Endeavor is exactly the kind of game I rarely get to play: not suitable for 2 player, too long for a lunch time. But it is also the kind of game I am inclined to like, with a lot of mechanisms at work and featuring a fathoming out of which are most important. So I am going through the process of working out how to be efficient in your play, which aspects to focus on, which aspects can I neglect and which are essential.
It was mostly by happenstance that I got the first play, a friend of mine had borrowed it and my family and I were invited over to visit and - naturally - try out this new game. As far as I recall, I started off well but my mid and late game were at best mediocre and I finished well behind the winner, who had a ton of points from cards and had pushed all his different tracks well up, while mine were perfectly symmetrical and all at 7.
A second game was attempted. I say attempted as we had this crazy idea that we could play out the first 4 turns, save our progress by virtue of camera and bagging, then play out the rest next time. That did not work out so well (and the contemplation of putting all the counters back where they were still gives me a little chill). But I learned something from even that half play, that you do need some workers or you won't get much work done.
And so it was that we got to play it again, a full game in one sitting, this past weekend. A five player game, with the original owner there too, perhaps a final chance to play it (for a while at least) as he was taking it home with him. I opened like I had my first game, but concentrated on shipping heavily and occupying minimally. I gained 2 governor cards (one stolen by my more developed shipping on the tie), I got some of the other cards too. I was clearly in the lead. Meanwhile, my wife, who typically does not quite get the small steps for eventual gain that is in action here (here by the small steps needed to get to the next level for the development tracks), was struggling with what to do. She had occupied mostly in Europe and had a little network going. She was on the shipping track only a little, with Africa her most shipped to, but few had joined her and it looked like it might stall before she got the governorship card.
I was winning so I became the target, which I had expected some of, but I was pushed out of most of my occupied spots. I figured that to be a relatively minor amount of points and eschewed further occupying in favor of more shipping - including into Africa as that was a possible governor card I could acquire. Well, that did not work out, my wife got that governor and occupied the cities too. Perhaps I should have made her kick me out. But I thought I'd score more by pushing for India as well (and perhaps I should have gotten the cartographer last turn over the level 5 building I did get). In any case, to make an already too long story slightly shorter, my insurmountable lead had indeed been surmounted and my wife in fact won by 8 points 56 to my 48.
Which rather caused me to wonder what I had done wrong. After all, I thought I had begun to get a handle on how it was all going to work out and my wife was at least claiming not to get it.
A couple of things, like not quite getting that last governor card. I lost some points on being de-occupied forcibly. One thing that irked was not being able to access the higher level cards despite having the presence, as few others were buying them in my region. And that sometimes you might get a better card if another player got the one ahead of you ... and sometimes you were left with the lower one.
I will freely admit we are all quite inexperienced with the game. So some errors were undoubtedly made. There is a lot going on. Which is why it is bouncing round my brain right now and possibly fruitlessly as I am not sure when I will get to play it again.