Monday. Shortly after sending out the invite for non-Tuesday gaming, I (Sam) conked out on the sofa in a fitful sleep. In my semi-lucid daze I did wonder whether drinking and playing was the best idea. Then I realised it was.
Come 7.45 Ian strode in to find me in my Everton onesie. I had elected not to get dressed again, thinking we were all friends. And sure enough Ian and - shortly after - Andrew shrugged off their surprise as we had more serious matters than my sartorial shortcomings at hand.
We started with A Castle For All Seasons. As I was setting it up Ian - possibly channelling Martin - said "this looked like one of those games where you get stuff to get other stuff" - and I had to admit it was. With the saving caveat that the main mechanic was card-play rather than worker placement. Even with Ian new to it, the game played fast - all the way through we kept saying how quickly the rounds were going. But we still managed to be surprised when the last round arrived. Andrew's end-game bonuses weren't quite enough to catch me; whilst Ian did respectably on a first play with a man in a romper suit:
We moved on to Istanbul: the quick version. It wasn't as quick as all that, actually - all of us had our moments of staring at the board almost accusingly. Andrew was probably least guilty of this - but having played with admirable lassez faire, he was rewarded with a tanking. Mine and Ian's brow-furrowing was partly down to the fact we were playing a variant - each of us started with an extra neutral assistant. They could be dropped off at buildings and function normally - the only difference was anyone could pick them up. It was a game of surges - Ian burst into the lead but his method of accruing stuff to trade in at the Sultan's palace meant that he had moments of having nothing to do but collect more resources. I used one of these fallow moments - combined with a bonus card - to nab a sneaky win:
Sam 5 gems
Ian 4 gems
Andrew 2 gems
Next up was Camel Up. Andrew and Ian were keen and I was open to it, though having enjoyed the first few plays ever since I've found it a bit... faffy. I think for me it's just slightly too long and slightly too complicated for what it is. And I say that despite having pulled off the spawniest win ever - lagging in third, I catapulted myself to victory by virtue of being first to predict outright winner and outright loser. I'd love to say this was strategic genius, but I can't. I'm wearing a onesie.
We finished a rapid night of sparring with Love Letter. Ian proclaimed he liked this game because he "doesn't know" what he's doing; but whatever system he employs it serves him well. Andrew went into a 2-0-0 lead but Ian came back well enough to win. Although in the last round I was reluctant kingmaker - I knew I'd lost, but I was pretty sure that Andrew had the king. So I guessed correctly and knocked him out, by default handing the win to Ian! Sorry Andrew.
Ian 3 cubes
Andrew 2 cubes
Sam 1 cube