Monday, 13 June 2016

Long Weekend Games

Being civilised souls we invited my daughter's best friend and her mother around for tea yesterday (where 'tea' actually involved unfeasible quantities of home-made popcorn, a fondue and a couple of bottles of wine). They're not gamers, but it was inevitable that games would be played.

First up was a new game to use, Love Letter. The premise of the game is that you are all suitors of the local Princess (and  the rules kind of suggest that your gender is irrelevant in this respect), and are attempting to get letters of undying affection into her hands via various intermediaries. These intermediaries are represented by cards of increasing value, from the humble Guard (1) to the Princess herself (8). The game is played in a series of rounds. You have a 'hand' of one card and on your turn draw another. One card is then played and its effects - for each card has an ability - are applied. Players can be knocked out of the round, maybe leaving one person, who wins it, or more than one person, in which case the person with the highest value card in their hand wins it. Victory goes to the person who wins a certain number of rounds, this number being determined by the number of players.

It's a very simple game to pick up, but requires thought and deduction to play well, Meg's mum, Helen, won one round purely by observing how her daughter manage the cards in her hand, deducing that she had the valuable Princess and using a Guard to knock her out. Clearly a person to be wary of in future games.

As an aside, Love Letter's simple mechanisms lend it to be 'reskinned', and there are numerous fan-based variants, my favourite of which uses it to represent the bombing of London during WW1. There are commercially available variants as well, based on licenced properties such as The Hobbit and Adventure Time. The best looking of these is 'Love Letter: Batman', which changes the concept from delivering letters to catching villains, and does it well.

Anyway, in our game Maya proved to be good at wooing the Princess early on, so everyone jumped on her to stop her winning, and I sneaked in a victory whilst they were doing it.

We then moved on to our current favourite game, Marrying Mr Darcy, since this is a great deal of fun with five or more players, since competition for suitors is fierce. Maya and her friend Meg chose Jane and Elizabeth Bennet respectively, and spent the game in fierce competition after Jane visited Pemberley and decided that she fancied marrying Mr Darcy a lot more than than she did Mr Bingley. Helen played Caroline Bingley, Catherine took on Georgiana Darcy and I settled for plain old Mary Bennet. The Jane/Elizabeth feud dominated the game, but pretty much came to nothing when Mr Darcy proposed to Caroline Bingley out of the blue, and she accepted. Silly Elizabeth then decided to elope with Mr Wickham, but eventually came to her senses, but her shenanigans reflected badly on her sister Jane, whose chances of marriage were materially damaged by the episode. Mary and Georgiana kept their heads down, and just did all the right things at the various balls and parties.

No-one was sick in the piano in this game.

Caroline (Helen) stuck to Mr Darcy, and picked up a respectable score from the union. Elizabeth (Meg) acquired enough reputation to offset her scandalous behaviour, and managed to get a proposal from Colonel Fitzwilliam, which gave her a better score than her mother. After mooning over Darcy for most of the game, Jane (Maya) switched to Mr Bingley, but despite virtually throwing herself at him couldn't convince him she'd be the best wife in the world, and she ended up and old maid, living a comfortable but boring life by the good graces of a cousin. Despiter her looks and accomplishments, plus pots of cash, Georgiana Darcy (Catherine) couldn't even catch the eye of the money-grabbing Mr Wickham, and her life as an old maid was short and sad. This left plain old Mary Bennet (Me), who had developed herself quietly throughout the game, as befitted her smug nature, and then settled for a comfortable but unremarkable marriage with the shallow Mr Collins. This was enough to secure a win, however.

Finally we played a few games of Tsuro.

We finished the wine, and the fondue was a bit of a disaster. The two things were not connected.

Update: Maya's boyfriend Satvik came round for lunch today. We played another game of Love Letter (I won) and another of Marrying Mr Darcy. Satvik had the horrible experience of eloping with Mr Wickham right at the end of the game, which destroyed his chances of a decent score. He finished joint last with Catherine, who played a solid game as Charlotte Lucas but who still couldn't get a man to propose to her and died a sad, lonely old maid. I played Jane Bennert, built up a modest set of characteristics, but snagged Mr Bingley for 23pts total. Maya, playing Kitty Bennet, already had 19pts in characteristics, so only had to marry someone to win. She failed to get a proposal, and then rolled badly on the old maid table, leaving me with yet another win, but a very lucky one this time.

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