A Christmas Match Report for 2010

Here in brief is a summary of the gaming activities of the last two weeks, at our house, allowing for a combination of the appalling weather (some days Ian and I cleared our drive of snow 3 or 4 times), my wife’s broken leg (meaning increased duties around the home) and all the socialising over the Christmas / New Year period. 

A theft in progress during a game of Sushizock im Gockelwok
The 20th December saw Crowborough deep in snow and ice with the sad result that only Crispin (who lives within walking distance) ventured out to join the regular Monday night session. In truth I am not sure whether it was the allure of games or the promise of seasonal munchies that encouraged him out but he is always a welcome guest. Food aside we had a good game of Dominion plus Hick Hack and Sushizock im Gockelwok (details of all the games played over the holiday season can be found here).

More games were inevitably played through Christmas and Boxing days, perhaps the most memorable ones being a game of RoboRally where not only did I not end up spending the whole game on a conveyer belt and but was actually winning when it was time to break for food. The other was a game of Dixit (which Gwen agreed to play despite her previous view that it was the game from hell) with Effie and her children on Boxing Day. This turned into a really
fun game and one which Gwen thoroughly enjoyed. Maybe some games, like some books, need perseverance and then all of a sudden it all makes sense.

This resulted in us playing Dixit again the following day with other friends who enjoyed it so much they wanted to keep going to determine second and third past the finish post even though Ben had clearly won first place!

Players during our games day, with RoboRally in the foreground
The time between Christmas and New Year found Gwen and I exploring Stone Age (a Christmas present from my Russian secret Santa) during our one evening alone and me hosting an Open House Games Day on the 29th with 13 people coming along and apologies from a further 9.

The highlights of the day were:
Bausack - You have got to be kidding!
A herd of Christmas Munchies!

  • Ben winning at Bausack, a feat that could only really be appreciated by anyone who had witnessed his truly appalling performance at this game earlier in the holiday. 
  • Ian struggling with RoboRally!! Regular readers will know he has previously been the undisputed champion of this game. 
  • Some awesome Rudolph cup cake munchies brought along by Natalie. 
  • Ben and Alex cooking the various pizzas that had been brought along in a domino style production line. A pleasure to see them in action! 

It was a really enjoyable day (more images can be seen here) with people coming and going and I have had lots of great feedback from everybody - thanks.

The following day saw the arrival of Ian’s son, Gavin, and his family who would be staying with us till the 2nd Jan. During their stay many and varied games where played; the most memorable for me were:
  • Two games of Castle Panic, where in the first the hero’s scraped, and I do mean scraped, a narrow victory – probably because the monsters where out of practice. However true to form they came back on the next game and destroyed the heroic (can you say this when the game ends so quickly) defence in very short order. 
  • Ryan and everyone else really enjoying Zooloretto 
  • Gavin and Natalie starting a game of Stone Age around midnight and playing till 3am! Sadly I had already wimped out due to tiredness and retired to bed – if I had only known then I would have taken on caffeine and stayed the course!
A game of Stone Age near the end

Finally 3rd Jan found us again enjoying our regular Monday games evening. On this occasion I was joined by Crispin, Ben, Gwen and Ian, and we had the fastest and possibly most intense game I have ever played.

Players deep in concentration during a game of Dominion
We have all now played the basic game of Dominion a number of times and all felt it was time to try a new card configuration – Big Money. This saw the introduction of 8 new and unfamiliar cards and in other games this might have meant a slowing down of the game play - definitely not the case. After a brief discussion about the abilities of the various new cards the game was on and it preceded at such a pace that it was almost a relief when one of us paused for a moment to weigh up the alternatives.

As the game neared its conclusion, Gwen (who had been suffering the unwanted effects of the Bureaucrat played fairly regularly by all the other players) managed to start buying gold at a pace that led Ian and I to feared that she might quickly sweep up all the Provinces (and their associated victory points). So, convinced that the race was between the two of us and Gwen, he and I piled in snaffling as many Provinces as we could as quickly as we could thereby forcing the game to its conclusion, only to find that Crispin (the dark horse) had stolen through winning the game through regular (and un-noted) purchases of Duchies. It was close, incredibly fast and all agreed one of the best games we have ever played.

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