Chris was expected later, so we began as a foursome. G.Nome was suggested by Martin. This simple but clever game of bidding consists of two teams of two players bidding for three cards by playing a card 1-9. Add the totals to see which team wins. The highest scoring player in the highest scoring team gets to chose one of those three cards for themselves.
Then – and this is the twist – the lowest scoring player of the lowest team gets to chose the next card, which is shared between the two players on that team (but, one assumes, will probably favour the player who chose it).
Finally, the third card goes to the lower scoring player on the highest scoring team. However, players who tie get nothing at all.
There is opportunity for subterfuge to undermine your partner, since the teams only exist for bidding purposes. Everyone scores separately. Sam and Martin played against Ben and I. Our tactic was to just agree on playing odd or even, so we could never tie. Sam and Martin did less communicating and found themselves locked for a period in perfect synchronicity, meaning they picked up fewer cards. Martin began to rue his decision to sit to the left of Sam.
The most annoying thing is that near the end Ben and I realised we had a ready-made code for numbers thanks to working together – the folders at work are colour coded according to the last digit in the serial number. We could have used that. It was too late to make much of a difference. Luckily, it wasn’t needed.
Then came Hamsterolle, the silly game of Bandu in a circle. But I say well done to us for filling almost half of the circle, even though Martin continued to curse his choice of seat as Sam set up one impossible position after another for him.
Practically the box art for an MB Games version
Still no sign of Chris, so we introduced Ben to Love Letter. He started well, wining the first round, but then I pulled into a 2-1-1-1 lead. Once Martin had won a round he started each subsequent round promising to win the next two rounds to finish off the game quickly.
We played a game of Pairs just to fill in time while we waited for Chris (game stopped at Ben 12, Martin 9, Andrew 2, Sam 0) but despite its short length, it's worth mentioning for the four-card tie breaker at the start of a round when Ben and Martin kept being dealt the same cards. Once they were finally separated, they stuck and waited for Sam and I with our lone cards to try and catch up.
Then Chris arrived and now we were ready for a real game.
We chose Ra. Ben got a run down of the rules, but nothing could have prepared him (or us) for the first two rounds. Ra must have been unhappy with us, since he visited often and made our lives a misery while the auction track offered up slim pickings. My score of 6 in round two was the best of that round. Shocking.
My total score after two rounds, and I was doing well
At one point, Martin won a bid on a sixteen bidding counter and a pharaoh tile. Pleased, he said “Not bad, eh? Sixteen and a pharaoh.” To which I replied, “That’s Tutankhamen, isn’t it?” Oh how we laughed at my historical joke.
Not as funny as seeing Chris getting increasingly frustrated as one auction after another went to other players. When his 12 bidding tile finally became the highest around the table, you could almost hear the relief in his voice.
Things picked up in round three, giving us a slightly more respectable set of scorelines. Sam made the best of being last on the auction track. Not enough to lift him too far up the standings, though.
Next up was Perudo, a game that hasn’t been seen for some years. The “calza” rule (where you can make an exact guess and get a dice back) was dropped to make for a quicker game. And we all went out in exciting ways. Ben went out bidding on ones, but everyone else had been lying about having any. I went out, lying about having a four, but no one else did either so my bluff was called. Chris went out having to call Martin’s bluff even though Chris himself had a die that helped Martin. Finally Martin went out trying to bluff with his last die and got called.
After this was 6nimmt. The first round was notable for two things: Chris got no points at all for the first time, and Martin gave Ben some advice which later ended in Martin picking up loads of cards. These shenanigans set the tone for the match with Martin unable to repair the early damage and Chris picked up his first win at 6nimmt.
Then came Pairs. A close game, if you’re fighting for second. Sam, however, was firmly in front and just two points from victory in the last round. He just waited for one of us to go bust (Martin) and then he stuck and picked up enough points for the win.
The most exciting part was right at the end when they tried to see if it would’ve been possible for me to get all ten cards and beat Sam that way. I got eight before I drew a pair. So close.
With that, I was beat. Me and Ben left them playing Biblios.