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A Richard Denning game for Medusa Games


Richard has taken one version (there are many) of the old children's 'counting' rhyme-playtime frolic, and turned it into a jolly good fun game, especially when played with 4 or more players (this edition is for 2-6 players aged 8 years and up). 

I was lucky enough to see the first published draft of the game which came in a plain white card-size box and had cards with artwork better than most of us could draw but not of the standard required for a professionally published game. This edition comes in a 17cm x 13½cm brightly coloured sturdy box with illustrations throughout, box and cards, by Andree Schneider in a classic layout by Matthew Comben.

TT is played over a number of Rounds, the 'number' being determined by how many players there are; 4 players = 8 Rounds, 5 players = 7 Rounds. It is best with even numbers of players so they all get the same number of times to go first, but if your players are an odd bunch number there are compensations in place for balance.

Once you have determined the number of Rounds then you pick a start player, it matters not who is chosen or how, and they shuffle the Rôle cards before dealing a hand to themselves. From these they select one and then pass the remaining cards on until all players have secretly chosen a card from those available. This is why it is generally important to have an equal number of players because the higher up the choosing line you are (as in 1 being highest) the more rôles you have to select from. I will say that all characters were created equal before their 'Special Abilities' were discovered.

When all players have their 'secret' character selected the Start Player begins to read out the rhyme - it is written on a scroll (card) for them. They must read the names out loud and clear and with a fair break between each, enough for everyone to hear. Then when a players chosen rôle is called out they flip their card over to reveal the character just called and then they perform the Action (special ability) of that character. Often there is a choice to be made by the player whose rôle was called and they [the player] have to make the decision unless there is an obvious or specific selection to be made.

During setup a display of cards is arranged with two rows, one of coins and one of Goods. Players, on their turn, get to select money cards or purchase goods with money previously gained. Cards may be bought by the players after they have performed their character's action and as long as they have the gold to pay for them. This is a fairly well used game mechanic with a slight twist that keeps TT in the 'abstract unique' genre. After each player has bought a card or cards the display is reformed so every player has the same number of cards to select from.

When I first received the original game I was politely asked to judge the game not the graphics, so I did and I enjoyed it. Now the graphics are a major part of its attraction and I enjoy it even more. There are some rules clarifications and rewrites as well as additions that make this second edition the perfect game for 'soft' players (ie not hard core mechanic-minded) and families with 45 minutes or so spare time.

I liked the original game. I love this edition. 

In fairness though it isn't a game I would recommend for 2-players even with the included 2-player variant. My preferred suggestion is 4 or 5 players as it didn't have enough inter-action for me with just 2 or 3 players, and 6 players was just one too many. In my opinion of course.

How Richard manages to write books for his own Mercia Books company, organise the UKGE event, design and publish games for his own company, Medusa, and have a family life is a mystery, but he does and from all accounts he does it all with enthusiasm. Richard's games include: The Great Fire of London 1666, Magnificent Flying Machines, and Nine Worlds, all of which are very popular and are often seen being played at GenCon, UKGE and Spiel Essen.

TINKER TAILOR would make a super nice Christmas (or Birthday, if you are unlucky like me and were born late December - me? 11.30pm on the 24th) present. It can be found in stores and online or from Medusa Games where it is ony £12.50 including Tax & Delivery. Store recommended price is £15.00. It is a really nice game and a great way to spend time with friends.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015