Two jumps in a week,
I bet you think that’s pretty clever don’t you boy?
I got to playtest Brent Crude two evenings running:
on Wednesday with my long-suffering wife, Jenny, and my daughter, Claire (both credited in the rules - which are still yet to appear on BGG)
on Thursday at [guild=Epsom Games Club][/guild] with Russell, Adam, and Andrew-B2. (Thanks guys, for playing yet again.)
The good news is the switch from a card-driven mechanism stolen from Brass: Lancashire/Age of Industry to an action-selection mechanism stolen from The Manhattan Project is a resounding success.
Consensus is that the switch has speeded up the game considerably, with less down-time between players' moves. The core mechanisms of producing, piping, shipping, refining, and delivering oil and related products remain largely unchanged.
Jenny won our game on Wednesday - she always does - with her pretty conventional grab-Scotland-and-conquer-the-world strategy. I tried to fend her off with an early purchase of the biggest refinery (Fawley), but it was too expensive to get it going quickly enough and I lost by 7 VPs. Since she earned 8 VPs of her winning score on her last turn, I think I was close!
Claire, meanwhile - new to this iteration of the game - was already too far behind to matter. Still, on the following day she got excellent A-Level results and a place at Trinity Hall, Cambridge - so I don't suppose she's too disappointed at losing to her parents at Brent Crude!
Russell was very effective on Thursday night in testing the game's core cycle of produce+pipe+sell by not actually using the sell action. Instead he used the forced-sale rule that allows oil coming into storage down a pipline to displace oil that is already there. Very clever trick and it certainly worked for him - he won the game with 46 VPs!
Not sure that trick will always work, though - Russell owned Ekofisk, Norpipe, and Seal Sands. Others may be wise to that move in the future.
Adam exercised the facility collection part of the game, by buying up cheap pipelines and storage to gain the max 15 VPs for each type. Shame he didn't get to refine and deliver much product, otherwise he might have upped his score from 42 VPs to snatch victory from Russell.
Andrew-B2 (so named by EGC to distinguish him from me, another Andrew B...) played a more conventional half-operate, half-purchase strategy, which also put him into contention to win with 40 VPs and ruined my chances in the process.
Of course, my score was pants - just 27 VPs, including a penalty of 5 VPs for not repaying all my loans. What can I say? I'm useless at my own game.
So a big thanks to Jenny, Claire, Russell, Adam, and Andrew-B2 for confirming that Brent Crude is heading in the right direction.
Now I just have to find a publisher...
PS Anyone recognize the quote at the top of this article? There is a clue in my micro-badges