Sunday, 3 January 2016

Spies like us

The first games night of 2016 arrived this evening at my house (Sam's). I'd managed to get Stanley to play Macao on the first of January, mainly by repeatedly saying "Macao" in the style of a deranged parrot, but despite winning (80-79) Stan was not taken with it. After a Christmas of Codenames, Spyfall, King of Tokyo and Dragon Run, the Feldian mechanics probably seemed rather dry.

Chris arrived early and we played Spyfall with himself, myself, Sally, Stanley and Joe all in the mix. I don't remember everything at this point, but I do recall being the spy a couple of times and figuring out where we were. Joe pulled off being the spy and voting out other people. Then whilst Joe and Sally danced upstairs the three of us played King of Tokyo, the game of fighting beasts. Stanley's dice rolls let him down and Chris led for a while, only for me to pip him to the post:

Sam 20
Chris 18
Stanley 12

As we finished Andrew, Katy and Ian arrived en masse and we embarked on a game of Dragon Run. This game is similar to Incan Gold in the push-your-luck sense; as the players represent adventurers trying to escape the dragon's fiery breath, having stolen his gold. On your turn you have three choices - charge recklessly ahead, hide in the shadows, or cry like a baby. Charging is high risk, hiding is a calculated risk, and crying is no-risk but no reward. Chris played the Psychic and despite his psychic powers letting him down, he did enough to claim the win:

Chris 16
Sam 11
Katy 10
Andrew 8
Ian 7

As we ended Joe arrived! I had missed his texts and assumed he was out of the picture, but he was merely fashionably late. We broke into two parties of three, with Joe and Chris teaching Katy Alhambra and Ian, Andrew and I playing Railways of Mexico. I have to say I was pleased with my first round - not only did I deliver the first cube, I also (thanks to the Railroad Executive) completed one of the long-distance routes!

However, it was a bond-heavy strategy that ultimately would count against me. First Andrew the Ian overhauled me and Andrew, thanks to his leeching off Ian's delivery route, surged into the lead whilst Ian and I fought over second. It remained competitive throughout, but to win I needed Andrew to have failed his Baron - he hadn't:

Andrew 62
Sam 58
Ian 55

I didn't witness much of Alhambra, but that girl Katy did it again:

Katy 144
Chris 136
Joe 123

Joe unfortunately was not feeling great and now retired, despite the early hour. Hope you're better Joe. The rest of us played several rounds of Spyfall, much of which has now faded from view in my memory. I think Chris and I were the spy quite a lot though.

Sticking with the clandestine mood we broke out a long-forgotten favourite: The Resistance! Chris and Ian were the spies in the first game and we, the resistance, foiled them. Then Andrew and Ian were the spies and we foiled them too! I was bamboozled by Chris and Andrew in the second game: Chris seemed so set on me being the spy I thought he must be one himself, but I'd forgotten about my drunken proclamation of the resistance cards being green, inadvertently implicating myself.

Finally we played Yardmaster, my new game of train-loading. In a yard. I have to say, having played it with Stan and now a bunch of GNNers, I don't massively rate it. With five players especially you're often just waiting for your turn in order to pick up Cargo cards so later you can (hopefully) buy Railcar cards which need to be a certain colour or a certain number to add to your engine. But Katy and Chris liked it, and Andrew won, so he might look at it favourably too:

Andrew 16
Katy 14
Chris 12
Sam 12
Ian 9

I will concede the game does look lovely though.

So! The first games night of 2016 came to an end.  Let's hope for many more that don't have the headache the following day like I'm going to have tomorrow. Best wishes for the new year all!


  1. Railways was great. Putting my depot on the right bit of track was my winning move, but I was also very pleased with my speed bonus and delivery bonus move. I thought Sam had gone too bond-heavy since he had an income of only $2,000 for the first few rounds but in the end, the difference wasn't huge: I had the least with six and he had ten. Also he built up a little points factory in the south. Ian had the baron that rewards owning hotels: my least favourite baron. Plus, I mostly got in his way, taking his cubes and leeching off his points.

    Ah, but I could talk all day about RotW.

    Dragon Run was okay. A nice fun game. As for Yardmaster - as Gonz would say - it plays itself. When it gets to your turn you have quite a limited number of choices and there's not much planning ahead. Not bad though.

  2. With Railways I did have the familiar sense of having done my great move and wondering where to go next. But I knew with the track I was laying I'd have plenty of cubes to deliver in the latter part of the game. What I didn't reckon on was those dastardly kids (Andrew and Ian)

  3. As usual, Railways was great. Although it was quite annoying, I have to congratulate Andrew on his trading depot placement right in a crucial link of my network.

    With hindsight maybe I should have built a bypass line next to it, but that would have taken two turns when I already had things to be doing and it wouldn't really have earned me more points.

    Cheers folks!

  4. Yeah Andrew made a great move with the Trading Depot. But it's not fair to imply that was the only reason for his victory, as I did above. He seemed to be scoring points regularly and pulled off that 7 point turn as well.

  5. Sorry to bail early - the great Christmas holiday hangover was kicking in nicely.

    Lovely to play Alhambra again after so long - it's a classy game. Well done Katy!

  6. Happy new year all, sorry I missed it (though not sorry I missed the Resistance) :)