The Ross-on-Wye Boardgamers

Beer and Boardgames at The Plough Inn (formerly the Prince Of Wales, formerly the White Lion). "It's not F-ing Monopoly, alright?!"
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Friday 21st February - Flowery Twats

Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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Microbadge: Keyflower fanMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: I put components in separate Ziploc bagsMicrobadge: Game Group OrganizerMicrobadge: I support the Iron!
Becky and I both spent Valentine's (and, more pertinently, our wedding anniversary) weekend bopping and jiving to some of the best rock'n'roll in the country, so there exists no report of last week. This Friday, however, proved to be something of a treat.

There have been some tensions arising between Becky and Tony, after the 'chicken nugget incident' and his perceived sleights against all her favourite games on his blog. So much perverse pleasure was had during the packing of the games bag this week and Goa, Keyflower, Princes of Florence and the ilk all found their way in.

And then Tony cancelled, so we had to repack anyway. I could almost hear him laughing.

We were still a healthy six-hander, though, and eschewed the instinct to split into two tables in order to enjoy the small, but excellent, selection of 6P games we had available. Ian had made noises about trying Libertalia a few weeks ago but had been scuppered by player-count, so this seemed like the perfect rectification opportunity. It was a pretty gentle selection of cards for beginners, although much merriment was had out of Becky picking up several beggars early on, and Dave and Gerv did some delightful backbiting as they exchanged sabre targets. John was definitely the man to catch after a huge first round: I did my best by chaining a bunch of night-time characters in the last week, but his 96 points remained resolutely unbeatable. I think we might be finally winning him round for the Norm/Keith/Captain Twat days.

Keyflower was the one game that had survived the repack and - despite our last full-complement game having taken approximately 3 hours - there was no disparagement of the idea of taking it on again. And I think every one of us was thoroughly glad that we did because it was fascinating to watch everyone's strategy develop in subtly different ways. Ian went 'big green' (proper 'big green', not Richard Clyne 'bid green' which involves desperately trying to turn your green meeples back to normal colours in winter), Dave saved up for last round purchases and scrambled to populate them, Gerv made good use of the 'ignore the big colour' summer boat, and John leveraged gold with some good autumn tiles. Becky built a compact but high-scoring village, and I spent most of the first two seasons feeling I was being shut out of a game that I thought I was quite good at. However, when autumn kicks in, then most players lose their opportunistic focus, and I was able to sneak in on John's big-meeple tiles and started stockpiling wood for an autumn tile. However, the pesky Gerv outbid me by using the wrong colour, so I was forced to splash it on several other less profitable tiles instead. Somehow, and I still don't know how, I managed to pull through to overtake a rampant Dave and economical Becky and bring the game in by just 2 points. When the game is still this amazing after 80+ plays, you know it's a very special design.

A most excellent 6P filler in the shape of Incan Gold. After too many games of scoring zero, John and Gerv (and, to be honest, me too) all played cowardy-custards and ran away with pitiful handfuls of treasure. It left Becky open to dive into a capacious fifth dungeon and reap all the rewards for a very comfortable win.

Plenty of time for the inimicable Cockroach Salad to finish, and if you think reports of me winning at Keyflower are getting predictable, then this will shake your foundations. Although John won the first game in a routine, if slightly gloating, manner, the second went the way of one Ian Morley, until recently dubbed 'the man who inexplicably says "cucumber" and makes us laugh most at his ineptness' where this game is concerned. Wonders will never cease, I tell you.
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