Oi! Hands off...
It's a rare day indeed when we get a crowd of seven at the White Lion, and even rarer that they all have time to play at least three games, even if folks do have a tendency to dribble in slowly over the first half hour (Tony is notably more dribbly than most).
Ben and Becky set up a 2-player St Petersburg; this rapidly became a 3-player when St P-guru John arrived, and a 4-player when Bill followed him in. Ben thought all his stars had turned up when he landed a double-Observatory AND a mistress in the first two rounds (cue much mutterings about why some cards had been 'rectified' with the expansion, but not others). However, I made the big mistake of gobbling up a second mistress, which drove me into some cashflow problems, and must have set some sort of ignominious record in finishing last after that combo. It was an agonising finish for Bill, as JP squeezed him out by just two roubles on the tie-break.
Meanwhile, Tony Anne and Ian had all crept in and were urged to a game of Ablaze by the rest of us (who had all played and enjoyed it). I don't think it went down terribly well, but we can keep trying with it.
Having failed to bring 7 Wonders or Citadels, I was scratching my head thinking of something we could all sit around a table and play together. Luckily, Ian came to the rescue, remembering a copy of The Resistance stashed in the back of his car.
Well, I've rarely seem a roomful of apparently experienced gamers make such a hash out of something so simple (excepting possibly Loopin' Louie at about 3 o'clock in the morning). Our first game seemed a bit of a let-down, the Resistance winning easily, until it was revealed that actually only two Corporation members had managed to reveal themselves. So we played a second game, and I managed to bluff pretty much everyone around the table (including my own allies) into believing I was a good guy, before triumphantly destroying the Resistance's plans with a public cackle.
I enjoyed the games, and it's definitely the sort of dirty double-play that I'm good at, but The Resistance is really only Werewolf with a bit of extra structure. It's somewhat silly seeing it so high in the rankings at the minute (emphatically, it's NOT a Top-100 game, but it seems to be worrying close), especially at the cost of such gems as St P and Modern Art. I blame cult of the new, and people who have never played Werewolf.
Onwards, now, and time to split the room in half again. While Tony, Becky, JP and Ian embarked on a hefty and protracted game of Troyes, which Ian won by some distance (complaining about the Event cards not being a sufficiently valid excuse, chaps), I took Bill and Anne to embark upon another cruise to Batavia.
Having enjoyed Batavia at length a few weeks back, I was pleased to find that little had changed. Perhaps the auctions are a little oblique with three, but the game turns over nicely, and there's just enough to keep your eye on without becoming overwhelmed. I do find myself wanting to see an average die in place of the d6, though, because auctioning off one card at a time is no fun. Picking up the majority in three of the goods didn't hurt me any, though, and I overtook Anne on the final tot-up to win this one.
Anne turned in for the night, and rather than watch Troyes fizzle out during the last one, I introduced Bill to On The Farm, a cute little PnP/Artscow game which plays a little like a simple Glory To Rome or Jaipur. Bill picked it up swiftly enough to kick me all over the back room of the pub, and come to think of it I'm not sure I've ever won a game of this. Doesn't stop me recommending it, though.
You'll have to wait two weeks for the next instalment from Ross-on-Wye, but the 30th promises to be lots of fun, as we get into the festive spirit with party games and silliness galore. Anything vaguely strategic will be banned for one Friday only!