For the first time since we stopped going to Roll For The Soul, GNN set out into the public arena as we decided to hold this week’s event in Bristol’s new board game cafe, Chance ‘n’ Counters. We took in the ambiance, and looked at the wide selection of games, and also noted the sensible drink holders attached to the sides of the tables.
There were five of us: Sam, Joe, Ian, Ben and me. In the beginning, Joe hadn’t arrived, so the four of us played Rhino Hero, noting that the tables in the cafe were sturdy enough to hold a balancing game without juddering or shaking.
By the time Sam completed his go and Ian stood up, the hotel was leaning notably. When Ian built with a card that reversed the player order, Sam’s fate was sealed. He was about to place his next card when the building collapsed beneath him.
Then Joe arrived we wondered what we could play and couldn’t come up with a decent idea. Five players is a tricky number and nothing on offer seemed to be right. Then Joe admitted he’d brought Lords of Vegas which, with the expansion pack, plays five. Although it seemed a bit odd to come to a board game cafe equipped with your own game, it was the only title that everyone was keen on.
At the start of the game, Sam sped into an early lead. He quickly acquired two two-tile casinos and also earned quite a lot of money by people gambling in his casinos and losing badly.
Ben also got a two-tile casino, but it didn’t seem to do so well for him. I kept pace with Sam with a few single tile casinos and Ian pondered what to do with his conveniently clustered plots. Joe got off to a slow start.
Joe’s slow start turned into a slow middle. He got involved in a war over a five-tile gold casino with Sam and Ian. There were many reorganisations, but whenever he was boss, the casino never paid out. In fact, gold hardly paid out at all in the whole game.
This left Joe in a predicament, and Sam and Ben, too as they had built gold casinos. Sam’s reduction in points allowed me to overtake him. On the other side of the Strip, though, a Leviathan of a casino was being built. Two green casinos (mine and Ian’s) merged together, with Sam as a minority stockholder on the board, hoping for a bit of luck in any reorganising.
So determined was I to keep hold of it that I sprawled twice into unused plots, just to get another dice in there. And it almost worked, too. Ian finally managed to take over the casino late in the game. I worked out that with a bit of luck (ie, the game ending soon) I’d still win. I built another casino on the strip – a three-tile silver casino – to try and consolidate rather than risk losing a reorganisation roll.
But I didn’t have any luck. The green casino paid out on the next card, and then the Game Over card was turned over. The fact that the green casino paid out twice put Ian level with me on points, and he had enough money in the bank to sneak the win after fighting back from a distant third.
Joe was ruefully upbeat about his record low score. In a way, Joe’s luck-dodging performance will be just a memorable as Ian’s late comeback.
Ian 29 (plus $47m)
Andrew 29 (plus $39m)
Sam 23 (plus $33m)
Ben 23 (plus $18m)
After this heady excitement I wondered if I’d got a bit carried away, standing up while taking my go and punching the air after a lucky dice roll. I hope I didn’t embarrass us.
We settled back down to Earth with a game of Skull and Roses. Or should that be: (The Worst) game of Skull and Roses (in the World).
None of our predictions came true. Not one. Well, not until the very end. It was a horror show. The pile of discarded tiles grew and grew. At least the failure was evenly spread, with all of us having just two tiles left at one point.
Eventually, though, people were whittled away. It finally came down to me against Sam. I put down a rose, and it was my turn to call. It was simply a matter of guessing if he’d put down a rose or not. I guessed that he had, and bid “two.” He hadn’t.
And with that, the evening was done. We paid our bill, tipped according to whether we liked cats or dogs, and bade our farewells. A very pleasant evening.
On the division, Ian widens his lead over the rest, and I take the medal table. Adam is still top in points ratio.