Wednesday, 17 May 2017

LoV thy neighbor

Tuesday at Joe's saw nine gamers squashed into his kitchen. There was a feel of a reunion in the air, with recent absentees Sam and Matt returning and Adam making a rare journey across the M32 to join us.

We began as a seven, bashing out a quick Fuji Flush while we waited for late arrivals Chris and Matt. I was too sober to keep track of Dick Points, but there were plenty. I got lucky, picking up a 20 when I was on my last card.

Andrew 0 cards left
Martin 1
Adam 2
Sam 3
Ian 3
Katy 3
Joe 4

After that, with everyone assembled, we split into three groups of three. Sam, Martin and Matt chose a new game, King of Siam. Since it was a small game, they set up Joe's rickety card table and started playing.

Joe, Katy and Ian instantly formed a cabal of Lords of Vegas players, leaving Adam, Chris and I to decide what to play, given the space limitations. We perused Joe's wall of shelves, finding reasons not to play most of them. Finally, we chose Castles of Burgundy, since we all knew it (Chris a bit less) and had to get cracking.

King of Siam looked, as Chris (I think) pointed out, like a game based on the Intrigue option in El Grande. I know nothing about it, other than the groans of analysis paralysis that drifted over from time to time. It seems to be a game with no score, only a winner.

Sam 1st
Martin and Matt not 1st

Lords of Vegas started with Joe speeding into an early lead ("But only on points," he modesty insisted, as if the game would be decided based on happiness). The early stages saw a lack of conflict, leading Katy to invent a new word: Harmogenous. A mix of harmony and homogeneous, we assumed.

On Castles of Burgundy I sped off, Joe-like, into an early lead. Picking up small areas quickly gave me a considerable advantage. Adam was offering occasional rules explanations to the inexperienced Chris and as they closed the gap midgame, and I became paranoid that Adam had a master plan to make him first, Chris second and me last.

Mid-game, my lead is seemingly insurmountable

On the card table, Sam, Matt and Martin had started on Hit Z Road, Martin Wallace's atypical apocalypse game. When I asked for an update midgame, Sam insisted he was surely at death's door, but in the final reckoning he held on long enough.

Martin 16
Sam 7
Matt 0 (ie, dead)

Lords of Vegas was next to end. The feeling of harmogeny had evaporated after Ian and Joe locked horns over a mega casino on the Strip. It had grown from a curious set up, which I thought looked like those Chess puzzles you see in newspapers, like "How should yellow play to maximize chances of success?"

What would you do?

With some sprawling and a lot of reorganizing, the casino changed hands many times. Katy got in on the action, too, when she claimed a plot that had been sprawled into.

At the end, though, it was in Joe's hands when the Strip paid out for the last time. Enough to get him clear of his rival Ian. Meanwhile, Katy's unchallenged six-tile Casino simply didn't bring in enough punters.

Joe 49
Ian 40
Katy 36

Castles of Burgundy was still some way from being over, so the six of them played Insider, the cunning game of trying to look like you have no idea what is going on. Unsurprisingly, the dark horse Matt won since he was the Insider but was not discovered.

Finally, Castles came to an end. Adam had taken the lead, and I was desperate to finish my seven-tile city. In round four, Chris had (unwittingly) taken the building that would've ended it for me, but as the tiles for the last round were dealt out, I was relieved to see three tiles that would save me and, since I was going second, victory was assured.

They've almost caught me!

Andrew 228
Adam 210
Chris 160

The other six kindly waited for our game to end, so we finished the evening with a nine player game: 6nimmt.

We dealt in Dirk, to bring the number of players up to the maximum ten. And we made a vow that if Dirk finished in first, we'd immediately give up board games forever.

A vow that caused concern when, during round two, Dirk was actually in first place. Luckily as time went on, Dirk's supernaturally prescient game play left him, and by the end of round two he was joint sixth with Chris and Matt.

Joe, though, was having a nightmare. Two rounds left him teetering on the brink, with 65 points. The end of the game was all but assured. Adam's clear final round tied up the win.

Adam 14
Katy 29
Ian 32
Sam 44
Matt 46
Martin 49
Chris 52
Dirk 55
Andrew 56
Joe 82

Beaten by Dirk. How annoying. But, thanks to the auto suggest option on my phone, we can ask Dirk what he thought about the game by typing in "6nimmt" and seeing what happens:

"6nimmt you so bad for her birthday."

Thanks, Dirk.

And that was it. Thanks to all for an unforgettable night!


  1. Excellent evening, I do love Lords of Vegas, so much so that I really enjoyed it, even though I lost; as Sam pointed out, it shows how far I've come! Looking forward to more of the same next week :D

  2. Lovely to get a play of King of Siam after several years - just as good (and confusing) as I remembered. Hit Z Road was really fun too.

  3. Great game of LoV - I got back-lot after back-lot and thought I was stuffed; but I did get a steady stream of points early on. And I was generally very lucky on those big dice rolls. There was some amazingly tense reorganises which went to three, even four rolls.
    Good to see we can cram nine into the kitchen in relative comfort - ten would probably be the limit I guess. I will build a bigger kitchen.
    Thanks all for coming, and for blogging Andrew, and all the lovely pics. Dirks auto-suggestion sets the bar for robot insults - brilliant.

  4. I liked King of Siam too. It's not the sort of game I would normally go for - it's very opaque - but there's a touch of genius about it. You literally play 8 cards the whole game, but it lasts 45 minutes! That's pretty mad. I'm intrigued to play it again soon.

    Hit Z Road was fun too. I barely deserved second after failing to notice one of the routes would cost me two survivors, but Matt bought it with the west coast in sight... it's an unusual one in that you really root for your opponents.