Tonight, as with Tuesday, the Easter break saw a dip in our numbers at the fortnightly Roll For The Soul gathering. It began with just the three of us: me, Sam and Ian, like a little reunion of the meet from earlier this week. The three of us chose a table and ordered food. With this in mind, we began with a little Decathlon to fill the time until the table was clear enough to host a full game.
We played a truncated game of five rounds, and because time was short we eschewed the usual method of adding up the scores to see who’d won in favour of a medal table, with ended in a draw! Thanks to a tie in the high jump, we all one two events each. I was most impressive in the 100m, though, scoring 31 points (compared to Sam’s 17 and Ian’s 15) in only two rolls. That’s the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like Usain Bolt.
After this we considered playing Castles of Burgundy, but with a live gig schedules for later and a need to move tables at some point, we chose Hansa (lent to Sam by Joe). It was new to me and Ian, but it’s not very complicated so we were up and running before long.
Hansa is quite a dry, thinky game and didn’t lend itself well to the hubbub and noisy ambiance of Roll For The Soul. It was hard to concentrate, or be very engaged in a game as abstract as this. Ian said he liked it. We had to stop halfway, to make room for the musician to set up. I didn't mind when we were interrupted.
During the game, two other people arrived: Gareth and Katy. We told them we’d let them know when we were going to start the next game. Then we realised we didn’t have any five-player games. Without Joe or Martin to supply the games, the pickings were pretty slim.
Sam decided he’d go back to the studio to do some work, leaving me, Katy, Ian and Gareth. Gareth brought a few games: Pandemic and Dominion (plus expansions) and Zombie Dice. We went for Divinare, since I thought it was the right length with the option of a quick game to finish with.
I bought Divinare years ago and then didn’t play it for ages, but recently it’s come into its own. It fits that niche of light but challenging and you don’t have to play all rounds if you don’t want to. But we did. Katy was excited at first, insisting that she was a bit psychic, but then complained that the game had nothing to do with psychic powers. Time after time, she was on the correct space, on a board only to have to move since she had the card for that particular board in her hand.
I enjoyed it, and the musical accompaniment wasn’t too distracting. Gareth won, and Ian came last with no points at all. I suspect he was playing for zero in the last round once he realised he was way off the pace with one point. The fact that he got it is quite impressive in its own way.
Then we ended with a couple of rounds of Zombie Dice. Collect brains, while avoiding gunshots. That’s the basic aim of this dice game. You can stop your go at any time, and take the brains you’ve collected. If you get three gunshots, then you lose all the brains you had.
Katy sped into an early lead with an impressive eight brains on her first go. But then she didn’t score again for the next three rounds. I won, with 17 points.
The second time, Katy tried to encourage Ian by saying “This is your time!” when he began to roll his dice. At first, it didn’t look to be doing much help. In fact, it looked like a bit of a jinx as Ian was still in last in the fifth round. But then suddenly his luck did change, and with two good rounds, he ended the game in first place with 19 points.
Although the music was still playing, the games were over. We left the sticky table and set off home.