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!!

News Update - More Zoch Games Available In The UK

Following discussions at Essen Spiel 2011 I am pleased to be able to announce that some of the great games we have been talking about on my blog are at last going to be readily available in the UK through our friends Paul and David at GamesLore.


Bausack - Crispin looks on in amazment at the tower
The prices are indicative and so may change.

Having only taken delivery of them today (19/12/2011) they may still show as 'pre-orders' on the GamesLore web site but its is great to see that games that we have picked up in Germany and have had so much fun with like Fuchs and Fertig, Geistesblitz, and Bausack are going to be more readily available in the UK.

Games in a Pub - 11th December 2011

A large race and then some surprisingly disappointing games

With the rain lashing down outside I was surprised to find a large group ready and willing to play when I arrived at the Blue Anchor, last Sunday. With yet more people arriving close behind me and the festive season approaching it seemed (to me at least!) an ideal opportunity to give Pitch Car another run out.
Pitch Car - Nick sends his yellow car screaming into the next bend
With the evenings focus on social gaming and with so many people I suggested people pair up and play in teams of 2. It thus accommodated 12 players with a further 3 spectators. Mark and Nick took an early and commanding lead and were way ahead of the rest of us however as they entered the final lap everything went to pot and the way seemed open for Oliver and myself placed in second or the green team (see my post from 18th September 2011) in third. However whilst we were lucky enough to profit from their engine malfunction the green team lost it completely with their car doing pretty much everything you don’t want a car to do bar turning around and driving the wrong way around the track, to the point that they came in in last place - oops.

Review – Kalimambo

3-7 Players, Aged 8+ with a 20-30 minute playing time
Kalimambo - The box artwork
A review copy of Kalimambo, designed by Antonio Scrittore, was kindly provided by Zoch GmbH.

Kalimambo is an amusing family game where an unwitting group of amateur explorers (the players) are led through the jungle by Kali (a newly discovered species - our group though that it was an African land based seal!), trying to avoid stepping in elephant dung and all the while being chased by Mambo the large and very fast rhino
Kalimambo - Mambo and the Elephant Dung
When Mambo catches you he inflicts a number of damage points, if he catches Kali then the slowest explorer receives the damage, if you tread in the elephant dung you get negative points and if Kali steps in the elephant dung then the slowest explorer again gets the points. There are no ways to get positive points this is a game of damage limitation and trying very hard not to land in the ‘brown smelly stuff!’

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game ComponentsSetting Up The GamePlaying The GameWhat Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if reading the whole review doesn't appeal just scan down to the headings that do.

Review - Pictomania

3-6 players, Aged 9+  with a playing time of 25+ mins 
Pictomania - The box artwork
A review copy of Pictomania (designed by Vlaada Chvátil whose other games include Galaxy Trucker, Dungeon Petz and Dungeon Lords) was kindly provided by Czech Games Edition.

Played first when it was still at the prototype stage last summer, I thought then that it would be a fun game, ideally suited to parties and family gatherings. In its finished form its components are functional rather than inspiring, albeit of a high quality. However the game itself is every bit as much fun as I expected.

It is a game of art, communication and interpretation where players have to draw an image to represent one of the 42 possible images whilst simultaneously guessing which image each of the other players is drawing – frenetic.

As a game with an age of 9 to 99 it is not surprising that Pictomania has 4 levels of difficulty and rules that will definitely allow it to be played at the younger end, indeed we had a game where we had four adults and two 7 year old's who both scored well and enjoyed it every bit as much as the adults.

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game ComponentsSetting Up The GameHow To Play The GameWhat Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

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

Mini Review - Hick Hack in Gackelwack

Also known as Hick Hack for short or Pick Picknic: 2 to 6 players, Ages 8+, 30 Minute Playing time 
Hick Hack in Gackelwack - The box artwork

This is a fun little game, designed by Stephan Dorra and published in Germany by Zoch GmbH., where players balance the alternative of trying to get as much feed for their poultry as possible or send in the foxes and try and eat the other player’s poultry! It may look a little childlike but like so many of the Zoch games it’s good fun whatever your age. Our Social Games groups have had a huge amount of fun playing this game over the last year.

Games for Christmas 2011

New and alternative board game ideas for this Christmas
Presents under the Christmas tree - maybe they are games?!

As the pressure builds towards the Christmas and New Year bank holidays many people will start thinking about what game to buy for Christmas. Having played some brilliant games this year with people representing a broad cross-section of society from primary children to people in care homes (and every point in between) I thought it might be worth highlighting some of my favourites from this year. I have broken this article into three section:
  • Games We Have Had Lot of Fun With During 2011
  • Alternatives To The Perennial Favourites
  • Where To Buy The Games In This Article
And it maybe that an article written earlier this year may be of interest on Why Games Work in Some Families and Not Others.

A common factor amongst the games in this article is they generally seek to emphasise social interplay, maybe a touch of strategy, more skill than luck, short playing times and rarely have player elimination.

Games We Have Had Lot of Fun With During 2011
These games are not necessarily games that have been released this year but they are games that I have seen being enjoyed by many different people and or caused a lot of laughter when we have played them.