Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Albury Front Row Forwards

OK, there's a whole bunch of stuff about real games to come, but I want to talk about the most fun game I played at the con. I was quietly minding my own business on Sunday afternoon when Patty and Heather from Albury came in from the car park and smirked at me and said "we've got a game for you." Oh good, I thought naively. I bet they've got Colovini's latest, or maybe an old Faidutti, or a treasured pre-Gipf Kris Burm design or something. I trust these sweet girls to have a great game for me!

I first became suspicious when I was told I couldn't bring my cup of tea to the table. Huh? Oh, maybe it's a cardboard prototype of the 3D Settlers, you wouldn't want to risk having tea spilt on that. Or maybe we're going to play Empires in Arms. where a cup of tea could ruin 24 hours of gameplay. OK, no tea. I left my tea on another table and had tea and no tea at the same time. So Heather started the description: "This is called the Dancing Egg Game. There are 9 rubber eggs and one wooden egg." Hmm... guessing the wooden egg is wild. "Rubber eggs are worth 1 point, and the slippery wooden egg is worth 2 points." Slippery? "On your turn you roll these dice. This one means first person to cluck like a chicken gets an egg. This one means first person to crow like a rooster gets an egg. This one means if you say anything at all you lose an egg." OK, so it's like Schicki Micki, I can cope. "This one means first person to grab the red die gets the wooden egg. This one means first person to run around the table gets an egg." OK, sounding silly. "This one means you have to bounce a rubber egg on the table and whoever catches it keeps it. If it goes on the floor, it's stacks-on to get it."

Let me translate for my foreign readers. Imagine a game of rugby... oh hang on, that won't work. Imagine a Loony Tunes cartoon where 75 cats are chasing Tweety Bird and they all pounce at the same time. There's an ensuing flurry of claws and hair and strangely no bird feathers. That's what stacks-on means. You don't want to be on the bottom. Now do you understand what sort of game this is? But wait, it gets worse.

"Now the white die tells you where you have to place the egg you capture. Under your chin, beside your neck, in your armpit, in your elbow, between your knees, or you choose. If you drop an egg, everyone else scores their eggs." So let's play. OK, so it was pretty funny. I wasn't prepared for the running around the table and Heather was, so she kept winning those. But when there was an egg bounce I mostly won those as I am tall and could reach a foot higher than Heather or Patty. But then I got myself into a situation where I had an egg under my neck, one in each elbow, and several in one armpit. And I had to roll the dice. It was really hard work just picking the dice up, I looked like Stephen Hawking. Then the bad news - I won an egg between the knees. Then the worse news - the run around the tables started coming thick and fast.

OK, so imagine this. I look like a cripple, I have an egg between my knees, and I am jumping around the table to the amusement and horror of 50 other gamers whose games of Timbuktu and Antike and Mykerinos have been temporarily interrupted. And Patty and Heather are knocking down chairs in their wake as a plan to make my life difficult. After about 5 laps that wasn't working, though I was giggling hysterically and gasping for breath. Then I tried to make it around the end of the table and Heather was in the way. No way was I going to concede, and I outweighed her anyway, so it became a sumo competition. I think she slipped around the side, and I struggled to my chair. Then ANOTHER lap. Somewhere on the far side of the table, amidst the scattered chairs, I got ankle-tapped, and lost the egg between my knees. Aaarggh! 5 points down the drain! Patty wins the game! I stagger away, exhausted, crippled, a massive L for Loser engraved on my aura, and puffing and panting too much to even giggle.

Oh, what a stupid game! But how long is it since I have giggled so stupidly? Yes, it was heaps of fun, and thanks to Patty and Heather for being bold enough to suggest it. Maybe they have injuries which will make them think twice before they play it again. In a funny, stupid, giggly way, it was the highlight of the convention for me. Thanks guys!

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