This week, as is usual in the time of summer holidays, attendance was sparce, with just six of us. The two hosts, Martin, Ian, Katy and myself. We began with a rousing game of Fauna, with Katy happily reminding everyone that she recently came second in Fauna to someone from the BBC Nature Unit.
We began and I was a little shocked to see that such a fun, family game should have tactics, with the more experienced players guessing areas or dimensions according to whichever scored the most. What’s wrong with just guessing like a blind fool?
Anyway, we got a bit lucky with the animal names, with the American Black Bear and the New Zealand Sea Lion appearing, as well as references to cotton and Java in other names. Adam had a poor game until the final round when he scored more points than he had in all the previous rounds put together. Katy repeated her previous form by coming second again. This time to Martin. Somehow, she didn’t seem as pleased.
If it has 'Cotton' in its name, it must be around here somewhere.
Then we split into two. Railways of the World was a strong favourite but a six-player game would have been far too long, so a suitable alternative was debated. In the end, Ra was chosen and Ian, Katy and Martin decamped into the front room to play. Meanwhile, Hannah, Adam and I set up Railways of the World while little baby Arthur decided that only losers snooze, and kept waking up and needing attention.
Eventually, he got off to sleep and we began while Ra was midway through its second epoch. I was lucky. While Adam and Hannah were distracted by their charming baby boy, I got a long look at the board set-up. During most of the game, I monopolised the North-East of the board and my San Antonio Hotel card got me a whole bunch of points throughout the game. Adam started in Mexico City, with its glut of red cubes and Hannah went for Guadalajara.
In the other room, Ra came to an end, and what a close game it was:
However, they weren’t finished with pyramids. Oh, no. They began a game of Zendo, the game of doing Zen, I suppose. They spread out the multicoloured pyramids on the multicoloured tablecloth, which probably made the game a little bit harder.
Back in the good old US, Adam had the speed bonus and the four-colour bonus, but Hannah and I were both lucky enough to have a delivery bounty in our neighbourhood. At one point Adam linked his network to Hannah’s. When she then didn’t move a particular cube at risk, he suggested she might want to rethink her move. She did and shipped the cube for points, wondering out loud why Adam built the track and then didn’t take advantage of it. I suggested it might be love.
Adam’s good deed went unrewarded, however. Late in the game, Hannah decided to urbanise a grey city, and put down a black city right in the path that Adam wanted to use to ship a black cube. Adam’s first game on his own set of RotW was not going well. We ended at 10.40.
My match-winning move
Don’t know what happened with Zendo, since it was non-leaderboard. I think Martin won. At least, he said no one guessed his rule.
And with that, we were off. Another evening of high tension and crumbly shortcake biscuits.
Meanwhile, Katy complained that the division was making her too competitive and she was obsessing over it, so maybe it could go back to a monthly thing. But Katy can rest assured she is no longer bottom of the table.