During the week before the last Gathering of Friendless I realised my mate from Funatical Games had said "if there are any games you want to try out, just let me know". Funatical distributes Z-Man games (and others) in Australia, so there's lots of interesting stuff. Z-Man's quality varies, but they publish a lot of games. So my mate came over with a big pile of games which I had to quickly read the rules of in time for the Gathering.
This time, to avoid having 7 guests I invited 15 people, and still only 5 showed up. And Jane was late. So the 4 of us started with Ubongo because it's very pretty. CyberKev and I did very well, and it was very close at the end. In fact, if CyberKev hadn't accidentally played the easy side of the card, it might have been even closer. I don't know if I really go for the puzzle component, but for a puzzle game it's OK. I'll have to try it with the kids.
We then played Escalation where I suffered from having CyberKev sit to my right. That meant he could play bad cards at me, and I got badly hurt in several brawls. That meant I couldn't do much to hurt Scrabblette to my left, and she won easily. She also got very good cards, which didn't help. It's a silly game which is best played by kids. Still, it's better than Loot.
Still waiting for Jane, we tried a new word game, My Word. Note the lack of exclamation mark - it's not Reiner's game, it's one where you have to make a lattice of four letter words. We found this to be very good Scrabble training, which is OK if you want that sort of game (I do). We all learned some new four letter words, and looked strangely at some common words which just seemed wrong. CyberKev managed to set himself up for massive points a couple of times, and won easily.
Finally Jane arrived and we played Unspeakable Words to welcome her. Most of us already knew the rules (well, some of them), and it was nice to get into a game without any teaching. Ashley probably should have had some, but we figured he was a big boy who could look after himself. I like Unspeakable Words a lot. Scrabblette completely kicked our butts.
We then went on to Dragon Parade. I didn't have a lot of hope for this game, until we realised it was like Members Only, which I do like. Once I could see the strategy of it, and how nicely it was balanced, I decided I did quite like it. Scrabblette said afterwards she felt she couldn't control the dragon and didn't like it so much. I felt the dragon went where I told it to, and did like it. One complaint though - we ran out of scoring tokens after 4 rounds. We each gave 5 points back to the bank to complet the game. I pulled off a narrow win by foiling Ashley's evil plan to run the dragon out of town.
Jane then had to leave but Scrabblette was fired up and we played Midgard. I love the Norse theme, more than I like vikings really, so I was positively disposed towards it to start. When I read the rules I realised it was like El Grande light, which was not such a good thing. And playing a pissing war game against CyberKev is always dangerous. True to form, CyberKev rushed to the lead. True to form, no matter what I wanted someone else wanted it more. "I think I'll just grovel in this mud in last place"... "NO, THAT'S MY MUD! 20 VICTORY POINTS FOR MOST MUD!" Coming into the third era Scrabblette was one point behind CyberKev, though all I saw was CyberKev in front. I figured my best option was to hit him hard, and played a card which cost him maybe 20 points. However I hadn't noticed how strong Scrabblette's position was, and she went on to beat him by 23. Great... now she can kick my butt at pissing wars as well.
Anpther successful evening. We tried out 4 new games from Funatical, and crossed off another of my unplayed games. The kid says "climbed arc de trioumph and sacrificed my legs, 284 steps just to go up! luckily the eiffel tour as the locals call it has a lift!"