Anthony BoydellUnited Kingdom
Having been caught up in the Olympic fever that has gripped our little island, I passed on the Friday (27th) session of the RoW-ers at the White Lion to gawp and giggle at the opening ceremony: the priapic chimneys, a parachuting monarch, dancing nurses, Hell's 10th Circle that is the never-ending parade of Teams (204), music, comedy and (of course) the now-tiresome 'climax' appearance of Sir Paul Bloody McCartney - not so much a climax as a sudden intra-torso testicular retraction.
I thought I might have been able to settle down in an 'elephant' of cushions with a crate of fermented apple juice only to find that eldest daughter needed picking up from Gloucester around 10ish: my fizzyholic imbibement was put on hold.
The first chance in ALMOST a week to get some games in came on Monday (30th) and our pre-booked Eclipse session courtesy of John P (by Cidercon, out of Much Marcle). The venue changed at the last minute, so he and 'young person' Xander pulled up outside Chez Boydell in a massive Mercedes and waited patiently for me to finish my mustardy sausages. I say 'young person' but Xander must be in his early 20s and built like a brick privvy - missing the obligatory skateboard but sporting the usual 'scrappy' beard. The fourth for our Space Operatic shenanigans, Ian, is unable to drive anymore so we belted across the Welsh border to pull up not far from Raglan castle and avail ourselves of his curried nuts and sticky twiglets:
After a stressful day, Tuesday beckoned with the prospect of further Eclipsian delights - dare I suggest a 6-player? This time with the Wycombe crew but we had to navigate a 'quick' Last Will first. I am finding Last Will increasingly frustrating - never able to pull off a sub-zero finish, let alone a win. Everyone else seems to escalate comfortably into financial embarrassment but me. Clever game, no doubt, but I just don't get it. This particular session proved the verterbra-snapping hollow stem and I've decided I just can't be bothered to worry about it ever again - I can't even 'learn from my mistakes' because I can't see anything I'm doing wrong! My copy will be up on eBay soon...
My mood fragile, I tried to 'man up move on' and made a simple comment about using the full table to give enough space for the 6 player space fun-times; this, inexplicably, was taken wholly the wrong way and I found myself in someone else's house feeling massively awkward and uncomfortable. I don't like this type of situation in the slightest and, without a word, walked out and drove the two hour journey home.
Friday cometh and a promise to middle-son Benedict needed fulfilling - it was off to the Ross-on-Wye club as per (semi) usual! Beebs and I arrived (on time, for once) to find Ben and Becky mid-'All Creatures Big and Small'. A minute later, new attendee Brian pulled up a comfy chair and we were a cosy five for the evening! Brian is quite the noob, so I avoided suggesting 'the full Rosenberg', instead proposing King of Tokyo. I'm no use at this at all, but it's a lot of fun to play and takes but 30 minutes - I thought it would be a gentle opener for whiskery Brian but he DID struggle a little. Ben smugly hid behind some damage prevention and let the rest of us beat each-other to an irradiated, bloody, be-tentacled pulp.
Round Two was to be the stonkingly-brilliant Beyond Balderdash which has, over the last 9 months, proved to be a shining, supernoval success on EVERY occasion it has been rolled out! As before, the ultimate contest emerged between Ben and myself - unashamedly tactical and with no quarter given. In the end, it proved to be a single point (again) that decided it - that's three for zero for Uncle Tony! It was good to see that Ben's sportsmanship remained unaffected by being beaten YET AGAIN:
Brian had to leave us at this point - he'd said he would need to at the beginning, so there's much hope that we haven't scared him off for good!
Next, Benedict thumped us at a very special, hand-made (and etched) copy of Steeplechase from the woodworking bench of the loveliest man in West London: Mr Gavin Birnbaum. It's a simple bluff/multi-bluff affair with the 'active player' allocating four out of five number tokens to all players - each player then looks at their token (in order) and decides whether to play it and move that many spaces forward OR swap it with another player's token (unseen, they will go next) and move that many instead. Most 'serious' players will hate it...
With the hour late (and Benedict unable to cope particularly well with 'not enough sleep'), we gracefully-closed proceedings with a TransAmerica 'for the road'. Ben is quite the manipulator-of-the-rod and had no real trouble vanquishing the rest of us to a dusty demise.