Wednesday, 6 January 2016

House rules rule!

The first Tuesday of a new season, and nine of us converged at Sam’s house for an evening of white hot battle (with drinks and nibbles and a newly fixed light overhead). Attendees were Sam, Joe, Matt, Martin, Ian, Katy, Ben, Andy and myself. Since the front room was in use, we were limited to the kitchen and, even with Sam’s kitchen table at full stretch, it would be snug fit.

We began with a nice friendly game of Continuous Pairs: the version were there’s only one loser. Which was me.

We split into three groups of three. Martin and I were unable to find a third for Impulse, so instead Ben, Matt and Andy took up the middle of the table with Beasty Bar. Martin, Katy and Ian perched at the end nearest the wall, playing Vikings. Finally, Joe, Sam and myself occupied the other end with Manila.

With so many games happening at once, it was hard to keep track of anything. The middle group quickly sped off two games of Beasty Bar:

Ben 6
Andy 3 (and 23)
Matt 3 (and 25)

Followed by

Ben 4
Matt 3
Andy 1 (“a charitable one,” as he described it)

And after that they began a game of Port Royal. At this point, Martin looked up from his board and surveyed the table covered by three games with seas and boats and said “It’s all gone very nautical in here.” A nice thematic moment to the evening.

The next game to end was Vikings:

Martin 74
Katy 43
Ian 38

They began a game of Biblios to fill the time until other games had ended.

In Manila, we placed our bets on the three boats pulling into harbour and our share of the cargo/landing fees. We needed a rule refresher and found the similarity in names of two roles: the pirate and the pilot, rather confusing. But we got going eventually. Joe went big on nutmeg, Sam on blue silk while I was impressed enough by lucky ginseng that I tried a late attempt at buying some.

During the first few rounds Sam or Joe had always put ginseng in the third lane at zero. But it managed to come in once when I was the only one on board and then I landed on it as a pirate, so it seemed especially charmed for me.

Not charmed enough to overcome Sam’s and Joe’s more sensible spread-betting, though.

Joe 112
Sam 97
Andrew 87

By now Port Royal was over and Ben had clocked up another win while Andy blamed Explainer’s Curse.

Ben 13
Matt 8
Andy 7

Since Biblios was still ongoing, the six of us decided on a quick dash through Dragon Run. Even though it’s a five-player game, we thought it could accommodate one more, surely. At first we stuck to previous definitions of Treasure Card mean card with actual treasure on them, but a reading of the rule book indicated that a Treasure Card was any card from the Treasure Deck. Another rule to be challenged was that “You may take another turn” allowed a player to stop without having to hide in the shadows or cry like a girl.

I think the discussion about took up most of the game. It ended with another win for Joe:

Joe 16
Andrew 14
Sam 12
Ben 8
Matt 7
Andy 6

I suppose Andy could blame Explainer’s Curse again, since he was the one explaining the real rules to us while we played.

During Dragon Run, Biblios ended with all five dice on three. Katy just won on the dice-colour tie-breaker (and, technically speaking, the money tie-breaker).

Katy 6 (plus blue die)
Martin 6
Ian 3

And they also managed to squeeze in a game of Port Royal

Katy 12 (plus 9)
Ian 12 (plus 2)
Martin 7

Before we all joined together for a rousing game of 6nimmt. Agony was shared around evenly this time, in this high scoring round. Ben (already in last with 62) had to go before the final round, so Dirk took his final go for him. And for a while it looked like Dirk might do quite well. Only for a while, that is. Martin sealed the win with two clear rounds in a row.

Martin 30
Katy 39
Ian 49
Matt 64
Andy 65
Joe 66
Sam 68
Andrew 69
Ben 94

And that was that. Off back home to bed to dream of Joe’s “largest D20 in the world” (approx).

As for the Division, a bit weird (as early divisions usually are) with Ben's lead on Points Ratio entirely due to the fact that only three players have played enough games to have a points ratio. His lead on the Medal Table is more deserved, and Martin leads on Points.


  1. I wondered where that dream was heading for a moment... a lovely evening, thanks all. Nice to play Manila again - it's a curious thing. My money at the end of each turn remained around 30 all game (though dropped to zero during turn 3, nearly forcing me to encumber a share).
    The value of the harbourmaster remains pretty opaque, and towards the end of the game seems less about being able to buy a share than about the (slight) advantage in control it gives you. I like it.

    I also like Continuous Pairs - it feels suitably different to Port.

  2. Sorry to miss Vikings - I'd like to play that - but great to visit Manila again. I think Joe was Harbourmaster most, and won. But I seem to recall he has won before by never being Harbourmaster... INTERESTING.

    1. You'd have to get lucky and have your two free shares pay out the full 30. But you'd save 10-15 per round on the auction alone, so it's definitely possible.

  3. Happy to bring Vikings again, it seemed to go down well. I don't think Katy and Ian will let me get away with hogging all the fishermen next time. Impressive start to the season for Ben!