Birthdays. A special day for everyone, but mostly for the person celebrating their birth and for Katy who seems to take great delight in these things.
Since it was Adam’s birthday, he and Hannah had offered to host with the offer of a game of Railways of the World. This evening we were eight in number, which meant Katy did not have to play.
The eight of us split into two groups. Adam, Steve, Ian and I adjourned to the cooler room (cooler being relative – it was still pretty warm in this, the hottest GNN meet of the year) while Joe, Hannah, Katy and Martin (minus baby Effie) played outside on the patio.
While Adam et al set up RotW, the al fresco group began with slightly lighter fair: Imhotep. This Egyptian-themed game has a neat twist on the usual worker placement mechanic and the beating sun probably added to the realism. I expect.
Hannah wasn't able to play due to parental duties, but at the end Katy's 100% record had finally ended. She reported that it was a stupid mistake from her that gave Martin the win, but that she'd kept her whining down to a minimum.
After this, there was a brief pause as Adam was presented with his birthday cake. How nice.
Meanwhile, in RotW I had sped off into my usual mid-game lead, having nabbed the three-link bonus, and started shipping cubes up and down my network while the others were still shipping for one or two points. But I had a lot of bonds, and I felt I needed a bigger lead before I started to end the game.
Steve felt like he was lagging behind, a distant fourth. His position not helped by his reliance on “New Industry” cards to boost Boston, only to find he was an expert in pulling black and yellow cubes from the bag which is how Boston got the nickname “Waspopolis”.
In the other room, Imhotep had been replaced by the more sociable game of Team Play, with Martin and Katy putting aside their usual rivalry to join together against Joe and Hannah.
Katy & Martin 1
Joe & Hannah 1
Now it was time for Martin to go home, so Joe and Katy introduced Hannah to the joys of Karuba. This path-finding game has shades of Take It Easy since everyone takes the same tiles to place of their board. It was also like Take It Easy for provoking whoops of joy when a tile you need is chosen. Surprisingly, it was Hannah, not Katy, making the most noise.
In the quieter half of the house, I was scrabbling around trying to end the game. My level five engine, once the envy of the Eastern US, was now obsolete with everyone else having trains of six of higher.
I managed to annoy Ian and Steve by triggering the end of the game on the last move of a turn, meaning their carefully laid plans wouldn't fully pay out. Adam, however, couldn't be stopped, and was able to build New York – Kansas City for a whopping twenty points. Steve was able to complete his baron (the only one of us who could) for a last-minute boost that got him into third ahead of Ian who had, until recently, been threatening me for second.
Steve 55 (plus $42,000)
Ian 55 (plus $33, 000)
Surely this result made it the best birthday Adam's ever had. And, since it's his special day, here's a look at the division for Railways of the World (sorted by Points Ratio).
Meanwhile on the Division for this season, despite today's slip up, Katy maintains her form and with a lead like that she will probably still be top when she comes back from her trip away next week.