The June invitational games day went off very well. Not the largest turn-out we've had, but a nice cosy group for the day, especially given the storms and rain outside. With a pot of minsetrone bubbling in the corner, a good supply of sandwitches (thanks Mark!), a pile of bread rolls, and a pot of coffee we were ready for anything. We had a plan to get in a game of Expos at some point, so that we could photograph it for BGG.
Mark arrived first, and we decided on a light little game to get us warmed up before everyone else arrived. Last Panther: Mark: -70 Rob: -145 Leece: -260!! This was a fairly spectacular plunge by Leece, and the whole thing was over in 5 rounds - the only delay being one round where I managed to burn myself with a stunning ability to maintain the lead. No matter how hard I tried. This was nowhere near matched Leece abiltity at this, though! Poor Leece! Still, it was a good fun starter.
Around this stage, a very soggy Steveg turned up - and we pounced on Mark's game of Primordial Soup. Ursoup: Steveg - 47 Rob - 45 Leece - 42 Mark - 37 This was very closely fought - with the predation and high-population mutation being in high demand. Mark held on to Spores, while Leece and Rob went for Division Rate. Steveg worked with a combination of Substitution then added Struggle for Survival to his collection. As always, very close, and it came right down to the line between Steveg and myself.
Then there was a ring on the doorbell as we paused to have a bite to eat - at Peter arrived with his chosen pile of games... After some discussion, we gave Power Grid a go.... Power Grid: Mark - 15 Cities Steveg - 14 Cities 131 cash Peter - 14 Cities 141 cash Rob - 14 Cities 132 cash Leece - 12 Cities Powergrid, where you are trying to power various cities, with various types of power station, is a lot drier than it's theme suggests. It is primarily an auction and resource management game, but the mathematics of the process are sufficently forward to detract from the theme. Steveg, alas, had to leave as this was finishing, but made a good try at third place - pipped by me only because I managed to spend one less a turn previously. During this Richard and Clara arrived, and Clara attempted to study while we played.
It turns out that Peter had never played Ticket to Ride, so this was next off the rank. Ticket to Ride: Mark - 112 Richard - 33 Rob - 30 Clara - 62 Peter - 96 Clara gave up study for this, and demonstrated the effects of playing on-line. Meantime, she managed to cut me off at a critical point - without meaning to! This lead to me trying to build a desperate diversion to my destinations - but it was not to be... Peter made a good showing for his first time, but Mark just romped home, lapping both myself and the equally stalled Richard.
Dinner break, and Richard and Clara departed. We had a look at Edison, but Mark vetoed it in favour of different travel game: Around the World in 80 Days: Peter - 69 days, first to London - Winner Mark 72 days, last to London Rob 73 days, second to London Leece 86 days, third to London Loosely based on the book, this features the players taking on Phogg's bet, and travelling by ship and train to various ports until you arrive back in London. Meanwhile, there is a lurking detective who can delay you, and various events that can help or hinder you and your companions. This is a fun race game - you get bonuses for being first or last to a location, and getting to London first is not the winning condition - it's whose travel forms took the least time. Very nail biting towards the end - especially as the people who are slower to get back to London get day penalties each turn...
Next up was the 'other' Ticket to Ride... Ticket to Ride: Europe Mark: 114 EE Leece: 105 Peter: 100 EE Rob: 82 (Used 2 stations) This just was not my day to be on the trains. Cut off from my primary route, and forced to use two of my stations, I just dropped further and further back. Failed tunnelling, and not having time to draw new routes compounded the matter. Meantime, Mark and Peter tied for the European Express, and Leece showed the importance of high-value rail segments.
The first trip being so much fun, we decided to finish up on a second world tour: Around the World in 80 Days: Leece 81 days arrived 1st Mark 65 days 2nd Rob 64 days arrived 3rd - Winner Peter 76 days and arrived last. This second game demonstrated the evils that you can pull on your fellow travellers much better than the first, and it resulted in a much closer, even more exciting, game. It made for a great nightcap, and finished us up on very high point.
We then packed up and turned in, in preparation for the Settlers tournament today. Photos to follow, but somehow, we never did play Expos...