Snakes & Blogs
2013-06 ‹ By Month
As the final step of our renovations at Snakes & Lattes we are completing the work on our party room. Once completed, the room will be available for large party bookings and reservations. To better serve you, and to create a larger space (and shorter wait times), this renovation work must be done. To expediate the process we will be temporarily ceasing alcohol service during renovations. This will greatly increase our seating capacity and reduce wait times during the renovations. All of the same amazing espresso based drinks, our fully relaunched menu and all of the games you love will still be available. Our Game Gurus will be on hand while you're drunk with victory!
We expect to be a dry county for a very very short time and will relaunch our licensed menu with more more local draughts, cask beer, tasty summer drink specials and some of the best bar staff in Toronto. Our new seating capacity will be much larger and serve our valued customers better.
We thank you for your patience with us during this time and we'll see you at the gaming tables.
Here's a little something for you fun-lovers who'd like to show up your friends with a raucous good time! Thomas B. tells us where it's at with banana-grabbing.
“What would you get if you combined Jungle Speed, Yahtzee and a squeaky banana?” Nobody's ever asked this question, but Banana Matcho designer Thilo Hutzler felt the need to answer it. I'm glad he did, because the answer is “a hilariously exciting game.”
In Banana Matcho, the players are monkeys racing up a tree. Each turn, two players are frantically rolling dice to get a set so they squeak the rubber banana first and make progress in the race. If you're rolling the six white dice, you're trying to make Yahtzee-style sets out of the fruits on each die: three-of-a-kind, full house, etc. You can squeak the banana whenever, but you'll move further up the tree if you get one of the more improbable sets. Push your luck to climb faster, but don't push it too far, because your opponent is rolling three yellow dice, trying to get a monkey on each of them in order to squeak the banana before you. If that happens, you'll get stopped in your tracks and the yellow-dice player will move up one space. Then the turn ends and the dice pass clockwise, giving new players a chance in the race.
This makes for a crazy, fast, tense experience with each player asking “Do I feel lucky enough to keep rolling before squeaking the banana?” As their asking that ridiculous question, I'm thankful that somebody out there asked an even sillier one and came up with a game as fun as Banana Matcho.
Yet another Spiel des Jahres nominee and one of our new favourites! Colin Y. gives us the lowdown on Augustus...
The latest from designer Paolo Mori, Augustus is a light yet engaging game which I have oft heard pitched as “gamer’s bingo.” I enjoyed Mssr. Mori’s previous title, Libertalia, and I’ll try any game illustrated by artist Vincent Dutrait, so I tabled it. In the game, you’re a Roman senator seeking to be consul to the emperor. In game terms, this means you want the most victory points. In order to get them, you and your opponents draw task cards which represent either territories to conquer or politicians to influence. Every round, a player draws tiles from a bag; the tiles have symbols which match up with the symbols on your task cards; whenever a tile is announced you place a legion token on a matching symbol found on one of your task cards. (Ahh, gamer’s bingo – now I get it!) A card with all of its symbols covered by legion tokens is complete and you get its points and any other printed rewards. Whenever a Wild Card tile is drawn, all of the drawn tiles go back into the bag and a new player starts drawing. Once a player has completed seven task cards, the game is over and you count up your points!
Augustus has a lot of things going on for such quick (thirty minutes!) gameplay. There’s worker placement with your legion tokens; decision-making in choosing new task cards; chaos management and probability analysis in dealing with the random tile draws. There’s even some push-your-luck elements thrown in for good measure.
Ultimately, Augustus employs an overused theme, but completely charms audiences through accessible and entertaining gameplay. I’ve taught it to a number of tables at the café to great success; when I revisit a table in the middle of a game, I see laughing, trash-talking and a good time being had. And if you can’t secure a seat at the emperor’s side this time around…well, it’s a short game, and hopefully you can con your friends in one more game. There’s usually “one more game” with Augustus.
Hanabi is a favourite here at Snakes & Lattes - one of the game's biggest fans (and also our Events/PR wizard) Sean J wrote up his thoughts on the recent nominee for Spiel des Jahres!
Hanabi is less a game and more of a shared group experience. It is cooperative and so we all have the same goal when playing. Every decision a player has to make is tensely watched by their teammates. A false move can cost the game for the entire group.
The premise of Hanabi is simple enough. We play as fireworks experts trying to put on the best display possible for our highly critical audience. We play with a deck of cards. There are five different suits with cards ranging between 1 and 5. We want to play out the cards in order in all of the different suits. So far so good? The trick is that you hold your hand facing away from you. You can see your teammates' cards, but not your own. Through clues, you help your team play the right card at the right time to advance the game.
For such simple rules it is incredible how addictive and engaging Hanabi is. Little wonder it's up for this year's Spiel des Jahres. Hanabi is a little gem of a game that has taken over the Snakes and Lattes staff in a way that few games have. Because you can 'win' Hanabi with a less than perfect score it can lead to multiple re-plays in an effort to better your score.
A perfect game is 25 points. My personal best is 24...so painfully in reach and so far away!