With carols at the Blue Anchor and an expected full house it was time to take our games group on the road and move about 2 mins (by car) towards Uckfield to the Crow and Gate. I am not sure what the diners made of as we started our first game of the evening Alcatraz: The Scapegoat , listening to us get into character and drop each other in it.
Alcatraz: The Scapegoat finds the players as convicted inmates in the famous penitentiary, all collaborating to escape. However as you might expect with a game in this setting the collaboration only works up to a point! The players quickly got into character, from an early point sizing up who they could make the scapegoat and unsurprisingly they continually plumped for me, ahh I hear you cry that is so unfair! Well to be fair to them within the mechanics of the game what tools I had found had also been found by other inmates all of whom had more to offer. However what they hadn’t bargained for was that an aggrieved convict might throw his lot in with the guards and start making life very difficult for his erstwhile friends. Now this may not be entirely as was intended by the designer but I had a lot of fun making them work and ultimately watching them fail! I think they might have won if a number of the others had not also at various points not failed to deliver on undertakings they had made to each other. It wasn’t quiet Panic Station, but certainly distrust was high!
Next up was Samurai Sword this is a reworking of a game both Simon and I know well, Bang! Our (my) frequent references to cards and activities in this game set in Samurai Japan probably irritated after a while but it is really hard when playing a game that is so similar to one you know about Cowboys and Indians not to make reference to oh that’s just like the Indians, or the Dynamite or…… Anyway this game has three factions (Samurai / Shogun vs Ninja vs Ronin) each trying to win the game but nobody is quiet sure who is in which faction and a faction wins if it wins more fights than the others. So as a game it won’t work for everybody but definitely built well for our group on the 1st game of the evening.
The advantage it has over Bang (assuming that you share my issue with Bang!) is that it has no player elimination, the disadvantage (in my view) is that Bang offers a cleaner more thematic game. I had been keen to play Samurai Sword as in the past I have enjoyed many games of Bang! (but would now avoid it – too many early eliminations for me!) and was hopeful that it would offer a compelling alternative; for me it was fun but somehow lost that “je ne sais quoi” that has made Bang such a hit.
Our next event will revert to our normal venue the Blue Anchor, Crowborough and is in two weeks time on Sunday 23rd December starting at 7.00pm - £1 per head. More details can be seen on our Facebook Page Social Gamers - Crowborough