Newport, 25 January 2019

At our Board Games Club for Adults we introduced them to two new games. The first was Spot It Jr.! Animals (Asmodee, 2012), a beginner’s version of Dobble. There are 31 circular cards. Each card features six animals. No two cards are the same. The size of the animal may differ on each card. You can take any two cards and they will have one animal in common. The first person to spot and shout out this animal wins the card. We actually played the version called The Well where both players have 15 cards in a pile and one card is placed in the middle, face-up. Players search for the match between this card and the one on top of their pile. The winner is the fastest to get rid of all their cards. It was great to see our members get up to speed with the concept so quickly.

The other new game for our members was Ghost Blitz (Zoch, 2010), a great game of visual perception and one of Debbie’s favourites. Dobble is a good game for spotting the same object on two cards. Ghost Blitz takes this a step further by asking you to find the object which is not on the card. It requires a process of elimination at speed to find the right object. It stretches the brain in different directions, making it great fun.

There are five wooden items: a white ghost, a green bottle, a grey mouse, a blue book and a red chair. There is a deck of cards, each card showing two items, with one or both items in the wrong colour. A card is turned, then players either shout out or grab the “correct” item. If one item is the correct colour, players need to grab that correctly coloured item. If both items are the wrong colour, then players look for the item and colour not on the card e.g. if the card shows a green ghost and a red mouse, the answer is the item which is not the ghost, not the mouse, not green and not red: it must be the blue book. The player with the most cards when the deck runs out is the winner. Our members found it challenging to grasp the idea of their being two types of card (one item of the correct colour OR both items of the wrong colour), and it gave them a good mental work out. They were pleased to return to the relative simplicity of Spot It afterwards.

We also played Halma again, a game invented in 1883-1884 by an American surgeon called George Howard Monks. The name comes from the Greek work meaning to jump. This game was requested by one of our members who remembered it from his childhood but had not played it since.  The winner is the first player to move all their pieces from their home “camp” to the opposite “camp”. Movement is either by step or by jump. A step is from one square to an adjacent square in any direction. A jump can be over your own piece or your opponent’s piece, to an empty square beyond; multiple jumps are allowed; steps and jumps cannot be combined. I thought I was being clever by making seven consecutive jumps in one move, but my opponent made eight consecutive jumps! It was a close victory for me.


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