The Gathering of Friendless Episode 2, "TAKE ME AWAY TO MARSEILLES", occurred last Friday. The kid was off to the south of France with his mum the next day so he visited me for one last gaming session before he went. (He'll be back next month.) All of the ladies invited declined their invitations for various reasons, e.g. Scrabblette had to study, so there were just five boys.
We started with Hamsterrolle while we were waiting for CyberKev to arrive. Some careless play by the kid and I saw our side get beaten badly by Ashley and Hubertus.
We then took advantage of Scrabblette's absence to play a game she hates - Ca$h'n'Gun$. It seems some female people have a real problem with a game where you points guns at people. I don't like guns at all (guns don't kill people, Americans kill people) but I can see the cleverness in the design. In the first game I was killed very quickly - obviously I should have chickened out a bit more but I couldn't believe how vindictive my opponents were - and Ashley won with $130K. In the second game we used special powers and I was the super-coward (+$5K for each chicken-out) so I was able to play defensively enough to survive and aggressively enough to win with $130K.
We then went on to the flagship game for the evening - Urland. I bought this from the U.S. when Scrabblette was there in April and hadn't played it yet, so I was itching for it. We eventually figured out why there were too many gene cards when CyberKev asked "John, did you buy the expansion?". Oh yeah, I remember there was an erweiterung in there somewhere. So I gave a fairly poor rules explanation - i.e. I read the rule book out - because although I'd read the rules they hadn't made enough sense to stick. The dummy player is a strange concept to me, and although it seemed to work OK I still don't really get it. The way the game progressed was that Ashley, Hubertus and the kid bid very high for gene cards, and CyberKev and I were much more conservative. CyberKev got no genes throughout the game, and I only got one. Mine was a good one though - FEET. Soon I was running all over the board and had an ictho in every area. It turned out that CyberKev and I had played right, as we were contending for the win coming into the final scoring. Luckily the rules favoured me, and I won with 35 points compared to CyberKev's 33.
Careful not to look at the clock, we gamed on. I suggested Cartagena which I think is a great simple game, easy to teach and intriguing for new players at least a couple of times. CyberKev said he never wins, so I thought I probably would. However he did win, by maybe 6 cards, over me. As expected, the newbies weren't competitive. The game rewards experience, but I think there might be a plateau where all players play at roughly the same level of ability.
It was then midnight but we were going strong. I suggested The Battle of Lanka, a card game which Scrabblette brought back from India. Don't you wish you had an international games courier :-) ? CyberKev and I and our lady partners had played this game 4 times earlier in the year, so CyberKev and I needed another play to get it onto our nickel lists. In the first game CyberKev won narrowly over me, and in the second game I won by a fair way over everyone else. In the second game I had a card CyberKev desperately needed but I discarded it for the kid instead. It's not a brilliant card game, but it's easy and asuras and rakshasas make a change from dwarves and elves occasionally.
Anyway, the next day the kid went to Dubai (Hey at Dubai goin 2 London now say hi 2 every 1 4 me by!) and London (Hey y'all how u goin? Goin 2 france 2morrow. london i amazin. tower sweet, lords huge, madam 2sards scary (4 me!) (is he alive?!) lol! bye!) and will be in France soon. "Gimme the sound of the rollin' dice, gimme a whiskey don't think twice, deal me the cards that take my blues away... TAKE ME AWAY TO MARSEILLES!"