Wednesday, 8 October 2014

In search of the perfect five

Sam was ill and Joe couldn’t make it, so it was up to me to don leather gloves and buy a tin of boiled sweets for a long car journey, as I gave Martin a lift through Easton’s annoyingly busy tiny roads to Adam’s house. Of course, this meant I wasn’t drinking this evening. I started to worry. What if it turns out I hate board games when sober?

Adam and Hannah were there, and so was Ian, Matt and Katy who was keen to make a larger impression on the various leaderboards and form table. At first, Hannah was putting baby Arthur to bed so the six of us played 6nimmt. All eyes were on Martin, as he had three consecutive first places in the bag and was keen to get two more for a Perfect Five.

He started well, getting no points in round one, but after round two was in close competition with Adam and Matt. The final round was tense, especially since it was Martin’s worst. But he did just enough to steal the win from Matt by a single point.

But the best performance (at least, the most symmetrical) was Katy who scored 21 in her first round, then 21 in the second round before getting a single point in the last round. With the card 21. Poetic, almost.

Martin 23
Matt 24
Katy 43
Adam 43
Andrew 64
Ian 72

Then, with Hannah joining us, we split into two groups. Hannah, Katy and myself played Takenoko while Adam, Martin, Matt and Ian faced off over Kingdom Builder. Would their collective might be enough to stop Martin’s fifth win in a row?

In our room, we explained the rules of Takenoko to Katy. At first she was a bit confused, but soon powered into a mid-game lead. But, then, this game was notable for each player suddenly scoring plenty in a single turn. Also, I found a rule that had previously gone unnoticed: that in order for a set of tiles to score, they all have to be irrigated. Unfortunately for Katy, I found this rule just after Katy declared that she’d scored a set of tiles.

But she wasn’t to be put off, and when I finished the game, she powered past both me and Hannah with a final turn that clocked up 14 points.

Katy 42
Hannah 36
Andrew 33

I enjoyed it. I found it strangely relaxing, in a way. Although there’s a lot going on, it all seems very sedate, especially at the beginning. A lovely little game.

Before we’d even got halfway through Takenoko, the kingdom in the other room had already been built. I’d heard wails of anguish from Martin earlier about a tactic used by Ian that screwed him over. Perhaps that was pivotal, since the final results couldn’t have been closer.

Adam 52
Ian 51
Martin 51
Matt 46

One point away from the perfect five! How cruel life can be.

Since Takenoko was nowhere near finished, they began another game of KB. This time, there was no nail-biting finish, as Matt used a bonus to score point after point during the game, meaning his lead was unassailable by the time the end game bonuses were added up.

Matt 87
Martin 63
Adam 56
Ian 51

After this, we decided to squeeze in a very quick game of Kakerlakenpoker. This time, though, the loser was the first to get two of the same insect in front of them, instead of the usual four. I was out first and, even if I say so myself, I finished myself off in some style. A card had been passed around to three people, all of whom said it was a fly, before it came to me. At the time I had a rat in front of me (as well as others), and I said “I think it is a fly!” But then just as I was about to turn it over, I said “Unless it’s a rat.”

It was a rat. I lost. It took three of them to gang up on me, though. I guess that means they respect me.

Then it was time to go home. I got lost in Easton’s labyrinthine streets, finally got to the M32, only to discover the slip road was closed. Instead, I tried to emulate Sam’s weaving through darkened back streets and luckily Martin recognised a bus in front of us, so I just followed that back to the centre.

On the form table, Martin rules the roost by a mile.

Martin 2 2 1 1 1 7
Andrew 3 4 3 3 3 16
Matt 1 3 2 5 5 16
Sam 2 2 2 5 5 16
Adam 3 1 3 5 5 17
Ian 4 2 5 4 4 19
Katie 1 3 5 5 5 19
Stanley 1 5 5 5 5 21
Hannah 2 5 5 5 5 22

Finally, we have a division for Kingdom Builder. Gonz is still top, but it’s only a matter of time before his sterling efforts are eclipsed. Amazingly, I win on points ratio.


  1. Ian said it was the first time he'd played KB, so either he has a terrible memory or there's a logging error :)

    Soooo close! I should have insisted on Impulse...

  2. I'm confused by my total as well. Sure I've played at least 7 games but I think I've only played KB as a 4 once (And that was with the reading lot - and I won that). So I have three mystery missing games!!

    Also, I've been driving 25 years and I find the roads of Easton daunting!!!

  3. I'll take another look at the spreadsheet later. I may have used Ian's row for some newcomer, rather than make a brand new row, which is a but if a pain.

  4. Sounds like a good night. I didn't like missing a Tuesday does anyone fancy a game Friday night?

    Now you know the way Andrew maybe we can share the driving?

  5. Well there's a report of Ian playing KB twice with Matt and Gonz in April - he must have suppressed it!

  6. I think it might be my terrible memory. I'm now getting vague recollections of playing KB before, possibly with Gonz. Still, an enjoyable game regardless of the number of times I've played it.

  7. Martin's detective work beat me to it, now I look slow AND forgetful.

  8. I'm baffled that Gonz and Adam have the same results but different points and ratios. Is that right?

  9. Ian there's been a lot of meeples under the bridge since April

  10. Ian, I did think you had played KB before but when you said you hadn't I figured it must have been someone else I played it with. I place little trust in the accuracy of my memory. When Martin started explaining the rules I did start to wonder if I'd played before too until I realised the the abilities and scoring can change every game.

  11. Sam, I think "know my way" is an overstatement, but sure. I can drive there too. And Gonz's score is higher because he was closer to first if he didn't win.

  12. ah yes! I remember now. The division is so comprehensive!