Monday, July 03, 2006

Sometimes, All I Need is the Air that I Breath, 2d6, and to Love You

T-19 now and I’m thinking more and more about what I’ll miss about my old life. This week brought one issue starkly to the fore: who will I game with? This was a great week for gaming, with not only a session of San Juan (motto: Gringoes, Exploit the Natural Resources of Puerto Rico!) and High Society with Ian, but also a blasting session of SingStar Popworld with William. Finally, I see the point of Sony Playstation. You select a song from a playlist of about 30 options. You sing competitive karaoke against an opponent with a microphone. You start off strong and then fall to pieces during the rap-o-meter section of Outkast’s ‘Roses’. Good clean fun. My only quibble with the scoring mechanics would be that fact that there’s no accommodation made for originality of performance. The complete unsingability of some songs on the playlist required some fancy footwork and JB’s inspired ‘Dirty Grunting’ version of Joss Stone’s eminently forgettable piece of pseudo-funk ‘Yeah’ was the highlight of the evening.

Which really begs the question, how can I go about building a new game-playing peer circle? It’s very much something you keep separate from PFW. Role playing games are immediately out, I don’t see myself easily settling into another group of like-minded individuals with whom I can pretend to be a talking prawn. There’s a certain level of intimacy at work when playing Call of Cthulu, you know. Will I find myself submitting personal ads that read ’30-something girl-nerd, seeks m/f gsoh for Settlers of Catan?’ Actually, that’s not a bad idea.

Anyway, to round off this post here is a list of games that have provided me with some of my most memorable evenings:

Backgammon – A sublime combination of strategy and chance, backgammon is the ultimate grownups’ game. Sexy and sophisticated, it’s a game you play with a glass of smoky Lagavulin. It’s also the one game I’m pretty sure I can keep playing on a regular basis, if for no reason other than my father and I are locked in mega tournement that started when I was about nine years old.
Pit – shouty! shouty! shouty! If you like grabbing, screaming and slamming things down on the table, this is the game for you. I’m surprised there isn’t a toddlers’ version available.
The Sherlock Holmes Card Playing Game –The Game is Afoot, Watson! Players race from City to Country and back to the City again while traying to hide their villanous secret identity. Thick Fog!
Family Business – All together now, ‘Take it on the Lam’. Who would have thought the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre could provide so much entertainment?
Mah-Jong – Pung! Kong! Chow! Poker with clattering. The only problem is you need a regular gang of four [people] to learn the subleties of an ‘all orphans’ hand.
TransAmerica – I love games where you build things, in this case, Railroads. Because it’s over pretty quickly it makes a good nightcap to a long evening of gaming.
Settlers of Catan – I’ve never had much of an interest in video games where you shoot things, preferring the set up the social infrastructure in Civilisation and Alpha Centuri. So it’s no surprise to find this on my list. Quite addictive.
Jenga/Bausack – A variation of buiding things: stacking things!
The Cooking Game – In essence this is a fairly dull collect-a-set game. But it involved food and introduced me to the most beautiful phrase in the English language, Sussex Pond Pudding
Buccaneer – Oh, the little pieces! This was the first game I remember playing. Again, the mechanics were pretty dull but the little gems, pearls and treasure chests were highly coveted. Of course, I lost the pieces by burying them for real in the garden.
Once Upon a Time – A good exercise in ingenuity as you try and work a plausable reason for a Fairy Godmother giving a Dragon a Magic Barrel of Fish. The story will eventually go south.
Tell Me! – My favourite game of all time. So simple, and so addictive. Cards give a subject such as ‘An animal/Something that scares you/a movie star’. You spin a wheel and have shout out an answer that corresponds to the letter of the alphabet indicated on the disc. Then you have to convince people that you are genuinely frightened of cheese. For full value you have to get one of the original sets from the 1950s with subjects like ‘A wireless star’.