The Ross-on-Wye Boardgamers

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Friday 21st August - Jollies with Gerv

Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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We thought we were going to be a four-hander this week, but Ian called in with a sickly internet connection, so it was the Gloucester Connection for all of tonight's games. And didn't we get through a few?

During the initial period of uncertainty when we were anticipating Ian's presence, I suggest a swift starting game of Imhotep. We've been ignoring this one - too much, it would seem, given that we all finished the game saying 'we should play this more often'. It's an easy teach, even online, which was a boon for getting started, and Gerv tapped straight into the potential evilness of the game when Becky picked up an opportunistic two Statues and we spent much time sending her in opposite directions. As it turned out, the two Statues were JUST enough and she stole a thrilling 37-36-36 game.

After a finish like that, how can you not play a second time? We did, but this was a bit more lopsided towards Becky. The scores were higher though: 50-45-40.

Gerv had expressed enthusiasm for BGA's implementation of that well-trodden classic, Saint Petersburg, so we parked Yucata for a while and trotted over to the land of glorious automation. Gerv, in his novice state, made a couple of critical errors early on which led to a terminal money shortage (as critical errors so often do in this game). Becky had a step up on nobles, so I opted to start piling on Libraries a turn earlier than normal in order to open up a lead (plus Becky the Librarian really hates it when anyone other than her builds all the libraries). It worked a treat, especially when the final round put out an array of Nobles that were no use to anyone but me, and I had the opportunity to pick them up at my leisure in the last two phases. Most unusual, forcing an opponent to deprive you of an Author in the very last turn of the game.

Becky and I had been playing an unhealthy amount of Ulm of late. It's one of those canny 45-minute Euros where you can do a lot with combo-ing actions, although increasingly it does seem like there is one stronger path to victory. Gerv picked this one up very well, and seemed like he could win it at one point, but he was laid low by a lack of money in the endgame. I went strongly-alternative, picking up two descendants and pressing my luck for two sets of scoring cards, but it did me little good as Becky won on a tried-and-tested city-based strategy.

We insisted Gerv choose our closing game, and so it was that we ended up around the Thurn & Taxis board. The first two rounds saw both Gerv and Becky in trouble which was music to my ears. I pushed quickly for a carriage-triggered victory, but was lucky to beat Gerv after picking up the critical Bayern bonus on the final turn (although, to be fair, I did also have an option on the Outside Bayern bonus too). It was also a secret pleasure to put Becky into dead-last place, although Gerv and I would be far too chivalrous to mention it, of course...
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