Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Pass the Duchy

This week was an auspicious occasion as a new name was added to the GNN Roll Of Honour: Rob, Katy's patient and understanding other half. He was here, not for games, but because it was Katy's birthday and he wanted some cake and had agreed to play one game with us.

"Us" were Hannah (hosting), Katy, Andy, Joe, and me. Still to arrive were Adam (also hosting, upstairs putting his son to bed) and Martin. After an unusually long preamble of taking and some lovely cake, we chose For Sale as being just right for a newbie like Rob. Katy preferred Why First but we thought it easier to explain a game in which the winner actually wins.

Rob played a solid game, avoiding some of the common mistakes like Katy paying eight for a 20, but nor did he show any special aptitude, like when Andy spent all his money once he was sure the lowest cards had all gone.

In the second phase, Joe initially dealt only five cheques for six players, and no one noticed until it was time to distribute them. We decided to play that round again, to Katy's annoyance since she'd won that round.

The other notable event was when both $0 cheques came out at the same time. "I hope you didn't all go stupid," said Katy, just before we revealed our cards. Alas, we had all gone stupid. Joe and Katy picked up the zero cheques for 23 and 24. Ouch.

Andrew $52K
Hannah $51K
Andy $47K
Katy $41K
Rob $35K
Joe $30K

After this, Rob left and by now Martin was here, so the only question was, had Adam fallen asleep? Hannah didn't want to go and check, because that would risk resetting the whole bed-time routine back to the start. We pondered that Adam was currently existing in two possible states: awake and asleep, like a sort of Schrodinger's Adam. But then Adam came down, collapsing one of the probability waves and restoring order to the universe.

We split into two groups. Katy and Joe corralled Andy into a game of Isle Of Skye, while Adam and I were introduced by Martin and Hannah to Rheinlander, Martin's recent rediscovery that he wanted to play again before he forgot everything about it.

Rheinlander is a Knizia and, as you'd expect, it's a delicate balance between risk and reward. You can use cards to place shields and more than two shields is a Duchy, and you place a knight next to it, which is good. But if two Duchys (duchies?) join up, then the majority holder gets control of the whole thing. All is not lost for the victim, though, as their removed knight scores points.

It's all hugely confusing.Adam went for the archbishop card, which allows you to remove opponent's shields, so I did my level best to stop him. And it worked. In the final rounds he cursed his lack of archbishop in the way that only board gamers can understand. Also Martin decided to block Adam from doing something, but in the after match analysis, Martin decided it would have been better had he played elsewhere. All fine by me, is I was delighted by my not-last place against such strong opposition.

Hannah 40
Martin 37
Andrew 32
Adam 29

Meanwhile, Isle Of Skye ended in agony for Joe, who was just one coin away from forcing a draw.

Katy 61
Joe 60
Andy 54

Next, it was time for Hannah to meet Fuji Flush. And the concept of dick points.

She took to it very well, and came a comfortable first in our first game.

Hannah 0 cards left
Andy 1
Katy 2
Adam 2
Martin 2
Andrew 2
Joe 4

She was keen on another go, so we dealt again and this time Martin won.

Martin 0
Hannah 1
Andrew 1
Andy 2
Adam 2
Katy 2
Joe 3

Finally, there was time for one more round before Hannah retired for the evening. I began by mocking Joe's two last places, and he paid back my insult with interest.

Joe 0
Adam 1
Andrew 2
Martin 2
Hannah 3
Andy 4
Katy 5

In this game, Katy pushed through no cards at all (thanks to being next to this evening's dick point king , Andy) and we wondered if that had happened before. Well, I checked and it has. By Katy.

Finally, the six of us played Diamant, the Incan Gold remake which improves on the tents and hard to discern Go/Leave cards but then fails slightly with a lack of zombie ladies and some meeples that are a little too extruded, making look as if they are just warping in from another dimension.

Joe went for the 'get out early' tactic and it was almost perfect. Only on round three did he stay in due to peer pressure and we all died. He almost got an extra four gems. My tactic was to leave a dungeon the moment Joe suggested he turn over the next card. Knowing his poor luck, I did pretty well too. No idea what Katy's tactics were.

Joe 22
Adam 13
Andrew 12
Andy 11
Martin 7
Katy 5

And with that, we were gone. Into the night glowing like fireflies with the joys of winning and losing.

This week's Division is a special one for Katy's birthday. I've converted everything to base four and then replaced the digits 0, 1, 2, 3 with K, A, T, Y respectively. No Points Ratio, though because I couldn't be bothered to do decimals (quadrimals?) Thanks all, and special thanks to Hannah for the cake.


  1. My three letters for you - WTF?

    Sounds a fun evening and sorry I missed it. Not totally bereft though as I managed to persuade Chris over again as surrogate GNN and we played A Feast for Odin and Hive!

    Happy birthday Katy !!

  2. Hmm I remember playing Diamant and scoring 7 points, but I guess it didn't happen after all...

  3. Glad you got some gaming in Sam, I felt confident you would.
    A very lovely evening, thanks Katy for bringing IoS, it's just my speed at the mo.

    After all my talk of having not bought any games (apart from Arkham Horror) this year, I fell off the wagon today when I spotted Gold West on the geekmarket.
    Ah well...

    Thanks for hosting Hannah and Adam, and happy birthday Dr K!

  4. That leaderboard . . . sounds like the work of an angry squirrel.

  5. Sounds like a good night! Happy birthday Katy, and thanks for leaving me in position on the leaderboard :)

  6. OMG! I love the leaderboard and feel very honoured, thank you all for humouring me and your birthday wishes, you are all most excellent. Games played were pretty good too :)