This week’s games night began as a sparse affair. Just Sam (host), Katy and myself meeting up at half seven. With the promise of Ian and Adam at around 8.30, what should we play to fill the fifty-seven minutes or so (after we’d dispensed with the chit-chat)? We decided Istanbul would be a game that would test our minds and also fit easily into that time.
If only Sam and I had known quite how easily...
While we busied ourselves with building up our wheelbarrows, Katy shuffled between the black market and the palace, slowly getting gems. Then she sped off towards the gem dealer, with plenty of cash in reserve. Then Sam realised she had a “gem dealer times two” card and was about to end the game. And there wasn’t anything we could do to stop her.
Katy 5 gems
Sam 3 plus cash tie-breaker
So with the spare time, Katy suggested Deep Sea Adventure. And with no one to say that it was the wrong number of players, Sam and I agreed. We dove, collected, returned to the submarine. Well, Sam did. Katy and I died an early death in round one.
Then Adam arrived, so we instantly included him in the roster, and a little yellow man was added to the crew while Adam was still taking his shoes off. We didn’t think he’d mind starting on zero since, in this case, he was still joint second.
Adam died in round two, while the rest of us got back safely. Then in round three, Sam (clearly winning) simply loaded himself up with treasure, used up all the oxygen and so we all expired.
And Adam got no points at all, but I can’t put him on the leaderboard since he wasn’t there/paying attention for about fifty percent of the game.
With Ian on the way, we decided to go crazy and give Scythe a go. Katy was the only person who hadn’t played it, so Sam went through the rules.
By the end, Ian had arrived and got settled while Katy looked decidedly unsettled at what lay before her.
I was Nordic something, the blue tribe and a recent favourite. Adam wanted to be yellow but was sitting in the wrong place and had to make do with red. Katy was black, Ian white, Sam yellow.
With five players, there’s a lot less space on the board and, as you’d expect, more fighting. Six battles raged over the course of the game. Movement was fraught with dangers and the encounters apparently at more of a premium. Sam happily took two points off his popularity, ploughing through two of my workers to get to the last on the board.
Adam spread out, slowly but steadily, a veritable red menace. Sam remained concentrated near his base. Katy sighed as she tried to get her head around the rules. Ian also bemoaned his lot, stuck almost exclusively in his three opening hexes. With no metal to make mechs, he spent a lot of time repeating the same actions.
As the game progressed, so Katy became more proficient and Ian got out, by using a mine. Adam took control of the centre hex. Sam spread out and I became hemmed in, stuck behind Sam’s, Ian’s and Adam’s forces, and mostly sulking in the lakes by the end of the game.
Adam finally triggered the end of the game by producing his eighth worker, and getting a sixth star. The scoring produced a surprise for everyone, with Ian coming in first, despite having never built a single mech. How this analogue, tech-free lifestyle ever worked, we’ll never know.
With the hour just past eleven, we packed up and set off.
Katy leads the Division for Medal Table and Points, while Ian’s win at Scythe propels him into first in Points Ratio.