With six, there was talk of splitting into two groups of three, and so we perused the games cupboard with this in mind. But I was in the mood for Fauna and, despite Katy’s warnings that Hannah would win and she’d come second, it was brought out as a nice inclusive starter. Katy was especially happy when she realised she was sitting to the left of Hannah, and so could copy her guesses for some easy points.
It had been a long time since I’d played Fauna and I’d forgotten how thinky it can be. Players took long pauses as they tried to remember what they knew about the beluga whale. Various mimes were employed as people tried to work out each animal's length and weight. Ben picked up a pack of cheese puffs and thoughtfully weighed it in his hands wondering how it compared to a muskrat. This lead to a little diversion about Ben’s potential as a new presenter of a populist nature documentary: “... and this bat is almost exactly the same weight as an electric whisk.”
Hannah was kind enough to point out whenever she already knew about an animal so we went on to the next one. I was lucky enough to be starting player with an animal that was found in only one area and had the word “Andes” in its name. Meanwhile, Katy’s prediction was only half correct. Hannah cruised past the eighty-point target with ease while Katy fell from second in a poor last round.
After this there was still some talk in the air about dividing into two groups, but someone suggested Bandu and so we stayed as a group of six for another game. Katy went from being delighted at the seating arrangement to being appalled. She was convinced that Hannah was going to find the most difficult piece to give her. And so it was.
(In the later stages) My building stands next to Katy's ruin
Katy crashed out early as she failed on only her third piece – an upturned egg-cup that she should’ve passed on to me, but it never occurred to her. Ian went out next, trying out quite an innocuous piece and dislodging another. After this, we carried on for some time. Matt’s structure was short and squat while Hannah’s was mostly tiny pieces clustered around a central pole.
Matt's still standing while Hannah is out
I had two spheres at the bottom of my structure, but managed to build it so that the upper pieces were all leaning on each other. Ben’s was another series of gravity defying blocks that was eventually topped off with a remarkable split-sphere effect as my attempts at giving him awkward round shapes backfired in a surprisingly artistic manner.
Tension increased as the stakes grew higher and higher. I even refused to breathe in the direction of the table during the later stages and Ian had to mop up his lively, overflowing craft beer a little more gently than he otherwise might have.
Hannah was next to fall, followed by me. The shock waves from my collapsing tower also caused Matt’s and Ben’s tower to fall, giving them a joint win.
It was then decided that we should finish with 6Nimmt. Thus, we began as a six and ended as a six. How convivial.
It was a higher scoring game, with all of us sharing the pain over the four rounds. Since there were six, that meant people were at risk right from the very start. And so it was: in rounds one and two Ben got stung both times. Once was sheer bad luck, but the other one was the result of someone playing low and taking a particular card.
Talking of playing low, Katy found herself frustrated at the number of times she played a card lower than any showing, but – she felt – high enough that someone else was bound to play lower. We almost never did, much to our amusement and her despair.
At the end of round three, Ian and Katy were a distant last, but the rest of us were on 35-36-37-37. Could Ben hold on to his lead against such opposition?
Well, it turns out he could. This time it was Matt who found himself on the wrong end of a row of six far too often. Ben’s single point in the last round giving him his first win at the game.
And so it ended. Katy said how much she enjoyed it, despite it being perhaps her worst performance in GNN history. A smashing evening, and it bodes well for the return of some of the regulars next week.
We may be one-third of the way through the season, but the Division still seems like it’s in its early stages. Katy still leads, but with a smaller advantage, and Matt has picked up the lead in points ratio.