Wednesday, 1 March 2017

From Ostrich to Ore Storage

Tuesday night this week fell on Adam and Hannah's house. In attendance were the two hosts and Martin, Ian, Katy, Joe and me. We all arrived pretty much on time and, in a break from usual proceedings, we had only the briefest chat before the first game was chosen. Having seen that Joe had brought Caverna, Adam put his name forward as a potential player. Joe and I joined him and so we set up in the front room.

The other four played Reined Knizia's Rheinlander. A game about which I know nothing, except for the laughter I heard from the next room, and the final scores that astonished the pessimistic Katy who was sure she was last. Meanwhile, Hannah proved to be unstoppable.

Hannah 52
Katy 36
Ian 35
Martin 32

After this, they played Game Of Thrones: Hand Of The King. This ended...

Hannah& Katy 5
Ian & Martin 2

And this was followed by Rolling America.

Katy 8
Martin 10
Hannah 11
Ian 11

And then Eggs of Ostrich, after Hannah had retired to bed.

Martin 6
Katy 6
Ian 5

All of this excitement occurred quite without my knowledge. I was engrossed in the adventures of my little dwarvish tribe in Caverna. I was the first to have an extra dwarf, and this advantage lasted a couple of rounds so, early on, I was feeling pretty good about my situation.

Joe built the Office Room, allowing him to overhang his tiles off the board for two victory points. He frequently bemoaned his choice, gazing sadly at the wide open spaces in his tableau. But then, whenever he placed a new tile, he'd overhang again, unable to give up on the dream.

Adam went for plants in a big way, not bothering hugely with his caves. I was so impressed by his first moves (get veg, get grain, slash and burn, then sheep farming and build fences) that I copied them as soon as I could. And then, because they worked so well, I did them again. Basically, Adam's opening gambit became my mid-game strategy.

In fact, we all followed a similar path, often choosing each others favorite options. I didn't go adventuring, relying on rubies to get me stuff quickly, much to Joe's annoyance. Adam and Joe both had adventurers, so they were constantly jostling with each other for the best spaces.

While the folks in the other room sped through several games, we appeared to slow down as we approached the end of the game. In the final stages, it was clear that Adam had won (as Hannah had predicted, putting his chances at "100%") but the battle for second was far from over. But Joe's choice to build a Writing Room, absolving him of seven minus points when he had nine empty spaces on his board, proved pivotal.

Adam 88
Joe 75
Andrew 71

It was a great game and I can't complain about bad luck or anything since I thought I'd played a decent game. It was all about small margins. Between me and Joe, that is. Adam was far off in the distance. Plus, this gave him a unique Perfect Five. He'd only played five games this season and he'd won them all. A remarkable achievement, and one that pushed his points ratio up to a stratospheric 5.4, if only for a moment.

By now, though, the six remaining gamers were all together again and there was talk of Fuji Flush to finish the evening. It was new to Adam, but it's not a difficult game to explain.

We played two games, and both were characterised by Adam and Ian being first to get down to their last card and then everyone else trying to stop them or, failing that, join them.

The first game ended

Adam 0 cards left
Ian 1
Katy 1
Joe 2
Martin 2
Andrew 3

This result meant that Adam had matched my "Smug Six" of six wins in a row. And with his only six games of the season! One day, they'll build a statue to him. Although, someone did point out that this season he'd only played when he'd hosted and was well-rested. Hopefully we'll soon see what his away form is like.

Then we played again, and this time, Adam couldn't quite force his way across the finishing line in time.

Ian 0
Katy 1
Adam 1
Andrew 2
Martin 2
Joe 4

And as for those all important Dick Points:

Adam 5
Ian 4
Katy 4
Martin 3
Andrew 2
Joe 1

And if you're now saying “Look! Dick Points are a way to win!” then I wag my index finger in the air, say “aaah” and then wag my index finger some more before pointing out that Adam only had one Dick Point in the first game, where he won. The two aren't necessarily linked. Correlation doesn't imply causation. There. A statistics lesson for us all.

Speaking of which, here's the Division...

I was going to do something exciting with it, but it's already exciting enough. I'm going to go and have a lie down now.


  1. This season I suggest we play like 'Why First' as I seem to be very good at coming second! I think myself and Martin were gutted that we handed the win to Adam and then Ian, by joining them rather beating them; which apparently we couldn't, although we did end with a 20 and 19 in as our last cards! Well done all, especially Adam, who I'm sure is both smug and satisfied, as he should be :D

  2. Rheinlander was fun. I should play it more than once every 5 years!

  3. The smug six is the holy grail. I'm so happy to finally join you in it's environs Andrew. Thanks for another great blog.

  4. Yes thanks for a lovely write-up as usual Andrew, and thanks for hosting A&H. And special thanks to Adam for hand-delivering a tiny cardboard dwarven rune from Caverna to me this evening, very much above and beyond the call.

    I enjoyed playing Caverna with all the cavern tiles for the first time. It's *almost* relaxing. Perhaps that's just because I know I won't win, so I can potter about doing my own thing and occasionally, accidentally, taking a space one of my opponents might like. It is a marvellous game, my favourite Uwe I think - certainly my favourite for more than two.

    Fuji Flush is great - funny how it has grabbed us in a way that Abluxen didnt manage to. Does it play more people?

    1. Abluxxen only plays 5, and it's longer and more thinky. Plus Katy hates it :) I'd put Fuji Flush more in the Pairs class.

  5. Whatever next? The supercilious seven?

    Sorry to miss it (but thanks to Chris for keeping me company). No car, no babysitter... no GNN!