But tonight was a historic night for many reasons: Three new names on the leaderboard. Three games running concurrently! Seven games in total! And one retirement! And Fursty Ferret ale in a can! So many things never before seen.
It was also the first night of the Game Of The Month. Russian Railroads was given pride of place on its own table, with Joe, Martin, Sam and myself seated around it. On the other table, while they waited for Anja and Steve, they played Incan Gold. We four looked on with jealousy as they played out a game that was actually fun. Adam, Matt, Hannah and newbies Ian, James and Joe’s wife Charlotte set out to plunder five Incan temples. The first one of which was so evil that Adam wondered if the pack of cards was missing some treasure.
At the end, Adam won with Joe’s visiting friend James in last. He’d been introduced by Joe to the wonderful world of board games previously and he must’ve enjoyed Incan Gold, since he stuck around for the next game. Charlotte, however, could not be tempted. After coming fifth in a game she says she hates, she seemed only too glad when one of her daughters called down to her to watch some TV together.
We ploughed on with Russian Railroads. Martin made an excellent start on the industries and looked to have the whole game sewn up after two rounds, with Sam languishing in last.
On the other table, they made the best of what space they had by splitting into two groups and playing Colosseum (Adam, James, Ian and Matt) and Manila (Steve, Hannah and Anja). Theatre larks and ship-gambling, right in front of me? It was almost as if they’d chosen those games to torture me.
But I’m being harsh to Russian Railroads. The fact is, I never really got going. I began by starting on all three railroads, but this game does not reward diversifying. Joe began to power away in round three, with Martin trying to keep up.
Joe was first to hit 100 points
Meanwhile the first game of Manila ended. We’d heard moans from Steve throughout. In particular, we all heard a very jaded “Well, that’s another shit round from me” from Steve at one point but at least he didn’t come last. Anja, Queen of Pirates, came out top by a significant margin.
They enjoyed it so much (at least, Anja did) that they started on a second game. Also because it was clear that neither of the other games was about to end any time soon. In fact, this was so clear that James retired from the game of Colosseum.
We finished Russian Railroads, and saw that Sam very nearly used his multipliers to their best effect by rocketing up the scoretrack in the last two rounds. Not enough to overtake Joe, but a valiant effort.
Joe pointed out that I’d won Russian Railroads on my first go, Sam had won it one his second go and Joe had won it on his third go. Indicating that Martin would win it on his fourth go. We shall see next week.
After all that thinking, we broke out Raj, just to show the other table that we knew how to have fun too! Oh, how we laughed as a three-way tie gave Martin a high-valued tile for next to nothing. How we gasped as the game began with Sam turning over four negative-value tiles. No point in going to detail, though. The anecdotes of Raj are very much of the “you had to be there” type.
Sam won convincingly. To give you an idea of how easy it was for him: In the final round, he came first with 34 and I was second with 6!
It was also notable as being the second game that evening when two players had tied on 34 points.
Manila II and Colosseum still hadn’t finished, so we leapt into 6nimmt: The 20th anniversary edition! The came with “jokers”, in the form of decimal places that you always got to place first, either replacing a row, or adding to it, as you wished.
I still found it a frustrating and baffling game, but this time, I squeaked through for my first win at 6nimmt! There was some debate that we should finish the game properly (ie, once some gets 66 points) but Colosseum and Manila were both packing away after round three, so it seemed sensible to me to end. And I had suggested we finish after round two, when I wasn’t winning, so my conscience is clear.
Colosseum finished like this:
James 25 (retired)
And the second game of Manila was a closer affair:
After this, we set off, very grateful to Joe for his capacious hospitality. Twelve people in attendance. Thirteen if you include Hannah’s and Adam’s little meeple who is due any week now!
The form table has transformed after all this activity. Sam is still top, but Anja, Hannah and Matt all make great strides in an upwards direction.