Its a very simple game and one that is brimming with chance. Each player owns a merchant ship (for trading) and a pirate ship (for nicking stuff) and they move both on their turn - if a merchant reaches a suitable port, it delivers goods. If a pirate reaches an opponents merchant, it steals goods from it. And if that good happens to be the last one (merchant ships hold up to three goods at a time) then, by the unforgiving laws of the sea (that also apply to Serrinissima) that ship will sink.
Everyone also gets to move one of the navy ships on their turn, that scoot around eliminating pirates. And there's some extra cards that let you break the rules, too.
All of this nautical larking about gets you doubloons - for delivering, for stealing, for sinking pirate ships. And the game progresses as you spend these doubloons to flip over some cards (I forget the name) in front of you. Once one player flips them all, that is the final round. So it's a race - but everybody gets a random set of cards and they each give a special power when flipped. Andy's worked together quite nicely, but the game twists and turns a great deal and we were all - at one point or another - the victim of lady luck, as our best-laid plans came unstuck and our ships were scuttled. I think we played it in the best way though - quickly.
In the end Andy got the win by flipping all his cards first. The rest of us had flipped all but one, and the tie-breaker was on doubloons:
Andy: all cards flipped
Ian 7 doubloons
Matt 4 doubloons
Sam 3 doubloons
A fun, quick game that we all quite liked.
Next up was Istanbul. The decision-making on game choice was inexplicably fast, although Andy had said that if you spend 15 minutes choosing a game, that's 15 minutes of game time lost. The type of guy who would rush through the wedding vows so he could break out Castles of Burgundy. I like that.
not a governor to be seen
Istanbul was tight. We dealt the tiles randomly and all felt the pinch of having to make two moves where one would have felt more appropriate. I was one move from winning (at which point Andy would have bumped me into second) and Andy one move from winning (at which point Matt may have bumped me into third) at the moment Matt won. And as he was fourth player, nobody could make any last-minute minute moves to react. What's more, he could only afford the winning move as I'd paid him two lira to engineer myself one move from winning! ISTANBUL - the game Katy would describe as Gem C**t - if only she'd been here to do so.
Matt 5 gems
Sam 4 gems (2nd on money tie-breaker)
Andy 4 gems (3rd on money tie-breaker)
Ian 3 gems
It wasn't horrendously late so there was just time for everyone to hand me my ass in Love Letter.
Andy 2 cubes
Matt 2 cubes
Sam 1 cube.
What more can you say about this game? It's nuts.
Happy Christmas to everyone - most of you - who won't be around on Tuesday. Hopefully we can organise a last-games-of-the-season at some point before New Year's Eve too.