Match Report 23rd May 2011

Two starters, one muffin and no main course!

The last of the evenings Munchies!With Gwen still not feeling her normal self it was always going to be touch and go as to whether she stayed the course or turned in early. This together with Natalie and Ben arriving a little (or in Ben’s case a lot) late had an impact on the games played. It was a good turnout with Malcolm back from his walking holiday in the Orkneys, Daniella, Ruth, Gwen and the aforementioned late arrivals. Sadly no Crispin (suffering with a gammy leg torn a cartilage in his knee) or Pauline both of whom we hope to see again soon.

For the keen eyed amongst you, you will have noted that the ladies
outnumbered the men. A pleasant and I believe a very positive indicator of the breadth of appeal these games have – it’s a social thing.

Straw (Age 6+, 2-6 players 30 minutes playing time)
Straw - Some of the players
Our first games took us to the land of the Arabian Nights and the ever popular game Straw. A game we have played many times before but somehow Natalie had missed out on it up to this point. It is in the nature of this game that however carefully you try to manage your hand luck plays a big part on the options you have available and so although you may not ultimately loose a round, in the sense of breaking the camel’s back (an explanation of the game can be read in previous reports on this game) you can end up with a negative score where the looser of the round only scores zero. This was the situation Ruth struggled with, taking until the third hand to get into positive figures. I was at the other end of the spectrum on this occasion and thought I had a win in the bag but was overhauled by my not so ill wife who went on to win the game!

It is not a deep tactical game but rather a light filler quick to explain and we believe a great intro into the world of modern games in that there is a tension within the game and a humour as players try to force other players to break the Camel’s back and then find their plans misfire as the tables are reversed. We typically play a game of rounds equal to the number of players.

Saboteur (Age 8+, 3- 10 players, 30 min playing time)
Saboteur - The players trying to identify who are the good and bad guys

There was some discussion as to what next, with six players and then Ben arrived making it seven and Gwen not really convinced she could cope with a deeper game we ultimately went for another light game. Saboteur proved very popular last year and is great with children and non gamers alike, but again more of a filler.

Saboteur - A Saboteur and a Miner card
With the number of players there might be two or three Saboteur’s (again see here for an explanation of the game), as it turned out in the first and second games there were three and the last one two. As one of three Saboteurs in the first two games I am pleased to say we won and the miners didn’t get to the gold, but with only two Saboteurs in the last one the miners prevailed. By chance this result suited me as I was no longer a Saboteur, although suspected by a number of the other players, which meant I had been on the winning side in each of the three games and not surprisingly as the only person in this position I emerged with the most gold.

Braggart (2-6 players, Aged 10+, 30+ mins playing time) 
Braggart - The box and card backs
With munchies provided once again by Natalie (raspberry and white chocolate muffins) and Daniella (not to mention wine from Malcolm) thanks guys and having said goodbye to Gwen who was fading badly we looked for a game to handle six players that would take around 40 mins – we chose Braggart.

This is a very light-hearted game where the game play is as much about making amusing boasts as it is scoring highly. Ben can be heard chuckling away as he surveys his cards and the daft boast he can create. One of the most amusing seemed to me to be when one of the ladies constructed the following boast.
Braggart - One of the ladies surprising boasts!

We called a halt after everybody had been the lead player and much to her surprise Daniella emerged the winner.

It was another fun evening with lots of banter and delight, particularly amongst the ladies at the misfortunes that befell me in the various games. However it once again highlighted the challenge of trying to break the group into two when it came to the main event of the evening. I was left with a sense that we had had three starters but no main course.

More photo's of the evening can be seen here

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