17461SR: GSG 7/29 -- Buzz Word, Bang!, Zirkus Flohcati, High Society, and lots of Katz
- Jul 31, 2003Buzz Word
Fourteen people showed at Mark's house last Tuesday, and because I
arrived late, I was stuck with Bruce, James, Penny, and a party game no
one else wanted to try. (Chris, Rich, and Brian watched one round, then
fled to play something else.)
Players divide into two teams, then take turns feeding clues to their
partners. Clues are provided on the cards, and the ten answers all have
a word in common (i.e., the buzz word). Since the clues are all
provided and the answers sometimes feel random -- with "Am I clear?" "Is
that clear?" "Are we clear?" "All clear?" all possible answers to one
clue, but only one being correct -- you couldn't do much other than read
a card and hope your partner guessed right. Stick with Taboo or
Outburst if you want a party game.
It was also clear that no one at Patch Games had put much thought into
the rules, which were ambiguous on whether you could change the clues or
how close an answer had to be. Also, the game included cards numbered
1-10 that you used to track which answers scored; to determine which
team would start you were supposed to shuffle all the cards and deal
five to each team, then see which team had a higher total. James said,
"I think one card is enough." Even worse, it doesn't matter who starts
because each team plays the same number of rounds. Boo, Patch Games!
Spend some money on playtesters next time!
Team I Don't Know (Bruce and James) beat the Savage Cheaters (Eric and
Penny), 69-61. We'll cheat harder next time.
The same four people played Knizia's flea masterpiece. Bruce slowed
everything down during each of his turns, asking questions and
contemplating his cards as if he had no idea what he was doing.
Naturally he won, although the scores were tight.
(The next day I taught the game to a mom and her 12- and 10-year-old
daughters while waiting for my karate class. We jammed three games into
40 minutes and had a blast. I look forward to indoctrinating them
further in weeks to come.)
Mark, Steve, and Ralph joined our group for a first run with Mayfair's
edition of Bang!, a heapin' helping of chaos that would probably be
significantly faster if we played a few times. James was bumped the
first round, and Steve the third; they then had to watch Dynamite make
its way around the table four times before it finally blew in Mark's
face. As the Renegade I survived nearly to the end before being shot
down by Ralph (Sheriff) and Penny (Deputy). Lots of fun, and something
my non-gamer friends would probably get a kick out of, much as they did
Are You a Werewolf? at a recent desert party.
This Knizia bidding game plays like a cross between Money and Zirkus
Flohcati. Players play four-of-a-kinds to score mice, and the player
with the most mice wins. I thought I had a handle on strategy, but
clearly I need to be more fluid in my bidding because after a certain
point not enough mice are available to let you catch up with those who
have already scored. Just as Zirkus can be won with either trios or a
Gala Show, Katz may require a shift between quick low scores and a
After two rounds:
Mark played me like a lute, or a tympani, or some sort of instrument,
bidding just $1,000 less than me, so that I would automatically lose
(because I ended the game with the least amount of money) and he would
be able to best Phil by grabbing the high-scoring tiles. A quick game
that one could easily mock up with cardboard and playing cards.
Chris, Rich, and Brian joined Mark, Ralph and me for another round of
Katzenjammer Blues, thus allowing Rich to meet his whining quotient for
the evening. Despite what he says, the game isn't broken with six
players; it merely requires a change in strategy. There's only 24 mice,
so with 6 players, any score higher than 4 has a good chance of winning.
Brian concentrated on 3s, managed two quartets, and won the game with 6 mice.
Hope to see you all next week with an enthusiastic exchange student in tow.
W. Eric Martin - TwoWriters.net
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