Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tuesday Night Gaming, 9/27/05

Since Matt has been snowed under at work, we met at Patrick's home for our regular Central Tuesday session. Present were KC, Rita, KC's "cube-neighbor" Jordan, Mike, Dave, Patrick (of course), and myself.

We rarely meet at Patrick's, although I don't know why not (maybe his weird schedule). Patrick has a large and interesting collection of games, many of which are out of print. This particular evening had me playing several games I've not tried before, all of which were not euros!

While Mike, Rita, and Jordon retired to the other room to play Ingenious and San Juan, the rest of us played Code 7 and Sleuth. Code 7 is a light deduction game similar to Indian Poker. You have a set of three numbered/colored tiles in front of you that you can't see, but everyone else can. Your job is to figure out what those numbers (and colors, if you're playing with the big boys, which we weren't) are. To do this, each player draws a card that asks a question, reads it out loud, then answers it about the tiles they can see. Questions are generally about color (which helps more than you think), sequences of cards, how much cards add up to, or the numbers themselves. For example, "Do you see more green cards or yellow cards?"

Much of the game is having other people ask and answer questions that help you, while you hope to get questions that don't help them so much. Since the game is entirely luck driven (other than the deduction itself), it's more like working a logic problem than playing a game. There is really no penalty for guessing, although only KC made a guess to get rid of his tiles once he figured out that he'd messed up his record. Because I got the right questions at the right time, I ended up winning the game by guessing correctly three times.

Keeping with the deduction theme, we pulled out Sleuth, the old Sackson title that has recently been reprinted. Patrick had the older version, and it seems somehow sacreligious to write on these scoresheets that are 20 years old or more. Sleuth is a bit more involved in that you can only ask questions of specific people, and then you can only ask them about certain types of combinations based on what "sleuth" cards you have. I ended up with two useless cards fairly early (I'd already determined both combinations were not the magic card), and so half of my sleuth hand either sat unused or wasted one of my turns. This crimped my question capability to the point where I couldn't get in a useful question that would help me, and I had to hope that others would get the necessary info to me inadvertently. Didn't work, as Dave figured out the magic card long before I was anywhere close.

The key to the game is asking the right questions near the end to determine that no one has a particular card, not trying to eliminate all other choices, and you can't do that if you can't ask the questions. I was unimpressed with this title as a result, and enjoy the foofiness of Mystery of the Abbey much more. Unusual for me, as I typically prefer elegance and simplicity to a lot of distraction and flash, but there you go.

The final game was "Blood" Boggle with all seven of us. First rule of Boggle: choose your word authority early. We spent the first fifteen minutes arguing whether "dis" was a word. Out came the Scrabble dictionary, and all was well. Except that I generally suck at Boggle. I think the last time I played was when I was a sophmore in high school, and the woman that had just gotten me exceedingly stoned (this was more than seven years ago, statute of limitations applies) got me playing to distract me from the fact that I was fairly sure I no longer had legs. OK, perhaps a few times since then, but I really have trouble seeing the words in this game, especially if the letters bunch up.

Blood Boggle is slightly different than regular Boggle in that once the round is over you go around the table announcing words one at a time. If you announce the word, you get to keep it while everyone else loses it. As such, there is a huge advantage to going early rather than later, as six people have eliminated your longest words by then. We should have played so that everyone got to go first once, but seven rounds of Boggle is, frankly, about six too many for me. As it was, Dave cruised to an early lead, and when he hit fifty points in four or five rounds, with KC and I barely in second place with 28 each, we decided that we were Boggled out.

At that point, enough of us felt like idiots that it was time to go home. At least I won one game, even it was on turn of the cards. Note to self: no more deduction and/or puzzle games with Dave, the man is a machine. And I aced the analytical portion of the GRE!

Had to get that in there at least once for Dave.

Thanks for taking the hosting duties, Patrick!

1 comment:

dave said...

FYI, the game name is "Code 777". That was the least satisfying match I ever played, as it was to quick. Some times that happens, based on what numbers are drawn and which questions get asked.

On the other hand, I really do like Sleuth. There is a subtle depth to the hand management (although be sure to save your Free Choice cards for when they are needed). However, I really hate the new edition - too hard to misread the cards.

Seems to me that, for the second-tier players, "Blood Boggle" rewards speed over finding good words, without really affecting much the margin of victory for the first-tier player(s). Still, I suppose people actually get points, so this is the "feel-good" version.