The dining room cleared, the floors vacuumed, the washing-up done and the cardboard taken to the tip and everything was ready for the first CAPLE GAME-A-THON!
We decided on 8 games (perhaps we should have picked an odd number) with 2 of them card games (taken from my new book Blazing Aces) and the rest an agreed mix. We settled on Alhambra, Boggle, Carcassonne, Dungeon Twister, Lost Cities and Ticket to Ride: Europe. Space was made on the table and we were ready for the off!
1st CAPLE GAME-A-THON, 03/02/08, L & K
Each game was written on a piece of paper and put in the exciting ‘Chalice of Destiny’ (green cereal bowl).
Round One – Card Game 1
We plumped for a new game from our book and settled on ‘Sitting Bull’. A poker based game where 2 players try to form poker hand combinations from a reduced 32 card deck with 7 cards removed. Players alternately play cards to form a 5 x 5 grid with one player scoring horizontal rows the other vertical columns.
Result – With 8 points (to K’s 6) I emerge victorious and take an early lead.
L: 1 K: 0
Round 2 – Boggle
After drawing another card game from the Chalice we agreed to put it back and pick another game. This time out came Boggle. Good for me as I’m quite good at it!
After 3 very close rounds including words such as Streets, Tenets & Tresses we had a winner!
We managed to get 35 words (between us) from this selection in 2 minutes. Can you do better?
Result – With 61 points after 3 rounds, K is the winner (to my measly 51 points). So much for my gaming prowess at Boggle.
L: 1 K: 1
Round 3 – Alhambra
Hooray! We both really enjoy this game and it's usually quite close so we got ready for a nail-biting one. It's a combination of getting sets and laying tiles in a pattern to build up your palace. It's great because you have to ensure that you get first place in some sets but try to get second place in others. Winning by coming first in a set is not enough if you've focussed on that exclusively.
After getting to almost the last tile in the bag with no second scoring card in sight we realised that we’d forgotten to remove a quarter of the currency cards! K was gutted as her Alhambra wall was big and it looked like a victory was guaranteed. We agreed to abandon the game and have a rematch.
But first we popped out for lunch! Off to Nando’s, chicken wings for me, and halloumi/portabello mushroom pitta for K. Yummy!
Round 3 – Alhambra – Take two!
Determined not to make the same mistake again, we double-checked that the extra currency cards had been removed. They had and so we were good to go! The game proceeded much better this time and we got to the second scoring card with many more tiles still left in the bag! It was at this stage however that we realised we had forgotten to give Dirk his second set of tiles at the previous scoring round! D’oh! With so much at stake neither of us was prepared to leave the game as it was so we were forced to abandon the game for a second time!
Round 3 - Alhambra - Take Three!
To be honest I was crushed! After the first round I was beaten into 3rd place by Dirk (the shame!) (K11, D9, L4). The second scoring round saw me claw back some dignity and draw level with him (K43, L32, D32) and finally I edged ahead and beat him by 1 after the final scoring round (K132, L114, D113). Bear in mind that Dirk doesn't score for the length of his Alhambra wall (worth around 15-20 points) and you'll see how badly I was doing.
Result: K 132, L 114, Dirk 113
K started to take an early lead! L: 1 K: 2
Round 4 - Ticket to Ride: Europe
Another really enjoyable game but it can sometimes feel a bit like multiplayer solitaire with only 2 players (not a great deal of interaction, just focussing on your own routes). But a nice steal of Riga to Petrograd thwarted K's ambitions of having the longest route (and resulted in a station being played for the first time).
Despite this, a canny choice of destinations at the start of the game meant that K scored more bonus points and took the victory.
Result: K scored 108 (and getting Lisboa to Danzig really helped) and I only got 103 (my tactic of discarding my long route didn't help!)
It was starting to look like a whitewash!
Round 5 - Dungeon Twister
I was relieved when this one came round. We've only played this once before and I won so I was confident going into it. It's a fantasy based dungeon crawl but does not have any luck elements to it. Strategy and a clever guessing of what your opponent might do will win the game.
I secured an early lead with my wallwalker and goblin by getting them out of the dungeon with some treasure. I then cemented this by polishing off K's goblin for the final point and the win!
Result: My 5 points saw off K's 2 (but she was just glad to have scored some points!)
Finally regaining some dignity I started to draw level. L: 2 K: 3
Round 6 - Another card game
This time we played a game called 'Portland' where each player has a 52 card deck and has to win successive rounds with the highest poker hand. The twist being that each new card must be played on top of one of your existing 5 until you are happy with your hand. The winner of the round scores a point and all the cards are discarded and the next round begins. It becomes a question of whether to lose early rounds (worth less points) to preserve the cards in your deck for later rounds that are worth more points as the cards discarded i each round are removed from play in subsequent rounds!
After losing the first 3 rounds I managed to win the last 3 and take the victory!
L: 3 K: 3
Round 7 - Lost Cities (3 rounds)
Another fun one that has the benefit of being addictive and very quick! The trick here is to play enough of each set of cards to score points before the draw deck runs out. The tricky part being once you've played a number card you can only play higher ones afterwards and that you must play a card each turn. Added in is the ability to draw from either the deck or the 5 shared discard piles mean it's quite tense towards the end!
Not enough cards on the Stonehenge pile means I scored -4 points for this set!
Another trouncing by K with a combined score of 124 vs 36 for me after 3 rounds!
L: 3 K: 4
Round 8 - Carcassonne
After deciding to remove the River expansion we settled down to this great game that we haven't played as a 2 player in a while. Remembered how much fun it is (especially without the river) I didn't want it to end! And I had to win to force a draw otherwise the first GAME-A-THON would end in embarrassment for me!
Fortunately a clever placement of my farmers meant that come game end I had sufficient extra points to secure the win...phew!!
Final tally, me on 138 (those extra 32 farmer points really helped) and K on 116.
*drum roll* The final verdict of the 1st CAPLE GAME-A-THON....
A great result all round and a great way to spend a few hours!