After an absence of a couple of months’ sabbatical, largely brought about by a need to save up for a trip to Australia, this past week I’ve played loads of cracking board games, all in the tranquility of the Norfolk Broads. We set sail laden with a fresh case of wine from Laithwaites, snacks aplenty and a pile of our favourite tabletop games. Our little cruiser had a superb open-top lounge area with a goodly-sized table, perfect for unwinding under the evening sun.
As a holiday present, my girlfriend bought me a copy of Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective – something I had wanted for ages – so things got off to a flying start. We found it the perfect game for a summer evening and very challenging. As Tori pored over newspapers and scrambled through the directory to find witnesses, I stared at the map trying to recreate the route of a murderer to the scene of the crime. The first night we played it, not quite reaching a conclusion before we were too tired, we ended up waking up the following morning with new theories and lines of enquiry to try out. The second adventure had us both similarly guessing and working out who the killer was, with Tori the more eager one to try and match Holmes’ speedy deduction skills while I favoured the more patient approach. My review of it will be coming shortly, but suffice it to say here that it’s one of the best games I’ve played in years.
Wine Accompaniment: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and half a bottle of Waxed Bat. Holmes would not have approved.
Viticulture still proves time and again to be one of my favourite worker-placement games. As well as being beautiful to look at, it’s easy to pick up and a very solid game in which there’s real strategy (and just a little luck) in building the perfect vineyard. I have long since found that the game is somewhat enhanced with a glass of wine or two, which can be considered a legitimate prop in this game. I built my vineyard steadily, but even though I fulfilled more wine orders I always found myself somehow behind Tori. My pile-it-high and flog-it-cheap strategy failed in the face of her higher-quality output, and she flew ahead on the final turn, blocking all the spaces I needed to produce that winning vintage that would have given me a 1-point victory. Perhaps the wine went to my head…
Wine Accompaniment: Black Stump and a whole load of Waxed Bat after a pub lunch
Splendor made a welcome return to our holiday tabletop. It remains one of our favourites; eminently playable, infinitely replayable and simple enough that anyone can learn the rules in 5 minutes- as well as being very portable for a holiday. Weirdly, having lost almost every game of it I’ve ever played, I’ve been on something of a winning streak with it lately and managed to coast to a 16-11 victory. Perhaps the bugs were starting to affect Tori’s concentration, or maybe the strange rustling coming from the bushes nearby?
Wine Accompaniment: NZ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
The week passed so quickly and by the end, we’d played so many games I lost track of them all and had so much fun. Boating, gaming and wine are definitely a happy mix.