Sunday, 30 November 2014

That was the week(end) that was

I was the first to arrive at Sam’s at 2.00. Sam and his kids, Stanley and Joe, were there and we were just about to play Indigo when Adam and Hannah (and baby Arthur) and also Martin and then Ian arrived. Since there were enough of us, we split into two groups. Martin, Hannah and I set up Greenland in the kitchen, while in the living room Ian, Stanley, Sam and Adam played Hyperborea with its custom made box dividers.

I was a little surprised when Hannah agreed to play, and also a little relieved. I thought that Greenland might be one of those games that you always think “I must play that again soon,” and then it turns into a game that you don’t really want to play because it’ll need a rule refresher. Like poor old Canalmania, which was vetoed on Friday for just that reason.

Greenland was kinder to us this time, with most of the cards staying on the warm side of the board. Hannah had plenty of energy and I was slowly picking up VPs for cards. But Martin, who has played it several times since his last GNN jaunt, was stashing away the iron like he was about to build a bridge with it. Then, in the penultimate round, he converted to monotheism, and was able to convert me, too, leaving all my victory points worthless as forgotten relics of a bygone age. Hannah, though, resisted conversion and stayed Pagan until the end.

Martin 47
Hannah 19
Andrew 16

One of the more one-sided games of the evening.

Hyperborea, which was played out to the backdrop of School of Rock, ended:

Ian 44
Stanley 36
Sam 34
Adam 31

Then there was a break for food. All of us, except Ian and Martin, set off to the local chippy for chips. While we were away, Martin beat Ian at Biblios and Red 7. I was the first to finish my small portion of chips and a pickled egg, so I joined in a game of Red 7 which ended early, with the scores at Martin 18, Andrew 14, Ian 0.

Next was a period of confusion as babies were looked after and children put to bed. During this time, Jon arrived and his first game was new to him: Raj. Easy to explain, even with the closing scenes of School of Rock in the background. He seemed to pick it up well, going from third to first in a strong final round. Almost as impressive was Ian’s ability at attracting red tiles.

Jon 47
Sam 43
Andrew 36
Martin 14
Ian -2

Arthur was by now fed, and Adam took him upstairs to get him to sleep. Hannah, Jon and I played the new slimline Take It Easy. It was a quick sudden-death one-round game and, once again, Jon did well at a game he’d never played before.

Jon 149
Hannah 105
Andrew 77

And this was Hannah’s fifth second place in a row! Congratulations to her on a rare Perfect Ten!

After this, Sam, Jon, Joe and Stanley played Galaxy Trucker. Joe didn’t last the distance, going to bed halfway through.

Sam 89
Jon 65
Stanley 55

During this, Hannah and Steve played Hey That’s My Fish twice. First time was a 51-46 win to Hannah, and the second more aggressive game ended 50-50. Hey That’s My Fish may look like a kid’s game, but it can be brutal.

Adam suggested playing Railways of the World. I was keen but we needed to start immediately if we were to fit it in before Arthur’s inevitable re-awakening which was to be Adam and Hannah’s cue to head back home. Since it had to be short, we went for a four-player game on the Mexico map. This would be cramped enough, but we made it worse by all clustering around Mexico City.

One thing was clear from our game: no one had the baron that rewarded least bonds. I think the most money that anyone made in a round was a mere $12,000. Martin and Adam made most of the running, but Martin pulled away with a convenient bonus for delivering to Culican. I didn’t really get going, but I did finish the Vera Cruz to Santiago link via the longest possible route. Ian spent little and used his trading depots to fullest effect.

Martin 44
Adam 33
Ian 28
Andrew 26

In the other room, Jon was introducing Hannah and the newly arrived Steve to the fun game of bee communication (I assume) Waggle Dance. It ended:

Steve 5 honey, 9 bees
Jon 5 honey, 10 bees
Hannah 3 honey

In the gap between RotW ending and Waggle Dance ending, Sam came down from putting Stanley to bed, and we engaged in a quick league of Cube Quest. It had been a while, and it was well overdue a return to the table. Everyone played two games, and after a lot of laughter and amazement at Adam’s flicking power (one cube went out of the room and was still spinning in the hallway for several seconds before it finally came to rest) Sam took the crown:

Adam's destructive power in full effect

Sam won 2 games
Andrew 1
Ian 1
Adam 1
Martin 0

Then, we were all together. We decided on one last quick game before Adam and Hannah left and we chose Tsuro! For eight players! This could really hurt someone on the form table.

Steve started badly and ended quickly: the only tile he played left him at the mercy of Ian, who promptly sent him off the board. Possibly a record for quickest defeat in Tsuro. On my last tile, I was stuck with a symmetrical tile, so it didn’t matter what I did, I was at the mercy of those around me. Annoyingly, Ian put himself on a collision course with me, while Martin was sent on a wild looping course to safety. How annoying. It was enough to assure him of first place as everyone else crashed out of that round, too.

Near the end of Tsuro. Steve's path to oblivion is highlighted, bottom left.

1. Martin
2. Sam
2. Jon
3. Hannah
3. Adam
4. Ian
4. Andrew
5. Steve

Adam and Hannah said their goodbyes, and we split into two groups of three. Ian, Steve and Sam played Istanbul and Jon, Martin and I played Impulse. There were simultaneous rules explanations as the two games were new to Steve and Jon.

Twin rules recitals

Jon seemed to get the hang of things very quickly, as the game progressed in a very unusual manner: Jon and I sped into a lead, with Martin trailing. His part of the sector was full of Build commands, so he soon amassed a huge flotilla of transporters that couldn’t move very far. Jon and I sent our cruisers over, and this was the most violent game of Impulse that I’ve been involved in, with some last-ditch defending by Martin.

Finally, I was on 13 points and Jon was on 14. I was sure he could finish the game with just one more turn, so I worked out how to get seven points in one move and end the game. Phew! My first win, and it felt good. Jon cursed that he knew he should’ve started attacking me before. The only reason he hadn’t was that I’d gone to the toilet, and he wanted to keep the game moving.

Andrew 20
Jon 14
Martin 12

Over on Istanbul, their first game ended

Sam 5
Ian 4
Steve 2

And since we were still knee-deep in space battles, they decided to play another round. I was able to watch the final exciting stages, with all three players on four gems. Sam had lots of money, but he was already on the gemstone dealer square. It looked as if Steve and Ian still had time to get a final gem. But no! Sam had a “move zero” card! He could activate the dealer again and he won the game!

Sam 5
Ian 4 plus 24 money
Steve 4 plus 17 money

After this, Jon and Martin set off home, but the fun wasn’t over yet! Not at all. Us three remaining gamers poured ourselves more whiskey and set off on a Timeline. Considering how drunk we all were, we began like geniuses: the first three cards of each player were correct. But I was able, somehow, to finish the game without a single mistake! If only I could remember what cards I had and where I put them.

Andrew 0 cards left
Ian 1 card left
Sam 2

And with the clock telling us it was 12.20am, we then began the last game of the weekend, Love Letter. I need to play more games when very drunk, because I won with a couple of bulls-eye guesses of Sam’s card after he’d looked at my hand and was clearly about to dump me out of the game.

Andrew 3
Ian 1
Sam 0

And then, finally, we wobbled off into the night. Our craving for derring-do and strategic battles completely satisfied. Until Tuesday, that is.

And so now the Form Table looks like this...

Andrew 1 1 1 4 2 9
Katy 1 3 2 2 1 9
Jon 2 2 2 2 1 9
Andy 2 2 3 2 1 10
Sam 3 3 1 1 2 10
Matt 4 1 2 1 2 10
Ian 2 2 2 2 4 12
Martin 3 1 3 1 4 12
Hannah 3 3 2 2 2 12
Chris 2 5 1 1 4 13
Joe 3 4 2 3 2 14
Anja 2 1 1 5 5 14
Adam 3 2 2 4 4 15
Steve 3 3 5 1 3 15
Stanley 3 2 4 1 5 15

I’m top, holding off Katy and Jon on the “best most recent” rule. But what about the division, I hear you cry. Well, this is the division for just this weekend...

Sam wins on points, Katy wins on points ratio, and I take the medal table.

And since it’s the end of the month, it’s time for the monthly division, with the weekend included...

Sam heads on points again, but Martin currently leads the pack on the medal table and points ratio. Only one month to go!


  1. What a marvellous weekend - thanks everyone!

  2. Really great, I concur! Stanley and Joe enjoyed it too - nice people, nice games, chips, whisky. Lovely. The cherry on the cake was Joe not waking up til 7.45 this morning!

  3. Yeah great to get even a bit of it, and I spent this morning eagerly awaiting the 'news'. Well done everyone!

    Hannah did you enjoy Greenland?