September 27th, 2011
Got our game of Civilization in on Saturday. For me, it was a brutal last 3+ hours. I had Crete (I picked 5th out of 6) and was actually starting to run away with the game. Things were going smooth untill I made a trip to populate the west side of the board at an old city spot owned by Africa (Chris) at one point. He didn't let that be and attacked me. That opened the flood gate of "Gary is winning (I was), we have to stop him for a chance to win (true). I was pummeled for the next three hours. I dwindled, slowly as Egypt (Timm) continued on. It got to the last round and for me to have a chance (amazingly, I was hanging in there) I HAD to build two more cities to bring myself back up to three. Yes, I was that low. Nope. Because of a Civil War the round before, I was flush with population, which led me to go first. Going first was the kiss of death. I had to be proactive instead of reactive. As soon as I set myself up to build cities, I was immediately attacked by others. I couldn't get the trade cards I needed which meant I couldn't trade to get my last advancement to take me over 1200. Egypt moved on for the win. Damn Timm. It was definately not good to be in the middle of the board in that game. Still great fun!
Now, last night. Kevin arrived early and Timm and Jeff were not going to arrive until about 6:30, so Kevin and I played a game of Attika, an interesting connection game. It's very abstract but it's quick, easy and fun. Also has an excellent rule book. Kevin owns it but had not played it yet, which is why we picked it. It didn't take long to get up to speed on the rules and playing. We both made nice plays to force the other person into having to block and the game got to the point of needing all your buildings out to win when both Timm and Jeff arrived. Instead of finishing out the game (perhaps another 15-20 minutes) we aborted the game and looked for a good, four player game to play.
I think the mood was playing something a little more involved as nobody suggested anything light. We actually had Opera on the table when someone opened the alea cabinet and read off Traders of Genoa. I had played it once a few years ago and found it only okay but I wanted to give it a second chance with different folk and the four of us are alea fans, so we pulled it out and learned it.
It started out slow as we got used to the rules and hashed things out a bit but we really got going into the game. A negotiation game, everything seemed available in a deal. There were lots of ways to make money in this game and it seemed like we all had different strategies going on. The key is to not overspend and to. I think, be diverse. In the end Jeff won wtih 750, Kevin had 650, I had 610 and Timm had 535. Jeff poured it on at the end with big deliveries and delivering messages. This is a game I definately want to play again, very soon. It's deal making, but not to the extreme. Tons of room to be creative. My second playing of it has changed my original opinion. Is there a bad alea game? I wasn't really enamored with Artus but I still found it okay (a spin off of That's Life! in my opinion). Otherwise, they all are strong games. I'm glad we broke this one out.