The usual call offs and call ons preceded the night's gaming, Stuart called off, Nick called off then on, then probably off, then possibly on, Andy called Ivan a Twat and I called barclaycard (i wont bore those of you not present with the details!)
It must be pointed out that Ivan has stated his desire to see Torres get more table time, you might not know Torres, it's the game of Tower Building, you might have seen us play it before on one of the 11 times it has been tabled in the last 3 months!
The gaming began, Ivan, Julia, John & Robert look bemused as I tried to teach them "In the Shadow of the Emperor" It's a quick and easy area control influence type game, should be played in about an hour and dead easy to pick up. More on their 3 hour extravaganza later!
Whilst this was happening David, Robert and I were preparing ourselves for the spielmugging that is "In the year of the dragon" Having subjected us to the Plague Attrition of Notre Dame, Stefan Feld must have felt that further punishment was necessary and removed all the "cute" elements from his previous game, replacing them with a mechanic which simply slaps you on the face every round with increasing intensity.
A game of "In The Year of the Dragon" is akin to receiving a good boot in the balls, It's very painful but if you have a sick mind you might derive some kind of twisted pleasure from the process. Clearly Mr Feld is unhappy about something, maybe the lukewarm reviews handed out to his first Alea Big Box "Rum & Pirates" has resulted in him exacting revenge on the gaming community. Rumours abound that his next game will simply consist of a very black box with the word "Tourettes" Etched in the same shade of black. When you open the box, a large metal boot shoots out, kicks you in the nuts and calls you a "CockSucker"
It has to be said that I'm describing a game that I won with 80 points to David's 76, we really should be looking at this from the perspective of Robert who endured one of the biggest game muggings I have ever seen. He ended the game worse off than his starting position. The game had forced itself upon Robert in unimaginable ways, breached and abused every orifice in his body and if that's not enough was seen leaving the house with Roberts Car Keys and his Mother's Address.
With the Papal war raging upstairs and with Nick still contemplating an arrival, we opted to give clans another outing. I have always loved the simplicity of the game combined with the brain melting decision making that it throws up. David quickly got to grips with its complexities, Robert looked a little forlorn and was to be seen idly pushing red villagers around the board whilst mumbling something about anal invasion and japanese torture. Thankfully for Robert he did manage to beat down the two fake players and grab a respectable third, unfortunately he couldnt prevent another Smith, Grier 1 and 2.
Still No Nick, so we pulled off Wyatt Earp, no game just me dressed in some Chaps being pleasured by the boys.... no no seriously, stop me, take my wife, try the salmon, I'm here all week!
I cannot gloss over the Wyatt Earp action as herein Robert managed his own act of revenge, claiming a last round haul that garnered him an overall first 22 to David and My own hauls of 21.
Nick arrived, the Pope Bashers finished off - John claimed Victory with 24 to Andy & Julia's 23, I understand that Ivan was playing but his score marker would not have suggested such, Ivan and David buggered off and the rest of settled down to another round of Hoity Toity. I was a little nervous how this one would be regarded, it is random and luck plays a major role but everyone seemed to really enjoy the simultaneous selection. Like my last two games, those leading as we approached the end started to sweat at the prospect of losing key works in any exhibitions. Furthermore our sixth sense seemed to be in overdrive, as round after round Nick and I chose identical locations and roles. Andy and John found themselves perpetually losing out to Robert's Check Thieves whilst on more than one occassion Robert was allowed a free hand to buy or exhibit whilst the four of us set off for precisely the location with precisely the same action in mind.
In the last round John and Andy secured the bonus points for collections but neither secured enough to catch Nick or I, tied at the Table. Nick won it on the Tiebreak, thus my hatrick of victories was foiled again.
Much negotiation preceded the final game, we opted for Modern Art, it was late, we were all tired and it got a bit emotional. John and I were fighting it out for most of the game, John managed to don a cute innocent face and secure the support of his fellow gallery owners, before striding to a convincing victory (his second of the night) £526,000, to my own $485,000, Andy had £436,000 and Nick was somewhere in the room. To be fair, Nick had bigger concerns on his mind, such as how he was going to avoid the significant boot in the balls that he would be getting when he arrived home. It's one thing to go to games when you have a phd to finish, it's another to go to games when you have a 2 week old baby to care for, it's quite another to sneak out of the house when your wife is asleep .... hoping she won't wake up .... well she came to, she saw and she was going to conker his balls good and proper!