Fab Fib: this is a bluffing game in the mold of Liar’s dice or Coyote. It’s played with a pack of cards, of values 0 through 9. The start player draws three cards. He or she then bids a triplet of numbers, for example 6-5-2, and the next player must decide whether to accept his bid. If he or she does, they take the three cards, discards at least one of them, refills to 3, and then must increase the bid. He instead they call, the cards are revealed and unless they match the bid exactly, the challenge is successful. The loser of the challenge gets number of points that is somewhat random (it’s noted on the cards, usually 1-3 per card). When you get 10 points, you’re out. Yes, this is basically Liar’s Dice with cards. The problem is, unlike Liar’s Dice, you have essentially no information with which to make your decisions. When deciding to call, all you really deciding is whether you think your opponent is the type who would bluff. That’s it. This game really has nothing to recommend it over Coyote or Liar’s Dice, but it is at least short.
Lord of the Rings: Friends and Foes: After my recent playing of this expansion, I was angling to give it another shot. I decided this time that I was going to recommend a strategy of skipping Moria. That’s all well and good, but right out of the gate in Bree we got whacked with a large number of foes. This made it impossible to clear up the queue, and thus impossible to skip Moria. Then we proceeded to get blasted in Isengard. We skipped Helms Deep, but as noted skipping two in a row is very difficult so we got stuck trying to go through Shelob’s Lair, and didn’t make it out. It’s interesting, I noticed in this game that the groups I play with have become much more reluctant to allow Hobbits to be killed off. We now go to great lengths to keep everybody in the game as long as possible. Interesting, because if it’s become clear your character is dead weight, you almost have to find a way to commit suicide (I was in this position and couldn’t pull the trigger, so probably ended up dragging the party down). In the basic game, this is not a big deal, but in the much tougher Friends and Foes, with which we have a lot less experience, we probably need to be willing to be a lot more ruthless. Once again, I enjoyed this game a lot, and hope to be able to play this configuration again soon, and maybe win one. There is clearly still lots of room for improvement in my game.
Maskenball Venezia: This is a fairly nice party-style game from Adlung. Each player is dealt a card which illustrates a gesture – a salute, patting your head, covering your eye, stuff like that. The idea is that everybody sits around a table staring each other. Everyone then tries to make their gesture such that less than half the people at the table notice, and also watch for other players making their gestures. When you think you see somebody making a gesture, you pick the matching card from the reserve. At the end of the round, you reveal who you think made what gestures. For each one you get right, you get a point. You also get a point for every other player who sees your gesture, up to half the players. If more noticed you, you will instead lose points. This is very bad, as the game is only played 10 points. This is just a light silly game, but I must admit I enjoyed it. It’s actually harder than you might think to notice what everybody is doing, and tricky to keep track of everything. I think If it were longer, it would probably get old pretty quickly, but at about 15 minutes, it’s just right. More is better; play it with 7+, I think. My only complaint is that the cards, while physically very attractive, are sometimes hard to identify at a distance. Still, given the price, a nice game from Adlung.