Our first game was Pairs. I was dealt in as I was still taking off my coat, such is the tight schedule that GNN runs to these days. For the first two rounds, it was Sam and Martin making the running. Then Joe and Ian put some good form together. Before long we had a situation where all four of these players could potentially win next round. It was Ian what won it as Sam, Joe and Martin all went bust in the last round.
Then we split into two groups. Martin, Joe, Sam and I chose Tigris and Euphrates. Technically speaking, we had all played it before but only Martin and Joe (who had it on his iPad) had any real familiarity with it. Sam and I, having not played it in almost twenty years, needed a quick run through the rules. It was one of the first games of the pre-history of GNN. I could barely remember anything about it, apart from the monuments.
Meanwhile, Ian, Katy and Andy played Vikings, a game I have not seen before. During the evening, as I glanced over at their game, I felt that I knew how it felt to be a total newcomer to games. I couldn't make out the rules at all. A big circular thing was rotated, and bits of islands were take from it. Then some meeples were added. To what end, I had no idea. That game ended:
Meanwhile, on Tigris and Euphrates, Sam was having a bit of a meltdown. He admitted he couldn't get his head round it at all, and often asked for a rule clarification or two. He began in aggressive style, but lost in his first two battles. He then kept trying to catch up by starting more battles, but with similar results. My plan was to hide in the corners and slowly build up points, which I don't think is how the game is meant to be played.
Joe built monuments, giving him points of each colour at the end of each round, and since your final score is your lowest scoring colour, this was a strong tactic. In fact Joe seemed calmness personified, a mirror image of the increasingly despairing Sam across the table from him. The only time his coolness broke was when he picked up the bag to draw new tiles. He accidentally picked up the almost identical bag of meeples from Vikings and he quickly withdrew his hand, shuddering, as he expressed disgust at touching something unexpected.
Martin tried to ruin Joe's plan by pitting him and Sam against each other in a position of great advantage to Sam. But Joe still won the battle, much to Martin's surprise and dismay.
The game ended with Joe saying "The iPad has taught me well."
After this, we rearranged ourselves. Katy, Martin, Andy and Joe played Texas 42, or The National Game Of Texas, as Martin insisted on calling it even after Sam pointed out that Texas isn't a nation. Ian, Sam and I teamed up to play Vegas. Nice and simple, no white dice to act as spoilers. Noteworthy for the return of Das Exclusive to the table. But since Das is too big too pass around easily, it spent all of the game in front of me.
The National Game Of Texas was still midway through, so then we played Biblios. And what a remarkable game it was. There aren't many other games that can cause a man to cry out "I've just eaten my own shit!" He got a series of four or five one-gold cards in a row (one-gold = shit in Extreme Biblios). That's enough to make anyone think that they must have done something bad in a former life.
Where were all the three-gold cards? Well, they were in the auction pile, coming out one after the other! I was in a bit of a fix during the auction phase, having spent all of my money and not daring to use any cards to get more money. I was going after the three “lesser” dice, hoping that Ian and Sam would cancel each other out going for the higher valued brown and blue dice. As such, I had my hand already finished early on, and I was just hoping that anything left in the auction pile wouldn't change that. And it didn't! My plan worked perfectly.
As for The National Game of Texas, it ended around the same time with the score at
Andy & Martin 4
Joe & Katy 1
Since they were playing in pairs (which brought the evening to an end with a nice reference to the first game we played) it's not leaderboard. As for the Division, alas, nobody changed places this week. Here it is anyway.