Craig Johnson(CraigRJ)United Kingdom
Six players this time - three early arrivals in Tom, Craig and Robbie; Peter, Rogue and Phil joining in after the first game.
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is turning into the traditional early arrival game, and as last time the three players gradually started spreading out across the city with a couple of possible characters for each player. As Vetinari, Craig knew he had to have minions in ten of twelve areas, and disguised this spread by drawing attention to Robbie spreading out into multiple areas and in grabbing control in a couple of places to imply a control character. Playing the card to see all but one of the non-used character cards was a tremendous boon to Craig, revealing that one of Tom and Robbie was after control, one (probably) after eight trouble markers.
From this play it seems that making noise and pointing out where others might be about to win is a good distraction technique from what one is up to...although admitting that here is probably an error. Craig grabbed a sudden victory that the other two weren't expecting thanks to this.
With all six players in place, Shadows over Camelot hit the table (without Merlin's Company expansion). So 7 loyal knight cards and 1 traitor card were chosen from, and initial missions chosen - Sir Craig and Sir Peter felt infused with the Holy Spirit and so went on the Grail Quest, on which Craig stayed for pretty much the entire game. Robbie as King Arthur decreed he was going for Lancelot's Armor no matter what - and then shortly after starting the quest revealed he didn't really have the military might to back this up and could anyone exchange some troops with him? Suspicious....
Excalibur's mission was left alone for now, as one of the remaining knights took on the Black Knight and the other two hit the Picts, who were threatening very early on. Lancelot's power grew quickly but King Robbie finally knocked him out thanks to a timely Merlin intervention of a nasty reinforcement for Lancelot. The Picts were defeated in short order, as was the Black Knight and things were looking good.
However, in the meantime Siege Engines had crept up to six, Excalibur was on its way out, the Saxons were strong and the Grail Quest was in the mire, every time it hit 50% done, it got knocked back such that Sir Peter finally ran out of Holy power and returned to Camelot.
Two knights went to Excalibur and pulled it back from the brink into success, Sir Tom joined Sir Craig on the Grail Quest and the Picts were pushed back again - the Knights declined the opportunity to defend against the Dragon or the Saxons, reasoning these quests could be safely lost if it came to it.
With Excalibur gained and therefore each further Excalibur card adding a Siege Engine, life points hovering at 1 or 2, Merlins exhausted and Siege Engines at 9, everyone except for Sir Tom and Sir Craig returned to Camelot to fight the Engines...they just had to hold out long enough for the Grail Quest to be completed and this happened in short order.
Loyalties revealed...and all were loyal. Perhaps this was why it went relatively smoothly, and maybe a traitor is a necessity for future plays.
Saboteur was new for Robbie and Craig, but one quick rule explanation later and things got underway, although it seemed relatively sedate with the good dwarves getting the gold quite quickly, with Phil getting the lions share. Only three rounds of this are played, but round two was also a sedate affair, with the gold getting struck quickly again, this time by Peter with the pick of the rewards...leaving us one round to go, which made the game feel far too short.
With two clear leaders at this point, Craig felt the only logical course of action was to block both of those two as soon as possible, and ensure someone else got to the gold first, and he explained this point of view loudly (too loudly) and at length (at too much length). Rogue picked up on this neatly and joined in the blocking action and the game as a result became much more tense and exciting...the good dwarves finally hit the gold with only a couple of cards to spare, Rogue making the final breakthrough and taking enough to tip him into first place over the blocked others.
Three rounds still feels way too short, and more blocking earlier should be encouraged, I feel. However, I didn't find it to be a patch on The Resistance.
Finally we wrapped up - after a bit of a discussion - with 6 nimmt. New to Peter but he picked it up quickly (in the second round he only scored 1 which in a game where you don't want points is damn fine play) and the game cracked along nicely.
The game ends when someone hits 66 points, after the first round we were on 7-11-13-14-16-18, not too bad a spread. Three players hit 22 in round two to set the scores up here as 15-23-29-32-35-38 giving Peter then Craig a clear advantage.
Round 3 saw Peter join in the 22 club and wreck his chances, especially as others pegged just 3, 4 or 6 points, leaving us set at 26-37-38-42-46-58. Craig on 26 had the game to lose, Phil on 58 was playing for pride, as we entered round four: Robbie had a round of nightmares, being dumped with 38 points in that round, and although Craig picked up 11 and Peter only 3 it wasn't enough for him to peg Craig back, winning with 37-40-48-54-67 then Robbie on an amazing 84. Whoops...