I’m posting late again due to the fortnightly board games night happening last night. Yesterday was very busy.
I started with the weekly grocery shop, then launched straight into taking photos for a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. I finished that just before lunch, had lunch, and then went on to writing my lesson plan for the afternoon’s online ethics class. In between I had to pick up Scully from my wife’s work, and then after I’d finished writing the lesson I took Scully out for a bit of exercise to get her tired so she’d rest through the lesson and I wouldn’t need to interrupt it to take her out again.
After last week’s class had 5 students in it, this time there were only two, and one had connection problems, so popped in and out a bit before giving up. So for most of the lesson I only had one kid. We discusses natural resources, and the questions of whether it’s okay or not for people to use resources that are just lying around in nature – such as forests, water, minerals, etc. I raised many questions over whether various resources were needed by people, or whether using them deprived other people, or caused harm in various ways. With just the one student it was interesting to explore exactly what she thought on these issues and dig deeply into her reasoning. Several times when I asked her to explain why she thought a certain way, it took a lot of thinking for her to articulate her reasons. She said she really enjoyed the lesson, when it was done.
When that was done it was time to head off for games night! Usually we order pizza, but tonight we decided to get Thai food from the place near where we all used to work. They make excellent dishes there, and we used to be spoiled having them for lunch, but we’ve all missed out since losing our jobs there and going our separate ways. One guy picked up a bunch of dishes on the way and we all shared them – it was great.
For games, we started off with A Fake Artist Goes to New York. This is a party-style game where everyone has to collaboratively draw a picture. The catch is that all the drawers except one know what they’re drawing. At the start of each round, one person (who will not be drawing) selects a thing to draw and writes it on slips of paper, and gives those to the artists – except that one of the artists just gets an X and has no idea what the other artists will be drawing. The artists then take it in turns to draw a piece of the artwork, by placing their pen, drawing a contiguous line, and lifting just once. Each artist who knows what they’re drawing tries to draw something so that others will know that they know; while the artists who doesn’t know just has to bluff as best they can. But the catch is that the artists can’t make it too obvious, because then the artist who doesn’t know will figure it out. Once everyone has drawn twice, the artists all simultaneously vote/accuse someone of being the imposter. If a majority get it right, the real artists get a point – unless the imposter can successfully name what they were trying to draw, in which case the imposter gets a point. If the artists don’t identify the imposter, the imposter gets a point. And you play several rounds.
Here’s what we came up with (with the correct word added after the round so you can see). Because the artists are trying to reveal they know the word but without giving it away to the imposter, the drawing become rather abstracted. Of course this runs the risk of other artists not being able to successfully infer that you know what you’re doing. For example, for the “Church” drawing, two real artists drew two parts of a cross, separately, and they knew what each other was doing, but the other true artists had no idea what they were drawing and thought maybe one of them was the imposter.
Next we played Fantasy Realms. This is a card game where you have to collect a hand of seven cards, drawing and discarding rummy style, except the discard pile is laid out in full and you can draw any discard you want.
Once the draw pile is exhausted, each player totals up the points in their hand. Simple! Except each card is worth a certain number of points, which usually varies depending on other cards in their hand. So the goal is to collect the various combos that enhance one another and minimise the combos that subtract points. I won this game with a combo hand of wizards and beasts! I actually grabbed the Warlock Lord (shown in the discard pile in the photo) despite having 5 wizards and thus it having a -40 point penalty, because another card gave me +100 points for having five cards of the same suit (wizards in this case).
After this we moved on to King of Tokyo.
A simple dice rolling, beat-em-up game where each player is a giant monster attempting to rampage through Tokyo and defeat all the other monsters. I didn’t do so well in this one!
After that we split into two groups and I tried a new game for me: Nova Luna.
This is an abstract game in which you need to collect tiles and lay them out in front of you, forming various combinations that allow you to place discs on some of the tiles. The goal is simply to be first to have used up all your discs. The intricacy comes about from the method of claiming tiles using a “moon phase” board – if you select low numbered tiles they are less useful, but you get to move again before other players, whereas if you select high numbered tiles they are often more useful, but you will need to wait longer before you get another turn. So there’s an interesting mix of strategies to consider. It was a very close game. I thought I was going strong and set myself up to win on my next turn with a high numbered tile, but the other players then each got multiple turns before I could go again, and two of them managed to finish before me!
To finish, we played Tussie Mussie. This is a very innocent looking card game in which you have to collect a set of four flowers, and then everyone scores points for their set. Each flower is worth 0, 1, or 2 points, but many also have abilities that give them bonus points when combined with other flowers, or restrictions that attract penalties if certain conditions are met.
The evil comes in the way the you collect flowers. Each person in turn draws two flowers, looks at them, then places one face up and one face down, and offers them to the player on the left. That player must choose one – either the one they can see, or the face down one. So the idea is to make the one you want to keep for yourself seem less tempting, without giving away that you want it for yourself. There’s a lot of psychological warfare and guessing going on, and it becomes very difficult to figure out the best move.
Another fine entry in the category of games that look sweet and innocent but are evil psychological minefields. We love them!
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