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Subject: Couples Night #1 - First Up: Guillotine rss

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Justin Borges
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A few of us that are attached to the Toronto gaming groups TABS ( and Canucks Amuck ( decided it might be time that we had gatherings that also included our significant others. Thus, Wednesday night became the first of what we hope to be a regular gaming event that is made up of couples.
I have to say, this is a pretty interesting thing for me, since most of my gaming in the past year has been done with men, young and old, from the Toronto groups. I can only get my girlfriend to play Scrabble and Yahtzee. After a failed attempt at playing A Series of Unfortunate Events last summer, the former two games are ALL I want to play with her. I have a habit of, you know, winning, which she just can't stand. So I was hoping that this couples gaming night might entice her to either play games, or at the least sit NEAR me when playing games. I'm sure we will eventually snare her into playing one of the lighter games, but for now she'll just watch. I also like that there are other women there, so if they want to take a break for some reason, they can go into another room and knit or take care of the baby (see below) or something. That way, the men can play something manly, with guns and guts and explosions

Anywho, I won't detail how I had to rush to clean my house, add a leaf to the table, etc. But I did. I decided to bring out some of my lighter games, so I pulled out Oh Pharoah!, Castle, Counting Zzzzzs, Gloom w/ Happy Homes expansion, Guillotine, Carcassonne, C&C: Ancients, Wings of War and Zero! I didn't think we'd get to play much of them, but the options were there, for all types of player.
First to arrive were Ben, wife Jacob, and two month old Jacob. With all the usual baby gear came the games Zendo, Alhambra and Saboteur. After introductions, a little chatting and a fed baby, we sat down to play our first game of the night, Guillotine. Just as we began... came Steve and fiancé Yasmin. They brought Settlers of Catan, the 5-6 player expansion, Quo Vadis? And Bang w/ High Noon and Dodge City expansions.
I'll say it now, before I forget. Nelson and wife Sandy were also invited, but Sandy had a dinner date with an old friend while Nelson had to stay late at work. So they'll get in on the next such game night. Oh yeah, and my girlfriend was at her night class, so didn't come in until later on in the night. Her name is Katie. She'll get mad if I don't talk about her.

So, back to Guillotine. We were just about to begin our game, in case my rambling has made you forget by now. We dealt out the two extra hands for Steve and Yasmin, gave a two-minute instruction, and away we went.
One of the things I like about this game, among others, is that right away you can figure out how certain cards can screw up other players' plans. Angela gave a big smile and an "Oh, that's a good one" after looking at her cards, which you don't usually want to hear from an opponent. Already it was clear that there would be some "take that" card playing. Which is good, when you're dealing the hurt, of course.

Turn order was Angela, Justin (me), Steve, Yasmin and Ben.
The first day had some good characters out there, including Marie Antoinette and King Louis himself! Big money was on the table. My first take was the Unpopular Judge, who I had to take because I could not play an action card while he was at the head of the line. Early on, Angela was sure to get rid of Marie, just so no one else would get her. I was able to take King Louis, though. But Steve would not have that! He played the clerical error card, STEALING my King, just like that. It's sad how people have such disrespect for the heads of such figures. Hrmph.
Play went 'round and 'round, with everyone trying to take the highest point nobles, while trying to get the grays in front of everyone else. Steve eventually got the Tragic figure, worth -1 for every gray noble. Hah! Both Yasmin and Angela saw the value of Palace Guards (worth X, where X is equal to the total number of Palace Guards you have). One noble that came up, that everyone wanted to avoid, was Hero of the People, worth -3 points. Understandable! I think everyone had a problem with his vaneful smile (a la Beauty and the Beast's Gaston) more than his negative value. Angela eventually got him. I can't recall if Ben had any specific strategy, other than get the best nobles he could.
For some reason there was a nice rivalry between Steve and myself. He stole my King Louis. I reshuffled the deck before he picked up his noble (trying to get him to take the Hero). My Fountain of Blood (+2 points) was negated by Steve's Tough Crowd (-2 points). But I got the last laugh, when Angela (after choosing a card from the discard pile) stole King Louis from Steve. Sure, he was able to take a four pointer from her, but it was still good to see.

Final scores: Angela 14 - Steve 14 - Ben 15 - Justin 21 - Yasmin 22.
I believe everyone had fun with it. Cute cartoony artwork. Some juicy "take that" action. And how can you NOT love beheading the French?!

Next we opened up Zendo...(
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