Tonight was an unusual event in that the six attendees were the six most frequent players, and no one else. Where once we had the Core Four, now we have what I considered calling the Solid Six, until I realised it sounded like something from a medical chart detailing different types of faeces.
We were Sam (host), Joe, Martin, Katy, Ian and me. And, initially, Stanley and Joe. I arrived late, and a game of Fuji Flush was in full flow. Stanley was already on his last card, but couldn't push through, picking up three fours in a row. Katy was busy instructing everyone to stop Martin since, with her cards, she was pretty helpless to do it herself.
Ian 0 cards left
Sam & Joe 2
After this, we split into two. Joe, Katy and Ian played Cities. Sam, Martin and mep layed Flamme Rouge. We went for a random set up, with Sam using his skills honed over years of improvised train track building with his sons, to swiftly put together a stage fit for the Tour de France. Once we'd flattened down a couple of mountains, that is.
I tried to be sensible, but even so I ended up with a lot of exhaustion cards. Mid game it looked like exhaustion cards were the key to finishing the game, since Sam found both his riders with slim pickings in their decks of cards. He had visions of them just stopping mid race, as if they were working to the clock.
As we rounded the final bend, Martin was in first, Sam right on his shoulder and me not out of contention but needing luck with the cards. I got no luck, and neither did Martin. He saw his rider overtaken by Sam, who also managed to edge over the finish line, to end the game and claim the win. An astonishing win, and one that Martin would mention ruefully throughout the evening.
Then we tried Game Of Thrones: Hand Of The King, a simple but deep game of card collecting by moving around a 7 by 7 grid. It was okay, but I wasn't hugely impressed and keen to move on to something else, so when I saw the chance to end the game, I took it, even if it meant I placed last.
Martin 2 + tie breaker
Cities had ended...
And in an attempt to synchronise with us, they were playing a game of For Sale. There were some mutterings that it wasn't great with three, and also some mutterings from Katy about how badly she was doing. For once, she was right.
Ian 82 + cash
There was then another reshuffle, and Sam, Ian and Joe chose Gold West, while I had to face the two headed dragon that is Katy and Martin. While we thought about our choice, we tried to identify a game once described by Katy that she'd like to try. Something about a market place in the middle. Was it Portobello Market? Was it that game with the walls that I played once and now can't remember? By sheer chance, Pueblo was mentioned, and Katy recognised it as the game she was talking about! So we got it out with the promise of Biblios afterwards.
Katy got a rules explanation and we all got some kind of understanding of the rules regarding placement, until Martin checked BBG and found out we might be wrong.
Martin started well, tucking himself neatly into books and crannies. I, too, was happy with my start, but then I built upwards and then spent the rest of the game trying to hide it. Katy didn't seem happy as she picked up early points when she made rookie errors. But Katy's skill can never be underestimated, and Martin and me (especially me) were hit heavy in the final scoring round.
Then we played Biblios. Plenty of pessimism and foretelling of doom in the first round from everyone. Bishop cards were especially useless this game. After five had been played, we found ourselves with the dice the same way up as at the beginning.
In the final reckoning, though, Katy won.
After this we played Eggs Of Ostrich, agreeing to sum our totals over three rounds into one game. I needed a rules explanation midway through the first round, but otherwise we were fine.
Gold West had finished.
And we were all together again. Since three of us had copies of Push It, we played a game with three teams of two players with three pucks each. Madness. And a possible six points to win in a single round, which is noteworthy in a game where the target is seven.
Martin & Sam got off to a flier with three points in the first round. After this, they only had to stay one step ahead of the rest of us to secure a comfortable win.
Sam & Martin 7
Katy & Ian 3
Joe & Andrew 2
After that, the evening ended with us having squeezed 5 hours and 25 minutes gaming (according to the figures on BGG) into 3 hours of normal time. And we do this every week! No wonder we look so old.
The Division, meanwhile, looks like this...