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Saved by the giant boulder

December 8, 2012

So today we had the latest in our series of occasional house gaming afternoons, inviting friends around with the intention of getting through a good selection of board games and making it much more of a social experience than we usually manage.  This time we got up to eight of us: five adults and three children, which made things rather different to previous times when Miss B had been the only junior gamer there.

Miss T's chariot maintains its commanding lead... for now!

Miss T’s chariot maintains its commanding lead… for now!

On the arrival of our first group of guests, the two visiting children, T and R spotted Castle Panic in the games stack and wanted to play it as they had played it with someone else they know.  Excellent choice.  So we got through a five player game which started rather gently but then got into full panic mode once the youngest player managed to pull a chain of monster chits that provided about six or seven new foes for us to battle.  We finally managed to survive with only one of our towers left standing.  Now that is a great result for a cooperative game: a victory for the team, but only by the skin of the teeth.  Lots of fun.

By this time we had a couple more arrivals, so we had a slight change of personnel at the table for a game of Giro Galoppo, which is one of the most chaotically pleasing race games I’ve come across.  This was followed (with our final arrival)  by one of my all-time personal favourites, Ave Caesar, just for a single race as to do the full four race series that the game suggests would be just too much for the kids.  Both of the race games went down well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Most people can get behind a race game as a concept, and both of these are beautifully executed examples and really show how much things have developed from the old “roll a die, move a dobber” mechanism.  One of the guests, who hasn’t played these sort of games much, was somewhat surprised at the lack of randomness in Giro Galoppo (there isn’t actually any at all) but was very taken by the game once it had got going.

After losing the other family, we got out Forbidden Island, although once we had set up Miss B said that she wasn’t interested in it.  The day was getting on a lot and she was getting tired, so she decided to sit on my lap while the rest of us played.  Despite that, towards the end once it started seeming like we may possibly win (after it looking quite ropey for a while), Miss B started engaging with the game and helping out.  Again a narrow victory for the team.

Finally Miss B got out Vanished!, which she was keen to show off to our guests.  We set the game up with a couple of the cards removed in order to make things a little easier and quicker.  Everyone started off at different rates but then got uniformly confused until somehow we managed to end up with a five-way draw, which seemed to me to be an excellent and appropriate way to finish off the afternoon.

So, thanks to all our lovely friends for taking the time to come and play with us.  We had a lot of fun and hopefully will do this again some time down the line.

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