Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Everyone feels a little blue sometimes

Tonight was a bumper crop at GNN, with eight people in attendance! Eight! And with a roaring fire, Christmas tree and the option of Walnut Liquor, it really felt quite Christmassy.

Sam, myself and Gonz had arrived in one car, Joe and Martin had turned up into another, and Adam made his own way to Steve and Anja’s. We split into three groups. Gonz had brought Agricola and Adam, after a run of poor form, was keen to get back on the horse. With no other takers brave enough to challenge the two of them, they set up camp at the far end of the big table.

Martin brought Palaces of Carrera, as usual, and he and Joe persuaded Steve to give it a try. Meanwhile, the remaining three went for Africana, the jolly game of third world exploitation. Sam explained the rules, and before long we were all running up and down the length of Africa like it was going out of fashion. Sam was white, Anja was red and I was blue.

And that’s where the title of this blog post comes from as I found that, if my opponents began their turn in the same city as me, they would frequently move my counter instead of theirs. Sam did this more than Anja. In fact, on one go, he began with his counter, switched over to mine and then completed the last leg of his journey by moving Anja’s. And to think he chose white because it would stand out from the red and blue.

I got a big stroke of luck mid-game as twice new expeditions were unveiled that started from cities where I already was. Plus, the books were kind to me, giving me an assistant and two matching artifacts without turning any extra pages. This was enough to give me a win. Anja’s lack of experience with the dusty African roads was evident, while Sam may be regretting hiring that extra assistant that took five points of his total.

Andrew 38
Sam 33
Anja 20

On the big table, Palaces of Carrera ended at about the same time as us. I’ll leave it to one of them to fill us in with the details, but Joe was heard to wail “I don’t understand this game!”

Martin 103
Joe 68
Steve 65

This marks Martin’s first appearance on the leaderboard. He asked me why the Roll For The Soul wasn’t leaderboard, and I explained that I felt awkward about writing down scores in the presence of non-gamers.

And before long, Agricola also came to an end. I watched them count up and was surprised by Gonz’s rather minimalist farm, but a lovely four-room stone house. Meanwhile, Adam’s farm was full of animals in lovely fenced stables, but his family of five was still living in a hovel.

I learnt later that the two had spent most of the game trying to ruin the other player’s plans. This does at least explain the relatively low scores. I guess this was as close to boxing that Agricola gets.

Adam 36
Gonz 26

When he heard those scores, Joe was heard to mutter “My daughters have scored higher than that.” However, Adam wasn’t concerned. After a run of three last places, he’d broken his Agricola curse. A pity that, since it’s only two-player, it’s not leaderboard, but Adam was fighting for his pride tonight. And he finally got it back.

After this, the eight of us joined together (nine if you include baby Lu, who was brought down mid-game) for a game of Kakerlakenpoker. But this time, the Royal version. With Royal cards and a few extra rules. It’s still enjoyable, but the extra rules don’t seem to add to the game. Perhaps because we haven’t played the basic version enough. Anyway, we dived in guessing or passing on our cards. I was glad to see someone challenge Adam and his tactic of passing on whatever he’s given. Thanks, Martin.

But it was Gonz who made everyone think he’d be good at poker, as he called every guess right. He finished with no cards, which sort of makes him the winner. But there are no winners in Kakerlakenpoker, so it’s not leaderboard. Which is good news for me, since I ended in last. Everyone else was in the middle.

After that, Sam, Gonz and I headed home even though the others were considering a final game. I hope they let us know what it was. In the meantime, the form table looks like this:

Andrew1 1 3 1 3 9
Sam2 2 1 3 1 9
Adam 2 2 2 1 3 10
Gonz1 1 3 5 2 12
Chris1 1 3 4 5 14
Joe2 4 2 3 3 14
Quentin4 1 1 5 3 14
Matt3 2 5 5 5 20
Steve3 2 55 5 20
Martin1 5 55 5 21
Anja3 3 55 5 21
Hannah2 5 55 5 22


  1. It was Mascarade [sic]. I think we used a rule that we hadn't spotted when we played Sam's copy - that you're not allowed to use your power if you've revealed your card on the previous persons turn; makes sense.
    It was fun, but I still prefer the elegance of Coup, though Mascarade plays up to thirteen...

    The PDF is a work of genius Andrew - can you upload it to its own blog entry? It needs to be up here for posterity, surely. Fantastic work, thank you. And thank you to Steve and Anja and little Lu for cosy hosting.

  2. Nice read!
    Just one small meaningless thing: I forgot to add my bonus for a couple of building, that give points for unused clay and reed...So my puntuarion should be a slightly less embarrassing 28. Still took a trashing from Adam, so...

  3. Palaces of CarrAra was good again. We went back to basics as Steve hadn't played before, and I think Joe enjoyed trying it that way too.

    I know what you mean about Kakerlakenpoker. I learnt with the Royal cards, so it seems a bit plain without them to me, but there is a nice purity to the original version.