We began as a six (host Joe, and guests Katy, Ian, Martin, Andy and me) with a seventh (Adam) expected later. We began with Polterfass, a recent arrival at GNN, which plays six. The game is about supplying beer to your opponents, who need to guess the right amount to maximise their returns, but too much and they walk away with nothing, perhaps even minus points.
Polterfass: kind of lost against the backdrop
of Joe's floral table cloth
The general consensus was that it was not at its best with so many. Perhaps the dim view of the game was prompted by a spate of early rolls that meant the barkeep went bust and everyone simply got what they bid. A bit unexciting. We played a truncated game, with Joe hitting the 50-point target when he was barman and the rest of us got too greedy. Meanwhile, Ian struggled, staying below zero until round six.
After this, we chose Santo Domingo, another new game with an element of bluff and counter bluff. Each round, everyone plays a card which gains certain benefits, but other players may play cards that gain bigger benefits if you played the one card you wanted to play for those benefits that I mentioned earlier. It's a delicate balance.
During play, each player puts their discarded cards in a pile, face down in front of them. All except Ian who, Raj-like, kept the upper card face up. A style of play that Martin described as "balls out". A typical Martin-esque piquant observation about gaming that involved the male genitalia.
Next, with the imminent arrival of Adam, we chose For Sale as a nice quick six-player that wasn't Fuji Flush or Pairs. Katy finally followed the strategy that she'd often mentioned in the past but always quickly abandoned. This time she stuck to it. It turned out to be: spend no money in round one. This, at least, gave her fourteen points going into round two.
But it quickly came undone when a zero dollar card was dealt out and everyone went high, leaving Katy's 16 card picking up a very expensive nothing. She didn't help her cause by announcing "but that was my highest card," giving everyone an insight into how to beat Katy. She never recovered and ended the game disavowing her strategy.
Adam arrived during For Sale, so we split into groups of four and three. Adam suggested Flamme Rogue and Andy and Martin joined him. Katy was keen on Lords of Vegas and the rest of us agreed.
Lords of Vegas is a bit of an attention seeker, so I know little about Flamme Rogue, except for Martin being surprised by the size of the hill before the finish. Whenever I looked over, they all seemed to be bunched together, with Andy commenting that one moment when they were all in single file was exactly what you'd see in a real race.
Adam must've been tired after his late meeting at work, because he manged to bump into both a chest of drawers and the card table on his way to get himself a glass of water. As for the race, it ended:
They then discussed what to play next. Ra was suggested, but it turns out that Adam doesn't like Ra. An astonishing confession, especially since I think he owns a copy. Instead they began a game of Vikings, which was Adam's first. I admit to total ignorance of the rules, plus LoV was reaching its climax, so I know nothing about it other than the result.
Meanwhile, Lords of Vegas offered up the usual thrills and spills. Ian sped off into an early lead with a casino big enough to make it futile for anyone else to build in that city block.
But then I started to catch up. My casinos (casinii?) grew and I had a stroke of luck when I took control of a lot that Ian had sprawled into, which put me in charge of a five-tile casino on the strip, to go with the seven-tile casino I already owned. Ian was stymied by a lack of options. He spent most of the game with no vacant plots on the board, leading me or Katy to remark "Ian's lost the plot" whenever it was mentioned. It never stopped being funny.
Joe and Katy started badly. Joe looked to be in terrible shape in the late stages of the game until he re-rolled two adjacent four-tile casinos, and then remodelled them into a giant eight tile casino. Unfortunately it didn't pay out before Katy's turn when she reorganized and won it "by miles." The game ended soon after that, with Joe's dreams of a last minute surge up the score track in tatters.
A cheap re-roll for Joe (yellow) or Katy (blue)
Katy 36 plus cash
I don't want to boast, but my win was pretty comprehensive. I ended with more than $100 million in reserve, only one die left, only two tokens left and I did nothing in my last turn, because my position couldn't be improved. After the game ended, Joe commended me for playing like Howard Hughes, since I’d often given people money if they'd reorganize a casino that I had no dice in, just to enjoy the show.
So now we were all back together and decided to end on Fuji Flush, with its usual gratuitous display of dick points, just because people can.
The first game ended in some style with Joe winning without even being in the room. He had to go and answer the phone and while he was away, he pushed through. Since he only had one card left, we played it for him. To wails of anguish (that I hope Joe heard and enjoyed), we saw it was a fourteen, to match the fourteen already played by Martin. Not wanting to be left out, Andy also played a fourteen. After that, it was a formality and by the time Joe came back we had already shuffled and dealt out another hand.
Joe 0 cards left
The second game was less remarkable except for Ian knocking his tiny shot glass off the table. Luckily it landed on the dog sleeping next to him and rolled onto the floor, undamaged. The dog went and slept somewhere else.
Adam 0 cards left
As we got ready to leave, Martin remarked how the best way to appreciate Fuji Flush was to "feel your inner dick." And with that image seared across our minds, we left another week of joy in our wake. Thanks everyone. It was an experience.