The three of us went into the front room where we had to spread the game across three occasional tables, delicately balancing the main playing areas on the largest oval table. Just getting the layout right took several attempts, and quite a few minutes. It was to be an omen for what was to come.
We explained the rules to Joe, who asked insightful and intelligent questions. This made me think he already understood the game better than I did. I had a plan in round one, but even by round two I was being squeezed out of auctions and when round three finally began, I’d pretty much forgotten what the plan was at all.
If it was long with two newbies, it was a dirge with three. We added at least an hour to the recommended playing time for three, and this is not a game that gets better the more it goes on. While it has some nice ideas, it has far too many of them. They may overlap, but they never really gel.
I popped into the next room to see how Victorian London was coping against a battle between anarchists and octopuses, but I found that board equally baffling. In the end, Martin went mad in order to end the game at an opportune time, putting his colleague Hannah in second and leaving the two beastly loyalists in last.
When they’d finished, we were still knee-deep in art. Our game was taking so much time we even quipped "Bruzelles 1893? That's when we started playing it." So they began another game: Kingdom Builder. Another new game for Hannah, I think. Gonz took revenge for his recent last place.
When Bruxelles finally came to a close, we even had a few minutes debate about the score track, since it only went up to eighty before resetting to zero. Sam scored over one hundred, so should he put his counter on 20 something or 0 something? By now I was exhausted. If a game can’t even get the scoretrack right, it’s a bad sign.
And there the evening ended. Sam suggested a final game of Raj but sorting out who’d play a five-player game out of seven people was one logistical puzzle too many for our frazzled brains, and in the end the offer was never taken up.
And if the evening wasn’t long enough, on the way home Adam called me to say that Sam had left his bag behind, with his keys etc. in them. Sam dropped me and Gonz off before one last dash across Bristol to round off quite a fraught evening for all concerned.
And on the monthly division, Martin leads on points and medal table, while Steve still holds on to points ratio.