After we got over our shock that Ian had forgotten his beer ("You don't bring any games" Martin cried "That's the one thing you have to remember!") we cracked into things with Fuji Flush. I had a bunch of twos and threes and every time I got rid of one, I picked another up. There was a lot of teamwork going on around the table and - as ever - plenty of dick points, delivered with great relish. With the game quite far progressed both Katy and I still had plenty of cards. We both made a late surge for it, but were beaten to the punch by Joe.
Joe - no cards
Katy/Ian/Martin/Sam - 1 card
Matt - 2 cards
Those of us broken by the experience consoled ourselves with the beautiful view out of Joe's window:
We then split into two groups of three, with Martin leading the Hit Z Road faction and me suggesting Raiders of the North Sea. Matt and Ian were amenable, so while Martin talked Joe through the rules of the zombie apocalypse, I explained Raiders.
Raiders has a simple worker-placement thing going on, but with a couple of twists. One is that every time you place a viking (taking the action of a location), you also displace one from the board - taking the second action too. Another is that the vikings have a hierarchy - black, grey, white - and this has a bearing on placement too. You're basically building a crew and gathering what you need to go off and raid - but each member of your crew gives you a little ongoing bonus, and a potential action to play as well. Some of these - not many - involving stealing from your fellow competitors, but while Matt and Ian got into a tit-for-tat of nicking provisions off each other, I was left relatively unscathed.
All the same, it looked to be Matt's game as the final furlong came into view. Ian was ready to raid and end it - however he was stymied by both Matt and I stealing provisions from him. I really wanted to raid and end the game myself, but didn't have the viking to do so. However, with the finale postponed, I hit upon a new strategy: killing off my crew. Vikings love a noble death, and the more you lose in battle the more points you score at the end - so there's a balance to be struck between short-term loss and long-term gain. I managed to kill off my whole crew just before Ian finally wrapped things up - I''d love to say I planned it to perfection, but I didn't. I just got lucky. Nice game though.
While we'd been raiding the North Sea, Martin had been the sole survivor in Hit Z Road, with Joe biting the dust somewhere around Colorado - not helped by rolls like this one:
...and Katy falling at the final hurdle, eaten by the living dead with a marvellous view of the Pacific.
Martin - survives!
Katy - dead last (second)
Joe - dead first (last)
Matt now left, leaving Ian and I to witness the end of Jump Drive, which Joe likes to describe as the snack version of Race for the Galaxy: it follows a very similar path of card selection and using other cards to pay, but with a simpler interface - and a much quicker playtime.
I suggested maybe it was the Boy Band version of RftG, but for whatever reason Joe did not approve. Either way, the ending was very dramatic, with Joe scoring more in his final round than Katy managed in the entire game. He and Martin both finished with the same score, with the latter winning on a tie-breaker!
Martin 91 (wins on tie-break)
After all that competition, it was time for a light-hearted semi-co-operative game where nobody falsely accuses anyone of being something they're not. But instead we played Insider.
I think I'm right in saying Ian was the Insider in the first two games and was correctly accused both times. Oddly we had to guess Board Game in one of them, and failed miserably. Ian gave himself away but justified it by saying we were all being really dense, which was a fair comment considering the context.
Then - drama! - Martin appeared to be the Insider and we all at one point were convinced. "You were asking all the pertinent questions" I said. "That's just because I'm clever!" Martin protested. Remembering his bewilderment at having to lie in Ultimate Werewolf (and subsequent hatred of the game) I was having doubts now. Joe, too, had a hunch that Katy might be letting Martin take the heat. We subsequently accused Katy of being the Insider, and she was!
Phew. All that co-operation was exhausting, so we went back to our default mo of trying to screw each other over - in Perudo. Joe tried to hide 20 dice under the cup lid again, but still couldn't manage it. Maybe he was distracted by the cup lid conundrum, because he was out rather quickly, following Ian. Joe's tactic seemed to be going for high bids, so I - to his left - kept dudo-ing him.Then he made what he described as a premature dudo, and was gone!
Martin fell next, when he found to his chagrin I had 3 aces. It was left to Katy and I, and I managed to dudo her away:
With the shadows lengthening over Europe, and an early start looming for Ian, he stole away before the clock struck eleven. The rest of us kept playing. Next to the table was Qwixx, the dice-roller that gives Joe a chance to bring out Das Exclusive.
It's a funny beast this one, where everyone gets to take the two white dice and on your turn you can combine one of them with one of the coloured dice. All the while you're crossing off numbers on a score pad - and potentially locking off certain colours. I'd played it years ago with Joe and forgotten how sweet it is. There's a tactical element, but also quite a bit of luck.
And with no less than eight games played we finally called it a night and weaved our ways home. Thanks all!