Games, games and more games!
We were 5. Ray was first to arrive, and had brought Kingdom Builder with him, so we started with that. Ray deliberately picked cards that were new to us. I focussed mainly on the one that required me to build on one horizontal line on the board, getting lots of points from that, and also building round mountains, while Sami and Ray concentrated more on the other one – getting on all four boards. A lucky last turn for me enabled me to finally get on the fourth board, so net some points from each settlement on the board you’re on least.
Next I asked to play my new acquisition, Turbo Taxi, which I remembered enjoying when I last played it, many years ago. Our first puzzle turned out to be impossible though, and the third one, which didn’t get us off to a good start. Ray did well early on, but then Sami suddenly seemed to work out how to do it, and won almost every puzzle from then on, although I did manage to just beat him to a couple. Then Sami put our toddler to bed, and I introduced Ray to Bollox while we were waiting for him to return. Next we played TransAmerica, where Sami seemed invincible, winning the first two rounds easily. After three rounds Ray and I were both hanging on the edge of the board, just about to fall into the water, but then I was able to win the last round – Sami was the winner by miles though – we were just competing not to lose!! Next came another filler, High Society, chose by Sami, while waiting for Marion to arrive (she was running late). It was a slightly odd game, as the end came slightly quicker than expected, and there was only one negative card. Ray and James managed to tie for least cash, so Sami came second with a negative score!!!
Now Marion had arrived, so I was choosing a 5 player. I read down my list, and Schrille Stille was agreed upon – new to Ray, and Marion had only played once. It was a fairly close game most of the way through, with the leader being fairly effectively hit. Sami ran out of bands near the end, and had to change colours. I had far too many bands all the way through, but managed to get some of them to score points most rounds. Marion had an amazing round late game where she managed to guess the right band to be highest riser, as well as getting most of her bands near the top, which jumped her from near the back of the ranks to a better position. James won though, so got to choose the next game – and gave us an option of Power Grid or Outpost, and we settled on Power Grid.
Power Grid China was the map chosen – the one where the power plants come out in increasing order, and resources start VERY expensive. I stayed at the back early game, and got cheaper resources than most, and then mid-game, when everyone was getting bunched up and stuck, and Ray had half the board, used my accumulated money to build right round Ray, and break out from the stuck position, meanwhile messing up Ray, who suddenly found it harder to buy houses! From then on I was powering more houses than everyone else all game, but it didn’t hurt me as much as expected – the different power plant auction helped me there, and I tried to keep myself the only player in coal in the mid-game to reduce competition, although I had to move out of coal late game when two players got coal-eating plants! James and Sami were meanwhile totally stuck in the top corner of the map until Phase 2 hit, when there was competition for the nearby area, and Marion seemed to have money issues. Late game it looked like I’d be able to build to 15 houses, powering 13, while everyone else would only be on 11 or 12. Sami built to 13, which meant if I could end it I’d be in second position, but as it happened I was 2 cash short anyway, and it went into the extra round – Sami chose not to power all his houses, worried about a coal shortage, which turned out to be a decision that cost him, as he then didn’t have enough cash to do everything he needed in the next turn, as and it happened no more coal plants came up anyway, and in fact players moved out of coal as they bought new plants so he would have been fine.
Next came Puerto Rico. It was clear early on that Sami was doing well, with factory, harbour and wharf, although my collection of three 10 buildings made my position look good (shame they were only worth 4 points each, and I had very few shipping points). James tried to get an indigo shipping strategy going, but got shut out of the boats mid-game. We finished with a quick No Thanks!, where I got very lucky in one of the two rounds!