Session Report – 15th April 2005


Players: John, Phil, Mark G, Mark K, Nige, Garry

This week, we nearly ended up with seven players, which is an awkward number unless you split into two groups. Although Ian rang to say he wasn’t able to make it, John and I had sorted out a number of games that you could play with 7 or more. First up was this old game by Stefan Dorra about gambling dens and crooked cops. This was subsequently republished as Hickhack im Gackelwack in a slightly streamlined version. Razzia is set around six gamling dens and each round money is placed at each location for people to walk away with. Similar to Adel Verpflichtet, from which it is surely derived, players play a card face down and then reveal them simultaneously. The cards are either gamblers or policemen valued between 1 and 6. Solitary gamblers at a location take all the money they find there but, if more than one is present, a deal may be struck to split the spoils or aduel ensues. Policemen at the same location as one or more gamblers confiscate the money, with multiple policemen going through the same deal/duel process as the gamblers as necessary. Solitary policemen at a location go away empty-handed. Eac game turn proceeds in the same way until all the money has been won from the gambling dens. Whoever has accumulated the most cash wins. This is a very straightforward and fun game. The duels can be a good laugh especially if someone’s die-rolling skills are lacking and it doesn’t outlast its welcome at about 30 minutes game time. It is not, however, a deep, strategic game and some will not like it for that. Phil’s die rolling could do with some practice, which meant whenever someone had to propose a deal with him, it was a safe bet that being greedy was the best course because Phil would inevitably roll a 1 or a 2. In the end, I was surprised to find I had the most money to secure the win.

Result: Garry 375, John 330, Phil 275, Mark G 270, Mark K 250, Nige 190

Ratings: Garry 6, John 6, Phil 5, Mark G 6, Mark K 5, Nige 4


Players: John, Phil, Mark G, Mark K, Nige, Garry

Next up was Masterpiece which I have not played in years. Nige has very fond memories of this and astounded us with his recollection of all the character names. This is a game about buying and selling works of art for a profit (hopefully). Players pieces move around the game board on the roll of a die and each space dictates what you do on that turn. These options range from collecting a sum of money from the bank (which Nige seemed very adept at doing), to buying a painting for a fixed sum of money from the bank or another player, to auctioning off a new painting or one owned by yourself, to selling a painting to the bank. Each painting has a concealed true worth, which only becomes known once you acquire the painting. Hopefully, you’ll find you paid less for it than its worth or you can persuade someone else to buy it to give you a profit or cut your loss. As the paintings circulate around the tables, the more you get to know or deduce about the paintings. The game ends once all the paintings in the bank have been sold or auctioned off, at which stage the true values of the paintings are converted to cash and whoever has the most money wins. Early in the game, no-one has any idea what the true values of most paintings are, so the auctions are a shot in the dark. Once paintings are changing hands for the second time, you are helped by the fact that the first owner is unlikely to let a painting be sold on for much less than its true worth and will push up the auction price and this is a nice mechanism particularly if you build in the possibility of out-bluffing others in the auction. Towards the end there was a battle royal over the £1m painting (there is only one) and Mark G managed to wrest it from Mark K and force him to accept a loss of about £300k. Nige, however, showed us all that he has a bit of the Lovejoy in him and emerged with a pretty comfortable win. What cannot go without mention though is the diabolical tactics of various players to gain a profit. Book-keeping is clearly not a strong-point in our club because all of us (I think) managed to try and swindle the bank at some stage in the game – albeit most of us claimed it to be unknowingly. However, John was the banker and the number of times we caught him putting money destined for the bank into his own stash suggests he is not as ‘Honest John’ as he would like us to believe. His ideas on making change for other players defied belief as he gratefully accepted a £1m note from Mark G and gave him two £50k notes in exchange. This blemish on his character will not be forgotten for many moons around these parts.

Result: Nige 3.7m, John 3.05m (probably incl. 100k-220k from the bank), Mark G 2.9m, Garry 2.5m, Phil 2.4m, Mark K 2.05m

Ratings: Nige 6, John 6, Mark G 8, Garry 5, Phil 5, Mark K 4


Players: John, Phil, Mark G, Mark K, Nige, Garry

We just had time for one more game and both John and I had dug out Bang! so we decided to give it a second outing. The first time we played, I upset Sheriff Nige the Good by claiming a joint win as fellow outlaw (the Bad) to Mark K (the Ugly), even though I’d spent the latter stages of the game in Boot Hill. Even though it is 2 years since that game, the spectre of that fateful day returned as Sheriff Nige tried to clean up the town again. First turn, Nige shoots me, Mark G shoots me, I look for the target painted on my forehead. I manage to survive a few more rounds but failing to pick up a single Miss card meant my days were numbered. Oh well, Boot Hill was a familiar sight. Mark K was again an outlaw but this time a lot more dangerous as he thought he had mastered the use of dynamite. Fuse lit, he passed it onto Sheriff Nige. When Mark found it coming all the way round the table back to him, he must have heard my warning from beyond the grave to watch out as he panicked and it exploded in his face. He did manage to get rid of that cotton-pickin’ deputy Mark G before he bit the dust. Renegade Phil was next to fall which just left (Dis)honest John and Nige in the final showdown. Sadly for John, there is no money in this game for him to embezzle so Nige succeeded in blowing him away to give a win for the good guys. Hugely entertaining as it was last time, Phil was the only one who hadn’t played before and enjoyed it a lot.

Result: Sheriff Nige the Good, Dishonest John, Phil ‘im full o’ lead, Mark K the Ugly, Cotton-pickin’ Mark G, Garry the Unlucky

Ratings: Phil 7, others already rated