Mike was off in Seattle and J was afflicted by poison ivy (eyes swollen shut afflicted), but we were joined by Jess, so we were 4. Rick suggested we Roll Through the Ages.
Jess was new to the game so a quick explanation ensued then the dice rolled. With 20/20 hindsight I would have done thing differently, but I have never seen such a game when the disasters flew. Tom especially was adept at the Pestilence roll. I built up to 5 cities and stopped, while the others pressed on up to 6 and then 7 cities. I built the basics: Irrigation and Agriculture, then the monument builders: Masonry and Engineering. But there seemed little time for monuments. Tom played the defense, covering himself against disaster, while Rick went the Quarrying route. Jess built up slowly, getting to grips with the various developments (commenting toward the end that she was keen to play it again). Everyone had lots of disasters though, some self-afflicted (Rick starved a few times and never did buy Irrigation). But he had 4 developments and as 3rd player was assessing his potential for winning. Tom had few points, enough disasters to counter his inexpensive purchases. Jess had quite a lot of disasters and so did I, but I had more high end developments. He counted my points: 2 (and yes, I was winning). He counted his own, adding on a development he could afford this turn: 0. All he needed was for Jess to roll a pestilence for me and he would win. Heh. So he declined to end the game. Jess rolled another pestilence, of course. But then on my last turn, with no food I rolled 3 skulls and workers. No food. Roll again. No food. Roll again: one more skull, no food. Invasion and 5 point famine. I was able to complete the Great Wall (just AFTER the invasion, of course) and bought Empire. But both Rick and Tom got Empire (with 7 cities) and even though Rick also took another Drought, he hung on for the win, in what must be one of the lowest scoring games of this we've played.
Me: 25 + 11 + 5 - 28 = 13
Tom: 16 + 1 + 7 - 10 = 14
Rick: 23 + 12 + 7 - 26 = 16
Jess: 23 + 4 + 0 - 20 = 7