Unable to make it over to Easton for tuesday games, I decided to form a splinter group. I cheekily pinched Tim, who'd already made clear his intention to be there, and enlisted Will, who has somehow dropped off the email list repeatedly (we sorted this out last night and hopefully he'll become a regular face again). Harriet, Tim's partner and a keen gamer in her own right, made up the fourth, and when they all arrived I had laid out a few possibilities on the table.
One of these was The Magnates, the hilarious game about the 17th Century Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth! Okay it's probably not hilarious, but it does look rather fine - it's a reimplementation of Martin Wallace's God's Playground, which I think I remember hearing he designed as a challenge after being told it was impossible to create a game out of the history of Poland. The Magnates looks like a fairly light, historically themed area control game, with potential for co-ersion and threatening behaviour in a tidy 60-90 mins - we should play soon. It's pretty too.
On arrival, however, Will had said he was looking for a recommendation for a game to play with his family over christmas - and we both agreed that the Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth might not be the most approachable theme. I had also brought out Lords of Vegas, and it seemed that might fit the bill nicely. Plus, LORDS OF VEGAS!
We were under the gun slightly trying to squeeze the full game into an hour and half before Hat had to go and pick their youngest two up from the Old Vic, so the rules explanation was fairly rudimentary and carried on as we got playing. It was a fairly chaotic game - Charlotte arrived home half way through and she and Hat began to chat about other, less important stuff - but Tim, Will and I pushed on gamely.
It was a game characterised by a lack of silver casinos - no one seemed bothered to build them for the first half, so there were a few rounds where very little money poured into people's pockets. By the time Hat had to leave we hadn't finished, but we felt able to play her last few rounds for her, and she was lagging behind fairly substantially on account of having actual conversations.
In the end it was a very close run thing - Although Will and I were up in the tens before Tim was even off the mark score-wise, by the end we were neck and neck and neck. On Tim's last turn he chose to reorganise several casinos on the strip and handed me three sixes, which made me the new boss of at least one going concern on the strip. I was next, and flipped the Game Over card. The strip paid out and we were all three tied for the win on a fairly low 23 points.
Since we all seemed to be rolling in cash by that point, we had to add up the payout, and I thought I would sneak the win on account of Tim's generous re-orgs - but as it turned out dark horse Will had $60 million plus, I had $56m and Tim something like $35m. As Tim pointed out, had he not blown his dough on ill-fated reorganisations he would have won on cash, though it's possible Will would have pipped us both to the next points level since the re-orgs had wrestled a casino from him to me.
They all enjoyed it, and I happily agreed to pilot a game for Will and family when they buy their copy. Can you imagine me turning down a game of LoV? I thought not.
Will 23 ($65m)
Joe 23 ($56m)
Tim 23 ($35m)