Match Report 7th November 2011

Victorian England doesn't work for everybody, however foxes and dwarves do!

As people arrived we congregated in the kitchen whilst drinks were sorted and people caught up with what we had all been up to since our last evening. Gwen had had a very tiring day (still recovering from two operations on her feet) so she needed to sit with her feet well up and bowed out of the evenings activities. When all were gathered we had Malcolm, Crispin, Ben and Daniella, whilst Alex, Ruth and Natalie all had circumstances conspire against them to ensure they were detained elsewhere.
The Games brought back from Essen 2011 + 1

The box lid from Geistesblitz
With a pile of the games brought back from my trip to Essen at one end of the table, Daniella was soon opening boxes and delighting in the artwork and quality of the components the games she looked at. We briefly considered Giestesblitz (reviewed here) but with drinks on the table a game that call on the players to grab objects in the middle of the table was never going to be a good idea!

Gwen and I had played Last Will three times over the weekend (on one occasion with one of our cats determinedly trying to play with Gwen’s Errand Boys). Whilst our initial reaction had been that is was complicated we had both really enjoyed it and were keen to play it with more players, although as it was one of the meatier games brought back from Essen I was a little nervous that it might not work for everybody.
Max helping Gwen to play Last Will!

Artwork from the box lid for Last Will
With the board setup and rules explained we embarked on this humorous game set in Victorian England where players seek to lose a large sum of their Uncle’s money in order to prove their ‘competence’ and thereby inherit his fortune. This is a beautifully constructed game with high quality components and artwork and an interesting game play, by the designer of League of Six (a game we have played a number of times with various groups). But being by this designer it is also a more tactical and thoughtful game than we often play on a Monday night. What gamers might describe as a medium weight game were luck is kept to a minimum, there are many competing options to consider, with (in this game) limited Actions and Errand Boys to carry them out.

Last Will - The Game Boards in the distance and a Player Board in the foreground
The result is that there are always more things you would like to do than are available to you. Put these factors together with the absence of a quick player guide for the players to help each player understand the iconography on the cards then I think that trying it with 5 players was perhaps a mistake on my part.
Last Will - The players discussing the game

I didn’t manage to get a photo of the furrowed brows and confused looks but suffice to say that for three players this was a game where the humour was lost in the complexity and would not be one they would rush back to. That said Daniella was much more positive about it and keen to give it another go. Not I am sure for the reason Crispin suggested 'that this was a game ladies would delight in because it was essentially about spending money' – I am sure he ducked out of the classes at school on political correctness!

With coffees and munchies (very nice flapjacks provided by Daniella, sadly no close up photo’s) consumed we looked for the next game. I should also note that Malcolm also brought a nice bottle of red wine something he has done a number of times before, but on each occasion I have forgotten to flag our appreciation in the way I do for the munchies, sorry.
Fuchs & Fertig - The players having a real laugh with this game

Looking for a lighter game to help our players recover we turned to one of the many Zoch review games Furchs and Fertig (reviewed here). This is a child friendly game about initially guessing and later memorising the cards you turn over. That said however child friendly it is it also provided a lot of laughter and fun last night as players tried to guess the size of the next animal.

With 40 minutes of the evening left and knowing Crispin in particular is a keen card player I suggested that we go for my favourite game from Essen 2011. This is essentially a trick taking card game with some stunning fantasy artwork where there are no trumps and the rules as to who wins keep changing.
The Dwarf King - The game box and some cards

After a slow start because of what we believe to be language issues with two of the Quest Tiles we were soon laughing as loudly with this game as we had with Furchs and Fertig. It is a chaotic game were players are rarely in control but the combination of screwage (messing up your opponents), fast game play and the artwork offers a very satisfying way of spending 40 minutes that we felt could be enjoyed by many families.
The Dwarf King - Another game with a lot of laughs in it

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 13th November at 7pm. More details can be seen on our Facebook page ‘Social Gamers – Crowborough’.

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