Match Report 21st December 2011

Merry Christmas
Christmas Munchies!
With only days to go to Christmas it was probably unsurprising that we had lost some our regular gamers but in the upside we were the grateful recipients of:

a. A 500g slab of Mississippi Mud Pie from Hotel Chocolate, courtesy of Ben, one of the regulars sadly unable to join us.

b. Some of the reindeer munchies that regulars of this blog will have seen last Christmas - thank you again Natalie - they were just as good this Christmas!

c. Crispin’s stunning Christmas cake. This is the 3rd year he has been kind enough to bake one of his excellent Christmas cakes for Gwen & I (in return for a donation to a charity to help the homeless). It is absolutely yummy - a cake lots of fruit and cherries, no nuts but extra brandy. I am very tempted to be uncharitable and hide it away before my brother-in-law arrives since I am sure my wife favours her brother over me when cutting slices!!

So no Ben (working at the aforementioned Hotel Chocolate), Daniella (visiting family), Malcolm (AWOL) and all our other possible players busy wrapping pressies or recovering from another hard days Christmas shopping.

To set the festive scene we had our decorations up and a medley of Christmas pop music, acquired over the years Gwen and I have been together, and as is the way of today all now stored on an Ipod. So with this music in the background we were reminded of Crispin’s simply awesome knowledge of music as he named the artist and song track after track in seconds with no errors and very few “don’t knows” during the whole evening.
Some of the Minions
Gwen needed to catch up on some paperwork so opted out of the first game leaving four of us: Natalie, Crispin, Alex and myself to play DiscWorld: Ankh-Morpork. This is a game we reviewed earlier this year and one that all the players were familiar with. When played with friends who can approach the game with the same levity and flexible approach to decency and social norms it is both very funny and challenging.

I think I may have mentioned before how sweet and innocent Natalie appears and how deadly she is in games that allow her to wreak havoc and mayhem (a game of Landlord springs to mind some months ago - although I cannot find it recorded on the blog) and so it was once again. Now I am sure if she was writing this post she may put a slightly different spin on things given that she had numerous minions removed (i.e. intimidated, murdered or assassinated) and she might point to the fact that I was one of the offenders attacking her from the off. But what I will remember from Wednesday night was the sound of glee in her voice when she muttered darkly to herself ‘excellent this is going to be fun’ as she drew the ‘Hello’ card then used it almost immediately to murder two minions – although I think on this occasion I escaped her attentions. In the back ground we had Crispin doing impressions of Leslie Phillips (of  Navy Lark fame) saying 'Hello' in that very suggestive, almost salacious, way he had.
Four of the cards including 'Hello'!
Dragon King of Arms
As it turned out Alex and I were both Lords and so trying to gain control of four districts of the city, something Alex was on the cusp of doing when Natalie played a random event card - The Flood and as luck would have it reduced his areas of control (to win the game you need to meet the winning condition at the beginning of your go) from 4 to 3 – shame. Crispin meantime was the Dragon King ergo was trying to spread trouble (little black markers); again he was on the cusp of winning when I squeezed in with control of 4 districts snatching the win from under his nose. Natalie had been Lord Vetinari and so was trying to get minions in 9 districts of the city and I am sure would claim that we repeatedly wrecked her plans for all my comments of how deadly she can be.

With such a close finish where frankly, had luck changed direction only slightly any one of us could have won, we all agreed once again what an excellent game Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is and how much we had all enjoyed the mayhem it seems to encourage.
Lots of Christmas Munchies

With the first game out of the way Gwen now joined us along with coffees and munchies – thank you everyone.
Fuchs & Fertig - The players

Two quick games of Fuchs and Fertig saw Crispin continue to struggle, with this game, as much with luck as anything else whilst for the first game my luck held out and then Gwen won the second by discarding 8 cards in one go – well remembered, although she has an undeclared technique that some may call sharp practice!
Kalimambo - The playing board and components
With half an hour left and Kalimambo sitting in a corner there seemed only one choice to be made. As my review suggests this is not a game of high tactics rather toilet level humour mixed with luck and chaos. But for a group in the right festive mood it can provide an amusing half hour, similar to Hick Hack in that respect. In this game, Natalie (who so nearly won last time) quickly took a points lead on the score board (just to remind you points most definitely do not mean prizes in Kalimambo) with me close behind. Gwen was undisputed winner, having managed to dance around every single pile of elephant dung and receive what might be described as a single gentle kiss from Mambo, as opposed to the ramming Natalie and I repeatedly received.

So our last scheduled games evening of 2011 came to a close with festive music in the background, amusing games and good friends. When asked what their favourite games of 2011 had been:

Alex quickly responded with Dominion

Natalie went for Galaxy Trucker

Crispin thought this was difficult to answer in that how to you compare games like Fuchs and Fertig with a playing time of 10 mins with say Discworld: Ankh-Morpork (around and hour) or Stone Age (nearer two hours). Stone Age would feature high on his list although he too enjoyed the early games of Dominion, then a couple of games with either too many players or less enjoyable (in our view) card combinations left him disenchanted with this excellent game. Ultimately he felt they are all good but to say a favourite depends on who you are with and how much time you have to play a game, a sentiment the others agreed with.

Gwen’s list included Qwirkle, Stone Age, Alhambra, Colosseum and Dominion.

Thank you for reading this blog over the last year and I look forward to continuing the journey in the New Year.

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 8th January at 7pm. More details can be seen on our Facebook page ‘Social Gamers – Crowborough’.

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