Tonight we numbered seven in total as we gathered around Sam's kitchen table: Martin, Ian, Katy, Andy, Joe, myself and, of course, Sam.
We began without any of the usual warm up group game, and immediately split into two groups: Sam, Andy and I played The Voyages of Marco Polo, while the others went for the Downfall if Pompeii.
Marco Polo may be a new arrival to GNN, but Andy has a fair amount of experience playing online. In fact, this was his first time playing the physical version.
At first, it looked like Andy and I had plans in motion, while Sam was bereft of goods and camels. This panicked him into making a number of high point scoring decisions, convinced that he'd be pegged back by our end of game bonuses. In fact, even when his score marker was on the other side of the board to ours, he was still predicting his own demise.
And although we did close the gap in the final round (Sam’s lead of 26 dropped to 15 by the end), it wasn't enough to catch him.
In ancient Rome, it was the usual kerfuffle trying to get everyone out of Pompeii. There was a moment of excitement when it looked like the first six lava tiles would match each of the six different starting locations. But then Ian drew a duplicate and the moment passed.
In the end it was close. It usually is in Downfall Of Pompeii, but not this close.
Ian 8 saved, 10 in the volcano
Martin 8 saved, 11 in the volcano
Katy 8 saved, 12 in the volcano
Joe 7 saved
According to Martin we still appeared to be “balls deep” in Marco Polo (oh dear) so they began Marracash. Something to do with shops and top-heavy meeples. It was this game that caused Katy to ponder "Mmmm, capitalim" and so a blog title was born (although she insisted it was more like "grrr, capitalism")
By this time Marco Polo had ended and we three had chosen Take It Easy. The topics of our bingo-style callings were Magazines (from Sam), things about parapsychology (from me) and songs from a particular band that we had to identify (from Andy).
We each had a round in which we scored the least, only Sam’s least was much better than our leasts.
We followed this up with a quick game of Dragon Run (very quick, with the dragon lurking near the top of the draw deck nearly every time). Poor old Sam went in looking for treasure, but came out with a handful of useless potions and some loose change.
At this point they were totting up the final scores to Castle Crush. I hadn’t seen much, but I did witness Ian missing completely with one of his attempts on an enemy castle, and also Joe’s last castle getting hit and standing up fairly well, except that the two meeples it housed popped out of the back.
Martin was glad that he finally won a game, while Katy’s run of form for this evening left her feeling very unimpressed.
Since we were all together, we decided on one last game together: 6nimmt!
And what an epic it was. Lady Luck took turns in slapping each on of us in the face. “Spiral of Death” was very much the word of the game, as people succumbed to multiple beatings. After three rounds, no one had less than thirty-one points and there was just twelve points between the top six.
Joe triggered the end of the game in the next round and Ian amazingly snuck in for the win, ending his game with two clear rounds.
And with that we were gone, out into the night air, with the taste of Apple Cake (thanks Sally) and the GNN whiskey (thanks Katy) still on our tongues.
Meanwhile, on the exciting Division, we see that no one has changed places except for Andy who has just edged ahead of Joe.