Games, games and more games!
We were 5. Sami and I started with a couple of games of Magic: The Gathering, and then Sami put Robert to bed while I introduced Colin to ARC, a new Magic-like game involving time-travelling heroes. The first game was very close, with me just being victorious at the end. Then Colin was determined to get the mill deck working, but I time travelled, and he followed me, which meant I could do a huge amount of damage, and he couldn’t mill me quick enough.
After that Richard arrived, and I suggested Forbidden Island. We tried the “Treasure Island” map variant. It didn’t look too bad, but the tiles on the edges were hard to protect, so apart from one key corner, we had to let them drop off. Sadly on the first run through we had to discard two treasures of the same type, and we weren’t able to sustain another run through the deck to collect one of them, and get it to the right person, and then leave the island, which was rapidly breaking up, so we lost.
We then weren’t sure when Marion would be arriving, so played a couple of games of The City while waiting to find out. Richard and I were racing from the start in the first game, but I was able to maintain a couple of VP lead. Sami meanwhile had a disaster! The second game it was the other way round – Sami had a really good game, while Richard never got going!
Sami suggested High Society next, as Marion was going to be a while longer. Richard rapidly spent lots of money, including most of his small change. Then the negative cards came, and I had a bit of a gift, as Richard, sitting to my right hand side, had to take most of them, so I was paying less than everyone else to avoid them (and sometimes nothing at all!). The game ended just after the third negative card, and the swing on payment for that meant that I didn’t have least money, and had most points, so won, while Sami was knocked out from lack of cash.
We then played one hand of Jungle Speed before Marion arrived – a round that took a lot longer once she did arrive, as players kept getting distracted!
The first longer game of the night was Outpost. Sami had one of the most amazing games ever, with good initial income, and everything just turning up at just the right moments for him. It was clear fairly early on in the second round that everyone else was just playing for second, and fairly clear that it was really between Marion and Colin for that too!
Next came Power Grid, on the Italy map. Sami and Marion, going first and second, decided not to risk getting blocked in the top of the map. The other three of us went up the top, in the cheap area, and this seemed to work well for the three of us – there was plenty of space for three – while Sami and Marion were complaining about their expensive connection costs. I was lucky on the second turn to pick up a uranium power plant that powered 5 for just 1 uranium. This cost me early expansion, but meant my fuel costs were low well into the middle of the game. Sami also picked up an early 5 power plant, but his used 3 coal, which rapidly put up coal costs, for him and everyone else. Later in the game there was suddenly a flood of garbage plants. Up until then the players in garbage had been very happy, but suddenly costs went sky-high, and players were rapidly not powering. I meanwhile got into oil, which seemed to be a very uncommon resource, and kept my costs cheap. I then had the decision to buy a power plant to increase my production above 11. The first one went too high cost-wise for me, and the second had much higher goods costs, so I decided to wait, as the game had hit era 3 and I’d have better power plant opportunities next round. I could buy to 15 houses to end the game, but wouldn’t win on a cash tie-break against the other players powering 11 (no-one could buy and power more oddly!), so decided to go on the extra round. This worked for me. I only needed to buy one house, so was able to bid highly on the power plants. The first, an oil plant powering 7, went above my cash limit; the second, an oil one for 6 also went high. I was getting worried by now, as I was in first position, and given the coal and garbage positions, if I was forced into either of them I wouldn’t power, but I was lucky, and a 5 power plant turned up that was suitable! I was powering 15, and no-one else was able to build and power more. Cash tie-break and I was comfortably ahead of the other two on 15, who only just scraped it with a few cash to spare.
After that we wanted something lighter to finish with, so I suggested Pictomania (Richard had been asking for a drawing or party game). It was new to Marion, and she struggled in the first round or so with the deduction element of the game. We all got confused by her bow, that was actually a crossbow – Colin and I knew it couldn’t be a bow, as Richard had very clearly drawn a sandpit, which was the same number, whilst Sami had the opposite problem – put in the number for a bow, then couldn’t find the number for Richard’s sandpit! Colin was saved on multiple occasions by other players guessing worse than him, and so romped away with the win, finishing first every round and guessing early on in for everyone else, so that he got the high scoring tiles. Definitely an excellent Pictionary variant, with a bit more in it!