We had a change of location for the evening which meant that one of our younger members could join us for the first couple of games of the evening. So, while we were waiting for people to arrive, we had a couple of quick “warm-up” games of Dobble. Clearly most of us needed quite a lot of warming up as we seemed to spend a huge amount of time staring blankly at cards, leaving the door open for bit of a white-wash.
The next game was our Feature Game, Zooloretto. This is a cute little game based on the same set collecting mechanic as the card game, Coloretto (which we’ve played a few times before). The idea is that on their turn, players draw an animal tile from a bag and place it on a truck. There are the same number of trucks as there are players, and each truck will hold a maximum of three tiles. When a player sees a truck they like, instead of drawing a tile, they can take that truck and add the animals on it to their zoo. The snag is, only one sort of animal can go in each pen (to prevent a massacre apparently) and each zoo only has three pens, but there are a lot of different animal types! Any animals that don’t have a pen, have to go into storage in the barn. Instead of drawing tiles and adding them to a truck, you can also pay money to expand your zoo, or to move animals about or even buy one off another player. Players score points for full, or very nearly full pens, and negative points for each different animal type in they have in the barn at the end of the game. So, the trick is to set up a nice full truck with animals on it that only you want an hope nobody else pinches it. Apart from Blue who finished a long way behind the rest, the game was really quite close, second, third and fourth finished within a point and the winner was only a few points clear.
We were all quite tired so we decided to go for just one more, familiar game and an early night, so we picked Ticket to Ride. We’d all played this many times before so we only needed a quick clarification of the specific rules for the Europe version (Only one face up loco? – Yes; Locos can be used anywhere? – Yes! And don’t forget about stations and tunnels…) and then we were off collecting train cards. Black was the first person to claim a route and went for the six-card line from Palermo to Smyrna. Unfortunately, since it was a ferry it needed two locomotive cards so Black had to think again and picked up the train card he needed instead. Out of fairness, since we hadn’t mentioned ferries in the summary, instead of claiming the route, Green gave Black another chance (which he took). The rest of us were less sympathetic however and over the next couple of turns, the area around Italy, Greece and the Balkans filled up rapidly and Green, struggled valiantly, but ultimately unsuccessfully to make the connections he needed and ended up resorting to using stations.
Meanwhile, Red was trying to get from Erzurum to Købenavn and Blue was trying to get from Edinburgh to Athena via Berlin. Blue was the first to pick up more tickets, quickly followed by Green and eventually red, however, Black kept on claiming routes and before long was well in the lead with only two trains remaining. Everyone scrabbled to get as many points as they could from the cards they had in their hand before the final recount and scoring of tickets. Green (who won Zooloretto) came off worst as not only had he been forced to use stations, he also struggled to complete some of his tickets and was left ruing his kindness early in the game. Black and Blue tied for the European express bonus given for the longest continuous set of trains and the difference between them came down to tickets which gave Blue the win with 122 points (and made up for her terrible game of Zooloretto!).
Learning Outcome: You can lose spectacularly at one game then win at the next, or vice versa.