Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Chair Bears and Wood Pushers

Five GNN regulars arrived for this week's event: Joe, Sam, Jonny, Adam and myself. We began with Sam's new, intriguing card battling game, Condottiere. Sam and I had played this game only last evening, and found it interesting but a little simple for a two-player game. With five of us, it was a different prospect completely. Although Jonny missed the first round, since we hadn't done much we decided he could jump right in.

The battle was much longer with five players, and it ebbed and flowed as players who fought their way to an early advantage in a round then had to sit cardless and watch everyone else fight over areas they wanted. In the end, Adam won by cleverly linking three of his territories via a slim land corridor that some other players hadn't seen.

Once he'd been declared leader, there was a certain amount of debate about where the rest of us came. With some discussion about the merits of having adjacent territories or having more but disparate territories. In the end, the final placings were:

1 Adam
2 Sam
3= Andrew
3= Joe
3= Jonny

After this, we chose an old classic to end the evening. To our surprise, Jonny had never played Seven Wonders, so it was quickly explained to him. One can't expect a newbie to challenge seasoned campaigners such as us, and that's how it turned out. Any further reference to the rules was made more complicated by Finn the cat's decision to sit in the box while we played.

As for tactics, I miscalculated and let my strong position go to waste due to a lack of resources in round three. Joe expressed disappointment with his easy-to-build wonder of the world. Sam went for war and a bit of science, which almost won the day. But in the end Adam won by one point with the completely hypocritical strategy of military might and religious blue buildings.

Adam 56
Sam 55
Joe 46
Andrew 42
Jonny 29

At the end of the evening, with the realisation that Adam had won both games, we grimly noted that "Adam's back" before heading home. But the form table doesn't lie (unless I've done my sums wrong). He may have closed the gap, but not enough. Meanwhile, Jonny and I score exactly the same points as the points we lose, and so we stay where we were.

Sam2 2 11 28
Joe3 3 21110
Steve 1125514
Jonny5 3 33418

Meanwhile, the title refers to two potential nicknames for board gamers suggested during the evening. Which one are you?

Italy, the 16th Century

Plagues of battle-hardened Italians jostle for power in a land made of several city-states that sometimes ally themselves, and sometimes fight. It's a dirty, dirty war, full of intrigue, death and well-dressed smart-alecks.

London, the 21st Century. The complex time described above has been neatly packaged up in a teeny cardboard box and labelled Condittiere, after the manipulative bastards who led the mercenary armies. Having read the rules and found their brevity to my liking, I invited Andrew over to play last night.

The game is fairly simple. As players you're representing the Condittieres and trying to occupy a certain number of regions on a map of Italy to win - with two players it's 6 regions, or 4 adjacent ones. And to do so you simply line up the mercenary troops (valued 1-6 in the main, but there are some much-valued 10's as well) from your ten-card hand and try and outscore your opponent. Having done so, you place a marker in the region to say it's yours, and having been occupied, that region may not be contested again.

But wait. What sounds like a rather ambitiously themed Top Trumps game is made more subtle with the 'special cards'; of which there are many. The Bishop gets rid of the highest-level mercenary on display, the Scarecrow allows you to nab a card back into your hand (either having bluffed someone out of play or to save it for another day if you foresee defeat). The Surrender card allows you to end a battle immediately - and somewhat perversely, win it, if you have the strongest troops on show. Those crazy Italians, eh!

There is also Winter and Spring cards that can weaken or strengthen troops, the Drummer doubles the power of any mercenaries, the Courtesans who add a bit of power to your army but more importantly, if you have the most of them, allow you to choose the next battleground, and finally the Heroine, who scores ten and is kind of unstoppable, unaffected as she is by any of the other special cards.

There's also a 'Favour of the Pope' counter that protects an unoccupied region from battle (which you move by playing a Bishop) to add a little extra smattering of strategy.

We were intrigued. Aesthetically there's a weird imbalance between the Renaissance-art of the cards and the slightly ugly board. Mechanically we liked the speed of it, and the fact it can play up to six. But for two players it felt a little bit luck-heavy - sure, you can be as canny as you like early on, but if you're fighting over a region that will win somebody the game, it can basically come down to who has the best hand - which was how it felt as Andrew won the first game and I the second. I think though, with 3 or 4 players this downside would be negated, as there'd be more than one person trying to stop an imminent victor.

We also played Citadels, which I won by being a sneaky mo'fo.

Sam 36
Andrew 22

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Laser Quest

Due to a cock up on my part where I bought the expansion for Thurn & Taxis, and the inability of the Yodel delivery man knock on a door even remotely loudly, my promised new games were not in evidence. Paul took the news manfully and considered that we might give A Few Acres Of Snow another try. Even though we played it maybe 8 weeks ago half of the rules were missing from our collective memory. It's not a game that is taken out of the box and played within 5 minutes of recap as it has special rules for a lot of things and, as last time, we found that we played a few rules incorrectly before it was too late.

Fate dictated that I was to play the well positioned but impoverished French and Paul took on the British dandies. Both sides began filling up their respective decks with all kinds of great sounding cards without really fixing on a strategy. Indeed this game seems to the inexperienced player one where you sort of make it up as you go along and hope for the best. Paul decided that he was going to be a pain in the French underbelly with multiple raids all along the rapidly expanding front line. I, however, tried to muster as much military as my puny funds would allow. It was around this point that I realised I'd only been taking one money for trading furs, something I'd done a lot. Then just as Paul and I had traded a couple of speculative sieges the clock chimed 10.30. (It didn't. My clock doesn't even have chimes. It does tick though. It's something Jacquie had before we met. It doesn't go at all with our kitchen décor…)

Where does all the time go? Having a couple more goes each we totted up the scores.
Paul 43
Chris 46

A narrow mid-game win for the French but really it was nicely balanced at that point.

On Monday I also resumed games with James. We had a game of Stone Age which I won but afterwards he brought out a new game that he had received for Christmas, Khet. For those that don't know it is Egyptian Themed laser chess. Your board is made up of a grid of squares and in two corners opposite each other is a piece which fires a real laser. (Tesco style not James Bond). You then have a two types of 45 degree mirrored pieces, one which has a single mirror and a solid back and the other has two mirrors back to back, these can swap places with an opponents piece. There are three non mirrored pieces and one of these is the Pharaoh (King) and this is what you are trying to hit by clever placement of mirrors. You can knock out your own pieces so it is a real head spinner.

I sucked at it and lost both my games pretty quickly. I would like to play it again though.

Wanna get in on the brown action?

Six gamers perused the games cupboard tonight: Sam, me, Joe, Jonny, Anja and Steve. Adam was off sick, perhaps the excesses of Stabcon finally caught up with him.

We split into two groups of three. Joe was keen for more dice action and so he, Steve and me decided on a game of Lords of Vegas. Sam, Anja and Jonny chose Tinners' Trail for their evening's entertainment. I'll leave it for one of them to fill in the details of their game later.

But on the other half of the table, it was all about glitz and glamour as the three of us engaged in turf wars over some prime real estate along Sunset Strip. I made the early running, thanks to a purple casino that paid out a lot early on, but before long my tiny little two-square casinos weren't doing it any more, and Joe and Steve both overtook me.

Despite some desperate trading (hence the title, since brown casinos became pretty desirable late in the game), and a fair bit of luck on gambling, I couldn't close the gap on Lucky Joe or Steve and his glittering Golden Palace right on the strip which was bound to pay out, and it did. Joe spent too much money trying to gain control of any casinos he didn't already have, and when that didn't work and the game ended in the next round, it left Steve in a fine position to win on a tie-breaker since he had the most money.

Steve 44
Joe 44
Andrew 26

The results for Tinners' Trail:

Sam 154
Anja 113
Jonny 107

And they had a short spell on TransAmerica while we finished off Lords of Vegas

Sam 1
Anja 3
Jonny 12

Steve 1125514

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Loyang Hair!

Sam and I decided to tackle one of Sam's "Guilty Eleven", i.e. those eleven games he's bought but not yet played. Tonight it was At The Gates of Loyang, a sort of trading game that apparently plays best with two. When I arrived, the kids were out of the way and the table was already set up to begin. If I'd been any later, I expect Sam would've been standing at the window, waiting for me to arrive.

We read through the rules of the game, which are very badly written. So we watched a video on YouTube to see if we'd got it right, but even then, we didn't realise a couple of mistakes until quite late in the game.

Nevertheless, we understood the majority of the rules and, once we got into it, we found it to be quite an enjoyable game. First, you sow the seed. Then, nature grows the seed. Then you sell it to customers, or trade it on the market. There are certain cards which help with trading or harvesting etc.

There's not much interaction, but a certain amount of mistrust when your opponent has a card that allows him to sell to your customers. Also, there's a bit of bluffing in the card phase: you need to play two cards, but you have to pick up a card that's already face up on the table as well as a card from your hand. I found myself making "ooh, I don't want this card" type noises when laying a card down for all to see, only to pick it up again when I got the chance.

And the scoring system is clever too. Unfortunately, not easy to explain in a pithy sentence, and we misunderstood it until near the end of the game. However, for what it's worth, the game ended

Sam 15
Andrew 13

And the explanation for the title of this blog post? A recent craze amongst Sam's kids is to say "hair" preceded by a random word, such that great hilarity ensues. For example, "Egg hair", "Tooter hair" and the perennial favourite "Poo hair."

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Night of the Ra-ing Dead

The first Tuesday post-stabcon and Adam, Andrew, Joe and myself (Sam) welcomed Jonny back into the fold after an extended break. Steve, possibly feeling the effects of the weekend, was absent.

With all five players either indecisive or excessively polite, there was some discussion before the first game was chosen, which turned out to be Mammut, Joe's purchase from the aforementioned game-nirvana. It had been played over the weekend, but was new to me, and Jonny as well. However Joe's powers of explanation remain undiminished by heavy use, and soon we were arguing over the spoils of a day's hunting like proper cavemen - the first of two games themed on long-dead peoples. For some reason the neanderthal grunting this game encourages seems not to wear thin - at least, not to five guffawing morons. *

Anyway, though the game is relatively simple to learn the computation involved is too heavy for my puny brain, so I was quite surprised to finish second, and even more so to witness Adam finishing joint-last. What devious mind dreamed this bewilderment up?

Joe 42
Sam 40
Jonny 39
Adam/Andrew 35

We moved on to the evening's second game, which after a mercifully brief conflab turned out to be Ra, Reiner Knizia's classic of interpreting classical Eygyptian politics into a crazed game of bidding and nervously hedging one's bets. At the end of round two I felt I had a chance of first place, but a glance over at Joe's enormous collection of monuments told me the fight would be for second.

Which I just managed - tying with Andrew, who had managed to specialise in Nile tiles to the extent he scored 11pts for them in rounds 2 and 3 - as Joe 'the knowledge' Berger tied up a second win on the night, and Adam narrowly beat Jonny into third place:

Joe 43
Sam/Andrew 40
Adam 19
Jonny 17

It was half-ten by now so we decided to call it a night, our gaming thirst sufficiently sated.

*actually I believe Jonny is exempt from this, having not grunted and only laughed politely

Sam221 229

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Five go mad in Stockport

Imagine unfolding a board game, and it doesn't stop. It covers the whole table, then the floor, then finally a whole conference hall of a medium sized hotel! This would not be dissimilar to Stabcon. Games which usually sit in a cupboard only to be allowed occasional visits to the kitchen table are suddenly given free reign to run around and do what they like. Now the players are not sat at the edge but are suddenly surrounded.

This environment seemed to affect some of the attendees. At Stabcon they were no longer geeks on the margins of society but were now in their element – they had status, walking around with all the confidence of a meeple who knows exactly what his next move will be. Some of them also dressed with confidence, albeit misplaced, with a wide selection of figure-hugging t-shirts, low-slung jeans and hats that were a couple of sizes too small for the wearer's head.

It was Steve's first Stabcon and as we pulled into the hotel car park, his first impressions can't have been good as the first identifiable gamer we saw was a guy with long greying hair and beard. Meanwhile, after only thirty seconds in the Stabcon hall, I heard someone cry out "Panic not!" and I wondered if it was going to be even geekier than last year. We signed in at the hotel, registered at Stabcon and grabbed a table.

Our first game was Wallenstein, a strategy game which involves moving coloured cubes around a map and in times of warfare, pouring the conflicting armies of small coloured cubes into a tower, hoping that yours will come out of the bottom while your enemy's cubes get stuck. It's a nice mechanic, and kind of random but not bad random, like dice. Plus, if you lost one battle, you could console yourself that your stuck cubes may be dislodged by your next battle, giving you an advantage.

We played quite happily, with a little help from a passing gamer who watched for a while and pointed out whenever we got a rule wrong. Joe also tried to count the number of women present since his wife was curious as to how many women turned up to these things. But on his first attempt, someone asked him what he was counting and he was too embarrassed to finish, and then on his second go he gave up saying "It's too difficult to tell!"

After Wallenstein (all results on the image at the end of the day's report), Joe suggested High Society. Reiner Knizia's cunning twist on bidding games. In this each player bids for cards numbered 1-10 or for a card that'll double your score. They also bid to not pick up bad cards such as –5, lose a card, or halve your score. The twist is that the person who has the least money remaining automatically loses, so there's no point in throwing your cash around like Mr Moneybags. It got a good response from me, but Steve admitted to not being sure what was going on. This was to become a recurring theme of the weekend.

We went to a nearby carvery for our dinner, just as we had done last year. They didn't remember us, though. Steve had the vegetarian option – a Wensleydale Bake which turned out to be mostly onions under it's thick layer of cheese.
rapt attendees
When we got back, we split up for a bit. Joe and Sam played another new game: Mr Jack. A cleverly devised game where one player has to guess which of the eight characters is Jack The Ripper, while the other player has to help Jack escape or evade detection. At the end of every round the detecting player asks if Jack is in the light or in the dark (ie, if he is next to a street light or next to another character then he is in the light) and thus the culprit is slowly revealed. There are eight rounds for Jack to escape/be caught. This is a very nice game and for once a proper detective board game. Although it's only for two players.

They then played Inka, which Joe wasn't too keen on, since there were simply too many variables to keep track of. Sam won this tile-sliding/rotating game too.

Meanwhile, me, Steve and Adam played Ascending Empires for some flicking fun. This Subbuteo in space got a few comments from people passing by who were interested in the game (and perhaps curious as to why Steve and Adam had large piles of victory points in front of them, whereas I seemed to have none). I was behind almost from the first flick, as Adam and Steve built up on techs. Eventually, I picked up three victory points after an exciting space battle with Steve. A battle which, according to Steve, cost him the game. Oopsie.

Then Area 51 regular Big Mike arrived asking if he could join a game. Joe and Sam were in the shop, and Adam, Steve and I were unsure what their plans were, but we agreed to a quick game of Tsuro. Easy to explain and fun to play and quick to finish – it was the perfect option. After we finished Big Mike seemed amazed that I was writing down the scores for future reference. "Live for the moment!" he exclaimed, which in any context other than a board games convention may have been life-affirming and exciting. As it was, he said it just before suggesting a game of Notre Dame.

After that there was a quick reshuffling of competitors. We chose Tinners' Trail but Big Mike was put off by the idea of a Martin Wallace game, so he went to teach Joe and Steve Priests of Ra.

Meanwhile, Sam, Adam and myself were joined by Simon (another Area 51 gamer) for his first ever tin-mining based game. He picked up the rules fairly quickly, and he kept up a commentary on his thought processes, perhaps hoping for us to jump in and offer a better option. Which we did... sometimes. Our game ended just before Joe and Steve's Priests of Ra, which they did not seem keen on. In fact, they walked out of the hall with all the relief of a half-drowned man crawling onto a river bank.

By now it was nearing one o'clock in the morning and so we ended our first day.


Saturday is the day when most people attend Stabcon, and by the afternoon, every table was taken. At one point we left our table clear at lunch and lost it to another band of gamers. This relegated us to the wobbly table at the side. Nearest the bar, though, so not all bad.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. In the morning, after breakfast, we chose another new game, the eternally mispronounced La Cittá. I never really pressed people on the proper way to say it (Chi-TA, rhymes with pitta) and I'm glad I didn't because I doubt I'll ever hear it mentioned again. This game did not go down well, although we knew we weren't playing it in optimal circumstances: Five players, none of who had played it before.

This meant there was a lot of thinking in silence, and Adam quietly played Angry Birds on his phone between his goes. After a little under three hours, we decided to stop the game after the fourth round. Obviously the slow pace and unfamiliar rules can't have helped. I felt I had a fairly good grasp of it before too long, and perhaps as a three-player it'd be more interesting. Sam didn't seem keen on hanging onto it, so perhaps we'll never know. His quote, as we put it away, was a plaintive "Oh God, it's hideous!"

La Chitta (translation: 'the shitter')

After our lunch of sandwiches, Joe played Last Will with some other gamers, Sam and I played Mr Jack while Adam and Steve decided to tackle Twilight Struggle. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Jack and I think it may be my favourite game of the weekend – short and simple, but very cunning. I lost both times, though.

Considering that Steve had already struggled with the rules of several games so far, I thought his choice to try and recreate the entire latter half of the twentieth century was a bold one. Especially against arch-tactician Adam. At one point I heard him ask Steve "Are you sure you don't want to invade Pakistan?" and I felt very grateful that he never joined the army or went into politics.

Despite Adam's warmongering, the game played out almost in real time and was abandoned after three hours, with no sign of Glasnost happening any time soon.

Meanwhile Sam and I chose a game of Alhambra. Perhaps he wanted to avenge his recent collapse in form. Dirk, once again, joined us and, once again, made the early running. But this time, Sam played a solid game, running out a clear winner.

Joe came back from his game of Last Will, declaring his affection for the game and the silliness of its theme. We played Ticket to Ride Switzerland – a map especially for three players. I really enjoyed this. It puts more emphasis on picking up more routes (which I did three times) which gives it an aspect of gambling, and the wild cards are only useful for tunnels. Of which there are a lot. Despite being the same game, TtR Switzerland has quite a different feel to the regular version. Meanwhile, Adam had got caught up in a short game with some other people, which he won.

Frequently during the weekend, between games, I'd wander around to see what other games where being played. I'd pause at each table to take in a little of the atmosphere and see if it looked interesting. At one table, I saw people sitting around a table without a board between them, and I wondered what game they were playing. It took me all of five seconds to work out that they were just chatting.

The five of us reconvened for a game of Joe's new game Mammut. Sam sat it out, happy to just watch. This game is a cleverly devised game of acceptable greed. Each game begins with a collection of Stone Age goodies (food, fire, animals, furs) from which each player may take as much as they like. But if they take too much, the next player is allowed to take their stash, returning one item to the centre. So each player needs to judge what is advantageous, but still doesn't look so great that someone else will take it. Added to this part of the game is a scoring system that confused Steve a bit, but we played on quite happily.

After our second visit to the carvery for dinner, we set up a game of Navegador on our wobbly table. Area 51 stalwart, Cuz walked past and said "I love this game. It's totally busted", meaning there's a sure-fire way to win the game. Since it was new to all five of us, it was slow going at first and Cuz's words hung heavily over the table. But as we got the hang of it, we started to enjoy it. I was black, and I was keen to recreate the historical arrival of the Black Ships from Portugal and their arrival in Nagasaki. But Steve beat me to it, and he was blue. Whoever heard of the Blue Ships from Portugal?!

By now, it was getting late. We played two games of High Society and then Sam and I called it a day at around half past eleven. But Joe, Steve and Adam weren't so easily satisfied. They hung on for one more game of Mammut.


attendees playing Roads and Boats — a sunday Stabcon stalwart 

Me, Adam and Joe were the early risers and, after breakfast, we got ourselves a decent table. Steve arrived before long, and we discussed what to play while waiting for Sam. In the end we decided on Reiner Knizia's Decathlon because it's easy to learn and you can just stop when you want.

This game – a ten-event collection of dice games loosely themed on the events of a decathalon – was certainly easy to learn. Adam didn't like the lack of strategy, but it was certainly popular with other gamers. It was the only time in the whole weekend that we had spectators watching, Up to five people at one point.

Adam considered joining in with a game of Eclipse that was just setting up, and asked if any of us were interested. Eclipse was the top game of the convention, with as many as six games going on at the same time. It looked like an over-complicated monstrosity to me and the wide variety of plastic bits on the table didn't inspire confidence. Steve said he may try it next year if people are still playing it after all the hype had died down.

the ubiquitous Eclipse

Sam arrived, and we gave Navegador another try. As we played, I felt my gaming legs giving way. I was disadvantaged early and seemed unable to do anything about it. Two new tactics came into play, as Sam kept his boats near colonies allowing him to quickly claim them if anyone came close, while Adam sat on the advantageous Navegador card until it really helped him a lot.

Steve had trouble telling the difference between selling and processing goods, and I always wanted to do the action that I had just gone past. At the end, I thought Adam was the clear winner, but that turned out to be wrong! Sam won, with Joe in second. Then, as we were packing away, Joe realised he'd put a vital multiplier token on the wrong part of his playing board, costing him four points and first place!

Finally, we started to pack away and take things to the car, but there was time for two last games of Tsuro with a passing gamer from Sheffield. This was her first Stabcon but not her first gaming meeting, and we learnt that it wasn't very well publicised compared to the other board game conventions. After hearing this we wondered if we'd somehow stumbled upon a hardcore clique of gamers. And, if so, is it bad that we felt quite at home?

Sam and Joe finally got to chat with board game designer Martin Wallace, which must've been nice for them. As we drove away from Stockport, Joe surprised me by asking us if we thought Stabcon could last another day? I don't know about Stabcon, but I don't think I could have.

The final leaderboard puts Adam at the top of the pile for this year's visit to Stabcon! Congratulations.


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

January tales.

In an astonishing feat of restraint I had managed to avoid buying any new games over the Christmas period, telling myself that come January I would pick up some bargains. Unlike the Bristol brigade, who seem to be able to introduce a new flavour every week (It only seems that way), tonights fare was served up favourites from last years table and not a turkey in sight. After I managed to tear Paul away from my two rather playful new kittens, he graciously or unwisely offered me first choice of game.

Totally disregarding Paul's open dislike for card based games I unboxed Dominion (Intrigue) to see if his mind could be changed. I chose a party time style set of decks to see if the freer play would help Paul enjoy the game. Dominion is one of those games for us that always needs a rules refresher. Even so some of the cards had us a little confused due the use of the word "Gain" and early progress was slow. Suddenly it all clicked and we were racing through our decks with a barely a pause. (Save for Boris shinning up my leg, clambering onto my laptop and onto the table for a good nose round).

In the games dissection afterwards we noticed that Paul and I had selected differing strategies, with him only using a Bridge, Pawn, Upgrade combination where as I tried a bit of everything but stuck mainly to Great halls and Nobles with a few pawns thrown in for good measure.

Somewhat surprisingly the game ended a dead heat, 58 points each. Checking the rules the only other differentiator was the amount of turns, which was equal. Therefore, the rules declared, we should rejoice in our shared victory. So we rejoiced.

Next up Paul's choice Ticket to Ride. I tried the accepted card hoarding method and really long route, whereas Paul set about adding fistfuls of tickets and creating a sort of explosion effect in the middle of the map. Paul's bravado paid off even it nearly backfired on him. His superior haul of tickets beat my massive chain which nearly reached from the west coast to the east and back again.

Paul - 109
Chris - 94

There was just time to fit in a game of Aton. The game was actually closer than the final scores reveal, but my last hand of 4,4,3,3 was too powerful for Paul to defend.

Chris - 49
Paul - 29

Honours even for the night then and so we rejoiced again. On the journey to the train station I promised Paul some new games for the New Year. It's a tricky thing getting well balanced two player games so any suggestions are welcome.....

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New year, new start

Tonight was the grand opening and it saw an attendance of eight sat around Sam’s extending kitchen table. Current man-of-the-moment Quentin returned, and Hannah, Steve and Anja also swelled the ranks.

Before Steve and Anja arrived in their car (which was, apparently, on a meter which made me think it would suddenly cut out after a set time) the six of us managed to squeeze in a game of Tsuro. This sedate version of Tron’s Light-Cycles game was pretty tense, but soon saw my early demise at the hands of – who else – Quentin. Hannah couldn’t get out of a corner, so span off in fifth and then Joe took out Quentin in a crazed suicide pact, leaving Sam and Adam on the board. Unfortunately, Sam’s lone tile took him straight off the board allowing Adam a comfortable win.

1. Adam
2. Sam
3= Joe
3= Quentin
5. Hannah
6. Andrew

When Steve and Anja arrived, the group split into two groups of four. Quentin, Hannah, Anja and Steve played Batavia: a jolly game of trading with the exciting new market of the Indian sub-continent. Hopefully one of them can fill us in with the details later.

Joe, Adam, Sam and I played Chinatown. In this game, each player has to build up businesses which then bring in money. This game is reliant on negotiation and I’m simply too laid back to haggle. My first transaction with Sam brought forth insults and derision from Joe and Adam who insisted we do it again with a proper price this time.

Before long we started to get more into the swing of things. Sam built up some nice businesses early on, so Adam’s tactic seemed to be bleed Sam for whatever he could get. Joe was Mr Quiet, building his empires unnoticed. Although we thought he was in the lead, even we were surprised by the bonus he reaped in the last round with his newly completed businesses. I just muddled along, man. It’s only money, after all.

Joe $1,210,000
Sam $1,060,000
Adam $990,000
Andrew $650,000

The game on the other half on the table ended at almost the same time, with Quentin continuing his good run of form.

Quentin 62
Steve 39
Hannah 30
Anja 22

Quentin decided he had to dash, and so he bade is farewells. The seven of us split again into groups of three and four. Steve, Hannah and Joe played TransAmerica while Sam, Anja, Adam and myself chose Poison. The two games played out in near silence as the tension rose. In our game of Poison it was a close run thing from the start. However, in TransAmerica Steve ended the first round very early. Joe pointed out to our colour-blind comrade that he hadn’t picked up an orange card, and so one was quickly given to him from the remaining cards. Steve wasn’t down-hearted for long since he then linked to this last station with his next go, sending Joe and Hannah hurtling up the score-track towards the train shed of doom. After that, it was just a case of hanging on for grim life for Hannah and Joe as Steve ran out a comfortable winner in three rounds.

Steve 1
Hannah 13
Joe 15

In our game of Poison, Adam started badly but cleared the last round with no points at all. It wasn’t enough to close the gap on Sam, though.

Sam 13
Adam 14
Andrew 17
Anja 23

I wasn't going to add a leaderboard so soon, but since we managed to squeeze so much into one evening, I may as well...

Joe31355 17