Dave, Ben, and Lawrence arrive to start an evening of four player games. The first game up was Lawrence's special request: HamsterRolle
We last played this game at TVB 27 April 2005. Hamsterrolle is a visually attractive dexterity game with a bright yellow wheel that is placed in the middle of the table. Stuck on the inside of this wheel are regularly space black blocks. Each player has a variety of coloured blocks that they on the inside of a wooden wheel. As the wheel slowly rolls forward, the pieces on the rising side might fall off. If they stay in the wheel, no harm. Should they fall out of the wheel, the player takes them back into their collection. The first player to place all their pieces wins.
Teams were Ben/Lawrence and Dave/Rich. Each player started with 7 pieces hoping to get rid of them all. The first few pieces are easily placed as the wheel rolls along. Pretty soon, everyone was down to 4 pieces each. Ben and Lawrence had collected a few pieces that fell out of the wheel while Rich and Dave had "passed" - moving a piece on the wheel instead of playing on of their own. All the players seemed to be doing well, until Dave was the first to trigger a "crash" wherein 5 pieces fell off the wheel for the one he added. But no worries, as Rich was down to a single piece that he did place, so now he could play Dave's pieces also.
At this point, Sabrina had finished her homework and started to come by to offer her advice. While others were gently placing the pieces on the wheel - Sabrina suggested the piece should just be played to "plopped" into place. In fact, she offered to help others, but did add the provision - if any pieces fell of, it was not her fault!
Things looked good for Dave/Rich as Lawrence was next to capture 5 additional pieces falling of the wheel increasing his count to 8. Rich and Dave worked Dave's pile down to 3 pieces while Ben/Lawrence had 11 pieces between them. (For those doing the math had home - this means 15 pieces on the wheel, the original black cone plus player's pieces). But Rich's skill at "plopping" the pieces onto the puzzle betrayed him as he placed a piece and found 6 tumbling to the table!
The game continued with the teams closely matched. Rich/Dave had 6 pieces left. Ben/Lawrence had 8 pieces left. Sabrina had in fact been helping Rich place his pieces with good results. But Rich wanted to take a turn again. Sabrina protested mildly, but let Rich take the turn. Again, disastrous results for Rich as 9 pieces fell off the wheel. Sabrina could only comment; "Guess it's my turn again." More amazingly - three pieces became wedged into their space as it rotated to the top of the wheel and were suspended there.
Ben was soon out of pieces and Dave had but a single piece. Now, for the 4 player version, if both teams have a player without pieces, the team with the fewest pieces held by the other player wins. So Dave couldn't play his last piece as it would give the victory to Ben/Lawrence. Dave started passing hoping to get Ben to gain more pieces or Lawrence to have more than Rich. But the only player gaining pieces was Rich (through his own hand's not Sabrina's). As Rich kept gaining pieces, Dave/Rich conceded the game so as to move on to another game for the night.
A nice dexterity game. It plays best with 2 or 4, but as can be seen above, having players join in the middle or leave in the middle is generally no problem as folks seem to spend time worrying about where to place a piece and what might fall off then actually worrying about who wins the game. Another advantage to this game - easy set up (no balancing required) and quick play.