Ahh, the jokes that fly when the worm game is played.
"Protect your worm."
"I'll take that worm from him, even though I don't know where it's been."
"Do you want to touch my worm?"
Yes, we played Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck. I had finished playing a game of Thunderstone Advance with Kevin Hi. and Alex who went off to play a two-player game. Kevin He. and Anne arrived and we whipped out the worm game.
It was fun and didn't overstay its welcome. There was some passing of worms from player to player, but not too much -- which can be a big culprit of the game lasting too long. I had also forgotten how dirty my original dice had gotten. I replaced them with some Chessex dice my FLGS gave away with their name and number in place of the six. I probably should replace those with some of the dice I ordered from Chessex with the Elder Sign in place of the six.
This week I know Michael, Kyle, and Kevin and Anne will not be there, so I need to choose a game which scales for small to large groups.
Royal Turf is a good pick. While it is definitely better with more, it does play well enough with fewer players and can be a hoot with six players.
I greatly prefer the alea version over the Face2Face Games Winner's Circle version, which removed the personality of the different horses. I like rooting for, or against a particular horse from race to race and having the horse names tied to the color of the figures on the board makes it much easier to follow which horse is in which place.
For those who haven't played, it is a simple racing game played over three races. Each horse has a card which has four numbers on it and all the horses are statistically equal, though it might not appear so at first. (Just multiply the first number on the card by three and add the other three numbers and you'll find they all equal 30). each horse has three different cards which are similar, but not exactly the same.
The horses are first placed on the board by randomly picking one of the 21 cards. The first horse drawn is in the first position, the second in the second position, etc. If you draw a card of a horse already in the race, skip it and draw another until all seven horses are place. The cards used in the first race will be discarded, before setting up the first race as will the cards used in the second race before setting up the final race.
Then comes the betting phase. Each player has four betting chips: a bluff (which is an optional rule), two single bets, and a double bet. The players take turns placing their bets on a horse, and can't place more than one of their bets on a single horse. Once all bets have been placed, then the race begins.
The first player rolls the die, which has three sides which indicate the first number of a horse's card, and one each for the other three. He then selects one of the horses and moves them number of spaces indicated by its card. The next player does the same thing but can't move the horse a horse that already moved, and so on. Once all the horses have moved, then the current player may select any horse to move.
The bets are paid off according to a table on the board depending on the placing of the horse and the number of bets on it. The player with the most money at the end wins.