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Manoeuvres in the dark

October 30, 2012

So we finally got around to playing one of the old German classics, Heimlich & Co., which is one of those ludicrously simple games that relies entirely on your ability to bluff the other players.  And rather good it is, too.  However, I’m always a bit nervous about playing games that involve having to keep secrets with Miss B, as it’s not something that comes naturally to a five-year-old.

…and green moves one.

…And so it turned out to be. We got a couple of turns into the game and hit the first round of scoring when Miss B inadvertently said “..and I score five”, instantly blowing the secret out of the water. That was not good for morale, so we agreed to start the game again now we had had a practice run and knew what it was all about. Good. That worked.

We got quite a bit further in the next game before things went wrong. Again the identity of Miss B’s agent slipped out, but this time she was quite a long way ahead of me and I managed to convince her that it was OK and we’d carry on and see if she could guess what my colour was.

From here on my play style got a bit cavalier, but by now the aim of the game was to finish with both of us managing to smile, rather than for us to have a good gaming contest. We just about succeeded on this front.

I still think this is a very good game (and I love that the pieces are so huge and chunky), but it’s not one that we’ll be playing together for a while, and it provides an object lesson to us. While Miss B has shown herself to be very capable of keeping a secret in a game (remember Lords of Waterdeep?), where the secret keeping is almost the entire game, the pressure is just too much. Maybe we’ll try again in a couple of years or so.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 5¾): “I’m very sad that I gave my secret away.”

The game: Heimlich & Co. (Ravensburger), 2 to 7 players aged 8+.

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