Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Parlor Game Geek

So, what did www.ParlorGameGeek.com look like in 1870?

Aldie's avatar on the front page

Top 10 Games

Rank Game Value
1 Puerto Rico 8.609 (just kidding)

1 Charades 9.451
2 Crambo 9.204
3 Lookabout 9.115
4 Blindman's Bluff 9.110
5 The Post 8.757
6 Alphabet Minute 8.453
7 Shadows 8.209
8 The Endless Story 8.176
9 Forfeits 8.095
10 Dictionary 7.997

Recent Review

The Bellman

Review by Sir Thomas Vincent Assalinus, III, Esq.

The latest offering from Fortnights of Amazement, The Bellman is a new simultaneous-action dexterity game that builds upon the success of last century's Blind Man's Bluff. In fact, if you liked the latter, you will like the former, since they are essentially the same game with reversed roles.

Opening the box I wasn't surprised to see that the components were of high quality and up to the usual standards for a Fortnights of Amazement game: the game comes with no components. Or box, for that matter.

Players begin by choosing The Bellman: youngest player, oldest, whatever. Everyone else now puts on a blindfold, while the Bellman requires a metalic ringing device of some sort. We weren't sure what to use for this, so we just gave him two metal rods to bang together, which worked out ok. The Bellman begins making noise while moving around the room.

In order to win the game, one of the blindfolded players must "catch" The Bellman. At this point the winner starts off another game as The Bellman. That's it.


1) Components: The usual stuff for this sort of game.

2) Rules: The rules were simple and elegant. There were a few rules questions, such as what to use for a ringing device, and whether players can swing large 2x4s while wandering around the room (the rules didn't say that you couldn't), but we managed ok (with a few injuries).

3) Luck: There was a fair amount of luck, but tactics also came into play. Catching The Bellman is trickier than it seems, especially as all the players are playing simultaneously and their efforts are working against each other. Definite high replayability in this regard.

4) Theme: The theme matched the game mechanics very well. You really felt like you were running around trying to catch some idiot ringing a bell.

(Hey, a bell!)

5) Player interaction: There was a lot of interaction, as each player moves simultaneously while trying to acquire limited resources ... resource. As a bonus, there is no early elimination or runaway leader problem. Everyone felt like they had a chance right up to the very end of the game.

6) Fun Factor: We had a blast playing The Bellman. Several times during the game we were laughing our heads off. Especially when Charles reached out to grab The Bellman and ended up grabbing Victoria on her ... elbow.

Bottom line: This is a great party game, another in a long line of great games from Fortnights of Amazement. Highly recommended.

Recent Geeklist

Games played at last evening's tea party at McEssen Manor. Mr and Mrs Alderan Derksington were our hosts, along with Mr M______ and Ms N________ who are visiting from E_______ on the coast.

Mr Gregory Shloessington
Tennesee Estates

My dear fellow game enthusiasts and compatriots,

It is with warm wishes and a jolly countenance that I send forth this Geeklist, along with the hope that it finds you all in the best of health. I cannot begin to express the happiness and enjoyment we received from our visit to McEssen Manor last evening. The food, wine, and surroundings were simply divine, but mostly the company was of the highest standards, blah blah blah and so on for five pages until so I present to you here a list of the games in which we partook on that very evening that I have mentioned herein, and these are as follows:

Alphabet Minute - One of personal favorites, as to which the Mrs can so attest. As you know doubt recall, the game requires two players to select a piece of paper containing a subject and a letter of the alphabet from among many such papers that had been previously placed into a hat, and then the two players had to converse about the aforesaid subject. The first sentence spoken by one of the players was required to start with the aformentioned letter of the alphabet, and each subsequent sentence was required to be spoken by the other player and to start with the subsequent letter of the alphabet, and so on until the discourse has returned to a sentence that began with the original letter of the alphabet that had started the conversation. All of this was to be accomplished within the short time of sixty seconds, or the players would each forfeit a point. I must admit that I faired rather poorly in this game, having used up sixty seconds with my first sentence. [Note: I also saw this on Whose Line is it Anyway?]

Animals - This being, of course, last year's expansion to the familiar and illustrious Blind Men's Bluff, wherein a player who is caught must make three sounds as an animal named by the catcher. The catching player must then attempt to identify the caught player using these sounds, and, if he or she cannot, the caught player is let free, and the other player must return to his or her industry of catching another player. As for myself, I do not favor expansions over the original game overly much, with the exception of the nine princely expansions to that all time classic game of swapped identities, Mundane Encounter. In any case, this game was ended after Lady Williams, arrayed in a darling blindfold and dark marroon calico print dress, stumbled over Mr Thonquinton's great dane "Snuffles", and fell into the lake.

Crambo - Of course we played this old chesnut. It was quite an excitement, too. Lady Sodak was so excited, she ended up quite flushed and had to lie down and be brought her smelling salts. [One player tries to guess a word after being given a rhyme for that word. The player guesses by asking players one by one about the word by describing the word he wants to guess. For instance, if the real word is "bath", the player is told that it rhymes with "path". The player then asks someone if it is a system for calculating numbers (thinking that the word may be "math"). The player who is asked this question must say "No, the word is not 'math'." The player wins either by guesing the word, or if a player to whom he asked a question does not know what word he is describing.]

Anklen Memo - I josh with you, of course.

Shadows - This lovely game, wherein players must pass behind a screen while another player tries to guess who that player is, was a rousing success, and thoroughly entertaining. I must confess that I was so amused that I even went so far as to tap my cane delicately upon the floor and remark "Hear, hear". I do so make a fool of myself at parties. During our game, Mr Beasley couldn't recognize Mrs Beasley's shadow from the rear end of the horse that had stumbled behind the screen. To top that, noone was able to recognize Mr Grognads form in any way whatsoever.

Recent Session Report

Hot Boiled Beans: Session Report by Mr Clooless.

Score: 1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0

Jim started out as it and Mary was his target. We all shouted "Hot boiled Beans", and then he was cool, cool, cool, warm, warm, cool, warm, cool, warm, warm, hot, hot, hot, and then he won.

Mr C.

P.S. How do I get a GeekGold for this?

OK, I won't bore you by doing the rest of this, but, for your own amusement, try to see how these games would rank against modern games which you have rated, and which have benefitted from over a hundred years of evolution. Are today's games better?

Blind Man's Bluff - one blinfolded player must catch any other.

20 questions


Detective - One player is thief, one is detective. Thief doesn't know who detective is. Thief tries to steal handkerchief from middle of circle before detective catches him.

Dictionary - aka Balderdash.

Forfeits - each player must give an item and then do a truth or dare for the item to be returned to him or her.

How, Why, When, and Where - Players must guess a word by asking only "How do you like it", "Why do you like it", and so on. The answerer may fool the guessers by having used a homonym word and answering for the homonym.

Lookabout - One player hides an object, the last to find it loses.

Pass the Slipper - One player must guess where the slipper is that is being passed around by the other players.

Proverbs - One player must guess a proverb spoken by others, where one word of the proverb, in order, is introduced somewhere inside each sentence spoken by the other players.

Ten Fine Birds - Players try to repeat an ever increasing list of objects (like I went to a picnic and brought a ... and a ... and so on around the circle).

The Ball of Wool - Players try to blow it off the other side of the table against the puffing of the other players who are trying to do the same.

The Barnyard - Each player is an animal, and must make the right noise when his name is said during a story, or when the word "barnyard" is mentioned.

The Courtiers - One of several variants of Simon Says.

The Endless Story - One player starts a story, each player continues for exactly one minute, and the last player must wrap up the story using all elements said by other players within one minute.

The Minister's Cat - Players describe the Minister's Cat using letters of the alphabet around a circle. ("The minister's cat is angry." "The minster's cat is beautiful." ...)

The Name Game - Each player places 10 pieces of paper containing a noun into a hat, and each player has 30 seconds to guess as many as s/he can as the papers are pulled out from clues given by the puller.

The Post - Each player chooses a location ("London", "Brisbane", ). Postmaster calls out two locations who must change seats before he can take one of theirs.

Throwing Up Lights - two players converse about a word without speaking it. As each other player guesses, they may join the conversation. The last to guess loses.

You're Never Fully Dressed without a Smile - One person must make anyone else smile, who then becomes "it".




ekted said...

Hahahaha. You almost made me spit coffee all over my keyboard! :)

Anonymous said...

By far, one of the best blogs ever!

Anonymous said...

Fortnights of Amazement, man! Pure greatness.

Melissa said...

Fantastic stuff, Yehuda.

"You're Never Fully Dressed without a Smile" is one we play a lot with the girls.

If you ever have the time to visit the metropolis again, you must surely play a round or two of Crambo and Throwing Up Lights.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

If you ever have the time to visit the metropolis again

What? Isn't everyone going to Bethlehem for Christmas? I'm only two miles from there. I was planning a big game evening!

In The Bellman, the line: "...there is no runaway leader problem" should have been followed with: " ... assuming the door is closed."


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point this out: Gone Gaming is #1 result for a search of "Anklen Memo" on Google. I'm willing to admit I didn't know what that meant.