During which I raced off into an early lead thanks to grabbing all three of those point-scorers: four different cubes, delivered, three-link delivery and so on. In fact I was at one stage about twenty points ahead of Stan with less bonds, but as my goods dried up on the east, his bigger network on the west starting paying out big. I held on for the win, but in the end Stan had ground his way back to a two point deficit.
Back to Clank! I played this a couple of weeks back with Adam and Hannah and we'd really enjoyed it. And I played with Stan with similar results, although I'm not sure it's best as a two-player really. The game is like a card-drafting version of Incan Gold; grabbing what you can and hoping to get out before you're knocked out by the dragon.
forgot to take pics of Clank, so here's Adam again
Ian decided to get out early, and put the pressure on the rest of us - once one player leaves, everyone only has four turns left to do the same. This strategy worked for Adam, but it proved Ian's undoing: despite numerous dragon attacks, the clanking cubes coming out of the bag didn't stop us all reaching the surface. There was only one winner though:
We all liked it. Next up was a quick blast of Lost Expedition. This can be played as a head to head game or a co-op, and the six of us combined into a three-player version. It's a pretty simple game of trying to make your way to the Lost City of Z - following the footsteps of the explorer Percy Fawcett, whose recently inspired the recent film. (Though there is plenty of doubt about the film and Percy himself, as this somewhat huffily worded critique points out).
In the game everyone plays cards which form a 'hike' - one in the morning, one in the evening. How you negotiate each hike - from left to right - dictates your progress, as many cards have mandatory events, but also opportunities to manage both your resources (health, food, ammunition) and the hike itself (adding/discarding cards). You begin with three explorers but only need one to reach the city in order to win.
But a combination of my desire to push ourselves quickly along the trail, and Joe killing off Roy (the only explorer with the specialist knowledge we needed at a crucial moment!) meant we failed three-quarters of the way!
Ian, Andrew, Stanley, Joe and Sam: lose
Peer Sylvester: wins
With our leafy graves assured just as Andy walked through the door, the boys were packed off to bed and we perused the Alcove of Joy. Much muttering was heard before we finally agreed to revisit Lords of Waterdeep. It's been a long time, but we were all familiar enough with it - bar a couple of rules-checks - to include the Skullport expansion.
Andrew rocketed off into an early lead, before we caught him up and - occasionally - overhauled him. Ian began to regret his big-quest strategy early on, as the rest of us were ducking and diving he was stoically left to collect adventurers - or cubes, as everyone but me insisting on calling them. Despite Andrew's healthy lead I felt pretty confident at this stage - I had the fewest skulls, and planned to play an Intrigue card in the final round to make having them even more punitive for the others. My only concern was Andy, who seemed to be collecting numerous Arcadia quests and chaining them in classic Bate style.
Then Andy allowed everyone to return skulls to the corruption track and my plans suddenly didn't look remotely effective any more. I'm not sure what happened to Ian - he said he was coming last from about the sixth round - "just like my life" - and he was right:
Sticking with the Old School, we then played Poison. Once upon a time this was the GNN go-to filler, but it doesn't come out the box much these days.
Maybe because the box is something of an artefact itself, with Berger artwork from that classic sitcom Games Night. Andy hadn't played it before, but that didn't stop him taking us to the cleaners on his very first round, scoring a measly two points. I had to draw on all my Knizian powers/luck to pull this one back from the dead:
With the time now gone ten, we finished off with a recent classic - NMBR9. I love this game, but despite my many plays I made a humdinger of an error - leaving a space for a 9 where I could only actually place it the wrong way up. I wasn't alone - all manner of swearing made its way around the table as the game entered its final furlong. But Ian shucked off his three last places to claim a very convincing win:
And that was that!
Oh, except to say Stan and I played Steam Park on Friday night. This is a dice-rolling, funfair-building game where what dice you roll dictate your tactics for the round: you want to build and attract visitors, but visitors bring dirt with them, and too much dirt at the end of the game will get you hit with huge fines.
Circular dirt, bottom left
In the midst of this simple roll-to-build thing though is a race: everyone rolls simultaneously and as soon as you're happy with your dice you grab the first (or second, or third) player marker. Finishing your dice rolling first gets you the bonus of removing dirt - and if you're last to finish, you add dirt instead.
This can be really brutal in a two-player game, especially your opponent declares themselves happy with their very first roll. I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but I can imagine Katy getting a kick out of this one.