Five players congregated at Sam's this Tuesday for our regular fix of gaming delight: Sam, Ian, Katy, Martin, and me.
When we discussed what game to play, Sam wanted to play Covert and he tried a subtle piece of underselling by assuring Martin that he probably wouldn't hate it. Martin was not convinced by Sam's neuro linguistic programming and we decided to do the usual thing of staring at Sam's games wall and reading the names out loud to see if anyone is keen.
This time it took far less time than usual, as we all seemed keen on Beowulf, Knizia's homage to epic Saxon poetry.
I am unfamiliar with this game's source material but if it included a brave warrior who took one risk after another without failing any of them, then tonight's game reflected that perfectly. The hero in question was Martin who, by the end, was taking unnecessary risks because he thought a Viking without at least a scratch would look odd, especially alongside his wounded colleagues.
It was a masterpiece of fortune management, and was in stark contrast to the rest of us. Sam frequently came last in the bidding, but that did mean he was often first to choose which card he wanted in recovery sections. I was mostly fourth, missing out on both the first choice consolation prize and getting anything halfway decent. Ian shared my misfortune and despite his plucky attitude, crying "unleash the foxes!" at the start of some battle or other, he found himself on the wrong end of several bad risks.
A great game, and very nice to revisit it.
After this saga (by the way, what's the adjective form of "saga"? Sagatic? Sagatious?) we went for the complete opposite as, to my delight, Tsuro was next on the table. It's only drawback is the dull coloured pieces given to each player which, according to Sam, look like colours you'd find in the worst bathroom shop in town.
And it played out as many Tsuro games do. We're all too experienced to make any schoolboy errors, so we were all still very much alive two-thirds of the way into the game. But then, one by one, we all fell from the board. Well, all but one.
From here on, the theme of short and light games continued. Next was Rolling America, which is Take It Easy for people who preferred geography to maths at school.
Sam and I came joint first which was surprising considering how inefficiently Sam played. He used a guard option on a 2 and then, by the end of the game, he'd surrounded it with 3s, meaning he didn't need to use that guard at all. He could've done so much more.
This was followed by Mamma Mia! It's been a while since I last played, and I was very slow off the blocks, putting down no recipes at all in round one.
But quite apart from the game, all eyes were on the Mamma Mia card, and whether it would finally fall into Katy's lap. She looked jealous when Ian got it first and then was so happy when she finally got it that she clenched both fists and looked to the heavens in joy.
By now we were well into our whisky from emoji-adorned shot glasses and as for the game, no one could catch Sam after a sterling three-recipe round one.
Next up was another epic of sorts: a trilogy of Fuji Flush.
This game is already famous for its Dick Moves, whereby a player ruins a winning opportunity by playing a card just one higher in value. As if to say, "I'm only doing the bare minimum to crush your dreams. Because I can."
In game one, I won after we all pushed through at the start when we all put down a three as our first cards.
This was followed by a resumption of Sam's parade of winning. In round two Katy, Sam and Martin were looking good with three sixes giving them a joint score of 18 until Ian shat on it with a casually played 19.
Then in round three, Katy was stuck on one card for a long time, unable to close the deal and then Sam snuck a win by playing the same card as the about-to-push-through Martin.
Once we'd finished, we all voiced our appreciation of the game, which once looked like a luckfest but is now showing certain subtle strategies to (somewhat) negate the luck.
It's back to normal for the Division this week.
Thanks all! More next week!