Oi! Hands off...
Ben and Becky opened up with our new copy of Arena: Roma II, an Ender-recommended improvement over the original Roma. And Ender was right, of course. When is he ever not? Arena solves some of the niggling problems of the original game by offering more ways to score VPs, avoiding the unnecessary Forum-digging and eliminating the poor iconography in favour of card text. Perhaps what I like best about it is the possibilities offered by combining it with the first game and playing deck-against-deck or even card drafting.
Actually, I lie. What I like best was the fact that it allowed me to actually thrash Becky.
Boydells both senior and juvenile were on their way (I'll let you disentangle which might be which), with a remit to play some easy, light and fun games in celebration of the forthcoming Easter weekend. I requested we open proceedings with the lovely Cubiko, and promptly ran riot over both the easy and difficult boards. I don't think either Boydell won a single round over both games. In fact the ball spent more time in the pork scratchings than on the board when under their control.
Benedict's turn for a request, and - much to our general sense of foreboding - he opted for Creationary. The first game was eked out by Tony and Becky despite a worrying inability on my wife's part to name the Colosseum - Benedict failing to recognise my expertly-created solar panels at the death.
A re-match was proposed, Batesons versus Boydells, and Becky carried on her winning record. Creationary is starting to lose its life-span, sadly, due to the lack of 'clue' cards, and we lent it to an enthusiastic Benedict for the forthcoming family holiday, although the frosty reception this magnanimous gesture drew from Tony suggests that the box might 'accidentally be left at home'.
The main event on 'party' nights is frequently Balderdash - the 20th Anniversary 'Absolute Balderdash' edition in this case.
And much fun was had as ever. Despite some improperly difficult abbreviation rounds (these should be banned!), much laughter was had through definitions of Pokeloken (to poke someone but not remove your finger) and the use of dancing ducks to entertain parts of Texas (both fruits of the youngest, most fertile mind at the table). Tony shot into an early lead, mostly fuelled by his being able to deceive my wife; I must keep an eye on this. But a fightback was on the cards until he closed it out quite simply, and conveniently just before closing time.
Good, frothy fun, although next week we'll have to play something a bit more serious if we're to retain any respect from Rachel the barmaid.