"Because It's Funny"
Monday began with the third game of my series with Scott. We had finalized our trade before the game, so Manny Ramirez started third in my lineup. I also considered subbing out Travis "K-Factory" Hafner for a new DH, but changed my mind at the last minute. Good thing, too, as Hafner led off the 1st and 3rd innings with solo homers, helping me score one run in each of the first four innings. Not to be outdone, Vladimir Guerrero chalked up 3 RBI on a single, double, and home run to bring Scott back to 4-3 down in the 5th. Then in the bottom of the 5th, Scott vengefully plunked Manny in the head, forcing me to replace him with Kenny Lofton, a weak bat and even weaker fielder. Things were looking bad.
But I managed to load the bases in the bottom of the 6th. Bye bye Jake Westbrook, hello...Francisco Rodriguez (gulp). F-Rod struck out the next two batters, but then walked Helton and Lofton to allow two runs. Scott loaded the bases in the 9th but could only bring one run in, and I survived 7-4. I move up to 10-8 (5-1 in July), Scott down to 14-10.
I rejoined the main group, where the choice was Celebrities or Lifeboats. Given the chance to screw Michael not just in game choice, but repeatedly for the next hour, we broke out Lifeboats. My second try at this played much like my first -- I got my ship to shore first, but wasted two captains early, thinking nobody else would be silly enough to play captains so early. The other five players pulled off a masterpiece of jumping-out maneuvers, forcing four of my pawns into the same leaky boat, still at the starting line. But they lacked the resolve to finish me, and one by one I got my pawns out (one by drowning, but hey, he got out). Other evil deeds were perpetrated under Sean's umbrella excuse, "Because it's funny."
Like many good negotiation games, the players who most successfully acted small came up big at the end, and Sean nipped Michael by two for the win. Getting my ship in first counted for something, as it broke the tie for last in my favor.
Lord of the Rings
(Knizia cooperative, no expansions)
Al departed and left us with five, and we owed Sauron a beatdown. I've played this game a handful of times and never won -- at some point there always seems to be a run of event tiles, and down we go without recourse.
Not this time. We really did hand Sauron a beatdown, racing through and never seeing the 5th event on any board. We called Gandalf only once (on the final turn) and finished with 21 shields. Sauron was at 14 on the corruption track and no hobbit was above 10. Merry (Travis) was at one, skipping up the path to Mount Doom, eating mushrooms and wondering what everyone was so depressed about.
Getting the Band Back Together