On Sunday I drove down to Cardiff, crossing the bridge in filthy weather to visit Nick for a couple of days of gaming to greet the new year. Dave was already there, and they were both getting over their hangovers when I arrived by sitting in the Robin Hood with a pint. We finally got back to Nick's flat and started a 3-player game of Sword of Rome, which continued well into Monday morning - with breaks for Nick's excellent chillie, a film (The Knight's Tale) and a few rounds of 6 Nimmt! (which I won). I played the Greeks to Dave's Romans and Nick's Etruscan/Samnites. Poor Dave took some big VP losses early on and Nick looked like a winner all through the mid-game. Dave periodically hammered me with the Carthaginians, but never consistently enough to really hurt me, and in the end I grabbed the win by a margin of 2 VPs.
We had a few debates about the quality of this game during play. I think we all agreed that the rules are very badly written and laid out. And the game has more fiddly bits than it really needs - a bit more polishing and simplification would have helped a lot. Unfortunately the errata and living rules have made the situation significantly worse (I blame ConsimWorld and the howling mob of grognards that greets every new game there) and in future I think I would prefer to play with the rules out of the box. Dave also felt grumpy that "his plans never worked" which I think is a less justified complaint - this is after all a card-driven game and as such you need to expect the unexpected.
Having said all this I still think Sword of Rome is an excellent 3-player wargame and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Next up was Euphrat & Tigris, which Nick was keen to play as he wants to improve his chances against his girlfriend Dani. Not sure if we helped, as it was a bruising, high-conflict game which I just won by 1 point.
Dave had to go now but Nick and I faced up for another Euphrat & Tigris session, Nick still keen to pick up some tactics. Unfortunately early in the game he lost a big conflict heavily, and never got a chance to recover. I swiftly scooped up all but two of the treasures for a decisive win. I was getting embarrassed by this point - if they hadn't invited me along Nick and Dave would probably have had a nice weekend sharing the victories out evenly, but I came along on a big winning streak and left them both feeling a bit crushed.
Oh well - the guilt is wearing off now, but the warm glow remains. Besides, my winning streaks are pretty rare so I will bask in this one while it lasts......