To my surprise, I was able to pick a game before the day was out. With it so late in the day, and all of us a little fried, I hesitated -- didn't quite the energy to re-learn San Marco, Tikal would take too long. . . I gave them the choice of What's That On My Head, Through the Desert, and Venture. Ben (surprisingly) cast the deciding vote for Venture.
I got off to a miserable start. At the end of four profit rounds, the score stood Ben 49, Ed 46, Chuck 14. Each of Ben and Ed had rather luckily drawn their way into 6-card combinations, when I lacked the ability to steal their cards. I resigned myself to a last place finish and just resolved to do the best I could.
It got worse for me before it got better -- after the next round it was Ed 74, Ben 73, Chuck 26.
Perhaps I was in better shape than I thought, and hadn't relaized it, for when I reorganized to prepare for the game-ending bloodbath, I vaulted back into contention. After the next scoring round it was Ed 113, Ben 86, and Chuck 80 -- with me also having the most points on the board.
It came down to a final few plays in which, if a profit card came up before Ed had a chance to run out the deck, I might win.
Unfortunately for me, not only did a Profit not come up, but Ed was able to complete a second stack of 6 cards, and end the game. I caught up to him a bit in the final tally, but not so much that I could win without an intervening scoring round.
Afterwards Ed and Ben both questioned my strategy of stealing from Ben at a critical moment. This probably tipped the game to Ed away from Ben. Ben was potentaily sitting on a 60-point stack at the time, however, and I felt that if I didn't steal it then, Ben would run away with the game. Ben was technically behind Ed at the time and my proxy fight sent him further behind, but I maintain it was the right move -- and indeed, I might well have won the game with one more profit round.