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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
When I showed up at Don’s house, they were just finishing a 3 player game: Jean was the humans, beating Greg who was the pilgrims and Don finished a distant third as the machines. So I said I would try the machines, given their apparent weakness, and no one seems to be able to play them yet. Jean was the Trogs, Don was the Pilgrims and Greg was the Humans. We were playing with one extra skill. For the machines, I chose the one that lets you double your attrition score in one battle.
The script seemed to be following all the other 4 player games. The Trogs have a scoring card in their hand and they play it, shortening the game to 4 rounds in the process. But Greg has kept pace and is only a couple of points behind as Jean decided to give up 4 VPs to get his prisoners back, I spend 2 VP as well to get one of mine back.
In round 2, having only one Machine adjacent to Don, he decides to attack me rather than the Trogs. This is a weak move, as I have to build some structures to target his Pilgrim and use the matrix for some terrain cards. He loses the battle, and cannot retreat, as the space he came in from was another battle site. So he loses 3 Pilgrims. Not only that, Don is deciding not to use the Pilgrim ability to convert collected crystals into points.
Jean is holding onto a slim lead, and Greg is doing really well on the board, having lots of expansion possibilities with Don and I wasting our time on each other.
I decide to go first in round 4, and send in 2 Machines to an the crystal area beside the Trog homebase, occupied by 1 Trog, but there is Trog trap there. I needed to send in at least 3, since Jean would spend consecutive actions to run the trap, getting rid of my Machines. So I essentially made a mistake, but Jean didn’t play the Trogs optimally, as I think he could have used his tunnels more effectively. Greg just took over a 6 crystal spot of mine that I only had 1 Machine (which I vacated to attack Jean in vain) in to secure the win.
Scores: Greg 62, Jean 50, Norbert 36, Don 30.
Greg (humans) was efficient with his battles to score over 60 pts. Jean (Trogs) got a decent score but could have done better. I was Machines (red) and blundered into a Trog trap, but was slowed down by one battle with Don (Pilgrims).
I only got to use my extra skill once to earn 1 VP. So back to the drawing board for the Machines. The Humans are turning out to be pretty flexible, being competitive in every game.