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Don't Kick a Gift Horse in the Mouth With Those Sticky Toes

Monday was Workman's birthday. (Happy Birthday!) In keeping with Fun Group tradition, we chipped in on a gift. We got him two new games (and a manly Yankee candle, but you can read about that on my manly Yankee candle blog.) And tonight we got to play both of them.

(In a somewhat related story, during the course of this gift buying, Steve confessed that he thought the expression was "don't kick a gift horse in the mouth." His whole life he said it this way. No one ever corrected him. It was just recently that he learned of his gaff. We think this bold stupidity may have cost him at least one job, and probably countless women. Not relevant, just wanted to share.)

Workman's favorite hidden movement game is Letters from Whitechapel. He says it is "pure deduction." I've played it once, and near the end, asked the person playing Jack the Ripper to please bludgeon me with a shovel and put me out of my misery. It is not my favorite hidden movement game.

But when I heard about Whitehall Mystery, I was intrigued. It promised to strip away all the bullshit from Whitchapel that made it run long and become tedious. And even if I still hated it, it seemed like Workman would like it.

Whitehall Mystery

Leon wanted to be Jack. Or the suspect who may or may not be Jack the Ripper. He marked his starting location and we were off.

Starting spots

Me, Workman, and Steve in our starting spots. We look a little Keystone Coppish.

Leon had to pick four spots, one in each section of the board, at the start of the game. He had 15 moves to get from one spot to the next. He had to get to all four spots in order to win. If he got caught, or if he just didn't get to the next spot in time, he lost.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but toot-freaking-toot. I was the MVP. I stumbled onto Leon's trail early on and hounded his ass the whole game. I was a step behind him every turn. Literally.

Look at me hot on that trail

Look at me hot on that trail. Me! Workman wasn't telling me what to do or anything. Not at all.

He made it to his first spot, but once he marked it, we had him. Steve had run down the middle of the board to block his moving into section three. Leon used a carriage and cut through an alley, but we still stayed on him. On the last turn, I asked if he'd been here or here, and he had, which meant he had to be right over here. Here being right next to Steve, who arrested him on the spot. Woot! Game over in 45 minutes.

Me and Steve arresting Leon

Me and Steve, kicking a gift horse in the mouth. No, sorry, arresting Leon. I got my stories mixed up.

I wasn't sure I believed that a hidden movement game could play that fast. And I'm not sure had I not gotten extremely lucky early on that it wouldn't have gone the way so many of these games go: long, tedious, and frustrating. But I think Jack having to mark his spot when he gets there helps refocus the investigators in the event he slips past them. Seems like it would anyway. We didn't find out in our game cause I was so damn awesome. He didn't slip past me none. NONE. (Woot!)

I enjoyed Whitehall. It's no Fury of Dracula, but it's a great game for a weeknight game night. I would play again.

Our second gift to Workman was the Modern Art reprint. In one of the first conversations (if not THE first conversation) I ever had with Workman about board games, he had just played this game and loved it. But he couldn't get a copy as it was out of print. It's a damn good thing I've got a good memory (that was about four years ago - doesn't seem possible).

Modern Art box

First off, and this may sound like a stupid statement, but I really liked the art in this game. It features five legit modern artists, and I liked them all. I wanted to study a lot of the cards. But it isn't a study art game, it's an auction art game. (It even comes with a gavel. #srsbsns)

So much to look at here

So much to look at here.

I really like how the game features so many different auction mechanics. Quite genius. You're basically doing the same thing every turn, but with so many different auction types, you don't feel like you are.

The art's lovely

The art's lovely and all, but how much can you get for it? That's the real question.

I wasn't able to figure out the possible sell prices of each painting as quickly as the guys did, which was frustrating, but I figured something out. I won with $532. Booyah. Steve was second with 493, then Workman with 370 and Leon with 324.

My winning fat stacks

My winning fat stacks.

I dug this game too. It also played in about 45 minutes and felt very different from any other game I've played. I liked it way better than Ra, another game from RK's auction trilogy.

And Workman enjoyed both games, which is all that matters. (Did I really just say that?)

After our birthday games, we drug out Love Letter. I won, but that's not the best part. See, Workman has a condition or a super power or something that we call "Spider Fingers." He can pick up cards without gripping them between his fingers. He just taps the card, it sticks to him, and he picks it up. So he and I are both knocked out of a round, and he's picking up cubes with his spider fingers. I say "can you do that with your toes too?" His face lights up and he says "I don't know, I've never tried." And in the swiftest of swift movements, he swings one leg up on the table and starts picking up cubes with his big toe. Steve and Leon, who are still actively playing, are all "wtf dude?!?" And in a subsequent round, Steve says "I can't concentrate. I can't stop thinking about Workman's sticky toes." I wheeze laughed the entire game.

Finally, we played Skull. It was fun. It was Skull. Workman won.

I did some checking, and it had been since July 6 that the core four had been together for game night. But that night included Munch. If we go back to a legit just the core four game night, it had been since June 8. Too long. It was a good night.

Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!