Anyway with Martin and Sarah expecting and Joe's eldest now babysitting for myself and Sally it seems a time to reflect. Or maybe that's the Castles of Burgundy talking... more of that in a moment.
We began with a little light Codenames. I say it's light, but of course if you're the spymaster it's anything but. Apparently I kept talking Ian out of choosing Martin's words, but he was a model of poker-faced-blankness throughout, and probably gave the best clue of the night in "chopsticks" for Beijing and piano (I still contest the idea that 'Singapore' is a great clue for Beijing though). Either way, we sailed reasonably serenely to victory as spymaster Andy - a model of poker-faced-indifference - couldn't quite keep pace:
Martin, Ian and Sam: best spies
Andy, Hannah and Adam: second-best spies
Adam and Hannah fancied a turn at being spymasters so we changed teams slightly. Adam, Martin and Ian got off to a strong start and surged to a healthy lead. We needed to correctly identify our last two cards in one shot to nab the win - and we did it!
Hannah, Andy and Sam: best spies
Adam, Ian and Martin: second best spies
We'd expended an hour on Codenames so we briskly moved on to the meat of the evening. On a whim I'd brought Castles of Burgundy along and to my surprise both Andy and Adam jumped at the chance to play it. The others plumped for Ra, and when I looked over after ten or so minutes I thought they must have ploughed through the first epoch as they had so many tiles, but apparently it was just Ra - who was reluctant to show himself. I lost track of what they were doing eventually, but Martin took a convincing victory:
A whole load of disaster
By the time they'd ended we had probably just reached the second round of Castles. It took a while to set up and then Adam needed a refresher, during which time I discovered I'd been playing a rule wrong. I'm going to take all my wrong rules and post them as variants on BGG.
For Adam it had been a while, whereas Andy had been playing regularly on his phone. His strategy was to ignore boats entirely, whilst I spent the early game picking them up to ensure I'd complete them first and would always be first player - with first dibs on everything. I also tried to fill as many small areas as I could for the bonuses. Halfway through the game I was a good 25 points clear of the others, but they both surged back to leave me in third.
Andy continued to surge throughout the rest of the game, and Adam at one point completed some massive building area and scored about 40 points for one tile. In the end my end-game bonuses saved me from ignominy, as Andy took a very convincing victory:
It was two hours since we'd started playing and even Martin had got bored of pointing out how long we were taking. It's true to say they played a few more games than we did - Sticheln finished as an utter trouncing for Martin:
colour me pointless
But Hannah got her revenge in Love Letter:
Hannah: 3 cubes
Martin/Ian: 1 cube each
With 11o'clock looming there was just time for Pairs, much loved (by myself and Martin) and loathed (by Andy and Adam). I think Ian did like it, but might not after tonight. His capacity for going bust brought to mind his early days with 6Nimmt, although with Pairs it really is the luck of the draw. Martin kept finishing second, so much so that after four rounds he was poised to win on 20 points. I was on 19points and needed to finish ahead of him... with my cards showing 15 and Martin's 14 I could have stuck and hoped he went bust, but where was the fun in that?
I went bust.
A great night for Martin on the leaderboard, with one Tuesday to go before the end of the season!