On Saturday I hosted another games night at my house. We seem to have got a good list of attendees, as even with a few last minute cancellations we still had plenty of people for games.
Karen and Jochen were the first to arrive, and while we were waiting for others to arrive we started a game of vanilla Carcassonne. I usually get stuck into the farming early on, but this time I didn't and as expected the fields all filled up quite quickly. In my experience the farming is claimed very quickly, especially with more players, and once I was a couple of meeples behind I couldn't be bothered to get into the escalation game of continually raising the number of farmers you've got. Karen and Jochen both farmed quite hard, with Karen left without meeples to place on a few occasions later in the game. I did quite well with cloisters, and alright with cities, but come the end the farmers carried it with Karen winning, Jochen coming second, me third and The Wife last.
While we played Carcasonne, Dave and Pip had arrived, and they had a quick game of Lost Cities while waiting for a few others to arrive. After we'd finished Carcassonne, we set up a game of Ticket to Ride, which I'm beginning to lose a bit of interest in. I loved it the first time I played, and I've played it a lot since, but now it's beginning to pale on me - I'm not sure why. Anyway Karen, Jochen and The Wife were keen, so we set it up. I chose to keep two of my initial tickets (Los Angeles - Miami and Portland - Phoenix), and started trying to connect along the bottom of the map. The Wife and I fought a bit, firstly with me blocking a route she needed, and then she returned the favour. I got both routes completed by about two-thirds of the way through the game, and at around this point both Karen and Jochen went for extra tickets. Karen and The Wife were competing over the longest route, while I was just trying to claim some of the longer sections for the extra points. I managed to end the game, and I'd caught everyone by surprise, so they weren't really able to use their last turns effectively. In the end I won, since I'd managed to sneak the longest route, and I'd completed two expensive tickets. Karen and Jochen cames second and third, with The Wife bringing up the rear. This wasn't like her at all - she usually trounces me!
While we'd been playing Ticket to Ride, Paul and Rebecca had arrived and played Carcassonne with Dave and Pip, and now we were all finished we swapped around a bit. Dave and Paul wanted to play Border Reivers, so we set that up, while The Wife requested Codename: Monster, so the others played that 5-player.
Border Reivers started off badly for me with Dave winning a free army on his first turn, and then choosing not to spend money on reinforcements. I spent heavily (as is my usual strategy) and was largely unsuccessful at the beginning. Dave managed to get the mine, while Paul fortified his area of the board. I found myself in a position that several people have emailed me about - how to beat someone who saves rather than spends. I've always maintained that a saver is vulnerable to a spender as the spender will get more reinforcements and can attack with cards and armies. Which I did. I attacked Dave at the mine and managed to wrest it from him, and simultaneously used Insurrection to attack one of his cities. With Dave on the back foot I started looking North to Paul. Paul had been spending too, though he was less lucky on the dice rolls, so I didn't have to worry so much about him from an economic victory point of view. I started saving, and attacked Paul's border forcing him to spend more. In the end I won an ecomonic victory. The boys seemed to enjoy the game too.
With the other table all gamed out, we pinched Monster back, and played a couple of games of that, with Paul winning both.
Another successful games night!