I'm very thankful for Keith, Trevor and Les, my local opponents. When I moved here 2 years ago I wasn't at all sure that I would find a congenial group of gamers to play with. But thanks to Dave Farquhar, who read my blog and contacted me inviting me to visit his group in Farnborough, I found a group of friendly and hospitable guys who have become good friends as well. Tragically Dave died suddenly last year before I got a chance to meet him, but his wife Janet followed up her husband's initial email with another one giving me Keith's contact details.
I've had two good sessions with these guys over the last few days. Last Thursday we gathered at Keith's place to try out one of his Essen purchases - Caylus. I got off to a shaky start with this, struggling to see how it all fits together. Les on the other hand, who likes resource management games, took to it like a duck to water. We wound it up after 3 hours - and we were only about half way down the long and winding road - but Les was clearly in the lead. I'm a bit concerned about the playing time - we need to play again soon before we all forget the rules again - and I was getting a mild dose of that "Princes of Florence" feeling I sometimes get with Euros where fairly complex mechanics don't seem to relate to anything in the real world. But I would certainly give it another go before I formulate a strong opinion either way.
Then yesterday evening Les and I met up in The Fox for a two-player session. We got the usual curious questions from folk in the bar (must remember to take business cards from the local game shop next time) as Les introduced me to Roma, which I liked a lot. Possibly because I beat Les twice at it. It's another Schotten-Totten variant I suppose, very nicely done with lots of interesting interactions between the cards - I like the action dice choices. Both games seeemd to demonstrate the unstoppable power of the Forum card which slightly concerns me. Then we went on to Dvonn, which was new to Les. I hope I didn't put him off the game too much by beating him twice at this one too! I enjoy this game a lot and I love the way the tension slowly builds until the whole position dramatically collapses at the end. I crawled home feeling very tired but happy.