The most recent Gathering of Friendless was held the evening before the long-awaited Australian federal election. The contenders for the prime ministership were John "Evil Tyrant" Howard, and Kevin "Golden-Haired Boy" Rudd. The contest was echoed on the evening where the (male) participants were John "Funatic" Smee, John "Friendless Bastard" Farrell, and Cyber "Special Event Card" Kev. The result of the contest was anticipated across the nation.
First up we played NoNo, a word game by Michael Schacht. This is one of those Scattergories sorts of games where you have to call out a word that matches a category and includes some letter and has some number of syllables but doesn't contain some other letter. For example, call out a 5 syllable word containing a K which has something to do with a forest. You mean you can't? I couldn't either. I spent most of the game not being able to do it. We think the problem is something to do with the game not being much modified from the German version, where 5 syllable words with Ks are more common. Smee claimed an early lead in the evening's tally. I won't be playing NoNo again.
We then tried out Gipsy King. The game is easy to explain, but the passing rules, which are the interesting part, make the game intriguing to play. I found myself well and truly outclassed by all of my opponents, and came a miserable last. I noticed one mistake I made, but I'm sure there were many others. Mrs CyberKev made a very strong showing but Scrabblette formed a large caravan to claim a surprise victory. I'll have to play Gipsy King again.
With Kevin about to concede due to an early start the next day, we chose to play a short game. Smee had a copy of the latest edition of Can't Stop, and as I'd never played it in real life I agreed we should give it a play. I wonder if maybe the game's name is short for "Can't stop because you're too pigheaded to give up on the game and it just won't stop by itself."? A mixture of cautious and bold (i.e. foolish) play had us all fairly close when Team CyberKev retired to lick its wounds, and within seconds Smee had claimed victory. The Johns lead 2 games to 0.
We boldly pressed on trying out new games. We deshrinked Army of Frogs, the new game from John Yianni, and read the rules which are short and easy. Let me just say, I just want to make the point, that the frogs in this game are absolutely gorgeous pieces. They're easy to pick up and they seem to cling to the table and each other's bases using gecko technology or something. Anyway, we figured out strategies as we went along (don't put any more of his frogs out or he'll win). I had some idea because the game is similar to Poison Pot. However Smee was seriously trying to win, so I had to think as hard as I could to beat him. Johns 3, Kevins 0.
Finally, it was time to close with a very cool game that takes no effort to learn - Unspeakable Words. I have never beaten Scrabblette in this game - the only time I won she wasn't playing. Her strategy is to make big words and roll lots of high numbers. As indeed she did this time. We got trounced.
The Johns took this evening, but it was all downhill for the Evil Tyrant the next night. Not only did his party lose the election, but he lost his own seat. The Evil Tyrant was forced into retirement. His deputy chose early retirement rather than clean up the mess he has left his party in. The backstabbing and bloodletting continues. Senior members of the former government are saying "I told you so", and there seems to be no hope for them until 2011 at least. That's a real shame, because I was hoping for something worse to happen to them. Meanwhile Australia is ruled by the golden-haired boy. But as he says... "I'm still Kevin. I'm still from Queensland."
Note: It might have been very clever to call this episode of the Gathering of Friendless "John's Party", if only I'd thought of it and you would have understood.