Match Report 21st November 2011

An evening playing with spices, chocolate and elephant dung!
Chocolate munchies with edible gold stars - yummy!

Monday night saw another gathering of our games team with on this occasion, Malcolm (with photo’s of his MG project), Natalie (with scrummy chocolate and orange buns), Ben (with news of his new job at Hotel Chocolate - we do wonder if they will have to announce a profits warning having such a chocoholic on the staff - for Ben on the other hand a dream job), Crispin (with his good looks and charm!) and obviously Gwen and myself.

As the conversation was beginning to slow and Natalie trying hard to balance her lack of interest in the photos of Malcolm’s car with not wanting to appear rude (with a car mad father she has I suspect seen all the photo’s of engines and wheels she will ever want to) we repaired to the dining room.

First up was one of our current favourites Fuchs and Fertig a silly but very funny push your luck game where the players need to guess if the next card they are going to turn over will show an animal larger smaller or the same size as the last card; the winner being the first player to get rid of all their cards.

As I sat out of this game I was able to observe at close quarters
the difficulty others have in guessing and then memorising the order of the cards. Both Natalie and Crispin in particular seemed to repeatedly turn over a bear or the ant (the largest and smallest animals depicted respectively) card and not unreasonably guess that the next card would be smaller or larger only to then turn over another bear or ant to cries of anguish from them and delight from the other players. This game took no more than 10 mins for Malcolm to emerge victorious.
Fuchs & Fertig - Not much to see in this simple but fun card game

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
2- 4 players, aged 10+ , 60 minute playing time
Next we split up with Gwen leading another newly acquired Zoch game - Safranito and me leading another current favourite Discworld: Ankh-Morpork. Safranito is a physical game and I was initially a little worried that having Gwen, Malcolm and Ben throwing, what look a little like poker, chips would be very distracting to our game. But once Crispin, Natalie and I got into the machinations of this excellent Martin Wallace /Treefrog game we took little notice of the cries coming from thither end of the table.

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork - The three players
This is not a game to hold back when it comes to knobbling your fellow players, as the dynamics of the game mean that winning is as much about stopping the other players as what you do yourself. To do this all players to varying degrees spread chaos (trouble markers), assassinate other players minions, extort money with menaces, seek to dominate areas of the city and generally spread their minions throughout the city.
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork - The draw pile is down to only three cards but there was nothing we could do to stop Lord Vetinari (Natalie) winning
To win this game guessing which of the 7 characters your opponents are playing is very important so that you can foil their plans - and I was struggling with this. I had both pegged as Lords. As it turned out this was a mistake with Natalie ultimately winning as Lord Vetinari (she needed minions in 10 city districts). However the game was very close with me nearly winning a number of times (I was a Lord and so needed control of 5 city districts) only to have Crispin repeatedly assassinate or otherwise noble my minions. However when Natalie declared victory with a very small fist raising gesture and a cry of YEAH Crispin revealed his character as Commander Vimes (his condition was to have ensured nobody else won and for the draw deck t be exhausted - there were only three cards left!
Discworld: Ankh-Morprk - Lord Vetinari is victorious
From half way through the game Crispin was saying how much he was enjoying this game, a game that in our view only gets better on subsequent plays.

Safranito 2-4 players, aged 8+, 30 minute playing time
Safranito - Gwen trying to land her token on Mint or Garlic
At the other end of the table the guys had been playing Safranito. The game board depicts bowls of 9 different spices, 4 special event spaces and has a raised lip with spaces marked for spice cards. The aim of this unusual board game is to throw poker like chips onto the game board and by their position either buy or sell spices, gain a secret spice blend recipe, gain an extra turn, gain secret spice cards or take control. There are always 2 face up spice blend cards depicting the 3 spices required to make the blend, the aim is to acquire the cards to make up the blend – the first person to have 3 completed spice blends in their possession is the winner.

Malcolm and Ben trying this for the first time both enjoyed it and felt it offered something completely different; although a physical game this is not a game for young children and is an interesting addition to my games collection blending acquisition and trading with dexterity and motor control. Finishing slightly ahead of our game Gwen and her supporters served coffee and Natalie’s lovely munchies.
Ben looks on eagerly - It's munchie time and they are chocolate!

Kalimambo 3 -7 Players, Aged 8+ , 30 minute playing time
Kalimambo - A close up of the board and the 'amateur adventurers', with Kali in their middle. Mambo the rhino can be seen in the distance
Our group are thankfully always game to try the new games I buy and am given as review copies and so another Zoch game Kalimambo made it to the table. Having had a hoot playing it a few times over the weekend with a couple of 7 year olds we felt sure our friends would enjoy this game. Kalimambo is a board game about a weird animal (Kali) leading an expedition of explorers in the jungle who are in turn being chased by Rhino (Mambo). The weird wooden animal token was thought by me to be a black mongoose whilst my fellow players thought it to be a seal - obviously because you get a lot of seals in the jungle living alongside rhinos! Interestingly the two 7 year olds had not worried about what type of animal it was. I am not sure what this says about either group of players!
Kalimambo - Three of the players
The aim of Kalimambo is to avoid the elephant dung on the board (nice brown round wooden dung pile shaped tokens - as you might expect Crispin felt for enhanced realism they should perhaps have been of squidgy rubber and perfumed!) whilst at the same time not finding yourself at the back of the column of explorers as Mambo is sure to catch you.

Each player has a set of cards numbered 0 to 11 and players play one of these each turn. This will determine the order with which the explorers play leapfrog on the game board e.g. the highest card moves their explorer to the front of the column first whilst the lowest moves last or in the case of a zero they don‘t move at all. If an explorer stands in the dung they get 3 damage points, whilst if Kali does (he has his own set of cards that are shuffled and then one is drawn randomly each turn) the 3 points are awarded to the player who played the lowest numbered card. When all the players have moved, Mambo chases the explorers and inflicts the number of spaces he has moved as damage on the last explorer. If Kali is in last place then again the damage is awarded to the player who played the lowest numbered card.

The winner if the game is the player with the lowest score at the end of the game. Kalimambo is a lot of fun, and, as you would expect of game in which dung features there is lots of sniggering over the many terms used to describe the ‘brown smelly stuff’ or the unfortunate players who end up standing in it! A game our group thoroughly enjoyed and thought would be a good end to any games evening.

More photos from the evening can be seen here.

If you would like to try some of the games mentioned in this post or indeed any of the others on this blog then why not come along to our next Social Evening with Game at the Blue Anchor on 27th November at 7pm. More details can be seen on our Facebook page ‘Social Gamers – Crowborough’.

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