13th Jul 2023 - Race Nightby Robin. Fri, 14 Jul (Updated at Sun, 16 Jul)
"Race Night" has become a regular fixture at the club over the past year, but this was the first time that I had taken part. I would recommend it.
The general idea is that we bring a lot of lighter games with the common theme and mechanic of some sort of race, and play them all across two tables. At the end of the evening we tally up the points for finishing positions so that someone can enjoy the prestige of winning overall.
I counted at least 7 different racing games that were played during the evening... I was participating, but such was the pace at which the races progressed, I can't be sure I've remembered them all. They ranged from the relatively considered, tactical games like Flamme Rouge, to the largely random, but enjoyably chaotic games like Balloon Race.
Out of the whole selection, I found the games I enjoyed the most were the ones I did worst in. After a couple of decent placings in Heat: Pedal To The Metal, we then had a go at Powerboats. I had never played this before but Sam, who had, took one look at the course that David-A had laid out and said, "that'll be difficult!" And so it proved. Off we went on a wild dice-rolling journey, crashing into all the islands as we went. By half-distance 3 of us were out of the race due to sinking; which just left David-A as the last man standing. By a mixture of judgement and definitely some luck, he managed to keep afloat long enough to get across the line and take the win. But those of us who crashed had more fun. Was the most enjoyable nul-points I've ever scored, until...
We finished all together on one table for Balloon Race. It's a bit Camel Up, a bit Bingo: you basically roll a dice and move a balloon, aiming to get the balloon(s) to the end, and there are squares that move balloons back and get them stuck and so on; but you can move any balloon, and you have a card that says which balloons you need to win the race. All of which leads to a beautifully chaotic race in which no-one knows what's going on. And then someone suddenly wins, and then there's a frantic scramble for everyone else to finish. How to sum it up? On my last dice roll a 4, 5 or 6 would have got me 2nd place; I rolled a 2, and so I finished last. It was that kind of evening. Chaos and anarchy add a lot of entertainment value to a game.
After that, David-M and Steve stepped in to disperse the anarchy with some good wholesome accounting, as the scores were tallied. And the highly important outcome was that David-A was The Winner. (And, predictably, I was last.) The other race games that I remember being played were Cartagena, Ave Caesar and Snow Tails.
Elsewhere this week, (if a set of balloons buffetting on semi-random gusts of wind around a linear course is too thematic for you) we had the equally colourful but unthematic Castles Of Burgundy. And another nice-looking game, Lords Of Waterdeep.