This week we had two new people, who arrived early, so we started the evening off with a quick four-player game of No Thanks! This is a very, very simple push-your-luck game with just a hint of strategy and probably one of the best games going for its size. The idea is that you turn over the first card in the stack and either take it or pay a chip. If you take it, you turn over the next card, if you pay, the decision passes to the next player; the person with the lowest number of points when the cards run out wins. The strategy comes because for runs of two or more cards, only the lowest counts, but unfortunately, someone removed nine cards from the deck at random… Just as we were finishing the first round, another player arrived, so as it is such a quick game we gave it another go.
Since it was gone 8pm, we decided to play the “Feature Game” which was The Great Balloon Race. This is a light hearted, relatively quick race game with quite a lot of luck, and (as it turns out) a lot of vendettas against certain colours with orange and blue being the most victimised. One of the really nice things about this game was the way that people at the back who felt they had no chance, were able to catch up and indeed win.
Next, there was some debate about what to play next and in the end we decided to play a fairly light card game, Boomtown. In this game, players are mining moguls who bid to win the first choice of the cards on offer. Winning the bidding has two consequences: you get first pick from the cards available, but you have to pay the other players what you bid. The game was won by an landslide and it turns out that winning the bid is not always best as it can be expensive as well as favouring the player to your left. Or was it right? Actually, it was probably both…
With five games something of a record, we managed to squeeze in a game of Snow Tails. This is a very pretty game of dog-sled racing, but the choice of game was possibly a mistake given the time, compounded by the fact that we used a more complex track than was wise, and we were playing with the full five players (three of whom were new to it). Basic numeracy proved to be something of a challenge and the “Big Paws” token changed hands several times as the dents in the sleds increased and the saplings took a beating. However, most people were in the lead at some point and in the final run for the line, everyone was within one turn or so of finishing the race.
Learning Outcome: Basic skills such as being able to add up and tell your left from your right can be really useful when mining, flying balloons, and especially driving dog-sleds!