Match Report 5th December 2011

Racing, digging, chasing and then a party with woodland friends!

Last night saw us change venue for the first time in nearly a year and thereby have the opportunity to involve Daniella’s 3 wonderful youngsters - they told me to write that!

With Malcolm off at a Christmas Party and Gwen resting her weary feet (recovery from the operations is proving to be a long process) we nevertheless mustered 5 of the usual suspects: Natalie, Crispin, Ben, Daniella and obviously your scribe.
Pitch Car with Extension - The Players racing around the track

With the youngsters involved I thought it would be a good excuse to let the group loose with Pitch Car a game both Ben and I acquired earlier in the year and have had a lot of fun with. However before I suggested that Ben bring his copy and more importantly his Extension I should have had a closer look at it. The concept of the game is that you have a racing track with up to 8 racing cars in the form of circular wooden disks that you take turns to flick around the track. The main rule to note is that if in the process of flicking your car you:

  • Knock your car off the track.
  • Knock another player’s car off the track.
  • Knock your car and an opponent’s/s off the track.
  • Turn your car or that of an opponent over

Then you go back to where you started that turn from, a rule that we invoked frequently.
Merlin keeps a beady eye on the camera man!
Well this is a fun but tricky little game that takes practice to perfect the optimum approach to flicking your car, as too much power and your car goes sailing off the track, too little and you go nowhere and there is always the issue of opponents cars and trying to calculate the angles off the crash barriers. When you are doing well you feel like Sebastian Vettel and when done badly you end up loosing it and spinning off the track, going nowhere at all or worse still propelling an opponent’s car forward.

Great fun but it takes practice even when using the basic game. Well I foolishly asked Ben to bring the Extension, he was given for his birthday, as well – a mistake I feel! The Extension brings with it a tunnel, a bridge and the division of two bends into lanes by placing crash barriers down the middle of the track -hmmm! Something just designed to cause chaos.

Pitch Car with Extension - It's not about the winning it's about having funBy the time I realised my mistake the track was set up and we were off. With Daniella in pole position stalling (flicking her car of the track and so having to place it back where it started at the front of the grid) it was always going to be tricky. There is room for about 4 cars side by side on the track but if you allow for the accuracy of our flicking you can call that no more than two! Those that managed to get round her without either flicking themselves or an opponent’s car of the track piled into the second bend and the lanes I mentioned earlier. Not surprisingly given the lack of experience there was a huge pile up with cars going in all directions and it taking some time before any cars could successfully navigate the bend other than Leonie who drove (flicked ) like a pro from the off - like Vettel she never let anyone else close to getting a shot at winning the race. Daniella after an awful start where she flicked either her or opponents cars off the track numerous times navigated the mess at the second bend and went onto come in second place.

Everybody seemed to really enjoy the game and whilst I suspect it might have worked better if we had omitted the expansion, given that this was completely new to so many, Leonie’s heroic win rather belies this thought. However, it would certainly have been a much faster race and we would have had the time to get a number of laps in without the complications of the Extension.
Saboteur - Is he a good guy or a Saboteur (in 3 games he was a Saboteur every time!)?
With a large group and only one table we went for an old favourite next, Saboteur, a game where players have concealed identities in which the good dwarves try to get to dig tunnels to the gold whilst the bad guys try to sabotage the efforts of the good guys. With nobody sure of what role other players are playing this game always leads to much false accusation and protestations of innocence even when patently untrue – from me at least! Lots of fun with the first round going to the good guys (boo hiss – I was a Saboteur at this stage) and then the subsequent two rounds going to the Saboteurs (players roles change in each round). Leonie won this game, again by some margin, since she found the gold in the first round and then, in spite of her innocent looks and comments, she was a Saboteur in the second and third rounds.
Saboteur - Crispin is distracted by what looks like a large hairy caterpillar crawling along the edge of the table
Time for the munchies, Natalie’s offering were savoury cheese and chive muffins and we were then spoilt with a Lemon Drizzle cake from Daniella, as delicious as ever.
At this point Matt headed off to do some studying taking our number down to 7 so, having really enjoyed Kalimambo on our previous evening there was little hesitation when this game was suggested again. In this game, players find themselves in a bizarre race where the person at the back of the line is inevitably caught by Mambo the rhino and the unwary / unlucky find themselves treading in the elephant dung. Both events result in receiving negative points and the aim of the game is about getting as few negative points as possible.
Kalimambo - The positions at the end of the last round
Sadly for Crispin he took an early lead in acquiring these points and never really looked back, treading in dung at every opportunity. Natalie and Tom took a different approach both navigating this challenging race track and its inhabitants without a single mishap until that is the last round. By this stage the rest of us were covered in brown smelly stuff and battered and bruised from having been caught by Mambo. Sadly for Natalie and to Tom’s delight player after player moved past Natalie leaving her firmly at the back of the line with the inevitable negative points for the considerable distance Mambo had had to cover to catch her. Tom on the other hand nestled safely in amongst the adventurers avoiding both Mambo and the dung once again.

With 10 minutes to go before Daniella threw us out and having lost Daniella to the washing up (the delights of being the host of these evenings have a negative side as well) and loosing Leonie exhausted from her victories and the trauma of seeing her younger brother win a game we turned to our current favourite 10 minute game –Fuchs und Fertig.
Fuchs & Fertig - I pushed my luck and had 2 cards to go when it all went horribly wrong!
Needing minimal explanation and with 12 cards dealt, Crispin started and immediately guessed wrong, something he continued to do in all his subsequent rounds – he really didn’t have a good evening on the score board. Whilst Natalie on the other hand slowly but surely guessed her cards correctly and then as she started seeing cards again stopped guessing and was hesitantly but surely remembering the cards she had already seen. Needless to say she won and we completed the game in just over 10 mins. Not bad for a 5 player game with a rules explanation!

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 11th December at 7pm. More details can be seen on our Facebook page ‘Social Gamers – Crowborough’.

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