This week our regular GNN shenanigans found a home at Sam’s place. In the end, there were eight of us. Seven at first (Sam, Ben, Ian, Katy, Matt, Martin and myself) with Joe arriving as soon as he’d found a parking space. We chatted for a while and discovered that Martin had played Lancaster and “hadn’t hated it,” which from Martin is a ringing endorsement of a worker placement game. With eight players present, we all sat around and wondered if Joe’d brought Captain Sonar which is perfect for eight.
He arrived, and we asked. There was a wail of dismay when he realised how many we were and that he hadn’t brought it. And throughout the evening, in the quiet moments between games, he was heard to ask himself “Why didn’t I bring it?”
So what games did we play? We began with an eight-player game of Fuji Flush. This quick if luck-based game was a lot of fun with players ruining other players’ chain of cards only because they have no choice.
Martin explained the rules, and brought our attention to the phrase used in the rules to describe when you successfully survive a round: “pushing through” a card. And when Martin used the 2 cards to demonstrate how the value increases as other players play the same value, Joe used the phrase that now adorns this blog entry.
As for the game, well, it was hard to tell if there was any strategising. But it ended
After this we split into two groups of four. Matt, Joe, Katy and Ian chose Isle of Skye while Martin, Ben, Sam and Andrew tried Martin’s new game HMS Dolores. It’s a quick set collecting game where people play two at a time. There are given two cards each, face up, and have to bid over them in a sort of paper, stone, scissors style. Then, the next two players do the same, trying to add to their tableau of cards with the proviso that only the highest and lowest scoring sets actually count for anything.
Before each vote, there is a little discussion between the two players as to what they should do, but these discussions aren't binding, and there was a lot of betrayal. Mostly from Ben. But as we see below, crime never wins. It comes in second, though.
Isle of Skye was still only about halfway, so we chose another game: Pueblo. It’s a game of placing coloured and non-coloured blocks in such a way as they are as hidden as possible.
Martin read the rules and caught a couple of rules we’d got wrong (oh, how we’ve missed his input) but nothing major. Ben got hit a lot from early on, while I looked to be in third but the final scoring round was kinder to me than to Sam.
And Isle of Skye ended soon after. Matt was slightly upset that his island had broken roads but Katy was far more annoyed that her lack of scroll tiles meant she fell back from first into third.
After this, we rearranged into different groups of four. Sam, Ben, Matt and Katy chose Fool’s Gold while the rest of us chose Ra. Both games involve a canny understanding of when to push your luck and also quite a lot of laughing at other people’s misfortunes.
Sam explained the rules to Ben, while at our end of the table Joe reminded everyone that this was one of the games that he’s good at. A fair warning? Or sheer vanity? Let us see...
There was a lot of battling for Pharaohs, something that I dropped out of early. In fact I went for very little except monuments. I did just enough not to fall back, but only scored a one in each of the first two rounds.
Everyone else went for a mixed portfolio, with Martin’s Nile looking good for a last round boost of points. However, he was stymied by me and my luck (and his inattention).
In the final round, my first two acquisitions got me a 3 tile and a 1 tile along with my goods. It seems that Martin then assumed I was a certainty to get the lowest-tiles punishment. But he didn’t see (or didn’t take it in) that I got the 13 tile with my last purchase.
How we laughed when my 17 beat his 16 and he had to hand over five points to Ian. That swing was enough to get me the game, as my monuments scored 35 points in the final round.
Yep, it was vanity on Joe’s part. And with Ian and Martin calling it a night, while we waited for Fool’s Gold to end, he once again reflected on his choice to not bring Captain Sonar.
Fool’s Gold ended with another terrible final round for Katy as all her guys came home empty handed (apart from some silt). The two gem collectors came in first.
Joe and Ben left at this point, so the remaining four had a silly game of Dancing Eggs. This is a game were actions are decreed by the roll of a dice. The idea is to be able to carry as many eggs as you can. The game insisted that Katy carry all her eggs under her chin. She was the first to drop, but she had enough in reserve to claim a win.
“That’s leaderboard, right?” she asked once we’d finished. Of course. And talking of which...