Jamaica now made her appearance (cue “she went of her own free will” joke from Jon) and five of the six Santy Anno players embarked on it.
Jon managed to misunderstand the rules at the beginning (probably ‘cos he was stealing James’ chips at the time) and finished his first turn no further forward but having lost all his starting goods. Tonio and Paul got quite a bit of wind in their sails and were soon halfway round the island. James had managed to take part in a number of naval engagements, and had not fared well. Emma was drifting along enjoying the view.
We had just got through our deck of cards once (cue rules discussion on how to proceed) when a double 6 was thrown. Jon was the only player to have his ‘move forward morning and evening’ card in hand, and shot forward 12 spaces in a single turn. Moving forward a further 6 on the next turn was enough to bring him into Port Royal and finish the game. Everyone else was still languishing outside of the scoring zone, which, despite his lack of treasures, gave Jon a comfortable victory.
Jon 23; Paul 13; Tonio 12; James 12; Emma 5
Meanwhile I had bailed out of Jamaica to play Pergamon…
Turns proceed with, first, a curious quasi-auction for money and turn order- more money meaning later position, but if you get greedy you can end up getting less money and going last.
Secondly players have the opportunity to dig. The artefacts come in several different types (mask, vase, etc) and have to be joined together in a one-dimensional jigsaw puzzle to make a complete exhibit. Exhibits go into a kind of hall of fame where they earn vps but gradually sink in value as newer, more valuable exhibits appear and with each scoring round.
By the first scoring round Noel and Paul had completed 15-20 (4-5 Vps) fame exhibits (and Noel an additional 4 fame (1VP) one) whereas I had only managed about 8 fame (2 VPs). The game went on in much the same way for the remaining rounds, although in the final round I was able to “polish” my exhibit with my remaining money, which pushed it up to a reasonably high value.
Paul P 39 Noel P 31 Phiilip 21
I now wandered over to the erstwhile Jamaica table and ended up in space….
The game has two distinct phases, one in which the players construct space ships out of tiles depicting various components and the cables connecting them and a second in which the spaceships are tested to destruction as they hurtle through space getting hit by meteorites and attacked by pirates (and also picking up goods for delivery (possibly including cough mixtures...), if they make it through the course). The two phases occur three times, with progressively larger spaceships and more dangerous obstacles.
In our first voyage we quickly discovered that loose connector cables (going into empty space) are bad- they cause components to be knocked off by small asteroids, slow you down when you encounter space dust, and the person with least loose connections at end of voyage receives bonus points. However, most of survived with nothing more than minor damage- the exception being James when the Slavers took all his crew, leaving a derelict hulk floating in space. Alex was ahead in the race when the music stopped and picked up the bonus for least loose connectors.
The second voyage was even more successful than the first, with everyone finishing the course and only taking minor damage. High points were scored for delivering goods by everyone except me- I decided to try for speed instead, but still only managed second to Alex’s third.
In the third voyage we were allowed to use Aliens, who needed extra life support and occupied crew slots in exchange for boosting guns and engines. Tonio had left us to our own devices now and our ships soon came under heavy fire. Components were blasted off, taking other components with them, batteries ran out, and an epidemic devastated the crew, alien and human alike. The ship with the least engines came under heavy fire twice- the first time it was James who took the punishment, but by the second time James had already lost all his crew and was out of the race so Alex got shot up, losing almost a whole wing of his spacecraft. I was able to finish first with a hefty cargo and win least loose connections, but Alex’s points in the first couple of rounds were still enough for the win.
Alex 47 Lexia 39 Philip 30 James 17
Meanwhile a few of the remaining Pergamon and Jamaica players had fused for some light games, starting with a train game.
Chicago Express (thanks Jon)
Jon and James worked together to drive the red company all the way to Chicago, picking up some tidy dividends along the way. Noel and Paul pushed the blue company along too, but as Jon also had a share, there was less incentive to focus on expansion in quite the same way. The other companies got stuck in the mountains and did not get far.
The game ended surprisingly quickly with 3 companies running out of shares, and when everything was totted up. Jon had romped away with it, with James’ circumspect approach having secured him second place.
All agreed that it would be good to play again, although next time, there would be a concerted effort to stop one player getting a majority of red shares.
Jon 76; James 62; Noel 50; Paul II 48
By now Tonio had taught the players Galaxy Trucker and was able to join in a new game.
Sultan (thanks Jon)
The funniest moment came when Tonio had pulled out 3 diamonds (the least valuable jewel) and played his first card. Paul was next, and rather place his card on one of the 2 identical empty spaces he chose the same one as Tonio. Cue much mirth from the other players, and much gnashing of teeth from Tonio.
When the dust had settled, Noel’s quiet collecting of the diamonds had earned him a tidy bonus, and with it, a runaway win.
Noel 61; Jon 36; Paul II 32; James 28; Tonio 24
The evening was rounded off with IBG’s favourite dice dexterity game.
Game 1 was Paul P, Noel, Jon and myself but despite some newcomers to the game there was no taking of prisoners. Jon and myself shot into the lead, while the brothers battled out for bragging rights at the breakfast table. After 2 rounds Jon was ahead by 9 and Noel by 6. In Round 3 I managed to cut Jon’s lead to 7 while Paul took the lead to 2: couldn’t be closer ! Was a strange last round as everyone scored big and with totals of 33,32,40 and 33 you can see how close things were. Noel ended up ahead by 96-93 over Paul for 3rd place, while James , despite initially fearing for the worse managed to drag back the 7 points for an honourable (?) tie with Jon.
James 131 Jon 131 Noel 96 Paul II 33
Realising we could sneak in another game before the pub set the dogs on us, Jon and me decided to try and resolve the tie. And once again it was neck and neck over the 1st three rounds. I took a good lead after 1, but after 3 rounds there was just 1 point between us and on the last round, 3 dice in it was still anyone’s game.
Then disaster (or did Jon manage to sneak in one of his home made dice I wonder) struck. I took aim at a cluster of Jon’s dice that were simply begging to be dispatched, but instead took out a couple of my own dice. Now, I can’t be sure but I might’ve caught a glimpse of Jon’s hand under the table manipulating a few switches as my die made an almost imperceptible 10 degree change of direction away from his dice hmm or lets be generous and say perhaps it was just the lighting But from here there was no way back for me. Jon dribbled his last die in for a score and took
Jon 126 James 96.
P.S "From Cough Mixtures to Cables" is taken from the Nightmare song in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe.