So the evening began with Stuart reluctantly agreeing to play Steel Driver but "only if it was nothing like Brass". My slightly dishonest response that it was like Ticket to Ride with Puppy Dogs - seemed to win him over and we began - what turned out to be a thoroughly enlightening game.
With this being William, Robert and David's second game in recent weeks, Julias fourth and my fifth, we all had a relatively clear idea of how we were going to approach this one.
William opted for diversity, he chose a different share each round and sacrificed control at game end. I decided to grab shares in the early activators allowing me to grab as much income as possible, by the end of the game I had control of both Red and Black. Red was a tasty prospect with Black one of the weaker options. Julia found herself controlling Yellow and David Green, with the remaining shares in these companies divied up pretty evenly between the remaining players. Well all apart from Stuart who had invested heavily each round in the Blue Company, a company which began in the midwest with only white resource options available, had found itself losing access to reds and silvers and then found itself sitting in the last choice position in round 5.
How we pitied him ..... until we began to witness his activity, by the end of the selection phase, Yellow was the wealthiest company with a share value of £160, Blue pulled a mightily impressive £150 - thanks mainly to the surplus of individual whites he had gleaned from in and around Chicago, Green was equally placed on £150, Red on £110 with Black and Purple bringing up the rear on 90 and 70 respectively.
At this point Stuart's monopoly strategy made perfect sense, whilst he didnt have any shares in the highest company, he did have 4 times the shares anyone else had in Blue. Julia and David had to share their wealth with fellow board members, whilst Stuart pocketed a massive £600 from this company alone.
Williams decision to back each horse hadnt worked, my failure to make black more successful had failed miserably, Robert found himself invested in the worst companies, whilst Julia and David more or less fed each other .... Stuart simply romped to victory and in doing so claimed the Monthly prize for November!
After Stuart's victory dance and departure, we set off on a castle hopping, antique stealing and crime busting adventure in Adel Verplitchtet (Hoity Toity). I will be intrigued to see what our seasoned members think of this, simultaneous card play race game, I have now played it twice in a few days and really really like the pace and randomness of it. Whilst the early rounds seem a little too random, the closing stages build the tension and our game saw Julia and I locked in a tense battle, both of us held commanding exhibition material but were petrified to display any of it, for fear that our fellow art dealers might send the thieves in. Each round, Julia and I tried desperately to pull a fast one, whilst our opponents tried in vain to nick our items or imprison out thieves. The game ended with Julia victorious by a single point over me, Robert and David pulled a respectable scores in 3rd and 4th whilst William had a mare and came dead last!
We finished off with Notre Dame, David was reluctant having had such a horrible experience last time round, this time he was much more positive. There is no doubt that understanding the rules and tactics can enhance ones enjoyment no end. Alas that wasnt the case for me as I had a horror show, after 9 frightful rounds, I found myself with less than half the points of our victor William, who it has to be said, trounced us all good and proper. David pulled a tidy second , with Julia third. Robert pipped me into 4th by 1 point.
Thanks to all for making it a fast moving and fun night, Congrats again to Stuart - The King (for the time being at least) - Winchester!