The narrative in Quantum is pretty well established; race to place as many cubes as you can before the fighting starts. We were neck and neck for a while and then came to a kind of Mexican stand-off: Ian was Dangerous, which meant he could choose to blow both himself and his attacker up when attacked. He also had the ability to construct Quantum cubes from non-orbital positions, so I had a fight on my hands. But having got my dominance up to five with only one cube to place, I found Ian's dangerousness to the fore: I kept attacking as he kept threatening to place a cube; he kept blowing us both up. Something had to give: Ian took a calculated risk on a fight and it worked out in my favour:
Sam: all cubes down
Ian: one cube left
After that we bashed our way through Ra (Ian surged into a healthy lead but his luck gave out in the third age, giving me a 28-26 win) Biblios (I'm Mr Biblios) Love Letter (Ian always wins Love Letter) and Iglu Pop. I can't remember who won that one now.
THEN: Friday Andrew arrived and while Chris made his way down the M4 we played a couple of games of Push It; which is basically tabletop boule: you flick rather than throw. Andrew proved master at it:
With Chris now safely ensconced at the table we set up a recent addition to the cupboard: Queen's Necklace. The theme of the game is that you're jewellers crafting trinkets for the court. The mechanics are intriguing: each turn you have ten money to spend on a tableau of cards (emeralds, rubies, diamonds and amber) and as cards are passed over they become cheaper. Three times in the game the Merchant pops up and there's a sale (or scoring round). Players choose which gems to sell to the court, but: you only sell a gem successfully if you have a majority in it, and values can vary wildly due to both the fashions of the court and the rarity of the gems themselves.
Mixed in with the gems are some character cards too; these are bought in the same manner and do a variety of things, like make stuff cheaper, give selling bonuses or steal cards from each other et cetera. I liked the game as a whole, but my phobia of text on cards meant I felt there was maybe too many of these. Unless you play the game really frequently it leads to constant rule-referencing.
Overall though much fun, and a complete pasting for myself and Andrew from Chris:
We moved swiftly on to a three-player Push-It. More fun than a two-player and notable this time for Andrew getting both his discs closest to the jack and picking up a valuable two points. It couldn't have ended tighter:
So far I was serially last, but that was about to change with a brutal game of Hamsterolle, played - I can't remember how this started - in the style of mafiosi at a poker night. I do love the idea of gangsters game of choice being a wooden hamster wheel with bits in.
Sam - all out
Chris - 3 pieces left
Andrew - 3 pieces left
We followed quick game of Sheriff of Nottingham; the game of bluff, double-bluff and triple-bluff. Everyone takes turns being the sheriff, and the others try and sneak contraband past him - or give the impression they are, when they actually aren't. If he opens your pouch and you're telling the truth, he pays the penalty. If you were fibbing, you do.
Thanks to my mostly-honest play and circumspect sheriffing, I pipped Andrew to the post. Chris had loads of apples, but it wasn't enough:
With all of us now merry with weekend joie de vivre, we forsook Celestia in favour of Bandu, the game of No Thanks with added Jenga. As ever, the seemingly-a-filler turned into a tense game of screw-you, as we passed each other geometrically-damning pieces and flied in the face of cantilevering. Chris seemed to be in a strong position, but just as Martin was hit by subsidence on Tuesday, everything suddenly gave way as Chris tried to add a piece on top. I managed to outlast Andrew to nab the win.
My city in the sky
Andrew's lair in the suburbs
Finally with midnight not so far away, we played Biblios! I was handed a strategy by fate when I picked up blues and browns early, and attempted to add reds but decided against this when Chris changed from picking them up to passing in the auction phase. Handily, I knew the very last card of the game would be a church card, and I had enough gold to nab it for my two dice:
Sam 7 (Mr Biblios)
Andrew 5 (wins on tie-breaker)
And with that a very jolly Friday came to a close. Cheers guys! Maybe see some of you on January 2nd at my place for Saturday gaming?
By the way today is Stanley's birthday. Chris gave us the best possible present by cleaning up Finn's sick while we were opening gifts upstairs. Thanks mate.