Games In a Pub - 30th October 2011

Some new games, some old games and all of them very different, but lots of fun.

A week ago I had been surrounded by thousands of people at the largest games event in Europe at Spiel 2011 in Essen; the previous day we had been running our own little games event in Tunbridge Wells on behalf of the Pantiles trade Association and had seen nearly a 100 people through the day (details of this event can be found here). Both of these experiences had been wonderful but to sit down with friends last night and get a chance to play some of the games I brought back from Essen was really nice.
The team playing Carcassonne
However the evening started with an old favourite, Carcassonne, but as people arrived slightly later in the evening I had to dive out of Carcassonne and explain a couple of other games to our newcomers. I am not sure how either group felt about me jumping between their tables but in my absence the Carcassonne team selected and placed tiles for me. At the half way stage this was looking really good for me as I was joint leader, however as the game moved towards its

Mini Review - Geistesblitz

2 to 8 players, Ages 8+, 20-30 Minute Playing time
A review copy of Geistesblitz was kindly provided by the publishers Zoch GmbH.
The box lid and artwork from Geistesblitz
Geistesblitz is a fun game about speed of recognition / action where there are 5 wooden objects, a White Ghost, Red Chair, Green Bottle, Blue Book and a Grey Mouse and a deck of 60 cards. Each card has 2 of the objects represented by their physical image and importantly by their colour. On most of the cards the objects are coloured incorrectly so you might have a green mouse sitting in a blue chair. However on some of the cards one of the images will be correctly coloured e.g. a White Ghost holding a Red Bottle.
Geistesblitz - The wooden objects and 5 cards. Which object would you grab for each card?
The wooden objects are placed in the centre of the table and the game then proceeds with all the cards face down being passed to the active player. The active player turns over the top card and then all the players have the opportunity to either grab the correctly coloured object on the card OR the object that is missing from the card i.e. neither its image nor colour is present. The person who is the first to correctly grab the object receives the card. They will also receive a card from any players that get it wrong! We played without this option and would recommend that you do likewise for your first game as players are familiarising themselves with the images, particularly when playing with young children and adults like me!

As the active player if you grab or call out the correct object you retain the deck of cards and turn over the next card. If not then the rules say you pass the deck to the person who was correct, in our games we simplified this so that the deck was always passed to the next person in a clockwise direction. The winner being the player who has the most cards when the deck is exhausted.

This is a game clearly targeted at families and in particular children. Our experience is that they will love it and have a lot of fun playing it but that it will also help to develop skills around colour and shape recognition, plus speed of reaction and analysis skills.

However as with so many of the Zoch games it is really good fun and will also work for:

· Gamers as a light filler when time is short at the beginning / end of a games evening.

· Social Gamers who will I believe really enjoy this simple yet testing game.
Geistes Blitz being played in our local pub

· Non gamers who are up for a fun game that will be boisterous and have lots of interplay between the players as they frequently grab the wrong object.

A wooden ghost and happy confusion

If you liked this review then other games I have reviewed can be seen here

The Pantiles Games Day, Tunbridge Wells

On the 29th October 2011

Imagination Gaming is coming to Tunbridge Wells and will be at the Pantiles Games Day in the Corn Exchange on October 29th from 10am to 4pm, a free, exciting and engaging event for all ages and abilities. I will be leading this event as one of the Imagination Gaming team working like mad to make sure everyone there has a great time.

A family at one of our previous games events
If you have been reading about the great games we have available and or just fancy trying out some brilliant games as ideas for Christmas Presents then why not pop down and see us, what ever your age. It's free!

Essen Spiel 2011 - An Overview

Some background on this massive games show and a walk around one of its halls
A photo at Spiel 2011 taken in Hall 11 showing the people sitting at tables and in the aisles playing games

Most people in the UK will not have heard about the Internationale Spieltage or Spiel for short. This is a mecca for gamers who come from all over the world to buy, sell and play games of every type - except computer and internet games. It runs annually over 4 days in Essen, Germany attracting around 150,000 people with this year 810 exhibitors from 34 countries. With it attracting so many families (this should really be stressed, it is not a geek thing) and friends looking to play, there are tables in all of the 11 halls where you can just pitch up sit down and play, or buy a game. With so many people it is not surprising that it is also a key event for designers and this year's show saw 750 new games being released (some of which appear on this list)

What follows is a set of photo’s taken on the Saturday walking around just part of the main hall. It starts with

Families That Enjoy Playing Games

Other bloggers writing about the games they play with their children

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a keen advocate of games both as both a tool in society and as a valuable resource for fun and education within the family. I recently stumbled upon a list of games played by a Canadian family with 5 children aged from 9 through to 14. The children had graded the games (adding their own comments about each game) creating a top 10; I felt particularly inspired by the effort that had been put into their top 10 list and the breadth of games played and thought it would be of interest to others. I also thought that their list and comments might provide some good ideas as minds turn to thoughts of what Christmas presents to get for those children near and dear to you.

The list can be seen here with a list from the previous year here

If you are interested in which games other families have fun with then check out these two blogs.

1. Growing Up Gamers – Mum (Angie), dad (Randy), Katie (5) and Jack (2 – it is never too young to start playing games). This blog has a strong educational leaning as Mum is a teacher.

2. The Board Game Family - Mom and Dad, Trevor, Jaden, Brooke and Caleb. They do a number of reviews (including video’s) with the children leading and giving their own marks for the games, plus there is a list of their favourite games

I am sure there are other families’ blogging out there about their experiences but these are two I find particularly interesting. I hope you enjoy their efforts and they help inspire more families to explore the fun that can be had with modern board games.

Games in a Pub - 16th October 2011

More new faces and six games in one evening

Last night saw yet more new faces and apologies from some of our regulars.

We managed to play six very varied games during the evening:

Match Report 10th October 2011

Games, munchies and is that somebody in a balaclava?!
Cloud 9 - The players

Monday night saw 7 players gather around our table for an evening’s gaming; Ruth making one of her occasional visits (with a big cake), Ben, Daniella, Natalie, Crispin, Gwen (with pins!) and yours truly.

We started with a quick game of Cloud 9 where players take turns to pilot the balloon (throw the indicated number of dice and discard the appropriate number of coloured cards from their hands) whilst their fellow players try to guess if the next pilot will have the cards available to meet the requirements indicated on the dice. It is simple, light and amusing – a good way to start the evening, although some may have disagreed as I won the game.
Cloud 9 - The board and components

We then moved onto Stone Age with Gwen, Crispin and Daniella at one end of the table and “War on Terror The Board Game” at the other end. Having played Stone Age on the previous Monday the guys were keen to give it another go and Crispin once again showed his mastery of this attractive game through a combination of large population (he now understand you need to send two meeples to the ‘Love shack’ to produce a

Review – War On Terror The Board Game

2-6 players, Aged 14+ with a 120 minute playing time
Artwork from the box lid

War on Terror The Board Game was kindly provided by Terror Bull Games

What started as an alcohol fuelled mickey take at the absurdities and hypocrisy of the 2003 Gulf War that “was not designed to encourage or make fun of terrorism” stirred up such a wave of controversy in 2006 that the games designers received around a dozen death threats, nearly went bankrupt themselves and are still banned from a number of Toy Fairs. A fuller history of the game can be read in the FHM article here.

War On Terror The Board Game is a satirical game that sets the players as ‘Empires’ seeking to dominate or should that be liberate large swathes of the world were oil is the primary means of gaining more money. Each land space has a probability (low or high) of generating the black gold. As the game progresses the Empires expand seeking to control more and more of the land (to gain greater and greater revenues). Along the way players may create and use terrorists to slow down their opponents, choose or be compelled to become a terrorist state themselves and in their lust for oil stumble upon a country with indigenous terrorists.

This is a game rich in cynical black humour where you can declare Holy wars, nuke other players, bankrupt opponents all in the cause of gaining enough victory points to declare yourselves the winner. If this kind of humour offends you then stop reading now, this game is not for you.

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

Waterstones best selling game, but will it have any lasting impact in the UK?
The box artwork for Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

Say board games to most people in the UK and they immediately think of the likes of Monopoly, Cluedo and Risk, but go to your local Waterstones store this autumn and nestled amongst the aforementioned titles you will also see a very different game – “Discworld: Ankh-Morpork”.

Why is this particular game worthy of comment beyond that fact that it is based in on the much loved Discworld created by one of Britain’s most successful and popular authors Terry Pratchett? The answer to this is complex but important.

Ankh-Morpork - The City and the game board
1. Last year the UK was described to me as the ‘black hole’ of

Games in a Pub - 2nd October 2011

Frustration and chaos in a very funny racing game

With apologies from a number of regulars and Gwen at home following her second foot operation the previous day I knew the turnout might be small. But thankfully Oliver and I were quickly joined by Karen and Martin (the green team from the last Sunday meeting). At the last Sunday meeting we played Ticket To Ride and Oliver had requested that we have a crack at one of the other two classic gateway games Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan so this week we started off with Carcassonne. This is a game in which I had lost interest until playing it recently with my nephew on a camping trip reawakened my enthusiasm; I was confident that both Karen and Oliver would really enjoy it (which they did) and Martin knew what he was letting himself in for.
Carcassonne - The players

Carcassonne is a tile-laying game where players build up a landscape reminiscent of that around the southern French city of Carcassonne famous for its Roman and Medieval fortifications. As the players develop the area around Carcassonne they deploy their followers (Knights, Thieves, Monks and Farmers) on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters and in the fields earning points as they complete various elements of the landscape. It is a gentle almost collaborative game but still has a competitive dimension as players seek to score as many point s as possible. With Martin and I having played this one many times before (although never together) there was always a good chance one of us would come out on top and so it proved in the end with Martin finishing significantly ahead of the rest of us.
Carcassonne - The tile layout early in the game

Whilst we had been enjoying the delights of the French country side Nick, Andy Chris and Adam had arrived and played the ever popular Bausack.
The guys playing Bausack - Not a good photo - Sorry

With both games complete we rearranged the furniture (as there had been a request for a game that could accomodate all eight of the evenings attendees) and set up the chaotic but very funny

How To Pass Time In Hospital - Part 2

Games are used as a tool to distract and amuse the patient, by a 10 year old!

This is a follow up article to our first visit when Gwen had lots of work done on her left foot including three nice green pins inserted into her toes! On this occasion her right foot was the target of the surgeon’s knife!

On this occasion things went less to plan (as they are wont to do when spending time in hospital) and so even we couldn’t resist the siren call of the TV and succumbed to the delights of watching England play the first half of their world cup game against Scotland before she was taken off into the operating theatre. I watched the second half alone but the theatre sister kept Gwen appraised of the score whilst they were waiting for the “block” (local anaesthetic) to take effect on her leg.
Playing Archaeology in hospital

Once I had recovered from the stress of England’s performance on the rugby pitch and Gwen had recovered from the sedation we felt up to playing a couple of games that were not too “taxing”. On this occasion we started with two games of Archaeology (possibly one of the smallest and lightest games we have). This is an interesting card game that deserves more use, although it is let down in my view by the somewhat bland artwork. True to form Gwen won the first game but I did manage to recover and win the second.