Back in the eighties raves were convened at short notice, and attendees would have to jump through a series of logistical hoops - picking up signals, signs and prompts - to get their fix of tabs, dancing, and seeing deities in a field. So it was again last night, as Joe, Andrew and I plumped for a little gaming session late in the day.
First, I had to get the kids to sleep, so after a couple stories and some singing I was scraping the ice off the car, headed to Andrew's via the shop for a bottle of pale ale (see: tabs). Once there we played a quick game of Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, shovelling crisps into our mouths and waving our hands in the air. We both left it a little late picking up animals, as though we didn't want their faeces and hoofprints muddying up the place. After a last minute rush on sheep, I triumphed due to my magnificent collection of horses (5) and timber-built cottage:
we parked the XR3 in a lay-by and jumped the fence
Just as we were counting up, the call came in. Joe's table had been cleared of condiments and he was good to go. We were in the car moments later, checking the rear view mirror for the bizzies and listening to 808 State.
Joe had pulled the oldest trick in the book: he'd got a game out of the box already, so our dreams of High Frontier were checked at the door. The game in question was Africana, and as players we took on the role of colonialists pillaging the continent in question during the 1800s. It was a little bit Ticket to Ride-with-imperialism, as we set off on adventures (by placing our pieces on the correct starting point on the map) and completed them by being the first one to arrive at the end point. If that sounds overly competitive, well, there are several adventures at any one point so you can get yourself on more than one to weight the odds in your favour - something Joe seemed very adept at, as he led the early running.
You can also collect pages from a book that reward you for a single destination (ie the starting point is immaterial) and during the game your options are one from picking up cards, travel (using cards), or buy a page from the book. Joining an adventure doesn't take an action, you just have to be in right place on the board.
this is what Toto were actually singing about
It's nice to look at, and reasonably quick to pick up. It's also hard to judge who's winning - both Andrew and I assumed from an early stage that Joe was walking away with it, but our late surges saw us both overtake him, with me grabbing a narrow victory:
There was time for a short game, and with zero debate we chose Biblios, a game we've played a lot of recently without tiring of it. This one felt a canny affair, and I certainly had the perception halfway through the game that I had far too much gold in my hand and not enough colours. But Joe didn't have enough gold, and sacrificed his green cards to pick some up - I'm not sure what happened to Andrew...
And with that, we called it a night, wending our way to Micheldever services for a carton of orange juice and a blueberry muffin.*
* at this point I should probably confess - in case you haven't guessed - I never went to a rave, and my dancing is a bit like this.