Mike was hosting, and we had a lot of people. How many? Including Chris, who ostensibly just dropped by to leave some games he was giving away, 12. We may need a public space before much longer.
While Mike and a bunch of folks played Canal Mania for the entire night, Laurent, Tim, Dave, Alex, and myself started off with Cleopatra and the Society of Russian Subcontractors. At least that's how it felt to me. The gist of the game is that you try to build various elements of a temple using various recipies of resource cards while trying to avoid too many corruption scandals. Some interesting elements: You get bonus points for constructing more than one element, although it's hard to get that many cards as you always have to discard down to ten (or take additional corruption). Also, the deck is shuffled with half of the cards face up, so you see about half of the cards available for drafting every turn.
Because so few of us had played the game, there was a bit of downtime due to people figuring out how the various element recipies worked, but I think that with a play or two under everyone's belt the game should move along more quickly. I started out strong, but failed to realize how important it was to bid high to avoid extra corruption if you didn't donate enough to the priests (everyone has their hand in the concrete, it seems), and took a huge amount of corruption early and from then on it just went downhill. On the plus side, I made a huge payout right near the end of the game that gave me 27 points in talents (or rubles, or whatever) that gave me a clear lead, but I also ended up with the most corruption by two points and was fed to the crocodiles by somebody, probably the planning commission. As it was, Laurent squeaked by for the win.
Of course, Peter had shown up a half hour late (the new joke in the group - if the bell rings at 7:30, it's Peter), so we added him to a game of Tongiaki. Dave suggested using the partnership rules, but wasn't able to find them on the 'Geek with a Google search, so we improvised and just added the two players' points together. Didn't help us, Dave and I came in dead last, with Tim and Laurent taking the honors. I like this game, but find the graphics confusing (sometimes it's a slip for a ship, sometimes it's a beach, and sometimes the slip is over the top of the pier). While it's not consistent, downtime can be a bear - Peter had four or five turns of just placing a single ship or two on an island, then watching everyone else move ships all over the place for a few minutes, then doing his quick placement again. Snore. We also played the partnership rules incorrectly, but I have no idea what we were supposed to do and can't be bothered to look it up (too much WoW on my mind).
Thanks to Mike for hosting, and we'll see everyone at my place next week.