left look on with glee as the next person looks worried and indicates they may take it over 50 so losing the game and ensuring the rest of the players win. However the order of play has a nasty habit of reversing around this time and you find yourself in deep trouble just when you thought you had set somebody else up to take the fall.

Some of the cards used in Straw
Ultimately Malcolm emerged triumphant with Alex in a close second place whilst the rest of us were somewhere off in the far distance when it came to the scores. A card game of much hilarity and popular with everybody we have played it with – young or old.

RoboRally (Age 12+, 2-8 players, 120 min playing time)
Having got the warm up out of the way, onto more serious stuff or for this week RoboRally!!!!

This is a game Alex and I dread having both encountered the ‘conveyer belt of perpetual turning’ and Ian loves having won 3 out of 4 previous games (I won the last one he and I played over the weekend with Gwen and not commented on in detail on this blog J). With this being the first time for some players we again plumped for the easy course, attempting to handicap Ian and myself with the more challenging starting positions.

One Robot sits on the first marker flag about to be pushed off by SpinBot, whilst another robot goes round and round on the conveyer belt
Well the first marker flag beckoned and we trundled our little robots down the course trying to avoid the fixed lasers, gears, conveyer belts and, with seven players playing, each other! Somehow I made it to the first marker comfortably ahead of everybody else, however as is the way with this game, it then all went horribly wrong and I spent a large part of the remainder of the game ….. yes you guessed it going round on those d***… conveyer belts!

The players look at the RoboRally board, amazed at the chaos within a simple game
Meanwhile the first marker flag was now surrounded by other little robots all trying to get on the flag but inevitably knocking each other out of the way. Crispin due to programming errors spent the rest of the game confined to this area, patrolling it and shooting anybody else who came close. I think Malcolm managed to get to the first marker but then due to a programming error sent his robot off into the vast void that surround the board and so lost a life.

Daniella and Matt got caught up in the chaos in the centre of the board whilst Alex and Ian managed to make it the second marker.

It's always funny when somebody else's robot heads off course
Alex was well placed to get to the third marker and win the game, but sadly came round a corner only to encounter my robot (which had just dismounted from the conveyer belt). This wrecked his plans and ultimately after the two of us knocked into each other a few more time sent him back in the direction of the second marker thus leaving the path to the 3rd marker open for yes ……you guessed it ………….Ian.

This brought his total to 4 out of 5 wins at this game, a feat that can only really be appreciated by those of us who have [*enjoyed / endured] the [*pleasure / pain / frustration / hell] of playing!. Well done Ian.
*delete as applicable

Munchies! Apple cake
Thanks on this occasion for our delicious munchies go to Daniella who very kindly baked an apple cake - yummy.

RoboRally is a board game with a large degree of luck that penalises you mercilessly for any failure in planning or if you get bumped by other robots. It is both very funny and hugely irritating and frustrating, in almost equal measure. This means if things go wrong they tend to go wrong big time and as with Alex and I in the past (and to some degree Crispin and Malcolm this time) you can find that however hard you try your plans just don’t seem to work out which can result in a very frustrating game. But if you are brave enough to tackle it then in our view it is a lot more fun with 7 players than with 3 and definitely one we will play again in the future, but maybe not for a few months (Ian is going to be banned from voting for this one)!

Munchies help when the chaos of RoboRally get too much
With ten minutes left till 10 we had a couple of quick games of Pitt to close the evening.

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