We spilt into two. Martin, Joe and Sam when for the new Race To The Rhine, a sort of war game where three players race up the track, beating back the Nazi hordes and first one across the Rhine is the winner. If you get to the Rhine at all, in which case other means of finding the winner are used, but more of that later.
The rest of us went for something a little lighter. Africana, the joyous romp across any number of indigenous cultures, looking for treasures and “assistants.” I explained the rules to Steve and we were off! Although we often forgot which colour we were (I'm never blue, and Steve was appalled at being yellow).
I flatter myself that I though I was doing quite well, with my extra joker in my hand, but I hadn’t spent enough in the books, and both Steve and Matt easily overtook me on artifacts and stuff. Ian found himself frustrated that, in his last turn, he couldn’t do anything except buy a new expedition just for the one point it would give him.
(Just a quick diversion, there’s a small matter of the Africana division, with yours truly doing rather well.)
Meanwhile, The Race to the Rhine was still in full swing, so we had time for another game. Since Steve was now on the cusp of a perfect five, we tried to avoid anything that needed strategy and chose Knizia’s elegant but dice-heavy Age Of War. We hoped that the luck aspect would level the playing field somewhat and also, when it looked like he might win, I have to admit the three of us did our best to stop him. Finally, Matt was able to pick up the final card which gave him the win.
And by now Race To The Rhine had finished. By all accounts, it was something of a anti-climax, starting well but then tailing off. No one reached the Rhine, and since all three of them killed an equal number of Nazis and had the same number of medals, the tie-breaker was turn order. In other words, the final places were decided according to how they were sat around the table.
Martin 4 dead Nazis, 5 medals
Joe 4 dead Nazis, 5 medals
Sam 4 dead Nazis, 5 medals
After this, Steve went home, his two-game quota filled. The remaining six of us went for 6nimmt, since it’s a nice short game. We didn’t realise quite how short it would be, with Ian crashing past the 66-point barrier faster than a cartoon cat stepping on a roller-skate and whizzing into a larder full of pots and pans. After a bad first round, he then found himself in a spiral of doom, picking up cards almost every time he played. Joe stayed aloof from all of this to clock up his second win on 6nimmt!
And so the season draws to a close. It’s been the driest finish to a July to September season since 1910, according to the news. But for all that, we still haven’t had a games night outside. Meanwhile, the winners are...
Steve takes the Form Table. Only one game away from a perfect five: he still ended the season with the rest of us wondering how he became such a winning machine.
Then on the Division, it’s close at the top. Sam takes first place in Points by less than two points: it was basically all down to that last game of 6nimmt. I win on the medal table, though. And there’s that man again: Steve takes Points Ratio by a handsome margin. Well done that man. Well done all of us!