The top four at the start of the evening
There were six of us: Joe (host), Ian, Katy, Ben, Matt and myself. We began with Birds Of A Feather, the simple yet charming game of birdspotting.
Joe explained the rules to newcomer Matt using, whenever possible, the actual names of the birds instead of just referring to the icons. A nice touch, but the educational aspect still eludes me. After four games, I still can’t remember a single bird’s name.
And with that victory, Ian closed in on Martin still further.
Meanwhile, we played Birds Of A Feather again, reminding Katy that this was a new game and not the second round of the same game as before.
At this point we decided to stay as a group of six for the rest of the evening. After a little discussion, we chose Last Spike as the evening’s not-too-heavy main course.
This game of placing track and buying stock in different cities (which only pay out when it is successfully connected to another city) is simplicity itself, if a little bit luck dependent. Ben started badly, needing to pay double for a piece of non-adjoining track. He then invested heavily in the city of Yuma (hence the blog title) which luckily paid out for him in the later stages of the game.
No one needed to sell any shares due to lack of money, although it was close at times. And Katy and Joe both got three free shares for being the first to build from a particular city. Matt, meanwhile, built up a stack of cash hidden behind a bowl of pretzels.
I was lucky enough to put down the final tile, getting me a $20K bonus, otherwise I’d have been left in joint last place.
Another poor performance from Ian and Katy, but Martin’s title bid is over. I, on the other hand, may just force a late surprise.
Next game to the table was A Fake Artist In New York. I explained the rules and I began as Quiz Master. My topic (“xylophone”) was deemed too specific by Katy and she argued about its suitability throughout round one. Interestingly, Matt joined in with the debate. I say interesting, because he was the fake artist. Clearly, he was trying to look like someone who knew what the topic was. It worked, since he wasn’t chosen as the fake artist.
Joe turned out to be an excellent fake artist once he’d quelled his desire to draw something recognisable. Halfway through the round where he was the fake artist, he said “Surely, this should be...” and then turned the drawing up the other way. An audacious bluff, and a great success.
In the final round, Katy chose “Joe” as the topic and Joe as the fake artist. A bit of a giveaway, really. But we did end up with a nice piece of minimalist portraiture.
More faltering stumbles from Ian and Katy, and I’m up into second!
As the night progressed, so we introduced Ben to the joys of Incan Gold. I say “joys”, but his inaugural game was notable for the speed with which enemies threw themselves in our path. Temple three may have claimed a record for brevity: zombie lady, rockfall, spider, zombie lady. Joe managed to make his way through a temple far enough to get plenty of treasure and one example of each type of danger. But he just had to push it one card too far.
Did this result signal a change in Katy’s fortunes? Although we didn’t know it at the time (I wasn’t updating the division as we played), she had claimed top spot.
If she’d known this she may not have eagerly agreed to another game of Incan Gold.
This was a more entertaining game of Incan Gold. The temples didn’t fall down upon us the moment we entered. I had one of those games where you know whichever decision you make, it’ll be the wrong one. I leave: the temple is large and profitable. I stay: it’s hello zombie ladies.
A nice temple (me, absent)
And so, the evening was done. The season was done. Well done to Martin for winning points ratio (the proper mark of a champion) and the medal table but also congrats to Katy for taking top spot at the last minute.