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 January 11th - Didactica Mystica

Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
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Oi! Hands off...
With a slightly indeterminate number expected this week (anywhere from 4-6, judging by the number of 'maybe's and 'probably's I'd received on the email), I took pot luck with the games and threw a job lot into the bag this week, including a few notoriously unpopular ones, just for a laugh.

We'd rolled up marginally before Gordon for once, JP and Bill soon to follow, and there followed the usual inelegant 'shall we play something or shan't we while seeing whether Tony will turn up?' phase of the evening. I had gotten no further than the rules explanation and the first round of Citadels, when he did in fact arrived, clutching his treasured Terra Mystica. Given that Becky had ALREADY managed to forget which character she had, having only picked one, it seemed reasonable to junk Citadels.

John and Gordon boycotted Keyflower to ponce about with elves and trolls and suchlike, so we had the opportunity to teach Bill this delightful little enigma. His reaction was the near-universal "I don't know what I'm doing but I quite like it". Which is good, 'cos we like it too.

My rules explanation finished before Tony's and we cracked on with the spring round in a game which was to prove worryingly lean on gold until the last. When we started on summer, and Tony was STILL teaching, we started to get a little concerned, seeing as how John and Gordon's eyes were glazing over. I think the game of Terra Mystica began as we were partway through Autumn, which in Keyflower terms is 'nearly finished' territory. Bill acquitted himself very well for his first game, although lining some roads up (or not) hampered him, and he forgot to abuse his summer boats for a while. I made something of a timing error by managing to upgrade all my tiles by the end of Autumn, leaving me with nothing to do in Winter but wander about and try to get in other people's way. Becky, meanwhile, snapped up the Barn and managed to fill it full of all sorts of precious goods, winning 65/60/46. Remember that score of 60...

With Terra Mystica seemingly temporarily in abeyance for apparently more looking up of rules, and certainly no prospect of it finishing any time soon, we decided to revive last week's interest in Airlines Europe. This was a game that universally went down well with five, and I was pleased to find it was just as good with three. The rules were taught in a trice (hmmm...), and the first scoring card came out surprisingly early (although this may have been a shuffling error). Becky and Bill both made the error of not capitalising on the 'holdings company' of Abacus, and I picked up 16 points on the final scoring to mirror my victory of last week. Final scores: 60/55/52. Oh look, I scored 60 again.

Terra Mystica had, by this time, succumbed under the weight of Gordon's intense gamesmanship and Tony managing to get the rules wrong as regarding his own characters. Rather annoyingly, they pinched my copy of Divinare, a game which I had been eyeing up myself as a good closer. Tony proceeded to clock up a worryingly comfortable win, while we contended ourselves with the only thing better: the laughably insane Braggart. Despite Becky 'accidentally summoning a terrified urchin' (something of which Fagin would be proud) and Bill's exploits with the local chickens, I managed to stroll to - yes - another 60 points, which is generally enough for a win in 3-player. But it was a hollow victory: for my final boast I was forced to heroically slay Simon The Lonely Ogre, which frankly puts a taint on any evening.
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