RogerBW's Blog

Marlow Tabletop and Board Games 19 January 2021 25 January 2021

This Meetup-based boardgames group remains on-line for the moment; as usual we got together on Jitsi and then played some games online.

First a quick run at Lucky Numbers: you have a 4×4 grid, you draw tiles numbered 1-20 (one set per player), each tile number must be greater than the ones above and to the left of it. If you don't play the tile you drew, or you play it to replace another, the discarded tile goes in a pool and other players can take it.

So it's quick and simple, but with some decision making that pushes it into emergent complexity, particularly given that all the grids are open information so you can see just where your discard will go.

Then, joined by a fourth player, more of The Crew: a tougher set of games than last time even though (with a new player) we were starting from the first missions again. I wonder whether this is actually teaching me how to play trick-taking games, at which I'm usually moderately terrible.

Lastly, Dinosaur Tea Party, a reimplementation of Whosit? from 1976: there are 20 characters on the table, each with a unique combination of up to seven of fifteen traits (e.g. "has teeth", "is eating", "is in a purple room" – the art makes some of these hard to spot, so one really has to go by the icons). On your turn, you either ask a specific player whether their hidden card has a particular trait (a "yes" lets you ask again, indefinitely) or ask them whether they have a particular card – a successful guess gives you a point, first to three wins, and they draw another card. Some special cards always lie, always answer "no", or alternate "yes" and "no" answers.

So this is carefully set up so that you can never be completely sure of anything: all questions are public, so if you ask enough actually to be sure of someone's identity, another player will make the same deductions and swoop in with an accusation before your next turn. I'm not at all sure I like that, as with the desperately annoying Mascarade (which many other people love). But it's a pleasantly thinky end-of-the-evening game, even with an interface that does a slightly odd job of laying things out for you (you need to hover over individual icons on the player board); I'd be interested to see how the physical game does it.

[Buy The Crew at Amazon] [Buy Dinosaur Tea Party at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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