First though I had to go to Ikea to get some lightbulbs. I texted Andrew in case he was anywhere near a shop, asking if he could get me some beer. But he wasn't, and it was raining heavily. Luckily, Ikea sell beer. It's basically it's own flat-packing eco-system in there.
As the picture might give away, we played Railways of the World. Twice. We're now so up to speed on this game that we finished the first game in an hour, and the second was even quicker.
The opening game had a very alluring available move that forced the initial bids up. Having won it, though, I got off to a good start, picking up bonuses. And Andrew was forced to build a lot of track, pushing his bonds up to, eventually, nine - whilst I managed to stay at three bonds. I carved a path down the west of Mexico, Andrew monopolised the south then headed north. I thought I was safe from very early on in terms of the win, but I thought wrong. Andrew moved goods around imperiously, and pushed the game to a very close finish, both of us getting our Baron bonuses:
It was only ten past eight, so we reset the board and started again. I was pleased as punch with only my second win at Railways, but any misplaced confidence was about to evaporate as I was handed my backside on a plate by Andrew. I won the opening bid again and went for what I thought was the obvious move; setting up down at Mexico City. But Andrew had made a shrewd study of the board and after lagging for only a couple of rounds, surged past me on the track. Andrew's proclamation that the Barons can be a curse came true for me - as in the first game, I had the "fewest bonds" Baron, and for much of the second I vacillated over building track, hoping Andrew would pick up more bonds and thus give me my bonus at game end.
It didn't work out that way. What happened was I trod water, picking up Operations cards I didn't need and wasting precious time. If I'd dived in and sacrificed the Baron idea earlier, who knows? To be honest I think Andrew still would have won, but perhaps not quite as humilatingly as this:
My end-game threats of forcing him to play Hive didn't work, and my last-gasp chance at getting myself up the scoretrack imploded, when I tried to force the bidding too high - Andrew passed, and all my money was gone! At this point we were both slightly giddy and hysterical, probably from all the Railways. Or maybe the Ikea beer is stronger than it alleges. Andrew was drinking tumblers of wine.
Anyway it's back to the drawing board for me on Railways, as I am left staring bereft at the various components, bewildered, bewitched, and unsure of my next move.*
*like putting together Ikea furniture. Yeah? - I'm here all week.