I just realised I'm a long way behind on session reports for The Gathering of Friendless. It's because I've been playing squash... of course... I play on Saturday morning, and I'm a useless lump of whining lard until Tuesday at least.
Anyway, Episode 3 of The Gathering of Friendless occurred a couple of weeks ago. The title of the episode was chosen because I was desperately trying to avoid having exactly 7 guests. Seven is the crappiest number for board-gaming. After you've played Shadows Over Camelot you're down to party-style games like Saboteur and The Great Dalmuti. They're fine games, but I prefer 3 or 4 player games on average. Sadly, 7 is a small enough number that it *seems* like there should be some better games to play, so people are reluctant to split into 2 tables. My theory is that with 6 players we could play, with 8 players I could convince people to split into 2 tables, but 7 is just very difficult so it's better avoided.
I took the approach of inviting 9 people and warning all of them that exactly 2 people not coming was unacceptable. They took me seriously, and 4 people didn't come along, leaving us with ... you do the maths... which is a fine number for games.
We started with Carcassonne in honour of the kid who'd visited the real place during the week. I realised that the game is much cleverer than I'd thought, and despite being flogged by CyberKev I increased my rating for it on BGG. All the tile types work together to contribute to the tension, and it's just such a clever game. I can't wait for the collectors' 3D edition (no, I haven't heard of such a thing. I made that up).
We then went on to Word Tower, because the ladies at the table like word games. For whatever reason, the ladies at the table were all at sea with this game, and it was a battle between CyberKev and I to rush to the win. CyberKev scored 4, I scored 5, Hubertus scored 1, and the ladies scored nothing at all. I believe male and female brains are different, and it seems this was a male-brain game.
We then tried out Tsuro, a very useful game which takes from 2 to 8 players. I've tried it with 2 and 5 and it was fine with both of those numbers. Scrabblette made the mistake of coming to attack me while sitting on my right. The second she approached I ran her off the board. A combination of experience and luck allowed me to see off the others well.
It was getting late, but we still had the stamina for Cartagena II. Actually, Jane didn't have the stamina. Jane had a nap. But the rest of us guessed what the rules were from the German and some discussion on BGG, and at least agreed on some rules to use in the absence of anything better. I figured out how to control the boat between the islands, and had 6 of my pirates in town before anyone else had 4.
I enjoyed the evening a lot. I played two games I'd bought but hadn't got to the table before, and we didn't have to play Shadows Over Camelot over and over and over.