Another week, another GNN. Martin hosted and, for much of the evening, he had a sleeping baby in a papoose around him. The early arrivals (Martin, Katy, Ben, Sam, Ian and myself) whiled away the time with a little conversation followed by some Kakerlaken Poker. At one point, it seemed like Katy vs. Sam as they targeted each other in a series of tit-for-tat exchanges.
Sam lost by trying to bluff with a cockroach, but was found out and the card was handed back to him, to go with his other two cockroaches.
At around half past seven, Adam and Anja arrived and we split into two groups of four. At the hard-working, industrious end of the table, they chose La Granja, the new flavour here at GNN.
At the light-hearted end of the table, Martin brought out his new purchase Imhotep. This is a simple game of loading up boats with your cubes which then get delivered (in order) to various areas of the board which score differently. In one area, each players’ cubes are stacked, and the player at the end with the highest stack wins points. Elsewhere, they are laid out along a grid and points are gained for having cubes next to each other.
Martin introduced it by saying that there was plenty of opportunity for screwage, but I think that most of the whole game is about stopping your opponents doing what they want. The only down side is by doing that, you have to postpone whatever your plans might be.
It’s a smart little game, and Martin was appalled that his last minute theft of the tallest tower bonus wasn’t enough to stop Katy from winning the inaugural game.
At this point, La Granja was still only one third done. Sam had steered Anja and Adam through the rules, even to the point of explaining how two pigs would give you a third pig, but not if you turn one pig into bacon, because bacon doesn’t breed.
So we started another game with chunky wooden pieces: Origin. This is a game of evolving and expanding across the planet and picking up bonuses for hunting, crossing straits, for innovations and for achieving certain criteria as given to you on cards.
I wasn’t in the mood for a battle and Katy and Martin were in their finest rutting stag pomp, clashing antlers at every opportunity. I thought the game was okay. I’m surprised how well I did, having collected a handful of cards which didn’t help me during the game: imagine how surprised I was when I found that each unused card was worth a point!
As La Granja still had one more round to go, we four filled in the time with a few rounds of Martin's original copy of Love Letter. Katy won the first, Martin won the second and Ben won the last. By now, the scores were in from La Granja, and Sam deftly avoided Explainer’s Curse for once.
Not enough to stop Adam from winning, though.
And so we were done. As we walked back to my car, we reflected on an evening where Adam, Martin and Katy all won. I suggested we hadn’t needed to come out at all – we could’ve just stayed in and guessed that would happen.
Sam also told us about how, during the time when he was describing the rules, he suddenly realised he was sweating. Maybe he was afraid he’d suggested a game too far. Also, there is always the fear when describing the rules of a game to newbies that they will stop you mid-sentence and say “Are you kidding me? How is this fun?”
But they all seemed to enjoy it.