2015 Support Drive – Ending in:
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We started with six of us: Jim and Heather, Alice, Dave, Helen and Richard. We knew that others would be arriving throughout the evening (one arrival was scheduled at 7:30, the other around 9), so we wanted to pick something that'd end in a timely fashion. Jim's suggestion was a game that was introduced to game night for the first time in the last session, and Xactika hit the table.
Scoring tends to be very incremental in this game. Since you only score what you bid, you can't really rack up the high scores, unless your cards are just awesome, and you manage to take all eight tricks. And even then, eight points isn't that much (though, in this game, it really is). With six players, on average you'll be able to take 1.25 tricks, so getting a score of 2 is pretty good. And every negative score you take really hurts. Well, there was a lot of hurting going on in this game. We decided to play six rounds, so that everyone had a chance to deal once. With six players, that gives us a total of 36 scores to tally. 14 of those scores were negative, and five of them were zero. So over half of the scores recorded either didn't help, or actively hurt the player's score. Jim, unfortunately, did the best at hurting himself, by missing his bid in four of the six rounds. Only Alice was able to avoid a negative score, making her bid all six times.
Alice powered out to an early lead, making bids of 2, 2, and 3 her first three hands. Dave, too, made his first three bids, but his combined score of 4 put him in second place at that point. Everyone else had at least one problem hand, and by the midway point Jim was the only other player in positive points, with 1.
It this point it was very apparent that Alice (who, by the way, won last session, too ??? ) was the person to beat. But who'd be able to stop this juggernaut? Heather turned in two consecutive two-point scores in rounds 4 and 5 to lead the comeback charge. Dave also scored two points in round five. Unfortunately, both missed their bids in the last round, hurting their chances for the win. Alice continued to make bids, and though they were one point bids each of the last three rounds, her early lead enabled to cruise to the easy victory.