23-Apr-2002All month

No other game has polarised our group more than this one. Three of us love the game, we each have a copy of the game, whereas the other four members of the group absolutely hate it. Im one of the three that loves the game but will attempt to reflect the opinions of the others.

We tried the game last night for the first time with the new English edition. This introduces 10 new characters to the game. Eight are potential replacements for the existing characters with the other two allowing for a 9th character to be introduced. The new characters have similar abilities to the cards they replace but different enough to affect gameplay. The rules suggest changing no more than 2 characters. We replaced the Assasin with the Witch, the Warlord with the Diplomat and introduced the Queen.

The major complaint of the original version was that the player to the right of the king, gets little choice on his turn and could be stuck there for a few turns if the king got assasinated. This has been addressed with a change to the new version in that the crown still moves even if the king is assasinated.

Another complaint of the dissenters is the downtime involved in the game. This was an issue in last nights game with players taking longer than usual to select their character, but to be fair we did have somone whod never played the game before, the rest of us havent played the game in almost a year and we were playing with new characters. I agree that with 6 of us there is going to be some downtime while players choose there characters but as with all games this should decrease the more the game is played and becomes familiar.

A final complaint of the game is that it is possible to have no action on a turn if you are assainated/bewitched. Since the crown was moving around a lot more last night due to the new rules, most players had a choice of a few characters most of the time, so nobody got picked on all the time, though Boog did seem to have more bad luck than the rest of us.

As to the game, Steve and Andy set an early pace which they maintained right to the finish, Since most of the players were obviously not enjoying the game we all marked it down.

From a personal perspective I think the new characters do add to the game and have improved an already great game. Unfortunately within our group I can only see this being played again in the near future as a three player game.

Final Scores
Steve 29, Andy 26, Oggie 24, Tel 22, Kev 19, Boog 12

Ratings / 10
Steve 6, Andy 4, Oggie 5, Tel 7, Kev 2, Boog 2
Scores: Steve 29, Andy 26, Oggie 24, Tel 22, Kev 19, Boog 12
Ratings: Steve 6, Andy 4, Oggie 5, Tel 7, Kev 2, Boog 2
Winner(s): Steve

Once Upon a Time

Introduction of a new game to group with Once Upon a Time. Everyone is dealt a number of cards, 5 in a 6 player game, which contain items, places, characters, aspects and events that often appear in fairytales. Each player also receives an ending card which contains the last words of a fairytale. The aim of the game is for the group to tell a fairytale with each player trying to incorporate their cards into the story whilst also pushing the story towards an ending that meets their end phrase.

Now the most important thing about this game is that winning is fairly unimportant. If players were trying all out to win the game would probably be over in a couple of minutes and be a very dry experience for all. Instead everyone should try and enter into the spirit of the game and an entertaining game should ensue.

Oggie is obviously a master storyteller for at one point in the game he managed to progress the story for about 5 minutes unfortunately not managing to play a card at all in that time. Just for interest our first story was an action packed affair with kidnapping, rescues, fights and illicit affairs, whereas the second story seemed to involve somone blind permanently running either through a forest or down a road (without getting hurt).

Certainly not a game to be taken too seriously but if played in the right spirit can provide some entertaining moments and could provide light relief after a heavy game.

Just for completeness Kev and Steve completed our two stories.

Ratings / 10
Kev 7, Steve 6, Boog 4, Andy 8, Oggie 4, Tel 7
Scores: Tel , Oggie , Andy , Steve , Kev , Boog
Ratings: Tel 7, Oggie 4, Andy 8, Steve 6, Kev 7, Boog 4
Winner(s): Steve, Kev


We started the night with a few hands of the noisiest game of the lot - Pit. The trading game that involves everyone simultaneously trying to swap cards with other players trying to collect all 9 cards of one commodity.

Ill need to re-read the rules to determine if there is a penalty for falsely closing the market without having the required cards, not that it would have made much difference as I think we all tried it at some point. The game is supposed to be the first to 500, but after about 8 rounds we decided to call a halt on proceedings as the highest score was only 180. Im not sure if there are any tactics to this game other then being able to shout louder than everyone else and being prepared to trade whenever possible, but it is certainly a great deal of fun.

Final Scores
Tel 180, Steve 60, Boog 35, Oggie 25, Andy 20, Kev -40

Ratings / 10
Tel 9, Steve 8, Boog 9, Oggie 8, Andy 8, Kev 8
Scores: Tel 180, Steve 60, Boog 35, Oggie 25, Andy 20, Kev -40
Ratings: Tel 9, Steve 8, Boog 9, Oggie 8, Andy 8, Kev 8
Winner(s): Tel