Tuesday evening, and as the clouds slid across the full moon in a school-exercise-book-blue sky, six eager gamers congregated at Joe’s place for their weekly fix. Tonight’s leaderboard games all had a strong money theme to them, hence the blog title.
But first, we were all suitably impressed by Joe’s very own bespoke GNN money, for use in games that can only manage cheap plastic tokens. Very nice they are too.
Apart from Joe, we included Ben, Ian, Martin, Adam, and myself. But at the start, Adam was absent and not expected for another half an hour. We banged out a game of Reiner Knizia’s Money: a set collecting game of foreign currency. This is a typically clever game of balancing risk and reward.
It’s hard to describe quickly, but for the most part, players are bidding for one group out of two sets of four cards/money in the middle of the table. They bid with cards/money in their hands, and the person who put down the highest value of money/cards shown gets first pick. But (and this is the clever bit) they might chose another set of cards used as a bid by another player, if those cards make a set in his hand.
This means that one the one hand, you’re trying to gauge how much to bid on a particular hand, but you also don’t want to give away certain cards and then again might be keen to get rid of other cards. It’s all very clever.
At the end, you score points for collecting over 100 of any denomination, or points for collecting all three 30s or 20s in a particular denomination. Ben and Joe managed to collect ALL cards of a certain currency. Well done them.
Then Adam arrived, exactly when he said he would, and with six players and no Sam we got out I’m The Boss. This game of wheeler-dealering and annoying interruptions from the other players is a rarity on GNN, but always a noteworthy event when it happens. Joe kindly brought out his shuffling machine to help with recycling the discard pile, and very convenient it was, too. Mostly.
This time, amongst all the fraught negotiations, the most notable event was the infinite Wadsworths: where Adam played a card representing the Wadsworth family and no matter how many “Wadsworth on holiday” cards Ian played, Adam always seemed to have one more Wadsworth card left.
Also noteworthy is how long the random end of the game lasts. Usually, it is decided by the roll of a die once a game reaches a certain point, but for some reason the die didn’t want to play ball and the game kept going for several rounds longer than expected. Martin was appalled as he saw his strong position weakened as deals were made when he could barely participate. It helped me, though, as I was able to take advantage of the general lack of cards and wrap up a couple of last minute deals to push me out of what I suspect was a miserable last place. None of this could distract from genial Joe’s negotiation skills.
Then we broke out a bit of Team Play, the only non-leaderboard game of the evening. No one swapped seats, so it was Ben and Ian versus Martin and Andrew versus Joe and Adam. Martin and I got off to a slow start thanks to my frustration over trying to get a full house. Before we knew it we were 7-7-5 mission cards behind. But then, thanks to a bit of luck (or because of some great TEAM PLAY!) Martin was able to clear two mission cards in one go and before we knew it, he triggered the end of the game.
Andrew & Martin 29
Joe & Adam 27
Ben & Ian 26
Then it was back to the leaderboard for a final game of For Sale. This canny game of bid then re-bid is always welcome at GNN, and the more (up to six) the merrier.
The bidding for houses was monopolized early on by Adam until he ran out of money. I saved money by ducking out of a bun-fight for middling cards by picking up a one card for nothing. And, as Joe says, you know where you are with a one, so it’s not such a bad deal.
In the end I won, although I must sort of apologise to Martin: it took me so long to count up my winnings that he thought he’d won.
A satisfying end to an evening. It was still semi-early, but an offer of another game was turned down by three players with babies/buses to deal with. And so it ended there. Another glowing chapter in GNN history comes to a close.