With Joe coming a little later the six of us played Pairs. At that point I hadn't seen the text from Andrew and we dealt him in, making decisions on his behalf. It was interesting to note how often we said "Andrew would stick now" whilst others twisted. It got him second place - or would have, had he turned up. As it was Ian's attempt to shoot the moon came undone:
close, but no onion
1st Katy 24
2nd Sam 18
2nd Martin 18
3rd Ian 6
4th Andy 0
4th Matt 0
Joe had arrived in time for the finale and we discussed options. Joe had brought several dice games, and Lords of Vegas was appendaged by Joe's bespoke dice arena, built to fit exactly on
What happens in Vegas
Despite impressed gasps (and the inevitable gamer critique) Lords didn't actually get played though.
Katy was keen on Castles of Mad King Ludwig and reasonably forceful about it. She managed to reel in Ian and Matt. Then she reeled in Andy too, and Ian defected to the game Joe, Martin and I were setting up: Quantum. We went for a reasonably big board with 6 cubes to place, and ejected the '10' tile at the start to make way for The Void, a Quantum expansion that bumps up your research.
I got off to a good start, but this backfired in a reasonably regular way as I was then targeted for the next half hour or so. Martin, and then Joe, both went for an aggressive route. Joe because winning battles boosted his dominance by two, Martin simply because he is Martin and cannot resist "the lure of arseholery" (his words) which, if nothing else, might get this post a couple of extra hits. With my peaceful extra move and ability to move my ships an extra space, I kept devising sneaky ways to get a cube down, only for some bastard to blow me up. It was rather frustrating.
In fact we all - bar Ian, who was doing as badly as I was - got a bit frustrated at the amount of time Quantum was taking to finish. It had become a war of attrition, and whilst we blasted each other like ancient boxers unable to land the killer blow, Castles finished:
Matt 89 (2nd on tie-breaker!)
And they began playing Beasty Bar. "It's good" said Martin, who was increasingly less enamoured of Quantum. Both he and Joe had been a die-roll from finishing it, only to be scuppered by Ian, who was fighting a dogged rearguard thanks to his ability to destroy attackers and boost his dominance in doing so. I was still unable to make my killer move, but had at least got my penultimate cube down thanks to an aggressive turn, having finally rolled a bunch of low ship numbers. Not long after that, relieved sighs and frustrated groans were heard all around as I pulled off an unlikely win. With a 2, 1, and 1 around a 9 planet, I needed to reconfigure my final ship into a 5. I rolled a 4, turned it into a 5 with a free action, moved it with my free peaceful move action and placed my last cube. An epic 2-hour Quantum (that's the same as 3-player Eclipse!) finally came to and end:
Sam - all cubes down
Martin/Joe - 1 cube remaining
Ian - 2 cubes remaining
Beasty Bar finished around the same time:
Debate broke out about what to play, with Spyfall and Codenames both falling foul of some pronounced indifference. Instead Katy, emboldened by her success with Ludwig perhaps, insisted we all play Between Two Cities. We acquiesced, and embarked on a 20-minute city-building spree: each player chooses tiles to share between the cities of the player to their left, and the player to their right.
Between seven cities
It's an interesting idea but felt a bit like coloured maths to me: at no point did I look around and see what anyone else was doing, and if I had it probably wouldn't have helped anyway.
Mine and Joe's shared city
Joe won, but I'm still none the wiser as to what exactly the appeal is:
Joe 56 (wins on tie-breaker)
Ian 52 (4th on tie-breaker)
Matt 51 (6th on tie-breaker)
Martin was even less impressed than me, saying "I'd rather have had a chat". There is no worse insult for a game than that. I would be interested to try it with three though; that might feel a little more tactical. But also more head-scratchy too.
We then had a quick game of Continuous Pairs which Andy lost:
Then I managed to cajole Sally into joining us so we had the eight players we needed for individual-team Push It. This is basically boule on a table-top. Officially it plays up to 4, but 8 is divisible by four so we were near as dammit. I paired up with Matt, Sally with Katy, Martin with Ian and Joe with Andy. Martin and Ian sailed off into an early lead (they were sitting closest to the jack, mind!) and despite our best efforts, and a burst of randomness with everyone flicking at the same time for four rounds, they held on:
Martin & Ian 11
Matt & Sam 6
Joe & Andy 6
Sally & Katy 4
Closest to the jack (beige) wins
Not sure how that's Leaderboard, but lots of fun all the same. Nice to get Sally involved, even if in a tragic case of life imitating art I had to pay her to come.
THAT'S HOW MUCH I VALUE HAVING FUN.