2004 started with a small meeting with Juho and Olli, who are probably pretty high on my regular opponents list. We met at restaurant Telakka, which is a nice place except it’s a bit too small. That wouldn’t be a problem, but when the place is that small, it’s hard to have enough distance to the smokers. I’m not going there again to play games, because there are places where I can play without getting smell of smoke on my clothes.
I was planning to start the year with a game of Chinese origin (since that has been the way to do it), but instead played Bonobo Beach with Juho when Olli didn’t show up. I won the game with a pretty high score. Olli showed up just before we finished.
It was time for the year-opening Chinese game — the honour went to Gang of Four this year. It was Juho’s game, for sure. He scored three points in the first deal, but after that, none. None. I got 80 points in one deal and after six deals, I had 100 points. Olli had 62 while Juho still had his three. Amazing — he’s pretty good with his cards, I’d say. I would think it twice before playing for money against Juho.
Flaschenteufel is my favourite trick-taker, so it was next. I started well, scoring -9 points for the first deal. D’oh. Well, during the first three deals, we all got the bottle once so I actually ended up being in the lead. I didn’t give it away after that. Olli continued to hold the bottle for few rounds and when the last round began, I was soundly in lead with 144 points. Juho had 102 and Olli merely 19. Unfortunately, it was me who got the cursed bottle in the last deal. However, it didn’t bring me down. The Imp’s Trick was friendly and I only lost six points. Olli took lots of points, so the final results were 68 points for Olli, 135 points for Juho and, luckily, 138 points for me.
Then it was time for another three-player staple game, Sticheln. I consider it one of my stronger games and as it goes, I won this time with a healthy margin: 57, 31, -11. Juho was the less fortunate player this time. As a curiosity, I had yellow as my misery colour in three or four of the five deals. It was my lucky colour this time, it seems.
We wrapped up the afternoon with two games of Bonobo Beach. First one was vicious: Juho won with -8 points. In the next game we all got positive points and Olli won the game with 17 points. It’s quite interesting and vicious game. Having to play all your scoring tokens can be quite a burden in the end, you definitely have to watch out. There are lots of very bad locations available in the end… In the first game, we voluntarily took locations with -4 or -6, just to avoid even worse spots (worst being about -32 or something like that, heavy negatives with two doubles next to them). Bonobo is a very clever little game. It’s also very heavily tactical game. There’s really no place for strategic thinking, it’s all react react react. Solid 8 rating from me.