22 Jul 2016. These photos were taken at a work event which I organised. They were not taken by me. They were taken by a few colleagues with much better photography and photo-editing skills. Thus the games are more photogenic that in my usual photos. This card is from Take 6, a.k.a. 6 Nimmt. There are many versions of this classic card game. My copy is Category 5, an older English edition published in the US which is now out-of-print. It doesn't have the bull heads like in the original German edition. The penalty points are depicted as boring black squares, which mean something related to hurricanes.
The work event was run as a full-day team competition, with everyone divided into four teams. I took the opportunity to inject some games. When I did Category 5, I further split the teams into halves, so we had eight sub-teams playing the game like an 8-player game.
In each round in Category 5, the players simultaneously pick a card from their hands to play (they start the game with 10 cards). Once everyone has decided, the selected cards are revealed at the same time.
The revealed cards are then added to the four rows at the centre of the table, following specific rules. When a 6th card is about to be added to a row, instead of placing it at the 6th position, the person who played that card must instead claim the first five cards, which come with penalty points. The card being added becomes the new first card for that row. The objective of the game is to gain as few penalty points as possible.
Right from the beginning when you have 10 cards, you need to start planning how to play your hand. You need to consider not only the rows on the table. You must also consider the choices you will have remaining in your hand. As the game progresses, you will have fewer and fewer options, so you need to plan for flexibility in the late game.
Loopin' Louie is a real-time game. The battery-powered Louie rides a plane in circles and tries to knock your hens (the round discs) off the roof of your barn. You have a lever right next to your barn, which you use to deflect Louie's flight path, not just to protect your hens, but also to try to redirect him to attack your opponents, preferably at angles which are difficult if not impossible to defend against.
For Loopin' Louie I arranged 4 preliminary matches and 1 final match. The four teams each sent a representative for each of the four preliminary matches. Only the winners of the preliminary matches get to advance to the final match. I introduced some variant rules. The first preliminary match was played normally. From the second game onwards, everyone started with 2 hens instead of 3. I didn't want the activity to drag, so this helped. For the second game, contestants must use their left hands. I think we happened to have a left-handed contestant (boos from the other teams), but I don't remember whether he won that match. For the third match, each contestant needed an assistant. The contestant himself must close his eyes. The assistant was responsible for telling him when to press the lever. The fourth match was also played with eyes closed, but this time the assistant couldn't even speak. He must instead tap the back of the contestant to signal to him to strike.
For the final match I returned to the normal rules. Not all teams had reps at the final match, since some had lost all reps in the prelim round. By the time we were down to two contestants, they happened to be from the same team. They kept going on and on, until someone teased them - Why are you fighting so hard? You are bros from the same team anyway! As the room erupted in laughter, one of them got distracted and quickly lost.
Loopin' Louie is a children's game which adults can get very absorbed in.