This week’s GNN was a peculiar affair, with people promising their attendance at staggered stages throughout the evening.
And so it was that three of us began with Age of War, pleased in our choice because it can be abandoned halfway if any arrives without any real loss. This game of dice-rolling is as cruel as it is generous. Since the game involves rolling sets of archers/daimoes/swords/cavalry to collect sets of cards, we were all a little preoccupied with the card that was basically a set of one (and so couldn’t be stolen) but eventually, we saw sense and tried to get other, easier cards.
Then Matt arrived!
With a returneee, Hollie, expected soon, we embarked on a short co-operative game to fill the time. We chose Outfoxed as a clever means of testing our sleuthing skills. Sam explained most of the rules, insisting that by the time the game got round to him, he’d know what was going on. This did not take into account Sam and I’s poor luck with the dice. All Matt got to see was Ian successfully getting a clue that the culprit didn’t have an umbrella.
After some more poor throws, we got a sort of groove on and picked up more clues and eliminated more suspects. But in the end, we had to chose someone we could see as our suspect. We chose Daisy, but it turned out to be Gertrude! That evil wench!
Then, with Hollie still absent, we chose 7 Wonders as a nice deep-but-short game. Usually there are only three of us playing so the game just falls out of the box with all the cards arranged for a three-player game. But today there were four, which mean a certain amount of confused card-shuffling as we searched for the four-player cards to include in the game.
Mostly, this went smoothly until the third round when, after two deals, the cards didn’tdeal out evenly. So we tried once more and it still didn’t. But then everyone announced how many guilds they had, and we had one too many, so Ian (who had eight cards) had to discard his guild. Harsh but fair, that’s us.
However, the game ran swiftly, so that Hollie (who arrived mid-game, in time to see our round 3 debacle) didn’t have to wait long.
Ian went for military and blue buildings in a big way. I went for my lovely 20-point Pyramids of Giza and a bit of everything else. Matt got most out of guilds and, like Sam, dabbled in sciences. Sam scored most for money. Ian won: War plus ostentatious public buildings equals win in any era of history.
So now there were five of us, with the promise of a sixth (Joe) in the offing. So we played No Thanks, which we thought was about the right time for Joe to get from his house to Sam’s.
Before the game, I was mocked for my strategy of picking up low cards, but this time I avoided it to good result. Although I didn’t have much choice: there weren’t many low cards at all. Instead I played it slow and steady, with only two card piles in front of me by the end of the game and so I came away a winner.
After this, Joe arrived and we split into two groups of three. At one end of the table, Joe, Sam and Matt played Isle of Skye, and at the other end me, Ian and Hollie chose Raj.
It was an even game, with only a few of those hilarious occasions of two people cancelling each other out. Hollie won the final round by some distance, going from last to first as she did.
Isle of Skye was still unfinished, so we broke out Pickomino (making sure that Hollie was told it was by Reiner Knizia – a name she'll come to recognise if she becomes a regular). We all began well but then the early glut of worms dried up. At least, it did for me.
Finally, Isle of Skye ended. Joe said it was “neat”. I'm not sure what it's like, but I took notes of some dialogue from the game: “Ah, bollocks, really?” “Fuck you!” and “Oh God, that's so annoying.” Sounds like fun, certainly.
Then we were all together as a six. Hollie fought off sleep for a game of Dead Man's Chest. Matt was Chief Executioner here, as he had a hand in knocking out Sam, then Joe, then Hollie and finally me. But Ian was made of sterner stuff as he successfully challenged Matt's bid, giving him the win.
And with that, we were done. Another week of history fulfilled.