Ben Bateson(ousgg)United Kingdom
Ross-on-WyeOi! Hands off...
We almost accidentally imbued a 'tropical islands' theme on this week's gaming. In fact if we'd plumped for Goa, it would have been a rare old selection of holiday resorts.
Ben and Becky were humming and harring their way through a mediocre game of Balloon Cup (can't quite see what JP finds so fascinating about it, to be honest), when Bill arrived and we forsook Goa for a much chillier destination and a game of St Petersburg. I got pretty well played out of the game early on by being stuck with Czar & Carpenter, who was un-upgradeable for the next two rounds, and was forced to go with a desperate Hospitals strategy. It worked well for a bit, but I was overwhelmed with Becky's aristos near the end and she finished a mile ahead really. Bill came through and squeaked second place from under my nose too.
Becky had found quite a pet project in Tobago, and we were all quite amenable to setting it up. Tobago, incidentally, might be the only game I own with a surviving box insert, which is testimony to something or other.
I got stuck with another lousy hand of cards (plenty of 'not in the biggest regions' and not a lot else), but I took advantage of the others failing to block me while Becky whistled around the island gobbling up amulets and Bill quietly dug in the sand by himself. It came down to a nail-biting finish with both curses in the bottom five cards of the deck, and Bill outdoing me by a single point (curse those curses!).
Nearly a week on, I'm still deliberating over whether Zanzibar was our highlight or lowlight of the night. Certainly we picked the golden 3-player spot for this game, and I was suitably impressed by the art and presentation. And we didn't get any rules wrong, which is always a novelty on first playing (see our disastrous escapades with Oregon a couple of weeks back). But, as Bill said: "I've never seen a game where three people spend so much time not knowing what they're doing". Perhaps it was more of an experience than a game, but it was an experience that I managed to win by a long way. I reckon there might be more to Zanzibar with a bit of digging.
Taluva is rapidly becoming an end-of-night filler of choice at Ross, and it seems to be one at which I am now incapable of winning. Bill took the latest episode reasonably comfortably tonight. But, you know what, it has never once failed to disappoint me. For a game so simple, it has plenty of strategy, screwage and it also looks fantastic. A real class act.