Saturday. Just before Ian and Andrew appeared at the door at 7.30 the boys debated what to play. With surprisingly little stress, Spyfall was chosen. We set up around the table, and after a few moments of exploratory questioning, I wrongly accused Andrew of being the spy - it was Little Joe. Then Stanley, as the spy, correctly guessed our location. Two-nil to the spies! Finally the non-spies won a round when Andrew outed himself but got the location wrong.
The boys were packed off to bed whilst Andrew and I did our best Derren Brown impressions in order to get Ian to play Terraforming Mars. Andrew even managed to get him to open the box and unfold the board. Then I lobbed in rules-explanation hand-grenade.... would he? Could he...?
Our NLP expertise still needs work. However our lust for exploring and resource-management was sated by the setting up of Scythe. I can't get enough of this game; for some reason it really pushes my buttons. Ian had a quick rules-refresher and we were off! Despite it only being his second play Ian's early showing was strong, as he was first to get a mech out and begin exploring the landscape.
But though there are many paths to victory in this game, you make yourself unpopular at your peril. Ian's ability to take two options on Encounter cards, and the temptation to take the most powerful (and unpopular) ones kept him languishing in the doldrums of the proletariat's estimation, whilst Andrew and I courted them rather more graciously. Whilst Andrew populated the south with his seemingly-Catholically-minded workers, I spread my workers far and wide, encouraged by their ability to swim.
Outside the world of the game, we opened up Ian's bag of pork scratchings and Andrew announced he could feel the consumption of each piece shaving minutes off his life. I made my way to the Factory and then triggered the game end by getting my last two stars down in one turn.
As Scythe was packed away we decided on its' polar opposite in gaming terms: Push It. This is always fun, and especially so when everyone is high on pork. Fantastically awful flicks seemed to be the predominant feature, but Ian seemed to be the person most in control of himself:
We followed this with Love Letter. This is one of Ian's go-to games in terms of results, but Andrew's astonishing telepathy was what decided it. Of his five guards played in three rounds, four of them guessed correctly:
Andrew went ti get the next game, and returned with this mysterious bulb
"What kind of game is that?" he asked in dismay.
We played Take it Easy. I began calling different types of cheese, and ran out after about fifteen of them, calling simply "cheese" each tile for the remainder. Andrew and Ian didn't seem bothered. And cheese seemed to be rather lucky for me, as I replicated my recent score of 222! Andrew then called things he used to have on VHS, giving us rare insight into his oft-concealed psyche - as well as his age. "You remember that!" he cried to Ian, who looked blank. Ian called video games that had a pivotal impact on him. I didn't realise there were so many. It was like someone talking in latin...
Finally we bashed through a game of Micro Robots. This is hard enough after a strong coffee, but with all of us now in the Saturday night vibe, it took a humungous effort to focus our brains. My training sessions with the kids paid off, though, as I managed to pick up the win.
We made plans to force Ian to terraform soon, then called it a night.