Shefford Friday night games

This is a short description of the games we play at our Friday night game group.

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Friday 14th July 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 8, so after a quick Codenames while waiting for Sami to return and eat his dinner, we neatly split into two tables. I suggested Imperial, which found lots of interest, and Sami asked to try James's Firefly, and we split between the two tables. Simon started with England, and built up a nice naval fleet, while my Austria Hungary took over quite a bit of territory and Germany invaded Belgium and Holland. Then Marion worked out the wargamery aspect of the game, and suddenly her Germans became very aggressive and started attacking everyone. John had taken over Austria-Hungary by then, and allied them with his Italians and was using the troops to protect the two countries from invasion. Meanwhile Simon and I had realised that it wasn't a wargame, but was actually a stocks and shares game, and were buying shares tactically in valuable countries, and not worrying so much about being in control of countries (Marion in particular got very upset when she lost control of Germany briefly). No-one was taking taxation much, getting too obsessed with attacking, and Italy in particular was still on the start square at the end of the game, as John, who had control of them all game, never took taxation once! End game scores were very close between the three of us except John, with Marion just winning by a few cash, and me only 8 behind her.

The other table had been playing a filler while we finished up, so we merged and split with them, with Sami suggesting Terra Mystica, while Marion tabled Lords of Waterdeep on the other table. I drew Swarmlings, making it my most played race by even more, while Sami drew his "favourite" Fakirs, Simon Ice Maidens and James Halflings. James's Halflings got off to the usual fast start, and spread wonderfully, but then he did have the problem that when the terraforming turn came along in turn 4, he couldn't actually build any more houses, and he lost his free terraform at the end of one round similarly, as Sami jumped on to it before he could free up a house. My Swarmlings were able to follow the turn bonuses fairly well, as well as taking the bonus for stronghold/sanctuary three times in the game, and taking both the trading post bonus disks early on, so I was netting a good number of points. Sami's Fakirs jumped, but were struggling to amass huge numbers of points, and Simon's Ice Maidens were struggling with income. On the last turn I blocked Simon's easy connection, forcing him to either spend lots of resources connecting, or me to get a cheap third place. He delayed as long as he could before making the decision, but eventually went for connection, and as I could get more points by other methods by then, I didn't bother spending lots of resources tying/beating him - neither of us could get close to the size of the other two! In the end I won, with a nice Swarmlings score just under 150, James half a dozen points behind, and Sami about the same behind that - not a bad Fakir score for him, but not enough to place highly.

We then played a quick For Sale to finish, where a repeated sequence of James dropping out first, me second, Sami third, Simon paying full whack but for a good card gave Sami in particular some good cards for little cost, and Simon some great cards. I used my remaining money to buy the 30 that turned up on the last round, and managed to put that to good use in the second round, when a high cheque turned up with lots of low ones. Sami won, just one point ahead of Simon.
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Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:03 am
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Friday 7th July 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 7. The obvious Terraforming Mars was suggested for one table, and Hannah suggested Orléans for the other table, and I joined her and Zara for it. It was new to Zara, but she was soon up and running building houses on the board, while Hannah went for mega-cogs and I went for books and a building that got me coins for my star level each turn. Hannah then moved into house building, and rapidly overtook Zara for the number of houses on the board, plus picked up a huge number of goods from her building. Meanwhile I ignored the board totally and was collecting people from the side board, but was slightly unlucky with my bag draws which meant Hannah beat me to one that I'd set up for myself, and I never drew the right combination for the last one. Hannah won with an impressive 161, well ahead of my 126!

We then moved onto Rococo, as the other still had quite a bit of terraforming to do, and this was also new to Zara. I went for huge numbers of dresses, plus a disk in the fountain for income, and was sacking all my employees quite regularly, while Hannah was going for a much larger deck and taking the employees that gave bonuses for a large deck. I just managed to beat Hannah at the end.

The other table had finished just as we started our last round and played Take it Easy while waiting for us. We split again, and John was keen to play Leonardo da Vinci, a game that's been on my list to play as I haven't played it in a while either, and Hannah and Zara joined us, although it was new to both of them. It was definitely a game of clashes. Hannah in the whole game clashed with pretty much every project she worked on, and there was a bid almost every turn for at least one card, not to mention multiple people working on projects that had already finished - at one point we ran out of arrows to mark them! I spent a lot of time and effort upgrading my smaller lab, and buying materials for a project in there, only for Zara to finish the project just before I started it, leaving me with nothing to use it for - grrr! John was the only person to get an end-game bonus for different symbols, and this, combined with the fact that he'd done so many projects anyway, gave him the win, with me second.

We finished by all joining together for a 7 player 7 Wonders, which was won by Sami and his pyramids, while John's Statue came second.
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Sat Jul 8, 2017 10:30 am
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Friday 30th June 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 10 so split into three tables. Around the World in 80 days and Terraforming Mars tabled on two of the tables, and the remaining three of us chose Nations to play. I started with the race that has two military, and two colonies turned up on the first turn, and Sami spent his early game increasing his military to stop me getting both those colonies, but couldn't stop me also calling a rather costly war, and it took him some time to get back on his feet after that as it meant his early income was low, despite the colony - in particular having rather a problem with grain. I still picked up a second colony fairly soon, as well as a leader that had a bonus for high military, and this gave me a good early income. Unluckily for Sami, all the early cards were also punishing for lowest stability, and he was also lowest on that for the first few turns, so he was getting hit from all sides, giving in VPs all over the place! However his book track was off out of sight, so was making them back. I just abandoned books completely and concentrated on points in other ways, but made a mistake on the final turn trying to get the points for my wonder for most people, not realising Sami could grow his civilization by an extra one courtesy of his leader - I would never have normally taken a stability man with my game set-up, and I'd already taken all the grain ones. It ended up with Sami and I joint winning the game, with Martin just a few points behind.

We then played Power Grid: The Card Game, this time with the correct setup! This was also very close, with all of us ending on the same score at end-game, and only 3 cash separately top and bottom position! I thought I'd put myself out of it early on by changing up my power plants too often, but then was able to power more at end-game to cancel out my lower cash holding.

We then played a few fillers to get all the tables to finish together, firstly The City twice (with an impressive victory by me first, when my score and income just flew for a win in just 6 turns, followed by an impressive loss, when Martin just managed to beat Sami's mass of Stadtvillas with a car strategy. Then we played a 6 player Take it Easy!, with quite a wide range of scores.

We then split into three tables again, and I reminded Marion and Hannah how to play Great Western Trail - both of them having played it once, but a few weeks ago, so they'd forgotten the rules/strategy. I went heavily for a station strategy, and got all the first 8 stations - but then found myself with a problem at end game, when I got down to my last disk, a black one, and when I got to Kansas City the only spot I could put it in was white! I tried and failed to find a solution to this in the rules, but as my trip to Kansas triggered game end, and even without that disk I was about 30 points clear point-wise, we decided not to worry too much about it, and just scored up.
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Mon Jul 3, 2017 6:49 am
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Friday 23rd June 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday I arrived rather late, as my son was in a school concert, and the downstairs table were just setting up Incan Gold as we walked in, so we joined them. Simon was leaving early on a regular basis, and it looked like this would work well for him, then Seb managed to pick up a good hoard, and this put him just ahead. Marion however was struggling to pick up more than a handful of gems, always either staying in a round too long, or running when everyone else did so she had to share the treasure!

We then split into two tables, and I ended up on the Terraforming Mars table with Marion and Simon. Marion just managed to pip Simon by one point for second place, but my extra experience showed and I won. I then introduced Marion to Power Grid: The Card Game, my new purchase, which had one of the oddest starts, as all the early power plants were expensive late-game plants, but this meant in the mid-game no-one wanted to buy any plants. We also had a major water shortage, which meant we took it in turns to not power a water plant and drop to the back of the turn order! Marion won with a score of 30, while Simon and I tied on 28 but with him winning the tie-break.

We finished by joining with the rest for a quick game of 6 nimmt!, made very quick by James collecting huge numbers of horns in the first two rounds - his score was 62 after two rounds! Marion did his best to catch him on score, collecting 58 in the last two rounds, but didn't quite manage it as her first round score was actually quite respectable. Meanwhile on the other side of the scale I managed to just beat Simon for the win, thanks to my 0 score in the first round - he was very consistently scoring about 7 a round for a safe second place.
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Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:38 pm
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Friday 16th June 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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Last Friday we were 8. We started waiting for our last player to arrive, so playing a couple of games of Fake Artist. Seb started choosing a person, Jason Bourne, but sadly a few of us didn't know who he was, which made drawing interesting, and the fake artist, Lisa, got away. The second game Lisa chose a location, Paris. Seb started by drawing an arch, which I assumed was the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, so continued upwards, but he meant to be the Arc de Triomphe. John drew a moon shape near the bottom of the paper, then Colin drew a line which was clearly meant as another Eiffel Tower! Simon drew a weird balloon shape, and after some deliberation Marion continued the Eiffel Tower arch, as did Seb again. I gave up on that and drew a river, realising too late that it wasn't easy with just one line. John drew a small circle on Simon's balloon, Colin continued his Eiffel tower, Simon drew a weird box on top of my Eiffel Tower and Marion decided to make it clear she wasn't the fake artist by drawing an impressively arty baguette. At this point it was clearly between John and Simon for Fake Artist and they split the votes 3-3, but it turned out it was Simon so he got away - John's weird moon shape was meant for a croissant, as three people realised!

We then split into two tables. One table was obviously Terraforming Mars, while I suggested Saint Petersburg for the other table, which was new to both Hannah and Seb. I went for income early on, and an early Observatory, that did nothing for me until mid-game as it happened, but then was very good in picking up both a high level aristocrat and a large blue building, when I was struggling to convert my cash into VPs. Marion went for early VPs from a couple of expensive blue buildings, and pulled out to an early VP lead, but her income was lagging rather. Hannah echoed me in going for lots of cash, but was slower to switch into VP generation in the mid-game. Seb had a nice mix of everything, but didn't get nearly as many aristocrats as Hannah and I, so at end-game we both went past him, but he managed to stay a few points ahead of Marion. My extra experience showed, and I won comfortably.

We then moved onto Pictomania, which was more of an exercise in people misreading numbers than anything else. Early on Seb managed to draw completely the wrong picture off the card, and I gave him some stick for it, as he has played the game lots. That lost him quite a few points. Then, to my amusement, and Seb's annoyance, I managed somehow to pick my cards up with my upside down 2 partly hidden by the card in front of it, so it looked like a 7. Unfortunately for Seb he was the only person to actually bet for it, and the only person to get any guesses wrong that round, so he lost rather a lot of points for that too, through no fault of his own! I as usual was generally quicker at drawing and guessing, so the loss of points for that round didn't cost me the game, and Seb was safely last thanks to the mess-ups, so asked to play again. The second game it was Marion and Hannah's turn to mess up. Firstly Hannah drew the wrong picture, this time because she assumed there were only 6 things listed on each card, so drew the bottom one - her drawing of a potato was particularly good and detailed until we realised it should have been a cucumber! This hurt me particularly as it had a knock-on effect on what I guessed for Marion's, and I ended up with most wrong answers too. Then she got Mortician, and spent so long not sure how to draw it (her picture in the end was just a stick man), that she forgot to guess, and got no points for either guesses or people guessing hers! Then Marion managed to put the wrong number in for her guess for Seb's card, to complete the catalogue of errors! In the end Marion won, one point ahead of me because of my disaster, and Seb managed to stay ahead of Hannah, thanks to her two disaster rounds - she was struggling to get a positive score even!

We then merged and split with the other group - downstairs playing Augustus, while upstairs we played Suburbia. I managed to get the least green building bonus early on, as both Simon and Colin were tempted by the buildings that gave 2 cash for each green building. I was also going for the largest continguous lake, but Simon kept taking more and more lakes so went ahead of me. I also ended up with highest reputation, thanks to taking a PR firm early in the C deck and then increasing my reputation by using a 2x on an existing building. Colin was getting an impressive number of VPs per turn, but his reputation didn't quite drop below Simon's, although he possibly could have played the last turn differently to make sure it did, so he didn't do his own goal, or any of the joint ones, and I went flying past him with the two joint goals, plus my own one for most continguous greys. The others still hadn't finished, so we had a quick game of The Game (2015) while waiting for them, which we managed to win, although it looked a bit hairy in the middle.

Seb had started explaining one of his games just before we finished, but Marion wasn't keen on the sound of it, so joined the three of us while the others played that, and I suggested Through the Desert, which was new to Simon. After the near obligatory placement of the grey camel by Simon in set-up, we got started. We all managed to enclose one large area worth about 12 points, and we all had one camel colour majority at end-game, but Colin got two and this was enough to give him the win ahead of me, with Simon just a few points behind me.

We then introduced Simon to Liar's Dice to finish with, but Hannah and Lisa joined us one round in, when the rest of their table left, and Hannah proceeded to win the game, not losing her first dice for ages, and ending in a 2-on-1 dice duel with Lisa. Simon went out very early on, after some quite amusing bidding of 5 1s by Lisa, 6 1s by Colin, challenge by Simon (he wasn't really left with many other options) no less than three times in a row - and unfortunately the challenging did not go well for him!
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Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:21 am
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Friday 9th June 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Last Friday we were 7. Zara was introduced to Terraforming Mars downstairs, but upstairs Marion learnt Nations. She found it frustratingly similar to Through the Ages in style, and found herself struggling for food, although she had an impressive number of books. I won, my extra experience showing, and chose a quick filler game of The Bucket King while we waited for the other table to finish their final round and scoring - which Marion managed to win comfortably, Simon going out very early, and John and I unable to take down Marion's pyramid before losing our own.

After that we merged and split again, with downstairs taking Seasons, while upstairs we played Terra Mystica. I drew Auren, and managed a typical Auren track game, and managed to get a good number of in-game points too. James was challenging me hard for the tracks, but struggled to get his Cultists any in-game points, especially with Sami refusing to give him any track upgrades. Sami played Acolytes for the first time, and struggled with them a little, being unfamiliar with them. Simon was Nomads, and ended up just a few points behind me, with the typical Nomad spread, three towns and easily largest region.

We finished with a quick Power Grid: The Card Game, which was new to Sami. I still struggled a bit with setup, but not as much as last time. It was a very slow game, with the power plants getting stuck, and us never having to junk any. Simon won - he initially announced the same score as me so I asked how much cash he had left afterwards for the tie-break - and he kept on counting until he got to 16 - we gave him the extra point he should have claimed, and the win!
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Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:25 pm
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Friday 2nd June 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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We were 7 this evening. We started with a quick, although not as quick as we hoped as we were all terrible, game of Timeline: Diversity. Sami went out fairly shortly, but Simon and I struggled with our last cards to be second and third, and then Colin and Hannah had nightmares with their last cards with the now quite-long Timeline, and we eventually called it with Hannah having one card left and Zara a couple, rather than prolong the agony!

After that we split into two tables. Marion was wanting to try her new game, and Terraforming Mars was naturally suggested for the other table, with Hannah wanting to try that, so Zara and Sami went with Marion to try her game, while the rest of us did some terraforming. Simon got an impressive income early on, and used it to complete every milestone and award that he could - netting 25 points at end-game from them alone. Sadly though, despite having several cities on the board, they got him 0 points at end-game! In fact, there was a distinct lack of greenery on the board, and what there was was placed by Colin, as far away from cities as possible! Colin put together a nice microbe empire, which tied Simon for second place, while I went past them with an impressive collection of Jovian tags at end game - two cards with 1 for each Jovian tag, and 6 Jovian tags!

We then merged and split, and I finally managed to table Code 777. Colin got an amazing start, with his total being greater than 18, which didn't leave him many options, especially when he also got lots of information about duplicates and near duplicates. He was finishing his second as the rest of us were finishing our first, although Simon tried to get a quick result by guessing, incorrectly, on a 50/50. Unsurprisingly after that start, Colin won, with me next, and Simon and Zara on one correct guess each.

Colin then suggested Around the World in 80 Days, in which Simon was on a mission to get to every location first, and wasn't letting our inspector movements deflect him from that too much. The rest of us were in a pack behind, until Zara got impatient and decided to ignore the inspector. Then, with Simon nearing London, Colin decided to be clever and do a double move, to try and leave me finishing the turn after him and last, to guarantee being ahead of me. Sadly for him, first he used all his cards on the double move, then had inspector trouble, then tried to use a balloon and used all his cash trying to reduce it below 4, and then ran out of cards, and couldn't buy any more as he was out of cash. He failed to finish, Zara went over 80 days, and so I was comfortably second, but still some 10 or more days longer than Simon's trip!

Both tables then joined together for a couple of games to finish with - firstly a 7 Wonders, which was Zara's second play. Sami won, with a nice science collection worth 31 and some military. Despite being Colossus, with a militaristic Zara on my right, and no access to the necessary resources, I didn't build a single military all game, instead going for an impressive collection of 4 guilds worth 30 points, and lots of blue cards, but this was only enough for third, Marion sneaking ahead of me with military and blue.

We finished with an Apples to Apples, which was won by Zara, repeating her Crappy Birthday performance from last week!
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Sat Jun 3, 2017 2:59 pm
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Friday 26th May 2017

Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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Last Friday we were 8, including a new gamer, a friend of one of the regulars. We started by splitting into two tables - the first the inevitable Terraforming Mars, while on the other table we played The Pillars of the Earth. It was new to the new gamer, and unfamiliar to the other two, with just one play over a year ago, so I went through the rules and we got started. Naturally being the only experienced player I won comfortably, but it was clear in about round 3 that the others were getting the idea, and making their engines more efficient.

We then all joined together for a quick game of Crappy Birthday before Ellie left. This left us with 7, and we played Terra Mystica on my table. I drew Chaos Magicians, which is usually a good start, but when the others had placed their houses they left me with an awful selection of starting locations - I went for the usual top of right island start, but then the game went from bad to worse for me, with key areas being terraformed (mostly by Sami's dragonlords!), before I could get to them, and struggling to get my income up, and receiving only a small amount of power in mid-game and very little apart from that. Trading posts were a real issue, and I ended up in last place, although the end-game scores were relatively close, and it wasn't actually clear until final scoring who had actually won - the winner turning out to be Martin with his Darklings.

We then played a game of Terra, completing the "Terra" trio of games, in which Sami had an absolute disaster in the archipelago round, losing all his cubes, as did Simon, but then tried to regain cubes by being cautious in the next round, and as it happens our guesses turned out to be right and the next round was quite high scoring, which left him miles behind. It ended up as a tie between Martin and Simon, with me just one point behind!

We finished with a 7 player 7 Wonders, with Zara having some help from her neighbours, but getting a nice science strategy going that netted her second place (we had to remove an accidental duplicate science card or she might have won!). Simon won, with his usual blue/guild game. I had an income problem, called producing almost no goods apart from science resources, and this hampered me rather, leaving me in last place. My inability to spot stealth military on Sami's board didn't help me either!
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Thu Jun 1, 2017 8:17 am
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Friday 19th May 2017

Sharon Khan
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Shefford
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Last Friday we were 7, but two people were late back from London, and another was late too, so we started with just 4, and a game of Tongiaki: Journey into the Unknown. This was new to John, and was definitely not the best first experience of the game. Of the first 9 tiles, 7 were water, and we drew all but one of the water tiles early on, before then building one large island with the remaining land tiles. As usual I managed to maintain my presence on most islands, with the other positions going by experience with the game!

We then had another ten minutes before the train pair arrived, so we played a 5 player game of Pick Picknic, one of Marion's favourite short fillers, but that was new to John and James didn't remember it well either. I explained the rules, but I think I confused everyone with the -2 rules, as no-one ever played one, until I commented on the lack of them, when they all came out at once! Marion won comfortably with an impressive score of 54, with everyone else in the 20s and 30s. A few lucky foxes, plus a large grain stockpile, and she was uncatchable.

We then had 7 and needed to split into two tables. Naturally Terraforming Mars was suggested for one table, with Ellie asking to play one of the D&D games. After a bit of discussion we finally managed to fit everyone on a table, and I joined Ellie and Matt for Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game. Our first game did not go well. I started and produced a monster, then Matt went, and by the end of his turn there were 6 monsters on the board, and Matt was down to just a couple of life! Ellie did her best, but Matt's complete inability to attack a monster ever really didn't help our cause, and we died without ever stepping off the stair tile! We restarted with different roles, and Matt started this time, and managed exactly the same start as last time - 5 monsters, and down to 1 life!!! This time however the rest of us were able to kill the majority of the monsters, and although Matt and Ellie were both on low life for the rest of the game, we did manage to locate and destroy the altar, although I have to say the rest of my party would almost certainly not have made it out alive - I was fine, nearly full health and a healing spell!!

The others were just finishing their terraforming (they claimed it was the last turn, but then it went on one more), so we pulled out On the Dot on Ellie's suggestion. As usual I didn't have much competition, doing all but one of the early cards, with Ellie letting out squeaks of annoyance when Matt finished and turned a new card before she could, and squeaks of frustration from Matt when I beat him yet again (he even resorted to throwing my cards all over the room and I still won!).

Marion had suggested Agricola at the start of the evening, and I was keen to play too, so we played that next, while the other three played Paperback. Sami had the most amazing score ever, getting 55 points - his game just seemed to go from good to better. Early on he inadvertently blocked me, first by taking the stone in front of me, and then the fireplace, and then I ended up having to eat all the grain I'd stockpiled, with all my cards being grain related, so my game didn't go well from there. I beat Marion there, who was having even more of a disaster.

We then joined together for some party games for the last hour - firstly Midnight Party, which turned out to be another new one to John, then Crappy Birthday, which ended in a joint tie for Sami and Matt, as they both reached five cards on the same turn, and lastly a quick round of Take it Easy!, which seemed to go my way rather. I actually managed a perfect board in one direction - scoring 7 3s, 7 4s and 5 8s - and my other directions weren't too bad either, for a grand total of 181, with James second with 157. Marion had a complete disaster but just managed to squeak a score of 100 despite that.
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Mon May 22, 2017 6:47 pm
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Friday 12th May 2017

Sharon Khan
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Shefford
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We started with just 4 and a game of Rise of Augustus, while waiting for our fifth to arrive. It came down to Sami and I both needing one symbol to finish, and unfortunately for me Sami got it, and my 12 point card didn't score for me, which put me in second behind him.

We then played El Grande, despite Marion's protests that it wasn't a party game, and despite her protests throughout the game that she wasn't doing well, she won by a handful of points, her determination to keep her region with her grande and the big bonus scoring tile in it working well for her points-wise. My last turn I managed to move lots of cubes around to tie points for everyone else, and this was enough to put me in second a handful of points ahead of the rest, who were all in a clump behind me.

Marion then wanted a party game, and we settled on GiftTRAP. It was noticeable that Marion was particularly bad at giving presents, and Sami at getting them - especially from Simon, who kept hitting his No Way. Simon ended up just short of finishing one turn, and I managed to catch him the next turn for a joint win. Gill was the only person not to have either of her presents on the finish line.

We then went for Ave Caesar in which Marion crashed and burned to void the first race, then failed to finish in the second race, which I won, and then I crashed and burned and Gill ran out of cards on the second race, Gill having been forced round the outside of the red track one to many times, and then we finished with a fairly tame last race, that I won, which gave me the win with just 10 points, everyone else but Gill on 8 points and she just one point behind on 7.

We then had enough time for another proper game, so settled on Vegas Showdown. Gill won this one, thanks to a nice Nightclub and actually completing her board. I was looking good for in-game points, but then at the end with neither my hotel or casino finished, and no connection, and only second in both income types, and 1 point from triangles, everyone but Marion went flying past me!

Last we played 6 nimmt!. Sami had a disaster at the start of the first round, taking two high value rows, but Marion still had more points at the end of that round than him. Then in the second round I was the one forced to take no less than three rows with lots of points, but Marion still got as many end-round points. In the final round it was Simon who took most points, apart from Marion, and Marion went over with 69, while Sami, next-worst, was only on 41, and Gill won, getting no points at all in the last round, and never having a disaster round, with just 23 points total.
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Sat May 13, 2017 9:31 am
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