Today I made it to Beyond Monopoly! The club had relocated to Room 3 down the hall from our usual Room 1. I have to say that I wouldn't mind changing rooms permanently; it felt larger, lighter and brighter.... no storage cupboards for games though!
This marked the second birthday of Beyond Monopoly and it was nice to see the occasion marked by a high turnout, including more children than usual, which I strongly approve of, and several new faces.
I arrived around 11am and soon launched into a game of Manhattan with Bill, Paul and Keith. This is a fairly simple game in which you compete to build the tallest building, occupy the top floor(s) of skyscrapers and have the most of them in each city. Placement is based on a hand of cards and the orientation of where you are sitting. I enjoyed this alot although I got creamed! The game lasts for 4 rounds and in the first 2 it looked like I was being ganged up on! I simply could not recover from this and it gave Paul an opportunity to sneak ahead (no one challenged his dominance until it was too late!)
My only slight complaint about this game is that I was unimpressed with the washed-out colours of the building blocks.
Next up was Die Saulen von Venedig (The Pillars of Venice?) which only Keith had played before. Kevin joined us for this one to bring us up to 5 players. I really enjoyed this game, although I again was royally trounced. Based on a card hand you play characters in Venice who can perform different actions. The 'pitchdipper' allows you to sink columns into the marsh on which other characters can construct buildings. Despite being in German this was still really good fun. I misplayed this as I did not expect the end to come so rapidly! If playing again I would build more and sink less columns. I would also make better use of the spy and gondolier to obtain extra points. Still, this is definately one I would like to own.
Last time I went to Beyond Monopoly I decided to tell people I was playing with about my neurological problems in case I looked like a complete idiot! I then felt like a bit of a fraud when I won several games! Today I decided not to mention it. Bad move! My apologies to the guys I played with as I said I had not played Niagara before. In fact I have but I don't remember playing it. I even own it but didn't remember that either!
This is a fast game in which you use canoes to collect jewels then paddle furiously upstream to deposit them whilst trying to avoid getting swept over the waterfall; something several of us failed to do....repeatedly! I like that you can influence the weather and thus the speed of the river.
I managed to lose this one as well! Bill won with seven different jewels. The other Paul had 6, Keith had 4 and Kevin and I each had 2. Still good fun though.
Bill left us at this point and the other Paul introduced us to the fast and furious card game 6nimmt. To be honest I didn't enjoy this that much. I think I missed a rule somewhere and this game didn't agree with my neurological problems. In essence, you have a hand of cards with numbers and bullsheads on them. You want to end up with as few of the heads as possible. Cards are layed out in rows and you simultaneously reveal the card to play. The lowest numebr goes first. There are several rows and you place cards in sequence along them. If you have to place the sixth card in a row then you have to pick up the row and thus accrue bullsheads.
I was hopeless at this! To be fair I did improve; in the first hand I misunderstood the entire game and picked up 34 heads. Things improved in the second hand so I only picked up 19 (still the worst of all of us). Then in the third hand I picked up only 2. The game ends when a players total score is 66 or above.
In the end Paul, Keith and I all went over 66 in the fourth hand. Kevin won magisterially with a total of only 21! I think his mind likes this kind of game! I'm not sure if I would play this again, although I did like it's 'filler' potential.
Kevin and Paul then departed. As everyone else seemed occupied Keith introduced me to the pleasures of Hive. This is a game I've been aware of since the first time I went to Beyond Monopoly but haven't got around to playing. In essence you have hexes representing different insects with different skills. The object is to surround the opposing queen bee. It's harder than it sounds! Keith and I played lots of times but I only won once. Again, this was more of a brain burner than it would normally be when I am firing on all cylinders. Still, I really enjoyed it and its definately a game I would love to own.
I rounded off the day by joining Jon, Chris and Amanda in a game of Carcassonne. This was the first time Chris and Amanda had been to the club (and their first bash at Carcassonne). I hope they continue to come; it's nice seeing couples there and they both seemed genuinely excited about the games. Jon gave a potted history of German games as we played which was hugely informative and useful; he really knows his stuff!
I realised that, despite it being my favourite game, I haven't played Carcassonne for months.....probably since last July! That was probably why I did so abysmally. I tried to compete with Jon for farmer-dominance in a field that was worth 24 points. Jon won that contest and I had failed to create a back-up plan! Chris and Amanda both did well getting their heads around a game which appears so simple but can quickly become quite complex.
All in all an enjoyable day if lacklustre scorewise. Now, I wonder if I can make a bootleg copy of Hive....