At first, Joe told us of his most recent find in the Charity shops of Bristol: The Sigma File. This 1970s game of espionage is set on a by-now inaccurate map of the world (East Germany? Yugoslavia? Bombay?) and involves moving around plastic men in search of a suitcase containing the notorious Sigma File. He then has to get back to his base. It sounds intriguing, and was a definite possibility for a while, but it does need four players, and we just didn’t divide up right.
Sam, Martin, Steve and Anja went into one room to play Sutter’s Mill, since the rules were still fresh in Sam’s mind. In the kitchen, me, Joe and Adam played Steam, another new arrival on the doorstep of GNN Towers.
Joe explained the rules to Adam, and before you knew it, we were off. Joe started fretting very early, as Adam and I built up our cash reserves while Joe’s bank balance hovered around the zero mark. Something inside him must’ve snapped, since he played a very combative game. He insisted he didn’t mean to, but he tried to block tracks built by both me and Adam.
It was a long, arduous game. Any description of it as being “Railways of the World Lite” is hopelessly wrong. In such a small space, some kind of conflict is inevitable, which leads to a lot of AP as potential moves are worked out way in advance.
We heard the sound of laughter from next door, and when I went in, it looked like quite a different game to the two-player version. Far more crowded. There was practically a bar room brawl in Odd Fellow’s Hall!
Our game, meanwhile, put us through the wringer. Options became more and more limited, and by the end, there were no cubes left to ship. I suspect that we played one round too many, but it could be that three RotW experts like us are able to get the most out of our resources. In the end, I edged ahead of Joe thanks to my position on the money track. Adam ended with a healthy lead.
The folks from the creek across the plains (ie, in the front room) also ended around the same time as us. They didn’t, though, finish at the same time as each other. Since part of the game is to get your guys out of town before the gold runs out, Martin did so quicker than his opponents, so he came in to watch us play for a bit.
Once all four had ended, the scores were
That’s not a typo. Sam got hit by Explainer’s Curse as hard as it’s ever hit anyone. Sam could only say “I played my cards badly” by means of explanation. Steve and Anja gave me a lift back, and they mentioned how impressed they were by Martin’s ability to pick up the gist of the game. Although Steve did point out that Martin read the rules. That probably helped. Anja must just be good at picking up gold and running away with it. Steve said he was baffled by the whole experience.
But although me, Steve and Anja had left, the other four fought on with a bracing game of Love Letter. I got a text telling me the scores:
In the text, Sam suggested that Martin knocking him out of the last round may be a tie-breaker, but is that in the rules? It goes down as joint second for now.
A very enjoyable, if somewhat exhausting, evening. I head the form table, which is nice.