I got down to my local games club: Beyond Monopoly yesterday for an afternoon of gaming. I turned up around 1:15pm, and it was surprisingly quiet. The last few times I've been there have been around twenty to thirty players, yesterday there were less than fifteen - I guess the summer holidays are in full swing at the moment. There were three games in progress and as I wandered past one, I was offered a seat. Adrian, George, Mike and Paul had started a game of Manifest Destiny with Andy, but he'd disappeared, so they offer me his seat. They were still in the first turn, and it turned out later that they had set up at 10:30am - nearly three hours earlier - that should have been a warning to me...
In the very first turn I played, I was surrounded by other players limiting my ability to expand - I tried a few combats and lost the dice rolls every time. I was off to a bad start. Things got steadily worse. Being boxed in, I was unable to increase my profit level, which limited my ability to buy progressions and control tokens. Various cards came out that knocked lots of players down the profit scale, but going from sixty to fifty isn't too bad - I was going from thirty down to twenty, which considering I had to pay five every turn to a couple of players, and the progressions cost at least twenty-five completely screwed me. It was no fun at all. For over four hours. I'll not touch that again with a bargepole. Though the others seemed to enjoy it.
Do I sound like a sore loser? Maybe. But I didn't whinge and whine during the game, and previously I've loved games that I've been beaten at. Lost Cities was a classic example. The first time I played (with a different Paul), I was completely creamed - the score was something like forty-six to minus seventy. But I loved that game. I think it was the fact that I had to sit through over four hours of not just losing, but losing so badly that I couldn't really do anything. It didn't help that (a third) Paul had started a game of Pitch Car on the table next to us, which looked (and sounded by the noises the players were making) really good fun.
Still, It wasn't all bad, Pitch Car Paul (one of my playtesters for Border Reivers) bought his pre-ordered copy, and he's invited me to his games night on Monday - hopefully I'll get some more fun games in then.