Shefford Friday night games

This is a short description of the games we play at our Friday night game group.

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Friday 6th October 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 5 again. We started with Snowdonia, which was new or unfamiliar to all the other three. It was a very sunny game, with almost no fog, and the government were very quick to build as a result, and the game rather rapidly reached a near-end, although a turn of fog just as we were finishing the railway did give Hannah a chance to run up the hill for her bonus card! Sami won, with an impressive score over 100 thanks to lots of completed bonus cards and running up the hill, with Hannah and I taking the next two spots, with our station building strategies.

We played Power Grid next, on the Korea map, having played the other side of the board last week. The game stalled badly at the start, with lots of expensive power plants leaving no-one any money for houses, and Simon at least had horrendous powering costs. Stage 2 was rapidly followed by Stage 3, and we all build to 12-14 houses in the first turn of Stage 3, so it was clear the next would be the final turn - the question was very much who was going to win! The first power plants had some heavy bidding, with John taking the 7 one that would enable him to power 16 houses - unfortunately without enough money to build them! Then Hannah took the 50 plant, powering 6 for no cost, giving her the ability to power to 15 too. Simon also bought a plant to power to 15, so all I needed was to power one more house for a tie-break, and 2 more house for an outright win - I had the money, but then I realised I had a problem - all the power plants remaining that would give me a jump of 2 used coal, and as I was early in the turn order, I couldn't guarantee I could get coal, and the other resources I needed, from the same market! I had to resign myself to powering to 15, and hoping that my powering costs being lower than Simon's would keep me ahead of him, and that the power plant on the top of the deck would be bad for Sami, who was having similar coal issues. The new power plant was terrible for Sami, and as a result he was in last place, despite having more money than any of the rest of us by quite some way, not even able to power 15. I won the cash tie-break over Simon, with Hannah just pipping John to third place by two cash!

I then suggested Alchemist, another one new or unfamiliar to the rest. After retrieving the English rules to check some points I'd forgotten in the year since we last played it, we got going, and John and Hannah between them made a nice potion combination that I was able to re-use over and over again, although as it produced four of the five goods types, and everyone else was doing it too, it was clear it was going to be a short, and high-scoring, game. Sami decided not to make any potions of his own, and just did other people's, and this turned out to be a winning strategy, with him finishing just two points ahead of me - all I needed was my potion type not to rank last and I'd have won, but sadly there were far more cubes of my colour left than any other, by a little way! The other three all scored very similarly, despite very different end-game scores before final scoring, with Simon doing an impressive catch-up due to the number of cubes he had, and his potion type ranking well - his in-game score had been lagging rather.

We finished with Peloponnes, which turned out to also be new to some of the players - very much a game night of introducing less common games! Hannah's civilization suffered a catastrophic earthquake quite early on, and she was never able to recover from this, and her final score was an impressive 3, from the 1 population that was able to survive the resulting chaos. John's civilization was thriving, and he won with an impressive score of 30. The rest of us all tied in second place with 21, with lots of counting to see who placed second in the tie-break - which turned out to be Simon after the third recount.
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Sun Oct 8, 2017 7:33 am
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Friday 29th September 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were just 5. We started with Maya, which was new to most people, but didn't stop Simon and Lisa doing really well, with Simon winning and Lisa coming tied second with me - the temples were very green so I was surprised Lisa didn't win!

That made it Simon's choice next, and he went for El Grande. This was Sami's game from the start. By the first scoring he had tons more cubes than Lisa and I did on the board, and was a good way ahead of everyone on points, and from there he just maintained his lead, while the rest of us vied for second place - the scores between the rest of us were pretty close!

Sami then chose Power Grid, which was on the China map, with the set order of power plants and very expensive starting resources. This definitely meant everyone got a very slow start. I picked up one of the early big plants, using 3 coal, and this was doing well for me until the coal started to run out.... As it happened though, my income wasn't hugely behind everyone else's, and my position on the board meant I was just able to buy enough houses to build to 15 a turn before everyone expected, powering 14. This caught Sami out, and put him in 4th place, ahead of Lisa who needed an extra turn to buy a power plant. Simon and John both powered 13 plants behind me, but John had the extra cash for second place.

We then finished with Breaking Away, which was definitely Lisa's game. All the bikes stayed in a big pack early game, with her at the back, and then maintained a steady pace, which she was able to keep up with easily, while the rest of us were scrambling. Most of us managed to pick up some points on the first sprint, but by the second we were struggling, and by the third Lisa was miles ahead with all her bikes - moving double figures every turn, while the rest of us had numbers like 5 and 6 - I didn't get any points at all on the final sprint! Her final score was an impressive 61, with everyone else under 30, John second with 29, and me in dismal last with just 17 - almost all of those from the first sprint!
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Mon Oct 2, 2017 2:10 pm
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Friday 22nd September 2017

Sharon Khan
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Shefford
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We were 7 on Friday, but started with just 5, so played a few hands of Escalation! to start with. Simon and I both had a disaster on the first round, while Hannah managed just 1 card! The second round was very even, with everyone getting fairly similar scores, and then the third round it was Gill's turn to have a disaster, with Hannah not doing well either. This mean that from looking like a safe last place, I found myself in 4th, just one point ahead of Gill, while Hannah dropped to second place behind Marion, who'd been very consistent at not getting very many cards (sitting to my left might have helped!!!).

We then split into two tables, with Kingsburg on one table, while we played Great Western Trail again - the same three as last week plus Sami. This time the board filled up with buildings very quickly, and everyone was constantly struggling for cash. I went for cows, buying the extra cow buying building and lots of cowboys, with a bit of trashing, while Sami went station mad and flew up the track, but his lack of cow buying meant in the mid-game he stalled a bit on his maximum score until he'd bought some cows and drawn through his deck to get them. He just pipped me for the win.

The others hadn't quite finished, so we played a game of Splendor, where Sami took the hit to stop Hannah from getting to 17 points, but that just meant the next round both Hannah and I got to 15 points, leaving him and Marion tied for third place.

We then merged and split, with me suggesting Strasbourg this time and teaching it to Gill. With Gill being new to the game she decided not to keep many contracts - and having seen her selection afterwards, I would only have kept two! Meanwhile Sami bravely kept them all, while I only discarded one. Sami however missed on two, while I managed to achieve all mine, and I ended up just ahead of him as a result.

We all joined together for one race of Ave Caesar to finish with, which James won, as unfortunately people couldn't stay behind him for long enough for him to crash and burn. I was clearly tired, as I went through the pits, and all round the board again, and then realised that my coin was still in front of me - so had to go into the pits again. Everyone else must have been tired too though - as there was no teasing when I failed to pit properly the first time around! Naturally this was not good for my placing though, and I ended in 5th.
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Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:39 pm
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Friday 15th September 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This Friday there were 9 of us, so we decided to split into three tables. John had brought Dominant Species to play so that found one table, while Marion was keen to play "the cow game" (Great Western Trail), and Hannah and I were keen to join her. The third group tabled Among the Stars. I was dealt the builder starting mission, so decided to go for the building strategy, although the setup leant itself more to a station strategy, from the position of buildings and the fact that all the early men available were cowboys or engineers. I bought the only engineer available on the first turn, and placed a building down, choosing one with a tax where I could get some ready income. I put my first disk in Kansas City for an early money boost, and chose the trash card bonus, to start some early trashing action. Then I was off - I was able to buy builders and a building every time through from then on, mostly upgrading existing buildings, and trashing cards out of my deck, until I very rapidly had no greys. I saved to buy a couple of 3 cows, which were in rather short supply, as almost all the cows in the market were 4s or 5s, and my deck was so small I could guarantee finding three different coloured 2s, and my two 3s, for 12 plus whatever certificates I could get. It looked like I was topping out at 16, but then was able to pick up an expensive cow, and increase my hand size, and suddenly found myself able to place in San Francisco, and take a bonus card for it too (there were plenty of those available all game!!). Meanwhile I was also competing with Hannah for the late stations, Marion having taken the early ones, as I had a high level building that moved my train 4 spaces every time I went through. Hannah had gone for a cow strategy, although with very few 3 cows available, she didn't have quite enough density of cows to guarantee finding them, even with sifting, and she hadn't trashed anything from her deck. Marion went trashing and stations early game, then picked up some cows late game, but was struggling all game with cash and to get her deck to be consistent, and was finding it hard to hit the higher numbers at Kansas City for points too. I won with about 120 points, Hannah second with 98.

The Bohnanza and Dominant Species games were both nearing the end, so we played a quick hand of Escalation! while waiting for them, where I seemed to get off lightly, as Hannah was unable to deal with anything in double figures! The other two split the deck evenly between them, with Marion having just one card more than Hannah at final scoring!

We then had the big "what to play next?" discussion, which ended with 5 players playing Schrille Stille followed by Breaking Away upstairs, while the remaining 4 of us played Shipyard, which was new to John, and fairly unfamiliar to Hannah. My contracts all involved collecting lots of one thing, so I settled on soldiers and employees, and built one very large military ship, with lots of crew quarters for my soldiers, and a canal with three military spots to pass over, and just enough speed to pass them. This one ship managed to carry 11 soldiers, which was enough to lap everyone else on in-game points, and we all except John had very similar end-game points - John sadly had misread one of his two contracts, so got no points for it. Hannah was going for speeding through canals with 6 size ships, and ended in second place, while Marion went for small speedy ships with nothing else on them. As usual we managed to end up two spaces out on the finish, with me constantly having to remind people through game to pick up the tile they were on - definitely the hardest bit of the game!!!
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Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:07 am
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Friday 8th September 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday there were 7 of us. We started by splitting into two tables, with Seb keen to try his Jamaica expansion, while upstairs I chose Tigris & Euphrates. We started off with Sami choosing my usual upper right spot, and putting two monuments there. Almost all my early tiles were blue, so I placed my blue leader near the bottom, and just turned the local river blue with tiles until I reached somewhere to attack. I then managed to get my black and green leaders in suitable places and gradually gained points with them, slowly but surely. But I then had a problem - just one red cube. I had the opportunity with a disaster tile to get in on Sami's temple region for one turn for two red cubes (both monuments were red). But I decided to bide my time, and Sami blocked off that option, so I went for the internal conflict option instead, knowing Sami had been repeatedly attacked by everyone so was likely to be low on red tiles, and thankfully managed to get in. There were only three turns until the end of the game, but with THREE red monuments in that region, that was enough to get me 9 red cubes, and a score of 11/11/11/12, with my treasures - luckily for me no-one either attacked me or split my region with disasters! Sadly Sami had 12/12/12/13, so I was second. Third place came down to the fourth colour tiebreak in cubes, with James just beating Simon by one cube!!

Both games had finished at the same time, so we merged and split. James was keen to play Scythe, and rapidly found a four to play that, while the remaining three of us went for Trickerion: Legends of Illusion. Sami went for early apprentices, knowing he had a card that later on would give them all two action points, and rapidly his turns were taking ages, as he desperately tried to plan all these actions, and produce enough coins to keep paying their wages. By contrast I got three tricks set up on the first three turns, and for the remainder of the game I just sent one apprentice to the workshop, and the magician and my other worker to the performance, just taking advantage of getting a nice 16 trick early. This wasn't enough to stay ahead of Sami's huge score, sadly, but netted me a score just over 100, and was enough for second.

We then played a quick game of Splendor while waiting for the others to finish, with me getting two of the bonus tiles, and this just getting me enough to finish with 16 points ahead of Sami on 14.

We then merged and split again, with four of them playing Ave Caesar, while the remaining three of us took The Palaces of Carrara down. I went for triggering game end quickly - which meant building three pairs of two buildings, making sure the buildings were all the same type so I could get two sets of 3 wooden things, and then taking cash, so I had the 25 cash necessary, so I put them in the cash regions. I ended the game with a huge amount of cash, and at 1 point for each 2 cash that was an impressive score from them, but John had built almost all his buildings in the two high scoring VP regions, and when we got an "extra scoring of two building types" as the last card, his points for that were just uncatchable!

We finished with an Istanbul. Sami went for the goods strategy, while I went for the cash one, and John did a bit of a mix, and with the large market next to the buying gems for cash tile, I just needed to find other things to hop on to produce goods, and I was off, especially as I took both the red and green tiles and the bonus gem for them early on, without needing to upgrade my board. Despite Sami trying to block me at the end, by forcing me to pay 2 for the tiles I was obviously going to move to, he ran out of men and wasn't quite able to stop me buying the last gem I needed for the win.
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Sat Sep 9, 2017 9:08 am
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Friday 1st September 2017

Sharon Khan
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Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday there were 6 of us. We started with a game of Love Letter while people were arriving, to put Simon's H-index up by one. Then we split into two tables. I was keen to play Puerto Rico, while the other table played Orleans, suggested by Simon, but he played Puerto Rico with me!! My extra experience with Puerto Rico did show, as I got a good income stream going, with indigo and tobacco, then moved into corn and a factory, then a harbour, and finally a wharf, before picking up two large buildings. Lisa meanwhile was a corn/sugar shipper, and her shipping score was impressive, and she placed second.

Both games finished at the same time, so we merged and split, with me suggesting Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island this time, the Save Jenny scenario, while downstairs played Vikings. We managed to Save Jenny, and build our boat to get to safety, with one turn to spare, fairly comfortably. The others had finished and started a short game while we were a turn or two away from finishing, so we played a hand of Linko! while waiting for them to finish.

At that point Hannah headed home, as she was working all weekend, and the remaining five of us played Beowulf: The Legend. Simon had the worst luck at the start with his risking, and rapidly found himself with two, and then three, wounds, although he did later manage to heal one. Meanwhile I wasn't doing much better, and found myself at a distinct card disadvantage, although I wasn't as wounded. Sami however was being very lucky, and this was definitely working in his favour. In the end his score was ridiculously high, 48, more than the second and third place scores put together, which were Lisa and I, with Seb taking the dragon wound at the end, to give him an impressive -3!

We then played a finishing game of 7 Wonders, in which Sami went mega-science, and this worked for him as no-one else was, so he finished ahead with 56 points. The rest of us were all in a tight range 52-48 just behind him, so it was a close game.
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Mon Sep 4, 2017 11:42 am
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Friday 25th August 2017

Sharon Khan
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Shefford
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Last Friday we were 7. We started with 6 for the first hour, as my husband was late back from London, so split into two groups, with one playing Terraforming Mars, while downstairs I taught Thebes to Seb and Marion. My 10 year old son came in while we were playing and looked very interested, and ended up drawing the disks out of the bag for all of us - although after he gave Seb one disastrous dig (only 2 points off 10 disks!), Seb did insist on drawing his own destiny. By contrast my dig in the same bag straight after Seb was amazing, and Marion had an even more amazing one from another dig site. At end game Seb had slightly less than Marion and I in dig artifacts, while I had the biggest bonus from exhibitions by some way, with Seb not far behind, and we had two majorities each for most knowledge in types, but Marion had being collecting the set collection points, and these were enough for her to just win, although scores were close, with just over 10 points from top to bottom.

Sami had returned while we were playing, so he joined us for the next game, and Marion talked Seb into trying Agricola. Naturally with it being his first game he was a little unsure what was going on at times, and I helped him through a bit, but he managed a quite respectable first game score of 26 points, with a nice grain/veg strategy, and a stone hut and 4 family members. Marion meanwhile was going for more of an animal strategy, but was behind on family members. Sami and I however both had impressive scores over 45, Sami just ahead, both of us with good collections of grain, veg and animals, full boards and no negatives. Surprisingly all four of us renovated to stone houses, but none of us went for a fifth family member (family members were the last phase they could be, but even then it was slightly surprising).

At this point alcohol consumption from a certain player meant we were looking for lighter fare, so we moved on to Knowing Me Knowing You, which is always good fun. We finished after just one round, as the Terra Mystica finished as we were asking questions for the fourth person. Amusingly it was a three way tie for second place, with me just a couple of points ahead for the win.

We then finished the evening by all joining together for Say Anything. Marion, despite being terrible at guessing throughout, managed to tie me for first place by being predictable. Everyone else was within two points behind, though, with a three way tie for third place. One amusing bit of the game was definitely Sami's face when presented with his favourite ice cream flavour to choose from - vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, mint choc chip and toffee (I can't remember the sixth) - "couldn't you come up with anything more interesting?" was his comment. And then there was Marion's giggling fit when presented with a selection of fun things to do on the moon. Apparently "pogo sticking" and "basketball" were very amusing moon activities and the game was delayed slightly as she had a ten minute giggling fit before she could bring herself to choose an answer!
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Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:57 pm
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Friday 18th August 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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This Friday was a week of new games, for Simon at least! John turned up with three games, all of which were new to Simon, although I'd played two of them before. I had also acquired two new games recently, one in MathTrade, and another for my daughter's birthday, and we worked through the pile!

Firstly we played the ones that were best with 4, knowing that Sami would join us in about an hour. We started with Century: Spice Road, which I was keen to try with 4, having found my 5 player game a bit downtimey. We finished the whole game in about 20 mins, and there were definitely no problems with downtime! As I knew what I was doing better this time I managed to build up a decent engine, and won, quite comfortably as it happened, with 57 points. I definitely enjoyed it much more than the previous play, but I'm still not rushing to buy it, although I'd like to play it again.

After that I introduced them to Kingdomino, which my daughter received for her birthday. I got myself blocked right at the end and was unable to finish my grid, while John managed to build his not symmetrically around his castle, so also lost points. James and Simon tied for the win.

Sami had arrived at this point, so we were now 5. We started with Loony Quest, my new MathTrade acquisition, which was new to everyone. I read the rules, and we started drawing our lines. Sami proved to be the best at it, but James was rapidly catching him up. The rest of us were lagging behind in a clump. Unfortunately for Sami he misunderstood the rules on the final card, and even more unfortunately this dropped him from first to last place, although as it happens John's very impressive final two rounds jumped him past everyone for the win!

Then we went back to John's other games - Magic Maze, which I had enjoyed at Gradpad, and was keen to try in another group. Bizarrely after being almost impossibly difficult at Gradpad with two different groups, we managed it almost trivially this time, with just one brief eek moment at the end, where Sami was trying to finish, while the rest of us were trying to touch the last timer button to gain ourselves a bit of breathing space - not that we needed it.

After that we tried Celestia. My two suited hand, and not knowing I didn't have to give in wilds if I didn't want to, meant I was very limited on my options when I was throwing the dice, so I jumped out of the boat quite quickly every time early on, while some of the others were getting quite good points. Then I got caught a few times when people were unable to make what looked like easy throws, and I was absolutely nowhere near when Sami hit 50 points, more than 10 points behind the next player, and not even anywhere near 40, never mind 50!!!

Having exhausted the new games we moved onto familiar fare, and with 5, El Grande was an obvious choice. Simon managed to win this, with me second, but it was a fairly close game for once.

We then finished with Amun-Re, which is another game that works well with 5. James managed to get an impressive amount of money in the first phase, thanks to both a ridiculous number of bonus farmers and bonus farmer income cards - he bought a lot of cards, and the farmer ones did seem to gravitate towards him. Going into the second phase he had a huge amount of money, but he wasn't able to convert it to points as efficiently as he might have done, so Sami and I (who have played this game probably 50 times more than anyone else) were able to go past him for first and second place, with Sami beating me by one point, by placing higher than me on the cash tie-break - grr!
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Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:21 pm
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Friday 11th August 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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We had another quiet gaming evening, with just 4 of us. Marion was keen to play Great Western Trail again, so we started with that. James and Marion both needed a few reminders at the start on how to play, but soon got up and running. I was fourth to go, and with the "buying people" tile as first tile, everyone started on that and bought one person, leaving me, as fourth, with an engineer, so I settled on that strategy - buying an engineer (sometimes plus a second person), on every trip through, moving my train forward rapidly, and claiming all the stations - the early ones of which gave me certificate bonuses, which made my trips to Kansas more profitable - in fact I managed to get away without placing a disk in the -6VP square at the start, which is unusual for me. Then when I started to run out of stations to build along the top, I moved into cowboys and cows, 4 and 5 ones, and mission cards that needed them. This strategy seemed to work very well, netting me over 100 points, which I think might be a new record for me. Sami had a nice building strategy going, but ended up a few points behind me, just under the 100.

At this point Marion departed, leaving us as three for the rest of the evening. James chose Terraforming Mars as the next game, and we played that, with a very close finish, but me just ahead - thanks to the Jovian tags I'd stolen from James, who started with the Jovian corporation!

After that I chose Thunderstone. Sami went for deck tuning early on, and beat up very few monsters early, while James and I went for the other extreme, beating up monsters from the start, and both going for the heroes that liked to beat up monsters in Rank 2 or 3 for a bonus, combined with rogues for light. One of the monster types wasn't so good for these, as it killed those types of heroes, but another was immune to magic attack, which wasn't so good for Sami's strategy, so it worked out. I beat up the guardian, as well as three or four other large monsters, and ended up with the Thunderstone, and beat Sami by about 7 points.

We just had time for a quick filler to finish, so I chose Escalation!, and then had a disastrous first, and second, round, and was pretty much guaranteed third place at that point. James was looking good for the win after the first two rounds but then had even more of a disaster than me in the third round, and Sami, sitting to his left, picked up almost no points, and just pipped him to first place. I was still miles behind!
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Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:58 am
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Friday 4th August 2017

Sharon Khan
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Shefford
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Last Friday there were 5 of us. We started with Notre Dame, which was new to quite a few of the players. Seb managed well, despite being unfamiliar with the game, beating me by a couple of points but Sami's extra experience at the game gave him a comfortably win.

Zara then asked to try Carcassonne, which she was looking to buy. Sami managed to win this too, thanks to stealing in to other people's cities and farming regions, while I was badly stuck with no men to play for a large portion of the game after none of my early cities finished. Zara was similarly stuck with no men, but her cloister village netted her an impressive number of end-game points.

Sami chose Modern Art next. Scores for this were fairly close, except for Sami himself, who still wasn't sure that when he was making change from the back he didn't short-change himself on money, and Seb, who had an absolute gift round which put him safely ahead of the rest of us.

At this point Sami departed to bed, while the rest of us proceeded to play noisy party games for the rest of the evening, which didn't really help Sami get to sleep!! We started with Compatibility, which was very close, but Gill and I won by just a couple of points, thanks to a knack of getting direct matches on our later cards! I then suggested Keep Talking, which I'd still not managed a second play of. We played two rounds, and managed to end in a tie, as Seb paused for a second too long in the final keep talking round. I proved to be particularly useless in the word association part of the card - losing on the first word once, when Zara came up with something unexpected!

We then tried a new game we'd been given, Millions of Dollars. My extra negotiation for bribes worked well, plus being the only person left in in an early round where Gill left, and Seb and Zara clashed, so that I very rapidly hit the cash total required, while the others were all struggling to make any money at all!

We finished with one of Gill's favourite short games, Jumbo & Co, which Gill won by miles, with me second, and the other two between them getting less than Gill!
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Tue Aug 8, 2017 10:32 am
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