primordialgroup

Boardgaming in Glasgow

Own up or i'm tossing a coin!

Tonight's gaming came straight out of the twilight zone mainly thanks to Robert and Andy. If weird things keep happening over the next few weeks I am tempted to buy some garlic and lock myself in the toilet.


Tichu
Every time I say the word I expect a plump friar to step up behind me and whisper - bless you my son. -


Ok so first off, I've played Tichu maybe once before and enjoyed it however that was with a decent partner. I know you're probably thinking - oh here comes the old lame 'its my partner's fault I lost' excuse - but hear me out: it was really all Robert's fault.

You see, try as I might to communicate (via card play rather than by pulling ears etc) with my team mate, he insisted in playing randomly. Now normally I can deal with randomness however Robert scattered apparent logic and strategy throughout his play, lulling me into a false sense of security on the occasions that I took note and attempted to adjust my strategy. However plan as I might, he managed to scupper me. Eventually I worked out that he was playing away; batting for the other side, if you will. So my only option was to call a few minor and one major Tichu in an attempt to put us back in contention with Andy and John. This did not work and we ended up with huge minus points. It was all Robert's fault (have I said that already). On reflection I didn't enjoy this much, it was overly long and not as elegant nor as fun as Mu (nor as good as I remember).


Ruse & Bruise
As we waited for the other table to finish Royal Turf (Winners Circle) John whipped this out onto the table.


Maybe when I hadn't heard of this alarm bells should have started to ring. Or maybe I should have ran after John mentioned it was an impulse buy. However I must have been groggy from the Tichu game because even after the rules explanation I still played it. To say Ruse and Bruise is bad is like saying mass murder is bad: it doesn't even begin to describe the horror. The game is entirely devoid of strategy. You have nearly no control over when the round will end and thus you can get severely humped in the scoring. Add to this mainly hidden card play and a set of cards with so many lengthy rules, so little good card design (give me some icons to indicate if a card activates when flipped or only in the scoring phase please!) and a scoring phase where there is an eight or nine item order in which cards resolve before scoring and this out complicates most CCG's! On the positive side; most of the components will burn without releasing toxic gas.


Mammoth Hunters
I'm glad we got a chance to play this. I've tried it once before with the Northern Ireland group before I moved over to Scotland and while I enjoyed it, it didn't go down well with the other players. Tonight I got a chance to see how much of a game there really was in this nice brown box.


It turns out we got a rule or two wrong in the first turn but once spotted we corrected it and I don't think the game suffered. I enjoyed this again and I think the others had a similarly positive experience. I think the dark and light card mechanic is nice and I enjoy the tension as you balance helping your opponents with improving your own position. The game is pretty tactical but its nice that you can manipulate your hand a little by discarding a card before you redraw. I don't think there's too much luck and the fire tiles don't add that much hidden variation to the scoring regions. Plus the clubs help you insure against a disastrous removal during scoring; if such a thing is likely. Overall I think this was great fun and hope it comes out again soon.

Highlight of the night: Andy tried to determine whether to screw over me or Ian: he knew one of us had beat down on him in the previous turn (it was Ian by the way) so he threatened us with the classic line -ok so whowever it was better own up now or I'm tossing a coin to determine who I shaft - GENIUS!!


Edited by Andy to add:

"We got a rule or two wrong in the first turn" should be replaced with "we got the entire game wrong in favour of everyone except Andy who ended up coming last".  To quote BGG rules translation:

"If there are more Hunters in an region than are permissible, some of the Hunters must be removed: The player with the fewest Hunters takes one Hunter from the region and places it back into his supply, followed by the player who has the next fewest Hunters, who likewise removes one Hunter, followed by the player who has the next fewest Hunters etc., continuing in the same sequence over several rounds, until the limit of the region or less is reached." (poor grammar as per original BGG article).


Unfortunately we performed the hunter removal incorrectly on every turn.  Sore loser! Me?  Actually it was a good game and I'd like to play again - with the correct rules.

On a side note we are starting to see the evolution of a new phenomenon: "off the ball speech-play" from Ian.  Otherwise known as whining, sometimes followed by winning, always preceded by sitting in a clear-leader position.  It featured heavily in Shogun the other week, and again in Mammoth Hunters this week.  I only mention this as he has criticised me for such behaviour in the past.

Edited again by Ian to add

Now now Mr "It's okay when I do it" Hynes, tell it like it is, the "off the ball whining" you refer to in Shogun was in direct response to a 4 player agreement to "all target ian" and as for Mammoth Hunters, I was never in the lead at any point of that game.... so clearly your memory serves you badly there. If a player chooses to vocalise his desire to target one player, it is thus perfectly reasonable for the target to attempt to deflect the bullets. For the sake of clarity, I feel I must remind you that I sat in dead last for rounds 1 and 2 of Mammoth Hunters, jumped into 2nd at the end of round three and retained that position, with John jumping the previous clear leader Ivan to grab victory.

I will forgive you this oversight because clearly the facts don't matter when one is being duplicitous and trying to find excuses for coming last.



Edited by Ian to add:


Master Builder & Royal Turf
Despite Ivan and Roberts assertion that the former game is without merit, I have always felt that played in the right spirit, this can be a light weight laugh, this was undoubtedly the case on Wednesday, Christina began her howler of a night by ending the game with less money than she began, Stuarts impressive evening began with a well crafted 2nd place. In Royal Turf, Christina absolutely failed to grasp the closing straight and in one foul swoop gifted Stuart a winning haul of £1200 and Victory. Christina's terrible evening was compounded when she discovered that her friend had spent much of night camped at a Theatre Box office, awaiting her arrival, alas poor Christina had her dates wrong and managed to wreck more than a game outcome!

I left my harp in Sam Spams disco

A fun evenings gaming with Kreta as the highlight.


Kreta
This has become a firm favourite among the gaming cognoscenti of Primordial Group. We Kretites feel a justifiable superiority over those plebeians who deny it's clever charm and wet, supple curves. True there's nothing particularly new in its mechanics but everything gels and provides for a very tense yet pleasurable experience.
In Kreta you're trying to score points by controlling areas of land. This is accomplished by choosing a worker card each round and performing the associated action. The action could allow ship movement/placement (Admiral card) for example or initiate scoring. I particularly enjoy how the game forces you to make tough decisions each turn: do you cut your losses in one area to invest in scoring heavily in another? Do you try to peg back the leader or leave that to another player?

In our game I tried to keep in contention while not gaining a clear lead. If it looked like I might become the leader I played pieces into strong board positions that were not showing yet as scoring in effect reducing my current scoring position for advantage later in the game. I'm not sure if anyone noticed lol. As the game came to a close I was identified as the clear leader and players joined together to peg me back. It was a very tense last few turns and I just managed to hold on to the lead by a point.


Clans
As we waited for the other table to finish Clans hit the table.
So I did pretty badly. I couldn't seem to get my coloured huts into effective scoring positions without another player giving me a shafting. While I lost I enjoyed the banter and would play again any time. However I prefer the more cut-throat nature of Heimlich and Co (Undercover) for this style of hidden information game.


Royal Turf (Winners Circle)
I was very excited to see this hit the table as its a firm favourite.
I was very successful in the first race but couldn't quite manage to keep up the momentum for two and three. I can't recall the final scores but it was great fun and not overly long.

Hey Andy, slap me with that wet fish again

The only thing worse than being beaten, is being beaten with your own fist.


Santiago
I was organised enough today to bring my copy of Santiago to Ian's and Andy, Robert, Stuart and I tucked greedily into its forbidden pastry.
Andy "I'm a cock-knocker" Hynes grabbed a significant lead in the first few rounds exploiting the turn order and manipulating his gimp (Robert) perfectly. For some reason I bubbled up as the clear leader and no amount of discussion on the merits of kicking Andy in the giblets would convince the other players to give it a go. As the game progressed Stuart 'crazy-boy' Winchester seemed to be pursuing some strategy the gods alone could understand while Robert 'the gimp' Gilmour bent over and took several more for the Hynes team; even after I pointed out that he was doing so. Maybe I should have sucked up the pile of schuck Andy was funnelling my way and tried to slip a win under the radar at the last minute; but at least I can blame my second position on the poor gaming skills of my fellow players. Result!


Shogun
It was 9:30pm and Ian 'timewarp' Smith suggested a 5-player game of Shogun. I was planning to be tucked up in bed by 11:00pm and suggested it might be a bit on the long side, however he assured me it would be comfortably over in an hour and a bit. Two and a half rather enjoyable hours later we were still playing and the next day my not inconsiderable good looks were negatively impacted by my lack of the old dreamy time.
The game began with Ian establishing a clear lead foolishly building a lot of early palaces and painting a big red target on his not insubstantial buttocks. After the first year scoring he had a 7 or 8 point lead and was the obvious target for some major beatdown. So I organised a tag team to try and claw him back however he did a good impression of a floppy shark: claiming unsportsmanly conduct on our part while grumpily planning the final bollock-rending victory. By the second year he was much reduced but a subtle and wise seed of the tower (not a euphemism) which he copied from the master (me) gained him enough momentum to cruise to a comfortable victory. I jogged home in joint second with Andy, while David "I've a strategy honest" Grier tailed us for a close fourth while Robert farted limply in a (very) distant (and embarrassing) fifth.

Gimplers of Catan and how a Scock* was born

So February sort of rocked here at Hanley towers. I won a few more games than I lost which was cool yet I felt a mystical energy pulsing off in the near distance; foretelling more winning to come.


Settlers of Catan
Robert, Christina and I whipped out 'Old Faithful' firmly anticipating a good drenching. I got off to a good start identifying Christina as the 'clear leader' while securing the longest road. Robert was eliminated as a serious threat (and embarrassingly turned into a buffer) a few turns later as I sealed him in between Christina and I adding to my impressively long road. To their credit my fellow players, now in second and third position, formed a kind of 'unofficial pairing' as I tottered for four rounds on 9 points with the dice bending me over for a good seeing to and tossing off a sequence of highly improbable numbers. Fortunately my well-oiled machinery eventually produced the desired climax leaving Christina in second with 8 points and Robert a distant and frankly disappointing third with 7.


While Ian, Julia, Scock* and David played out the final turn of Tinners Trail Robert, Christina and I pulled out:**


For Sale
Although a game I enjoy, I am absolutely schuck at For Sale. I can't actually think back to a game I've won yet amazingly I tend to compulsively suggest it if I see a spare 10 mins floating around. Ian did helpfully suggest we play Geschenkt but none of us knew the rules. Anyway, to cut a long story short Robert won, Christina came a close second and I sucked ass. Since I didn't win there's no point in an indepth discussion of the finer points; the game is obviously broken.


With Christina and Julia out of the gaming scene we were a five.


Leonardo Da Vinci
David the cock knocker secured this from (the obviously barmy) Michael for the fine sum of ten English Pounds. While that makes him a bastard, I kind of forgave him last night because:

•he let me play it
•it was the origin of Scock*
•and he let me beat him

The game was interesting. As usual for a first play we (read David) got a rule or two wrong. Normally that would cause me great distress, however since Ian got a good shafting and because it was funny I think we can let this one slide. Its not like this is the first time Ian had taken one for the team - David was responsible for Ian's terrible shafting in his first ever game of Formula De. Anyway let's hope its not a sign of things to come - Coom-by-ya anyone?

* Scock is a contraction of 'Scott' and 'cock' used by me after severe provocation in Da Vinci in place of the phrase "Scott you are a cock." It seems to have stuck much to Scott's chagrin (or perhaps because of it!).

Anyone Selling Pasties?

February Kicked off with a "relaxing" sunday session. Messrs Hanley, Gilmour, Smith & Smith opting to partake in a last minute jam.


Tinners Trail was given it's first group outing and - despite the usual Wallace Rules Confusion - it turned out to be another belter. Immediately jumping into the Steel Driver territory for yours truly. There is really nothing to match the kind of aggression and mind bending decision making that are thrown up in such a short space of time. The game was over in 70 minutes and was filled with the kind of decisions that you spend hours reconsidering after the game ends. Ivan won out 102, to my own 100, Julia's 99 and Roberts 73. Each of us, after the fact able to see just where we could have won the game, and how those marginal decisions to spend £1 here or sell a pastie there might actually have contributed to our success or failure. I will post a full game review on the Reviews section shortly.

After TT, we pulled out Augsburg for a second round in as many days, alas my opponents paid very close attention to my strategy tips on how/when to buy churches and I lost out being the only player unable to activate mine in time. Ivan won again with Robert close behind.

For Sale was next, We Played, I Won, They Lost

After Pizza, we wanted something light and went for Puerto Rico. Another Corker, Ivan and I desperately tried to manipulate proceedings, Ivan succeeded where I didnt and pulled a mightily impressive points haul of 48, to my own 42, Roberts 39 and Julia's 32.

Last Game - Witch's Brew and despite previous reservations, it played quickly and was quite a lot of fun. Robert redeemed himself and won out over Julia by 2 points, Ivan and I jointly brought up the rear with a pitiful 13.

So February kicks off with Ivan in the driving seat!

Sore Balls All Round!

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!

Where is all the Rice?

Only five at gaming last night, Andy extended his trip around Thailand's Ladyboy Parlours and thus could not make it, Nick found himself up to his eyes in Exhausted Wife and New Baby Boy (Working Title - Reiner Rules Lawyer King of Siam Pitman Jnr). Stuart had rather more unpleasant reasons for calling off, I shall say no more than I hope they throw the book at the Twat!

Scott was preparing to move house, Gregor was preparing to move off the sofa, both slowly and carefully whilst Ivan was moving his feet to the disco beat of X-Box rock band! The less said about Callum and John the better.
That left David, Christina, Robert, Julia and I. We kicked off with a playtest of the first actual Primordial Group title - Expense Account. Words really cannot describe the quality of the components and effort that was put in to creating this little gem.

Words also cannot describe just how fundamentally broken one aspect of the game is, thankfully the rules engineers have been working through the night and are confident that "Expense Account - The Directors Cut" will solve the subtle mechanistic failure of players running out of cards.

I am happy to welcome David onboard as "Technical Advisor" and he has already brought some wildly exciting concepts to the table and even more to the bedroom - sorry boardroom.

Maybe next week we can try out what will by then be "The Ridley Scott, Actual Directors Cut, The Last One Wasn't Really The Directors Cut Expense Account" game.

Elsewhere after much discussion, we opted to avoid the games list and lump for an old favourite. The Dice Tower was constructed, warfare declared and I suffered revolt upon revolt as Christina kept stealing my land and rice production. In a move which bore significant historical relevance, Christina announced that she was nothing more than a crippled empire struggling to recover from it's last great battle, before then deciding to annex my production stronghold.

The rest of the players stood back and watched as I screamed and demanded red cross intervention.

Typically, the game ended with a round of bloody warfare. David stole one of my Temple's (mumble mumble dodgy dice tower, rules lawyer etc etc) and one of Robert's Palaces. Christina failed to steal any land and I - in a magical merry-go-round of movement, succesfully moved all my troops three times, from one region and back again - it achieved feck all but confused the hell out of the mighty force threatening my border. Whilst Robert was recovering from the raping David had dealt out, Julia took the opportunity to give him a good old boot in the balls and stole more land.

The game ended with my first round lead evaporating into an overall 4th (mumble mumble dodgy dice tower, rules lawyer etc etc), Robert fought valiantly and held onto his last place, David stormed into first (mumble mumble etc etc) whilst Julia and Christina fought out for second, Julia ultimately grabbing that prize by 1 point. It ended:

David 36

Julia 33

Christina 32

Ian 31

Robert 28

We all went home to bed, well all apart from me, I chose to stay up and seek retribution on the xbox live - Ticket to Ride community ..... say hello to this weeks No. 1 player!!!

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Amarillo ..

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!

Formula De You Effing Think So?

So I was all set to post a really witty blog when David told me that if I did, I would have to spin off, turn around and start in first gear ... so I thought F*ck that! That's as much as you're getting this week, you can blame Ivan for Twadging my Fladge all night and for having the shameful audacity to do a Victory Dance after the most spectacular Ass Rape the Primordial Group has ever seen!

You're all a bunch of Tossers!

The Return of The Scary Dinosaurs

For those of you that weren't present the first time around, I feel it would be worthwhile pointing out that the last time Scary Dinosaurs made an appearance at games, we witnessed the birth of the biggest Vendetta the primordial group has ever encountered.
The whole sorry event was covered in a guild story all of 7 months ago ...

"I feel it would be unfair to not inform all gamers of the potential for hazardous fall out hitting them in the coming weeks. This fall out a direct result of Andy's decision to "Rape" Gregor in Sunday's Game of Thrones is expected to last 12 months.Gregor (I could have brought a book) Moir was heard to say, "I'm going to make it my life's work to make you suffer" Andy (You should have saved some power) Hynes retorted with "What did you expect? You ate all of the scary dinosaurs!" Elsewhere in a strategically brilliant maneuver Michael convinced all opponents that Ian was the clear leader and whilst everyone turned their attentions to the Black Forces in the north, nipped around the north east coast, on three boats, a minibus and tram before strolling into Nick's wide open rear entrance and claiming the unprotected prize therein. "Victory is Mine" he cried, responses ranged from "B*stard" and "I Told You I wasn't The Clear Leader" to "Year Long Vendetta" and "Scary Dinosaurs"

You have been warned!"

It was clearly a brave or very silly move on the part of Mr Grier to darken our door with the ill fated sweeties, going one stage further he opted to bring "The Natural Food Company" Scary Dinoaurs, this prompted the usual sweet critique to commence.

David "these are good"

Ian "hmm .. they have a funny flavour"

David "Really?"

Ian "yeah I guess its the taste of non synthetic food stuffs"

Nick "Do you guys have new sweets?"

Ian - whisper - "Say Nothing! Stuart's Up there!"

They were certainly a lovely addition to the night and far better than the the "sweets that tasted like shoes" from a few weeks ago.

Elsewhere in the side event of games. I produced a stunning and thoroughly unexpected Caylus performance, humping Grier and Schehele By a resounding 30 points. Upstairs Michael was giving a beating to Nick and Stuart at Key Harvest, after which we popped David's Samurai Cherry and finished off with the most enjoyable game of Zooloretto I have ever had.

It was made all the more enjoyable in the last few rounds as Nick and I traded sneaky moves in a bid to avoid being dumped with a crate full of unwanted Zebra's.

I was first to avoid the crate, realising that adding a new animal to an empty crate would provide Nick with a way out, I chose to blag all of my cash buying a useless animal from Julia, Nick accused me of being a Cock Knocker, only to realise that he could spend his last gold coin swapping his animals around, he moved 5 panda's into his full Zebra enclosure and moved the Zebra's over to his Panda enclosure - mocking me with every move, knowing full well that I would have to grab the crate of death.

I did so and in the process gained minus 6 points, on top of the minus 2 I had gained buying the crud from Julia and lost all my cash in the process, not quite in the Hynes bracket but damned stupid all the same.