The evening began with me and Sam playing Agricola: All Creatures... which Sam had just got back after lending it to someone about eighteen months ago. He got a bit of a rule refresher from me and the rule book, and we ploughed through the game in double quick time because Andy was expected shortly. Sam’s lack of familiarity with the rules didn’t hinder his natural strategic nous.
Andy arrived mid-game, and introduced us to Ziegen Kriegen. This is a trick-taking card game over eight rounds except the highest number of possible points changes each time, so if you score too many, you can go bust. Sam liked it, but I wasn’t keen. Maybe I’m missing on some strategic aspects, but it seemed to be based solely on what hand you were dealt.
I don’t want to suggest it’s only down to luck but we played two games and all three of us got a win! In the first game, I got no low cards at all, so I crashed out with too many points.
Then we played again and I had a better hand this time and got a joint win.
Anyway, after this, Anja arrived and we played Sam’s new favourite, The Castles of Mad King Ludwig. This game of building castles room by room according to certain rules (which change each time you play) is easy enough to pick up. But the bonuses at the end are pivotal, which I didn’t quite get at first.
Anja, too, found her naturally tendency towards neatness and order worked against her, since one of the bonuses for this game was points for each external entrance. But she finished the game with none at all, and felt slightly peeved that the game didn’t reward completed castles. Sam’s experience counted, as he maximised his bonuses.
Finally, we ended on Take It Easy. Categories for the people drawing the tiles were Billy Bragg songs (Sam), characters from Tolkien books (Anja) and Beatles songs (me). I was impressed with Anja’s knowledge of Middle Earth, and she was pretty good at her first game of Take I Easy, too. We hadn’t realised this at first, and it wasn’t until she asked if she could put the tiles anywhere that we asked if it was her first game.
And with that, we were done. Off into the night, my new game and book just about fitting into my new rucksack. All that’s left is a look at the fledgling form table.