Seattle Cosmic Game Night

(Saturday, 25 August 2001)

Our Second Alien Visitation: The Martians Land

by Ron Hale-Evans

Seattle Cosmic met again, shakin' their pants for action and romance on 25 August. Present were Marty and Ron Hale-Evans (that's me), Mark Purtill, Tim Higgins, Kisa Gryphon, John Braley, Meredith and Bob Wilson, Lesley Hooker, New Guy Steve Hooker (Lesley's brother), New Guy John Cooper, and New Guy Gina Mai Denn. The last two are the Martians referred to in the title of this week's newsletter; John is co-inventor of the game Icehouse with Andrew Looney. Part of the mythos/mystique (not to say hype) of Icehouse is that it is a 100,000-year-old game from Mars, and that Icehouse players are often reincarnated Martians. Gina and John (corporately, Ginohn) paid us a visit while they were celebrating their anniversary in Seattle. (Seattle Cosmic's first visit from an alien was, of course, 3D Game Night.)

Igel Ärgern

Igel Ärgern. (1) Game start. (2) Endgame.

Everyone arrived a little late. The first person to arrive was Mark, followed by Tim, Kisa, and John. Those four, plus Ron, played a quick game of Igel Ärgern, translated variously as "Hedgehogs in a Huff" or "Hedgehogs in a Hurry" in English. The idea is to get three of your four hedgehog pieces into the "Ziel" (Goal) column before anyone else does, while avoiding tar pits (the black spaces on the board), which you can't leave until everyone behind you is gone. Players each roll a six-sided die, optionally jump one of their hedgehogs sideways one track, and then move any hedgehog on the track that was indicated by the die forward one space -- "any hedgehog" means you can move an opponent's hedgehog, which is how hedgehogs usually end up in tar pits.

Figment -- er, Kisa -- wins a demonic duck air freshener

I was the early favourite and Tim was the late favourite, but sufficient pigpiling of our opponents, pinning us in place, permitted Kisa to take the prize (everybody else but Mark tied for second). Kisa's prize was an air freshener in the shape of a duck with demonic horns, since he was wearing a horned cap in the shape of the head of Figment, a Disney dragon from Epcot Center. He was also wearing a Figment T-shirt (not shown).


Next up, the same players started a game of Expedition, a game Tim had just bought, which is based on the old game Wildlife Adventure, and was much anticipated by Tim, John, and me. However, just as we were setting up around 9:30, John and Gina arrived, and Kisa and I left the Expedition to play some Icehouse games with them. That left just Tim, John, and Mark to play Expedition.

(1) Expedition board. (2) Expedition members (clockwise from left: Mark, Tim, John)

John won Expedition, for which he was awarded a giant checkers set. Unfortunately, as an ex-chess-master, John cordially despises checkers, and said he would probably cannibalise the giant plastic checkers for some geometrical modelling. I suggested he could still use the giant checkerboard as a giant chessboard...

John, Expedition leader

Afterwards, around 11:00, Mark, Tim, and John went home -- but first John gave some Expedition strategy tips to Tim and donated some prizes from the Oriental Trading Company to the prize bag.

Apples to Apples

Meanwhile, Marty, Mer, Bob, Lesley, and Steve started a couple of games of Apples to Apples, which lasted most of the evening. They played the first game to seven cards, the second game to ten.

Apples to Apples... to Infinity! (Clockwise from left: Bob, Steve, Lesley, Meredith, Marty)

Meredith won the first game (to seven cards), for which she was awarded a small baboon idol. Lesley won the seond game (to ten cards), for which she was awarded a plastic poodle puppet. Meredith, Lesley, and Steve then went home around 11:20. [See postscript for corrections.]

(1) Mer's prize. (2) Lesley's prize.

Zendo and RAMbots

Meanwhile meanwhile, Kisa, John, Gina, and I played some Icehouse games. First we played a single round of Zendo, with John as Master. His rule was, "A koan has the Buddha Nature iff it has exactly one piece pointing upright." Kisa won a Nerflike rocket for guessing the rule. We also did some serious yakking about Kisa's ideas for a Gnostica variant, and John's plans for updating ("Gnosticising") Ice Traders.

Kisa bends Ginohn's ear about his Gnostica variant

Then, after some waffling, and more serious yakking, John, Kisa, and I settled on a game of RAMbots while Gina went to play with our dogs (unfortunately none of the dog-cuddling pictures turned out).

(1) RAMbots setup. (2) RAMbots midgame.

RAMbots can succinctly be described as "RoboRally with Icehouse pieces", so I knew I wasn't going to do well at this game. Indeed, John, who has played many games of speed RAMbots with Andy Looney and Kory Heath (the game's inventor, also the inventor of Zendo), won handily, with Kisa in a distant second place, and me so far behind that describing how far behind I was would lack any humor value.

John ..... 4 beacons
Kisa ..... 2 beacons
Ron ...... 0 beacons

John Cooper wins RAMbots -- natch!

John tried to disclaim a prize, saying "I don't deserve one! I was a shark!", but I gave him a rolly eyeball anyway. Then John and Gina and Kisa went home. Au revoir, Martians!

Martian Chess (and BobChess) and Schotten-Totten

Meanwhile meanwhile meanwhile, Marty and Bob were playing Martian Chess on the porch. Marty and Bob each won a game.

Marty and the eponymous Bob play BobChess

By this time, Bob, Marty, and I were the only people left at game night, and Marty and I live here. Bob was a gamin' fool. He WOULD NOT GO HOME. (Of course, he only lives in the apartment next door.) Bob started devising an Icehouse game he called BobChess, in which each player gets two colours of pieces on a Martian-Chess-style board, and the object is to get four of your 2-pointers (medium-sized pieces) into the four center squares. The experiment was not a success (attack was too strong), and the game was a draw. But Bob is still working on it...

Then Marty and Bob played a game of Schotten-Totten, and Marty won. [See postscript for corrections.]

Dark Side

Bob's insatiable hunger for games continued, and we played Reiner Knizia's new game, Dark Side. The last time we pulled this out, at an informal game night with Marty, me, and Tim, it was not a hit; Tim thought it was too subjective and not strategic enough. This time, we had the right mix of players and everyone enjoyed it.

Dark Side is a bluffing and deduction board/card game in which players try to guess how many points the other players hold in the suits Family, Friends, Work, Vacation, and Neighbours. The suit in which you have the most points is your dark side, and you must strive to conceal it. Cards range from 1 to 5 points. Examples: "I pee in the swimming pool" (Vacation, 1 point). "I impersonate a moving company and break into rich villas" (Neighbors, 5 points).

Bob won the game; I might have been able to egg him on to take me to court before I exposed his dark side, which would have increased my points and given me the game, but I stupidly pointed out first that if he didn't take me to court, he would win when everyone's dark side was exposed and the game ended prematurely. For having such a rotten stinking dark side, Bob was awarded a plastic rat's hindquarters that he could stick in his mouth, with a little lever he could operate with his tongue to waggle the tail.

Bob's insatiable hunger for games nets him only... a rat.

Thus ended the Game Night That Wouldn't End, around 2:30 AM.

Postscript, 2001-09-02

I am informed by Those Who Know that it was Mer who won the 10-card Apples to Apples game, and Lesley who won the 7-card game. Also, Bob won the Schotten-Totten game, not Marty.

Games played or discussed this week:

The Center for Ludic Synergy and Seattle Cosmic Game Night are now associates of Funagain Games. This means that 5% of your purchase there goes toward supporting us if you buy games there via the following links or the Funagain logo at the bottom of the page.

Even if you don't want to buy the games, the Funagain pages often contain lengthy, useful game reviews.


Friday, 7 September 2001, 7:00 PM in West Seattle. Come play for fun and FABULOUS PRIZES!

Remember, game nights are first and second Fridays at 7:00 PM, at Dave and Kathy's house in West Seattle, and third and fourth Saturdays at 7:00 PM, at Marty and Ron's apartment in Kent. Please bring a snack or drink to share (cookies, chips, soda, juice, etc.).

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All photos on this page copyright © 2001 by Ron Hale-Evans except where otherwise noted.

Maintainer: Ron Hale-Evans, rwhe@ludism.org
Page last updated 2001-09-02.