Only 4 this week. First up was a quick game of Tsuro while we waited to see if others would arrive. The game was very close and I knocked Julian out on my penultimate turn picking up his tile as I had the dragon. My following turn found all 3 remaining sitting around one empty square and whichever way I played the tile I had resulted in mutually assured destruction, so Mike & I ended up in a collision while Andy ended up off the board.
Tsuro 15 mins
Julian started in the area around the Black Sea but got somewhat boxed in as Andy came in through the North Eastern mountains and spread out quite widely taking the early lead and Mike came into the Balkans and Southern Italy, moving into second place. At this stage Julian considered declining on his second turn but decided to continue and I was glad he did. I had come on through Ireland and taken the port in England/Wales, my port building would persist after decline and I had thought to decline immediately using Rebirth and grab the Mining/Revolutionaries combination that had dropped into position I. I then reconsidered thinking surely that no one would decline before it came round to me and knowing I could grab a second port on turn 2 so I was a bit worried when Julian thought of a decline.
I declined next turn on schedule, having picked up my extra port and selected the Mining/Revolutionaries combination and Julian also declined on his turn (taking Fortification/Espionage), before I had my revolution in the Balkan Mountain mine and expanded into the adjacent forest mine. In the turns following first Andy declined (taking Port Building/Slavery) and then Mike who ended up taking Barbarians/Astronomy from position III losing him 4 VP. Mike was to say later that he felt he should have declined a turn earlier, but didn't expect everyone else to do so before him meaning that he could not get the civilisation he desired (there was some discussion about the lack of really powerful combinations in this game).
At this point in the mid game I started to move into the lead with the mines scoring well together with a bit of help from the ports, although this didn't last too long as first Julian and then Andy both came in through Ireland and the English port soon bit the dust, while Mike went all round the board using Astronomy, picking off my last port in the process.
A couple of turns later we started to move to the final set of civilisations, first to go was me, taking Livestock Breeding/Militia with +2 VP, which Mike had passed over earlier, followed by Mike who took Field General/Heritage for +2 VP, it being the other combination that he himself had passed over. Heritage was quite useful to him as his declined empire was spread out all over the board, but he had no bonus scoring and at this point I think he essentially was resigned to last place as both Andy and Julian were pulling away from him and closing on me. Julian declined next for Revolutionaries/Port Building, while Andy then went for Ship Building/Rebirth, he wasn't able to use Rebirth but he managed very good use of Ship Building.
Julian actually ended the game going to 121 points and I was left desperately trying to gather enough points to keep Andy behind. It was one of those situations where I would have declined if it were not for the impending game end meaning that the loss of tempo would mean more lost points than staying with the current civ. Andy passed me to win, with Mike in fourth place. I had thought that Mike's actions on his penultimate turn had, perhaps, denied me the chance to stop Andy, but in hindsight I don't think it made a difference
Vinci 120 mins