All I've managed to set brush to in the last couple of weeks is some base coat work on a troll and another ship of the line which I'm hoping to get finished this week.
In terms of gaming, this week we got to crack out Merchants and Marauders, the finest board game available that gives you the chance to live out your Captain Jack Sparrow fantasies.
The strength of the game is that you can play it how you like; you can tool around the Caribbean and win by taking tobacco, spices or wood - and just like playing Catan, you get all the usual jokes about who's got wood; you can chase down rumours of hidden gold, sunken ships or shady jobs; you can perform jobs for the great and good of the colonial powers; or you can hoist the Jolly Roger and cut a swathe through the merchants of the Caribbean - or other players. Each of these is an equally valid and effective way to win, making the game one my favourite sandboxes.
In terms of components, as you can see, it puts a lot of toys on the table so it's visually quite impressive.
The biggest problem, from my point of view, is that it requires dice rolls. At this point, I'd like you to meet my captain, Percival W. During the course of this game he:
Spent two turns looking for merchantmen and proved to be totally unable to find them. It's difficult to be a pirate if you insist on looking the other way.
Spent two turns looking for a new species of plant to compete a mission for a botanist. To put that into perspective, in that same space of time, another player made fortune hauling run to Trinidad.
Tried to attack another captain to stop her winning; she was sailing a bloody huge galleon. Again, he couldn't find her.
He therefore became known as Blind Percy. In the same game we discovered that G - a business studies teacher - was awful at making money. We named his ship the Saga as he appeared to be taking old folks on a very, very slow cruise, forgetting to pick up cargo in the ports that he visited.
A good night was had by all; the game is quite overwhelming for people who've not played it before or who aren't used to modern board games, simply because of the amount of freedom it offers and the sheer number of moving parts but it flows well and has been requested for the next game night. I really do recommend M&M. It's probably the most played game in the collection and I know I'll have a good time playing it every time.
Just so long as I'm not stuck with being Blind Percy again.