Stanley got off to a good start, winning the opening round. I recalled our Love Letter session over the holidays, where Stanley correctly identified we had the Countess after Joe said to me "I can see her boobies". No such mistakes from Joe this time, who successfully eliminated Andrew's King. Ian, the expectant winner going by previous form, accrued two cubes and in a game of first-to-three things looked ominous. But Stanley knocked him out in the final round and Joe and I were lucky enough to have the Princess:
Sam and Joe - 3 cubes
Stanley - 2 cubes
Ian - 2 cubes
Andrew - 0 cubes
I took the boys up to bed, whilst Ian and Andrew debated which two-player game to bash out. When I returned 20 minutes later, they were deep in a gripping game of 7 Wonders with Dirk, who appeared to be outscoring at least Ian, possibly both of them. Ian's lack of resources hadn't worked out for him, whereas Andrew had plenty to choose from. It was tight, and Dirk *almost* took his first outright victory. As it was, he shared the honor with Andrew:
Dirk - 38
Andrew - 38
Ian - 30
It was time for Safranito! For those not yet in the know, this game is like a cross between Istanbul and bowls. Rather than a race for rubies, the first to complete three recipes wins. On your turn you throw coins onto the board, hoping to A. grab the spices you need by landing your coin above the correct bowl and B. knock other people's coins into shitty non-productive areas.
I started badly, at one point with a solitary spice in front of me compared to Ian's 3 and Andrew's 4. So I was pleased as punch to engineer myself into a winning position half an hour later - with a secret recipe in front of me, all I needed was a bit of cinnamon. There was loads out there, and I didn't even need to worry about turn order. But my three successive throws were all diabolical, meaning I missed out on my lovely cinnamon - and the win, as Andrew completed his secret recipe as well!
Andrew - wins
Ian - 2nd (two recipes)
Sam - 3rd (two recipes)
What now? We nearly played Africana but I think the shelf being so high put us off. Instead we played Bruges, Stefan Feld's possibly most point-salad-y game after Bora Bora. Build houses, put characters in them, build canals, improve reputation, fend off disasters... I nabbed majorities in reputation and canal (points!) early on, whilst Andrew grabbed majority in characters (points). Andrew's tactic seemed to be build as many characters as possible (points!), and in this way he stopped Ian and I ever flipping our character majority markers. Ian built some canals and got a statue (points!). Andrew built some more characters, including one who gave him money every time Ian or I built a character (money!)
Where's the balsamic?
To me it seemed Andrew was going to walk away with it - but come the count-up my two majorities (the others only had one apiece) and maximum reputation clinched me an unexpected win:
By now it was fairly late, and we'd started drinking whisky. Possibly this contributed to our insatiable appetite for Pairs, as well as our inability to find anything to record the scores on. They started on my hand, but I ran out of room, and said I couldn't write on my right hand because I'm right-handed. So Ian found a Tesco receipt in his pocket and Andrew recorded the scores on that. I kept going bust on 7's. I think we all twisted at times when sticking might have been more sensible. Andrew's view on the game with three players changed from "It's not the same without Martin hassling me" to "This is brilliant. Why don't we play Pairs with three more often?". His head may tell him why this morning.
Beyond the general chaos and plaintive crying it's all a bit muddy now - but Ian won two games whereas Andrew and I picked up a solitary one. And with that, the weekend came to an end. Unless Stanley demanding Codenames at 7.10 this morning counts?