A grand desert

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This week’s regular gaming session saw Susan and I hosting Amir, Laurie and Yehuda.

First up was El Grande which only Amir hadn’t played before. Susan was a bit out of practice, but caught on as the game progressed. We played a shortened seven turn game (instead of the full 9) as the full version drags a bit, and is probably the game’s only serious weak point. The early special action cards cleared out a lot of the pieces from the board, so scores were lower than usual, and the play quite focused on a couple of key areas.

Laurie was the early leader, pursued by Yehuda and I. However, Yehuda did an excellent job of hauling Laurie back, and going in to the final couple of turns, it was quite close up front. Behind us, Amir was hanging in there with Susan, but neither looked a threat. How wrong I was.

In the final scoring, Yehuda managed to overtake Laurie. I fell behind, with Amir getting close to me. And Susan achieved a quite remarkable win, coming – apparently – out of nowhere to first place by a decent margin. Well done Susan!

We had time left to move on to the Reiner Knizia game Through the Desert. This is a game that looks more complex than it is, and also looks to take longer than it actually does. And as with many of these games, timing is crucial. If you can time your placements with good regard to when the game ends, you maximize your score. For reasons that I cannot fully explain, in this game I got it right and was the winner ahead of a reasonably close pack. It was fast, fun, and challenging. Good stuff.

Thanks to all who came, for a good night of gaming.

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