Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ship of fools.

Due to my kids chunder fest on Sunday night games night was postponed to Wednesday this week. I had got three new games for my birthday and I was itching to get one of them played. We opted for Medici, rules are simple to learn and it has a quick playing time. So quick in fact that we managed to play three games on the trot but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

The first game for the newbie merchant ship captains was a curious mix of badly over bidding for goods and random tactics so it is probably little wonder that I came out on top. In this game each player spent a little time out in front.  It was quite incredible that the final score spread was only 5 points.

Chris - 129
James - 126
Paul - 124

Afterwards with all present staring at the board it was generally agreed that this was a smashing game with James going as far to say that it was his new favourite, of the shorter games.

So to round two, where I played a mean game of only bidding on the high tiles. A couple of winning ships later and I had quite the lead. It turned out to be enough in the end with neither Paul or James being able to mount a comeback.

Chris - 165
James - 123
Paul - 104

It seems in our last game that James had learnt all my tricks (Whatever they were) and sailed off round the scoring track, momentarily looking back over his shoulder every now and again to sail off in a puff of spices.

James - 169
Chris - 127
Paul - 107

For our final game we thought we'd give Web of Power another spin. This time it was a very cagey game with a few complete territories not even broken by the first scoring round, which James edged. I fell into my usual flawed tactic of spreading my advisors around the place and running out of them James and Paul managed a much more focused approach and in the end some canny placement by James won him the game even if he did think he had a road of 11 cloisters. It was actually one of 6 and one of 5 which only made the total of...........11. HAHAHA.

By this point we had all shared a big bag of Maltesers and a similar sized bag of skittles. I think we were all on a sugar rush...

James - 64
Paul - 53
Chris - 48

Friday, 22 February 2013

The new guy.

What to do with a 4 and half year old who is bouncing off the walls bored. Well teach him his first board game is the rather predictable answer. Somewhat inspired by Sam's success in getting Stan to the table I thought I might see how Ashton faired with one of my more simple games. Even though it has quite an extended set up time Agricola seemed like the natural choice but then I thought "Hang on, Ashton specifically said he hated 17th century agricultural worker placement games" so Hey That's My Fish it was with it's little penguins and that.

Ashton about to lay some moves on me.

We got through one game, he paid attention, didn't make up all his own rules (Which is quite amazing for him) and had fun!

Next week its Nexus Ops.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The slowliness of the long distance gamers

After a long gap since the last official GNN meet, you would think that we'd be eagerly clawing the lids of boxes, desperate to get some cardboard on the table. Instead, we found that several of us were just getting over a cold, chucking down cough sweets and generally looking a bit sluggish.

And so we began the evening with a quick light-hearted game that soon bogged down into studied pondering. It was a new game, Love Letter. The theme of this game is that you have to get a letter to the princess, but in practice, you are playing a very Coup-like game, whereby each card has an action, and when you discard one of your two cards, you have to do that card's action.

This game has already been dismissed by one of Joe's daughters as not having enough strategy, but you wouldn't think that if you saw us thinking carefully over every move. Joe came away the winner in a "first to three" match with the rest of us not far behind.

Joe 3
Sam 2
Adam 2
Andrew 2

After this, we were half wondering if Hannah was going to join us, and so we played Biblios to fill time until her possible arrival. It's a game that needs no introduction, but some kind of strategy guide would be nice. We all considered our moves cautiously, and Sam came out the winner in a low-scoring game.

Sam 5
Adam 3
Joe 2
Andrew 2

Then Adam checked his messages to find that Hannah had texted ages ago to say she wasn't going to be able to make it after all. So we decided on the main course for the evening. Since it was quite late, we decided on 7 Wonders.

It's been a while since this game saw a proper run out with us experienced gamers, and once again we slowed the game to a grind with our deep strategising. It also saw the return of the famous way of prompting/annoying a still-thinking opponent by repeatedly tapping cards on the table, making a noise not dissimilar to the drumming legs of a frightened gerbil.

However, it looks like my time spent on the two-player variant served me well, as I snatched a close win with two guilds, big points for my Pyramids (pun intended, but not the innuendo) and a sudden conversion to military might in the last round.

Andrew 56
Joe 55
Sam 52
Adam 44

With our heavy eyelids threatening to fall shut, we decided on a final light game: Skull and Roses. This simple yet devious game of bluff was, at least, quicker that the previous three games. In the end, Sam was the first to make two correct guesses and Adam, who just kept saying "pass" as I recall, snuck into second.

1st Sam
2nd Adam
3rd Joe
4th Andrew

Finally, it's time to dust of the form table to see how things stand, and we find that Sam is the new leader.

Sam1 3 1 2 3 10
Anja2 1 2 2 3 10
Adam2 4 2 2 1 11
Joe3 2 3 1 2 11
Hannah41 1 2 3 11
Andrew 4 1 3 2 3 13
Steve1 2 2 4 6 15
Jon3 5 15 5 19
Quentin 15 5 5 5 21

Friday, 15 February 2013

Sloppy Civilisation

With no GNN session this week due to Valentine's Day, Andrew and I took advantage of Sally working through the (early) evening to squeeze in a quick two-hander. I realise that doesn't sound how I meant it, but I'm not going to change it now. We're grown-ups. 

I made my way to Andrew's with a couple of old, but perhaps underplayed, games in the bag - Mord Im Arosa and Portobello Market. We started with the former. Andrew lists this game as one of his favourites, and though I have a soft spot for it's unique silliness I do believe his preferences are framed by the ample Sean Connery/soft spoken Swede impressions it affords, as we tried various implementations of the phrase 'Sloppy Investigation'. As it turned out, I was by far the sloppier, and Andrew beat me convincingly:

Andrew 19
Sam 13

Don't go to the Mord this summer.

Time for a change. We'd only played Portobello Market 2 or 3 times and I think the general GNN impression was of the arched eyebrow variety - no open derision, but not a lot of enthusiasm either. It does play more tactically with two, I think; you can plan your moves with only one other person to ruin them for you, and it also plays quicker with two as there's less thinking time. But it's still one of those games that allies a simple rule set with deceptive strategic depth, and having started well only to fall back behind Andrew, I managed to jump past him with a sneaky trigger-the-game-end move:

Sam 161
Andrew 147

Andrew suspects those DVDs may not be kosher

One that merits further plays, I feel, though accusations of abstractery must be admitted to.

There was still time before I had to dash back so we broke out another of Andrew's faves (and my nemeses, along with Trans America): Roll Through the Ages: the game of dice-based stuff, where you balance the virtues of extra cities with the fact the buggers need feeding. I did pretty well, for me, but my beautifully advanced civilisation - with monuments and everything - was undone by serial disasters as I neglected to provide any food. How can the people starve? They're only made of wood!

Andrew 18
Sam 9

No knowledge will be handed out unless you have an amphora

With our gaming fix sated, and Andrew winning 2-1 on the night, I headed off into the ether...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Hammer of the Peckhamites

Whilst a number of the other GNNers were cavorting down south on friday, my family and I headed east to London, to stay with our friends Henry and Rachel and their three girls in Peckham.
After catching up and eating and getting drunk no-one was in the mood to learn rules, so we opted for our four-player favourite, Lords of Vegas.

I sped in to the lead on account of my brown casinos paying out multiple times, but then found myself floundering as the others caught up and overtook me. It was a tense, taut game, and it ended as it so often does, with the feeling that one player had it sown up, but that a couple of extra rounds could have changed the landscape considerably. As it was Henry was the clear victor, and I think I was third or fourth.

On saturday, Henry was keen to sample the various new games I'd brought along, and we played three games of Battle for Hill 218 followed by Traders of Carthage. Hill 218 is a brilliantly clever and unique WW2 card game where you try and creep round the titular hill (titular hill?) to infiltrate your opponent's base whilst they do the same to you. There's no bluffing, just alternate playing of different types of troops, and Henry took to it in an instant, winning the first game. I can't remember who won after that, but then we tried out Traders, last played by Andrew and me at Stabcon in Jan. I like it a lot, though it feels slightly odd going from two-player direct confrontation to the more oblique passive-aggressive euro tactics, and as soon as we finished we broke out Hammer of the Scots.

This seminal block war game from Columbia Games sees Edward Longshanks attempting to quash the Scottish rebellion fronted by William Wallace - I was the english, Henry the scots.
We both needed a rules refresher, and it is brilliantly simple for a war game, though there were a fair few visits to the rule book throughout.
Despite a strong opening couple of rounds, by round four Wallace was dead, and Henry, unable to crown a scottish king or send in the french knights, was on the back foot. I had learned an important tactic since our first game last year, that the English infantry and knights raised each turn need to be brought up and used to soften the scots, since they return to England each winter. This realisation formed the backbone of my strategy, and the game was over within six or seven rounds, unlike the last game which went the distance. It is a real classic, this one, and I can't wait to play again.

Playing in the kitchen whilst overseeing cheese toasties for ten! Truly heroic.
It's all but over for the Scots now . . .
After a brief sojourn into the freezing rain, we set up Commands and Colours: Ancients. Henry and I played this once in Wales last year, but after that stuck to old favourite Manoeuvre. Having re-discovered its charms recently I was keen to have another go.
We played Tacinus River, the same scenario Adam and I played a fortnight or so ago, and this time it was a decided victory for me, winning both games 6-4 and 6-3. I think Henry enjoyed it, and suggested  he'd like to play a different scenario next time.
Matilda had been itching to play Coup all weekend, and so we then played four four-player games back to back - this is a real favourite with my girls, and Henry's eldest two really enjoyed it. Can't remember exactly who won, but I think it was a different person each time.

My sister and her partner joined us for a fabulous dinner, but despite Henry's best efforts, were too exhausted to play a game, so that was it for Saturday.

Sunday was fairly busy, but my two eldest had been introduced to Pandemic by Henry and Rachel's girls, and I think they played four times over the weekend. I'm thrilled about this, since I've been thinking it would be a good one to play with them myself, but selling the theme would be an uphill struggle. Now they know they like it I expect we will get to play soon!

Around lunch time, Henry and I managed to find time to play 7 player Incan Gold with the girls, followed by four games of The Resistance. The latter was a real hit - all four games went to the resistance, which I felt bucked the trend, though I might be wrong.

Henry and I then played a best of three return to Hill 218, and then, whilst dinner was cooking, tried out String Railways. Despite it's uniqueness this hasn't seen a lot of play, and this was only my second game. In the two player game each person takes two colours, the best single colour wins. It was fun, but the best bit remains the emergent 'artwork' you end up with . . .

I love the way you can discern each player's strategy from
the final 'board'.
A grand weekend, and lovely that our kids went off and played by themselves too, racking up the afore-mentioned Pandemic, plus Shadows in the Woods, Coup and (I think) Zombies, alongside the games they played with us. JB

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Webbed Feat

The members of the Bracknell three met up on Monday night despite the news of the pope retiring. In an attempt to put that sad news behind us we quickly unboxed Lords of Waterdeep easily the the trio's favourite game. The instructions state that the last person to visit a city should go first. Although Paul technically lives in London I actually visit Birmingham every month. Because of this it seemed unfair that I should always go first so I deferred to my left which happened to be Paul.
Pope quits:"I've never seen my boss at work since I started"

Inexplicably Paul refused any of the juiciest of building offerings and instead went for a choice quest. James needed no further encouragement and snapped possibly one of the strongest buildings in the game, Smuggler's Dock. This little beauty allows the agent to pick any combination of 4 warriors or rogues and the owner receives 2 gold. It was used every turn. Soon after James was on a roll snapping up other useful buildings which offered nice rewards and completing tricky quests early on to give him plot quests that actually were worth something. Where Paul and I gave ourselves false hope by barreling off down the scoring track with easy to fulfil quests James eventually reeled us back in and sailed past to comfortably win.

James - 171
Chris - 157
Paul - 152

For our second game we chose Web of Power. Back in the day this was a firm favourite for the London 4 as an evening starter. Even so both Paul and I were full of half remembered rules and made the knowledge transfer to James hideously complicated. However he manfully stood up to the plate even though he admitted he had no idea what he was doing. (Often the case with new games). For the uninitiated Web of Power is a territory and counter placement game where the object is to be winning amounts of Cloisters and Advisors in each territory so that you can score points for the various links between them. My faint memory of the game was that getting advisors down early was good as they took up a large part of the scoring at the end. My plan sucked and it turns out a more focussed and balanced approach worked better. Who knew.

(No points on the score track).

Also for the record I played James at Stone Age last week but was too busy to post a report. I won but spent the latter stages of the game telling James that I thought he had won. For this I apologise!!!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

We gamed, we swore, we conked-out

Games weekends are to GNN what oases are to Nomadic tribes in the Sahara. A chance to group together, shelter from the harsh realities of life and, mostly, have a drink. This weekend was called to squeeze in as much gaming time into Anja and Steve's lives before the pitter patter of tiny feet starts waking them up at ungoldy hours.

I forgot my notebook, so my recollections may be vague or even just plain wrong. I managed to squeeze all the results onto both sides of an Agricola scoresheet, but in no particular order. In fact, there's one set of results that I don't know what the game is. It's the one with Ghent in it. That's all I remember about it, really.

We arrived at the cottage on Friday afternoon and soon noted how much smaller it was than the last one. Sure, it slept five quite comfortably, but we were entertaining up to nine (ten, including little one-year-old Tristan) so it was a bit of a squeeze. Plus, the bathroom was Condensation City, with the walls almost permanently wet.

No room in the fridge? Lucky it's cold outside!

The first issue on arrival was the curious situation of: no mobile signal, but we did have wifi. We were, at the same time, connected and yet not connected to the outside world. Adam went out to payphones and high hills, looking for a way to call people, but with no success. He ended up going all the way to Jon's house to tell him where the cottage was, but while Adam was out, Jon, Steve and Anja all arrived.

As for the games, what were the highlights?

In Ascending Empires, Jon spends ten minutes convincing Steve to attack Sam, not him. Finally persuaded, Steve flicks his ships in Sam's direction only to find he doesn't have enough firepower. When Steve challenged Jon on this point, Jon responded with "Why did you listen to me?"

My gaming achievement of an otherwise poor weekend was beating Sam twice at Mr Jack within three rounds, once as detective, once as evil killer. Meanwhile, Steve enjoyed Mr Jack but he criticised the game's lack of genuine Whitechapel atmosphere.


Power Grid: In the final decisive round, Jon, Adam and Morag were chasing two houses. Bidding wars were fierce and when Jon found out he'd paid too much for the house and couldn't afford to power it, he simply bought up everyone else's fuel as a spoiling tactic, thus handing the win to the forward-planning Hannah.

Stanley's taste in films proved to be a hit.

Stanley was adorable when he explained how he didn't usually play all the rules to Ascending Empires because he was "a little bit smaller". He did, however, come third in a five player game of Carcassone (above Steve and Morag) and beat his sleepy dad at morning games of two-player Agricola and Carassone. I hope that made up for him having to eat on the floor because there wasn't a scrap of table-space left in the house.

Trans America. In the third round, three of us had cities in the north-east but it seems that each was waiting for the others to build there first, allowing Anja to take the round, go from third to first, and send us all crashing out. In terms of proportion, it was the biggest win of the weekend (Anja 7, Steve 14, Andrew 15, Sam 17).

The Resistance offered up it's usual mix of drama and disaster. Drunk, tired and emotional. That's my excuse for accidentally playing a success card in the final round, when I should've played a fail. These sort of things happen all the time in espionage. Also, why didn't we see the signs in game one when Adam went to check something in the instructions, and his hands were visibly shaking?

Fimo cows and wooden sheep

And after a very long Saturday, which involved swimming in the morning for some and ended in The Resistance until half past midnight, there wasn't much energy for gaming on Sunday morning. I slept until ten, and Adam and Stanley mostly played games on Adam's computer before we packed up and ended the weekend at Jon's house with a big brunch and a final few games.

As for the ultimate weekend winner, let us all throw our hats in the air and give a loud "huzzah" to Hannah, who won both points and points ratio to walk away as the undoubted champion. Sam won on the medal table.

Friday, 8 February 2013

I've got Tachyon Sauce all over my Glue-on Computer

Although we have three days of games lined up this weekend, Joe sent out a plaintive cry for any available gamers on the Thursday. Quentin and I were free, and we arrived at Joe's ready for some tabletop action.

Quentin had brought Eclipse with him. Rejected last time, since learning an epic new game with five newbies was not feasible. But with three of us, perhaps it could be done.

My fleet. Into battle!

We set it up, stacked up various piles of tiles and hexes and Joe brought down his dice arena (with the black felt, because we were in space) and we sat down for some space exploration. Quentin started by assuring us the game wasn't confrontational and, at first, it wasn't. Joe and I placed our hexes carefully, making sure no travel was possible between our sectors. Meanwhile, Quentin stayed on his side of the table, and found most of his side of the universe was already populated.

You see, most combat is against The Ancients. A peaceful race of beings who are unceremoniously kicked around by us humans in our battle for victory points. But they're no pushovers, and you need to build decent ships, which requires some income, which requires some uninhabited planets.

The basic ship. Made in Hull, apparently.

You can upgrade you ships, replacing the basic Electron computer with the hilariously named Gluon computer, or give it some extra energy with a Tachyon source, or replace the Ion cannons with other more exciting and powerful machines of death. All of this requires income.

Joe's Dreadnoughts scowl menacingly

And to make matters worse, there are three kinds of income. Money, Tech and Building. It sounds complicated and there are a lot of game pieces to keep track of, but everything is out in the open. All the information is there to be read, and once you're used to it, it makes a lot of sense.

I enjoyed it, especially after I defeated both Joe and Ancients in what shall now be called the First Great Space War. I liked it a bit less after Joe took that same hexagon in what shall now be called the Second Slightly-Less-Great Space War.

End of game.

Quentin stayed out of our way. In fact, he cheered us on whenever we were considering battling against each other. It seems his experience with the game served him well, since he ran out the eventual winner, albeit by the slimmest of margins. I came last again, but I enjoyed the game a lot. I can see why it's so popular.

Quentin 39
Joe 38
Andrew 31

Anja2 1 2 2 3 10
Joe2 23 1 2 10
Hannah41 1 2 3 11
Adam13 3 1 4 12
Sam32 2 4 2 13
Steve1 2 2 4 6 15
Jon3 5 15 5 19
Andrew 3 44 4 5 20
Quentin 15 5 5 5 21

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Hannah and her systems

It seems that Thursday is too late in the week for some of us hardy gamers, and so it was that Adam and Hannah hosted a Monday evening for the cardboard-deprived.

At first, there were four of us: the aforementioned hosts and Sam and myself. Joe was due to arrive later in the evening.

We began with an old favourite, Medici. Once upon a time, it was over-played and fell out of favour, but recently nostalgia has set in at GNN Towers and old games are being reassessed. And so, after a brief rule refresher, we were trading goods and chucking them in the sea with gay abandon.

It was a game of differing strategies. Sam spent big, while I picked up unwanted cargo for next to nothing. Hannah almost handed the game to Adam when she pulled two tiles worth five from the bag, when they could only be bought by Adam. However, as it turned out, Hannah's strategy runs a little deeper than that. And Adam's doesn't.

Hannah 118
Sam 114
Adam 109
Andrew 87

After this, Joe was expected soon. We contemplated Biblios, but instead we went for the slightly more challenging Ra. Another classic that recently come back into favour, this is another bidding game, this time hoping for favours from the gods, a flooding Nile and advances in architecture in return for points.

It ended with a second win for Hannah, despite her claim that she's rubbish at bidding games.

Hannah 36
Sam 34
Adam 33
Andrew 26

During this game, Joe arrived and spent his time waiting for us to finish by looking over the rules of Libertalia, Sam's new game. This game is in the style of Citadels or Mission Red Planet, in that everyone has an identical hand of cards from which they play their characters who have effects/bonuses that effect the way the game plays out.

While I enjoyed it, we did notice that the cards in the final round (at the start of each round, one player chooses their cards randomly from a pack of about thirty, and then the other players make up a hand of the same cards) did not make for exciting or fun times. And, unlike Citadels, there are no occasions when one character will stop another, which means there's little opportunity for deliberate sabotage. As Sam said on the drive home, it is a lot like everyone is playing their own game.

Another problem with the game was that we started far too late in the evening. It said it was a short game on the box, but it was our first time and we spent ten minutes looking up a rule on the internet. This posed a unique problem in the annals of GNN history: Hannah's bed time.

We had completed two rounds out of three when she retired, and the scores were

Hannah 64
Joe 62
Adam 52
Sam 51
Andrew 45

The four of us carried on through the final round, and it ended

Adam 91
Joe 90
Sam 74
Andrew 64

But how should this be scored? It can't be considered two separate games (as Keeper Of The Spreadsheet, I won't allow it) so is it a first place for Adam or Hannah? For now, I've left it off the form table completely, but we need an official decision.

On the form table, Sam gets rid of that "6" and moves up to second as a result. I continue on my journey southwards. At least I can't go any further.

EDIT: with the scores from Libertalia in, we now see Hannah jump up to second, with Adam up to third.

Anja2 1 2 2 3 10
Hannah41 1 2 3 11
Adam13 3 1 4 12
Joe23 1 2 4 12
Sam32 2 4 2 13
Steve1 2 2 4 6 15
Jon3 5 15 5 19
Andrew 44 4 5 3 20

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Infamy, Infamy

Last night was mine and Sally's overdue rematch with Mark and Katie, Hotwell-dwelling gamers. There was cheese and wine, and smarties, and the catch up on all things family, including the current commodity of choice in our respective homes (sleep at ours, egg ownership at theirs). Then we broke out the cardboard.

I'd taken along Pompeii, Ra and Stone Age as options. I'd assumed as Sally had played it last week Ra might appeal to her in a non-rules-learning fashion, but she pooh-poohed it like the seasoned gamer she pretends not to be. Nobody fancied Stone Age, so after Carcassone was ruled out we set up The Downfall of Pompeii.

I think all GNNers have played this by now, but for anyone who's missed out: the first half of the game sees players repopulating the city of Pompeii after the earthquake of 62AD, and the second half comes after Vesuvius erupts in 79AD, when your families have to come scurrying out again. Apparently Klaus-Jurgen Wrede is planning a sequel where fascists chase you into Naples before the Allies drop bombs on you for four years.

We went through the rules and started quickly. What's nice about Pompeii is it's so easy to pick up, yet as we all noted it wears it's theme very well. Certainly Sally went through a roller-coaster of emotions, unable to decide if the lava raining down on us all was thrilling, or if it made her sad.

Some people strayed too close to the heat

I did well in the card stage, getting heaps of relations on the board that even the serial chucking of them into the volcano by the others couldn't halt. Katie fared poorly in contrast, and when Vesuvius erupted she still had plenty of family who hadn't made the post-quake return to the city.

It was now time to get out. Having a big presence on the board made me a likely target for any sentient lava, so I made an early decision to get out fast, without thinking about who to move too much. I reckoned that any thinking would be undone by A. giving away what I was planning and B. the lava tiles being so unpredictable. Sally and Katie both had issues with family members being wiped out in the chaos, during which I was unpalatably compared to an Guantanomo Bay guard.

Mark's yellow family run out of time

Mark meanwhile was doing what I'd done the last time I'd played Pompeii - amassing family by the gates. My undoing in that system was the lava tiles - in Mark's case though he unfortunately ran out of time, as the one completely nonsensical element to the game (no more lava = survivors in the city all perish) kicked in:

Sam 11
Katie 9
Mark 8
Sally 7

So no ties to resolve, but we looked in the volcano for carcasses anyway, and discovered that despite my many sacrificial lambs during repopulation, it was Sally who had suffered worst at the hands of the lava, possibly due to what she described as cardboard karma. A good game though, and a very nice evening.

On the occasional KMSS form table Mark hangs on to top spot, but I jump from 4th to second. Katie's impressive second place from a lowly presence on the board sees her stay ahead of Sally.



Friday, 1 February 2013

We point at games we like

Thursday is the new Tuesday, say all the new fashion predictors and trend-setting guides. And Friday is the new day-before-yesterday. Or something.

Anyway, eight of us were at Steve and Anja's place. An unprecedented amount. Jon was able to join us and Hannah, too, made it. Of course, the more people there are, the more agonising is the debate over which game we should play. This time we struck upon the idea of all of us placing a finger on the two games we wanted to play, leading us into a Twister-esque situation which, in the seventies, would've seemed quite risqué.

In the end we split into three groups. Steve, Jon and I chose Snowdonia; Sam, Hannah and Anja went for Macao; and Joe and Adam went head to head on Commands and Colours: Ancients.

Steve and I expertly described the rules to Jon. In fact, we did so well that he was soon reminding us what they were. We built, we cleared, we bought trains. Mine broke down almost immediately, so a fat load of use that was. In the end, Steve fell just one track short of a handsome bonus and Jon won on his maiden voyage.

Jon 84
Steve 78
Andrew 69

Scipio and Hannibal were engaged in a two-leg battle. Although the game is set up in favour of Hannibal, Joe explained to me afterwards that the dice rolls had been such that Scipio had defied history and won both times: Once with Joe in charge, 6-2 and then again with Adam at the helm, 6-0, giving Adam an overall win.

Adam 8
Joe 6

Over in the lounge area, Sam, Hannah and Anja were locked in battle. "Locked" being the operative word, since apparently they all found it hard to build at first and start those bonuses rolling. I looked in on them at around the halfway mark, and Sam was in the lead, but only just. At the final count, Anja won a close game thanks to being furthest along the wall.

Anja 60 (+wall)
Sam 60
Hannah 55

As Macao ended, The five of us at the big table decided to play Coup! The hilarious game of lies and murder. It was Jon's first go at this game, but he must've used up all his beginner's luck on Snowdonia, since he was out first. Joe impressed everyone when he correctly challenged Adam, and then correctly identified the card that Adam really had. A masterful win.

1. Joe
2. Steve
3. Andrew
4. Adam
5. Jon

Finally, there was still time for one more game. Five of us chose Coup! again, and three went for Biblios. In Coup! the husband and wife team came first and second, while in Biblios Jon found himself outbid on the only two colours he was going for.

1. Steve
2. Anja
3. Joe
4. Sam
5. Andrew

Adam 9
Hannah 7
Jon 0

And so the statistics. I take a big hit on the form table, but Anja rises to the top with Joe in close contention.

Anja2 1 2 2 3 10
Joe3 1 2 4 1 11
Adam1 4 1 3 4 13
Steve1 2 2 4 6 15
Sam4 2 1 2 6 15
Andrew 5 3 3 2 3 16
Jon3 5 15 5 19
Hannah2 35 5 5 20

It's the end of the month, so let's take a look at The Division. Apart from this evening, my good form has put me in first in terms of points won. Anja has the best points ratio, and Bracknell regular James takes the medal table. Meanwhile, Chris impresses with his consistency.

On the two-player table, it's almost a complete whitewash by Chris. First in points and points ratio and sharing the medal table with Adam.