Match report and games report

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3 minute read

Sam writes:

A “board games day” had been arranged. It was to be held at our house. I wasn’t keen, but the weather had finally improved after what seemed like months of endless rain, so I suggested that rather than sitting inside all day we should go to the park.

We played tennis without a net, then frisbee, then cricket.

There were four of us present, playing with a plastic training ball and stumps constructed from two upside down tennis rackets propped up against each other inside a Sainsbury’s “bag for life” canvas bag.

As the only one of us who semi-regularly plays village cricket, I batted first, taking advantage of the wayward bowling and gaping gaps in the field to make a respectable 23 from my two overs, keeping both of my two wickets in hand.

My hot streak continued as I bowled my girlfriend then had my mate trapped plumb LBW first ball as he attempted an ill-advised Dilscoop-cum-paddle sweep.

Unfortunately the fourth of our group, a pilot who had spent the afternoon telling us he hadn’t a clue how to play cricket, exploited the sweltering conditions and tiring fielders to beat my score with two balls remaining.

He adopted a baseball-like approach, swinging at everything and either middling it over midwicket or edging through third man. We agreed that there is a distinct advantage to batting last in such conditions.

We headed home and the board games began. First came a game called Khet, better known as “Laser Chess”.

'Easy to learn in minutes' they exclaimed in unison

It looked more exciting than it really is.

Next up was The Mysteries of Old Peking, a borderline racist game based around Oriental characters who may or may not have committed some sort of low-level crime.

So many mysteries

The suspects have names like Dun Wong, Sly Lee, Hoo Mee, Ski Ming and Han Dee…

The 'culprits' card - still frequently used in modern policing

… while the victims are called things like Mr Pong Hi (laundry owner), Lady Cha-Ming (jewellery store), Miss May-Kup (beauty parlour) and so on.

Our final game was Light Up The Town:

A philosophy all pyromaniacs can get behind

One of our group had received the game when she was a child as her dad used to work for an electricity company.

The game involved trying to collect power in order to “light up” attractions including a nightclub, a zoo, a hospital and a bank.

It was like a poor man’s version of Monopoly.

What a day.


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  1. Excellent report, and an excellent day it seems. It prompted me to do some research, during which I found this description of The Mysteries of Old Peking.


    As one of the best detectives in Beijing, you’ll solve one of the mysteries in the mystery book and reveal the criminal. To get clues, you must go to the different, possible witnesses and interrogate them about what they have seen. Also you may move the dragons through certain fortune cookie cards, to prevent the other detectives to manage to get there before you. When you know who the thief is, you must go to that dragon, where he hides according to “the Spy”.

    The most important witnesses, who you always have to visit are “the Spy” and “the Wise Man”, so you must reach them as soon as possible. You know if and then who lies, when you been at the “Wise Man”. “The Spy” knows below which dragon the guilty person hides. But you have to visit the other witnesses around the board to get a description, so you may deduct who the guilty one is. Has we glasses, a scar, a mustache or a hat? Then you just have to hope that you don’t choose the witnesses who haven’t seen anything..

    The game comes with 3 implements that allow for the clues to be read. These gadgets add an attractive element for younger kids. The 3 tools are: a red filter to look at general clues, a mirror to look at the “wise man” clue, and a SPY card to decode the “Spy” clue.


    I suspect that this game comes from A Different Age, one in which younger kids still found mirrors and bits of red celophane to be “attractive elements”. Nonetheless it does sound like fun, especially when you finally work out who the criminal is and have to deduct him (from what it doesn’t say).

  2. Passive voice in the first sentence, Sam. Will no-one own up to having organised that day? I’ll take the credit if no-one else wants it – sounds great.

    Otherwise a great report, sam. Two upended tennis rackets in a bag for life is a superb proxy for stumps, advice I’m sure I shall get to use at some point. Thanks for that.

    I am presenting to a delegation of Chinese dignitaries tomorrow. I think I’ll leave “The Mysteries of old Peking” out of the conversation, if that’s OK with everyone.

    1. That is not okay.

      Ensure you mention The Mysteries of Old Peking at the first available opportunity.

    2. Quite. Sam has helpfully provided a copy of the prejudicially-named Culprits Card. Print it and take it to your meeting, then go around each delegate asking whether you should call them Sing Song or Tee Hee. It will go down very well, you can trust me on this one.

    3. And don’t forget to carry a copy of the Return of Dr Fu Manchu as you do the afore-mentioned, while blithely dangling an opium pipe from your jacket pocket at the same time – a sure-fire winner I think you’ll find.

    4. Many thanks for your sage advice, fellas, which I shall be sure to follow.

      I’ll let you know how I got on when, or perhaps I should say if, I return.

  3. Sam – From this moment on, I am going to live vicariously through you. Could you kindly write a letter every week detailing your wild cricketing and board-gaming adventures (like that aunt in that P.G. Wodehouse story who insists on details of New York night life?) It is important you write a letter, and not type an email or something like that. But you knew that already.

    1. DC, I’m flattered and a little bit unnerved. Unfortunately my life is not always as thrilling as this. However, I hate to disappoint my fans. Please provide your postal address and I shall do my best to help.

  4. Did Bertie Wooster provide the New York detail or was it Jeeves? About time the Master got a mention.

  5. Thank you so much everyone for your kind and wise advice.

    Indeed, it seems that the Mysteries of Old Peking (MOOP) is a crowd pleaser in many parts of modern China. Delegates laughed and swapped tales of MOOP matches gone by with much hilarity. Thus my presentation seemed to be going down a storm. Many delegates took photographs and most asked for my business card.

    Unfortunately I got a little carried away in the jovial atmosphere and related one of my favourite tales of impromptu cricket derring-do, as previously reported on this very site:

    At that juncture the room fell silent, the leader of the delegation told me that it was now time for the next speaker, everyone returned my business cards to me saying that they would no longer be needed and I think those who took photographs were rapidly deleting their most recent snaps from their cameras.

    Oh well.

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