Games, games and more games!
We started with a few quick fillers – Race for the Galaxy, then Take it Easy!, It's Mine!, Qwitch, and then one hand of Escalation!, while people were arriving. Then we started the main games of the evening. James said he wanted something heavy, and suggested Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, which Marion and I were keen to join him playing, while the other three went downstairs. It was an amazingly low scoring and low military game, with all of us focussing more on production and science. Eventually James got the Eiffel Tower, which, along with the points for his colonies, meant that he was getting 12 points a turn. I rapidly caught up, buying several library upgrades. I also jumped my military, and this is where it started going wrong for James. With the lowest military after colonizing the second colony, he had two nightmare rounds from the green event deck, in which he lost a colony and various other buildings, including his Hanging Gardens, which caused him some happiness problems. Meanwhile Marion lost two population, both from buildings, and was really struggling to keep her production up enough to do what she wanted. At end-game I was considerably ahead, and James had enough end-game points to accelerate his lead over Marion for second.
We then switched tables around, with upstairs playing Puerto Rico, while we played Shipyard downstairs. Our game was the usual bizarreness from Colin, with him going for four of his contracts for the majority of the game (despite only two going to score!), and almost always going for the back place, keeping both Martin and I low on cash. I went for the large ship strategy, with lots of engineer/crane combinations and lifeboats, but wasn’t able to do as well with it as I wanted, as I couldn’t sail over enough crane symbols in the canal. Meanwhile Martin had the “lots of ships” contract, which is incredibly high scoring, and also the one for lots of canals. Some good sailing, and he also had tons of points from that contract, for the win – he gained more points from his first contract than either Colin or I did from both of ours, and he was ahead before we started scoring contracts anyway!!!
We finished with a 6 player Ave Caesar. I won the first race, with Colin just behind, and then for the next three races James and Colin both got a lead early on, and helped each other not to crash and burn with their 6s by passing each other regularly. This helped Colin to victory, with James second to him, which was the positions in most of the races! Meanwhile Martin spent the races being blocked over and over again – he was nearly lapped in one race before he’d moved more than ten spaces from the start line! Sami was the only one not to finish a race, after being forced round the outside once too many times in one race – surprisingly everyone else both managed to pit and not run out of energy in every race!