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Subject: A Fine Course to Set Before Noble Gamers rss

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Chris Baylis
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TABLE TANTRUMS
A table placement card game for 2-6 players designed by Richard Williams for Forlorn Hope Games

TABLE TANTRUMS is delivered in a box measuring approximately 28cm x 20cm x 5cm that has a regally coloured front cover and a completely blank, black back cover. The sides of the box give the necessary information as to number of players, components, the time games take to play (20-40 minutes) and the background storyline:

It is Renaissance Italy [and] You as a group have been tasked to create a banquet for a major noble.

If you have played the game Cafe International then you will understand the fun of placing people on the correct dining table. I only mention this game because you might see that TABLE TANTRUMS is about placing diners at the table in places that they will be comfortable in, and think it to be a remake of the 1989 Spiel des Jahres Winner for Amigo Spiele. The only similarities are that it concerns diners being seated at a table where they will be comfortable.

The rules are excellent, just a folded sheet printed on three sides, a fair amount of which is taken up with illustrations of the board, the Action card explanation and the character card explanation.

The three boards are set up to display a Head Table, easily recognised because it is different than the other two boards and it has a swan as the main course, and two side tables. There is one deck of cards which comprises of 15 Action cards and 35 character cards, one of which is the Host.

All the cards are dealt out to the players plus one additional “dummy” hand. Whoever is dealt the Host becomes first player, but if the Host is in the dummy hand then there is an hierarchy in place as to determine first player. Once this has been established there is a sequence of play to be followed.

Players have up to three Actions they can take in their turn which must be taken in the given order. They can move a character already placed at the table (obviously not possible for the first player), play an Action card (often also not possible for the first player), and finally they can play a character card from their hand and place it at the table.
The Host (or guest host) starts by being positioned in the central position of the Top table. The end places on the Top table are said to be adjacent to the top spaces on each of the two side tables, creating a wrap-around in effect.

The game requires the players to try to lose their cards first. If a player only has character cards that cannot be placed on any table due to the disruptive text on their cards then that player has to take a card from the dummy hand, thus increasing the size of the hand they are holding and lowering their possibilities of winning.

If you are lucky, you can play two cards out of your hand in a single turn, an Action card and a character card. If you are very lucky and are dealt a hand with a balance of Action cards and character cards then there is very little possibility of anyone else beating you – with odds of just over 2-1 characters against Action cards getting such a hand isn’t as unlikely as you may think, in fact it happened quite regularly with our play-tests.

Despite this occurrence we still come back to the table regularly because it is an amusing social game that we can chat around while playing without losing track of what is going on. An ideal game for families who like to include their younger players (as long as they can read) in their games playing. There is the possibility of some tactics by the way you place your characters. If you are short on Action cards you need to block spaces if you can by playing characters next to them, leaving the gap between the card you play and a previously laid card that requires a certain character or character type.

There is a lot of camaraderie around the Host’s table, but also some skulduggery. Assassins abound, Poison is rife and Victims are marked, and all before the pheasant and parsnips has been served.
Some folk will only sit on the Top table, others won’t sit next to a Brunette and others cannot stand Architects, Artists or Writers (and a few others).

An excellent and amusing game.


 
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