Games Played at Southampton on Board - 2012-09-24
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Games Played at Southampton on Board on Monday 24th September 2012

The "wow, for so many people (relative) you didn't really play a lot of games" and "hey, what's happened to all the words?" edition.

Attended by:


Adam Field
United Kingdom
Southampton
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Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Will Morris
United Kingdom
Southampton
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United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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I'll think of something witty to put here...
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Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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... and a very welcome return by:

Rich Stokes
United Kingdom
winchester
Hampshire
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Not this good looking in real life
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1. Board Game: Condottiere [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:799]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Will

Played by:
* Will
* Adam F
* Adam H
* Sam
* Rich
* Paul


Will and Adam F started the evening with a two player game of Condottiere which was interrupted two rounds in by the steady flow of new arrivals, I believe this pre-emptive game ended in a tie (one region each.)

Setup then commenced for a four player game which became a five player game and--by the time things were ready and rules had been explained--ended up being an unprecedented six player game. The bidding battle then commenced with Adam F taking an early foothold in the south, Will a stranglehold in the north with some contest from Paul, Rich a foothold in the center, me with a token region in the east, and Sam with ... well, with nothing but the urgent need of an abacus.

There was lots of bowing out of battles before they had even begun to preserve cards for future, potentially less contested, turns. This frequently left the same two or three people bidding against each other though I think the urgency of preventing an outright victory prevented it from essentially splitting into two or three smaller games within the main game.

Some memorable moments:

* The round in which only the church really won. Successive instances of the "priest" card were deployed to prevent regions falling into the wrong hands and, sometimes, just to spite the person who last played a priest card.

* The turn in which I played all my cards and still didn't win despite no special cards (winter, priest, or key) being played.

* Sam spreading it for Paul. Though, perhaps, a sight most of us would rather not have been privvy to.

* The thermically untouchable, longjohns wearing, cloak trailing, flag bearing, curb stomping, hardy heroeins who, I think, collectively didn't really do much good for anyone.

* Paul pondering the possibility of recreational relaxive drug distribution amid all attendees. We may not have been taking things altogether all that seriously.

* The ten card that no one knew I had and with which I won my sole region in a masterful tactical coup.

* Sams math.

It was a fun game. Not the most tactically deep play we've had to be sure and it probably ran a little long for what the game warrants but it was fun. I'm not even sure who ended up winning in the end, Will maybe?
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2. Board Game: Eminent Domain [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:426]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Adam H

Played by:
1. Sam (22)
2. Adam H (20)
3. Rich (16)
4. Will (12)


Three newbs and I still didn't win.

Probably the least "interactive" game of EmDo that I've played, which is something given how little interaction exists in the base game. I don't think anyone was particularly paying any attention to what others were doing and choosing their actions/roles based on that--I certainly wasn't.

Rich and I choose the path of maximal aggression and conquered as many planets as we could whilst Sam and Will proved to be the peace loving hippies flitting about and colonizing planets. Cue shouts of dismissal and groaning every time one or other role was chosen that couldn't be followed.

Will continued to fight against the game and be flummoxed throughout. Deciding on a strategy and then getting your deck sorted in order for that to just "flow" is key to the game and I think Will tried to do a bit too much of everything at everyturn. Having options is good but having a focused victory point generating machine is better.

Of course being too focused on any one aspect can also be bad for you--something my path to galactic conquest exemplifies. War mongering was the only meaningful action I took (with the exception of two early game colonizations) and I really, really should have been researching (or produce/trading) to benefit from the other players role selections and round out my victory point generation.

Sam, by comparison, managed to strike a reasonable balance and picked up some of the higher level--point providing--techs. His galactic empire may not have been quite as vast but they were ever so slightly more prosperous.

We also played some number of extra rounds due to my failing to notice that the reasearch stack had been depleted (following colonize.) Another sign that I was too focused on war. Still, I don't think it would have changed the end game rankings any.

The itch to play this again is still as strong as ever: something about it just makes me want to give it another go, improve the engine of galactic supremecy, beat my last score.
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3. Board Game: Summoner Wars: Master Set [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:147] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Adam H
and totally not Sam

Played by:
1. Adam F
2. Paul


Whilst we were off playing Eminent Domain Adam F and Paul faced off in a game of Summoner Wars. From Adam's brief post game report prior to launching into a spot of photojournalisim we learned that he took the Sand Goblins to victory over the Tundra Orcs under Pauls command. His considered opinion on the game (after three plays) is a decided "meh" (I believe stemming primarily from the random chance elements.)

Paul was unavailable for comment.

It should be noted that Adam was initially reluctant to play against Paul as "he's scary". (Though I was at least thinking the same thing about him last week.)
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4. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:132]
Adam H
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Brought by:
Will

Played by:
1. Adam F
2. Will
3. Adam H


From conquest of the galaxy to conquest of a few Greek islands in the persuit of two fledgling "metropolisis" (metropoli?) The equisitly produced Cyclades hit the table again to close out the evening.

This was an ... interesting game. I liked the mechanisims in play: bidding to win the Gods favour (the "role selection"), using your army and ships to dispute control of the islands and their resources, the different types of cards (one providing a "bonus" to your bids, one providing a path to victory, and the creatures allowing for actions you would not otherwise be able to take.) The problem I had was that none of that worked for me during this play.

Adam F took a very early lead, in terms of area control and money generation, by conguering Will and my second islands. Uncontested, his influence spread. This then seemed to result in a situation where the Gods weren't heavily contested but where with only two in play I would either not win ones favour or win the favour of the God of least benefit. In particular I was always blocked from Ares (the God of War) and almost always blocked from Posiden. With no army or navy I was land locked and seemingly locked out of the game.

Will fared better (I believe due to holding onto his second island slightly longer and having slightly more early game income) actually taking the fight to Adam F on a few occassions.

The mid game seemed to devolve into a war of attrition where Will and I couldn't unseat Adam F from his seat of power and he in turn didn't capitalize on it. This was, on Adam F's part, due to a misunderstanding in the how the one much you could capitalize on one Gods action resulting in a strategy that wasn't going to pay off quite how he needed it too (save up enough money to just splurge on philosiphers and "philosipyise" two metropolisis into being.)

By shear force of role selection I ended up with a metropolis (I was building quite the little island paradise) and by more deliberate means so did Will. All the while Adam F's many islands remained empty.

It should also be noted that despite the generosity of Apollo (four gold for only having one island, and a prosperity token) by the time I had enough money to throw at Ares or Posiden the others had enough to either bid higher or raise bidding to such a level that even if I won my funds would be exhausted and the single soldier or boat I received would be of no benefit.

This almost stalemate'ish state of affairs continued until we eventually had to call time and pack things away. On review of the state of play Will and I decided that, whilst things might continue for a few turns yet, Adam F still had the upperhand and was the most likely victor.

From all of that you might conclude that, for me, this was a somewhat unfullfilling game--and it was. But I would play it again without reservation. As I said, I liked everything the game had to offer: the theme and the mechanisims; things just didn't go in my favour. At no point during the game did I ever think "I could never possibly win this"--the victory conditions just aren't that high. It seemed like you were always one or two "good" turns away from victory, there was always a "possible" path to get there.

That said, there is an argument to be made that the game could be flawed if one player can dominate in the way Adam F did or another be made unable to do anything of consequence for almost the entire game as I was. After just one play though? I'm inclined to think it was just me.
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