But games are a serious business, and there was to be no let up in the white heat of competitiveness just because we were one year older.
And if this wasn't exciting enough, Sam had a new fridge delivered at the start of the evening.
There were seven of us and we decided to put off the decision about what to play by first playing 6nimmt. We declined Andy's suggestion that we should play professional rules (able to put a card on both ends of a row) because it just made things more complicated. And besides, I doubt that there's really a professional circuit of 6nimmt players.
The game brought new levels of cursing to GNN as everyone was convinced they had the worst hand. On a couple of occasions Ian and I were so baffled, we chose our cards at random ("Going Dirk," as it became known, named after our imaginary friend) despite Katy's insistence that you should "Choose with your brain!"
After round one, Joe arrived. A pleasant surprise, since we weren't expecting him. He joined in, and we gave him the average score of everyone else as his score. I decided to not round it up, hence his score having a fraction.
Joe 25 ½
Then we split into two groups. Matt, Katy and I chose the Castles of Mad King Ludwig, simply because we all knew it. In the other group, Martin, Joe, Andy, Ian and Sam embarked on the epic Beowulf. I didn't try to follow their game, but it seemed pretty raucous. Every time I looked over, I expected to see them in Viking helmets, drinking from goblets while eating chicken legs in an over-enthusiastic am-dram manner.
As for the mad castles, Katy shot off into an early lead. I stayed in contention, with Matt never too far behind, but with a healthy handful of bonus cards threatening us with a last minute boost up the score track. In the end it was me that got my bonuses working, though.
We finished at almost exactly the same time as the Beowulfians. Their scores were:
Joe's win got him some revenge for his previous score of -4.
After this, Joe and Andy left despite (or perhaps because) Sam getting the whiskey down from its shelf. The six remaining gamers stayed on for a game of Pairs. I did badly, having to twist to have a chance of winning, but knowing it would spell doom. And it did. Katy also displayed psychic powers, predicting the appearance of a lemon right on cue. Alas, knowing the card to come won't necessarily save you from it.
Then Martin left for the bus, and the remaining five of us played That's Life. I still haven't got a grasp of it, and the random course offered little in the way of any obvious strategies. At least, not to me. Everyone else seemed to be doing okay.
So, I got one win but also three last places, and Matt's performance was middling-to-poor. To quote Jerry Seinfeld, "Happy birthday? No such thing."
On the Division (I'm going to try doing it weekly, to see how interesting it is) Katy stays top by a considerable margin, despite not winning a game. Joe, though, grabs Points Ratio from her, and Martin and Katy tie for the Medal Table.