It may be the Christmas bash tomorrow, but when a window of opportunity opens, Sam and I are through it quicker than two house-thieves who’d spotted PS4 boxes being left in the recycling just the other week.
So tonight it was the two of us, facing of across a map of Mexico, some wooden trains and cardboard hexagons. Yes, it was Railways of the World: Mexico that lay before us. And if you think about it, so many games have been based on them and wars have been fought over them, it’s almost as if maps were designed for conflict.
Anyway, that’s enough philosophy for one week. Sam and I had more important things to worry about. Like how to move those coloured cubes around our network. We began slowly, as we studied the lay of the land. Mexico City looked like a good bet, but I thought the Pacific coast also held promise. Sam went for the big city, and I went for the mountain route.
Sam started well, and I fretted about my long term plan coming too late. But after a while, I started moving cubes around, even though Sam’s near monopoly in the south meant he often benefited too.
During the game, we both completed two routes each for 11 bonus points, and we got our baron bonuses, too (me, 6; Sam, 8) but thanks to my more-powerful engine I came home a winner once again. My second RotW win in a row. Hurrah!
After this, Sam only had a little time left, and so suggested a game of Contract Whist, with a couple of pounds in the pot, just to make it interesting.
This time, it was me who leapt into an early lead, thanks to a successfully predicted clean sweep of all eight tricks early on. After that, it was up to Sam to whittle away at my lead in increments. At one round, he said he could level the scores if I chose “1” and failed, and he chose “3” and succeeded. I looked at my hand, and chose the only sensible option: 1.
He looked at his cards, he looked at the scores written down in my sketchbook, and then back at his cards. Then he chose “3”. Was it destiny? Was Sam fated to win the game in a stunning comeback? Indeed he was, since that’s exactly what happened, levelling the scores, and from there Sam went on to take the game in the last two rounds. A marvellous performance from a hopeless position.