Monday, 3 November 2008


I lost, I lost!

Last weekend there was something of a Downing College reunion in Huddersfield – a surprisingly attractive place. A large number of games were played at the home of a certain small businessman and “UK writer”. These games were played by said writer, his former room-mate and my best man, me and in some cases by firstwriter’s long-suffering wife. I came out loser in almost every scenario…

Aka “Bridge for Idiots”. A great game. Poor firstwriter was dealt duff hands in every round but still managed to win, in conjunction with our card sharp (NJB). We stayed up rather late on the first evening playing this.

Never having played proper world domination Risk before I approached this (on the second night) with a certain amount of excess adrenalin. Even being the only player to be eliminated from the game after 5 hours of play could not dampen my enthusiasm. This was partly because I saw the writing on the wall a few turns before the end and decided to do a Mao, concentrating my forces in a single province in Asia (initially China) and then marching around to victory. Or so I hoped… I was actually cornered in Siam and wiped out in a pincer attack from Indonesia and India (imagine if that had happened in 1949!) Still, it cost my attacker considerably more armies than I lost. Something of a pyrrhic victory for him, as the other two players were then poised to carve him up, but an honourable three-way draw was then (propsed and brokered by me) and agreed. I awarded myself the carnage prize for the most enemy armies destroyed, a decent consolation. Interestingly the decisive province in the game turned out to be Yakutsk - no battles were fought on or from it, but after a few turns its owner kept reinforcing it heavily preventing anyone (especially me) from expanding throughout Asia until it was too late.

Wii Sports (tennis)
Wrist strain and collision were the hallmarks, along with constant defeat. The married team were too coordinated for N and I.

Wii Mariokart
I managed not to be 12th in every race I played, but that’s about the extent of my achievement. A 5-year-old could have beat me – and, in fact, did on several occasions.

Triple Crown
Mancala, Abalone and Reversi (Othello). One of the triumvirate played two games at once, the simultaneous handicap passing to the next player as soon as someone was defeated. The games swapped in and out after two matches had been played of each one. There were three games of Reversi (no wins for me), five games of Mancala (one win for me) and three games of Abalone (a shock double victory and no defeats for me!), which revealed that I was generally the loser – the other two won four matches each.

Never before have I lost so many games and enjoyed myself quite so much!

Heywood (Lancs) was the next stop on the grand northern tour for a long-overdue reunion with a chemical engineer who is also a Scrabble King. We tried Banangrams, which is like Take Two, a game played with Scrabble tiles which need to be arranged and rearranged at top speed into a little crossword formation. I managed to distinguish myself here, too. I blame it on lack of sleep through 500 and Risk earlier in the weekend!