The Four Horsemen: Gathering VII Session Report
Bradley Keen
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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I set off to Ed’s house on what would turn out to be not only a great day for gaming (it was pouring rain, cold, and windy), but a great day of gaming and a great day for getting games. As I would later discover, a large order I had put through to Boards and Bits came in the mail, as well as a much anticipated trade that included Age of Steam and 4 expansions!
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1. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:630]
Bradley Keen
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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We started off the gaming session later than usual, as Doug needed some extra time to recoup from a hard night of gaming and to let off some of his own steam concerning certain political issues that will remain unwritten since this is a gaming geeklist after all! For the first game, Ed noticed that I had brought along Metropolys and asked if we could play. I am not one to turn down a great Ystari game, and I was able to teach the game with relative ease.

Both Ed and Doug quickly hedged their bets and used the large valued buildings to claim what must have been prime real-estate for them. I decided to bide my time, though I later found it interesting that in the process of doing this, I had placed all of my middle-ranged buildings and was left with the best and the worst of the lot. When the construction zones cleared and all was said and done, my ability to end the game on my schedule and to complete more of my secret objectives outweighed my lack of tall building points.

Final Score:
Brad - 38
Doug - 17
Ed - 37
 
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2. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:16]
Bradley Keen
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Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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Next up was Doug’s very own moderately pimped out copy of Agricola. Amazingly, Doug had combined Football and Board Gaming to find the time to painstakingly cut out neat stickers to place on the wooden cubes, depicting family members and resource types. We decided to play the interactive deck, and after a quick rules overview we were ready to start the game. This was my third game of Agricola, and I have to admit that it felt like the first time. I sat through the game, as it moved along at way to quickly a pace, and I struggled to figure out how the heck to optimize my play. As I couldn’t figure it out, I ended up with a third place finish.

Final Score:
Brad - 25
Doug - 29
Ed - 37
 
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3. Board Game: Guillotine [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1001]
Bradley Keen
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Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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As we waited for our lunch to arrive via Pizza Delivery, Ed pulled out a blast from my past: Guillotine. I had actually purchased this game way back in the late 90s while at Origins and I really played it quite heavily during my MtG days. Anyhow, we got through the first day of executions and then grabbed a quick lunch. We then quickly blasted through the next two days after eating. Although I suspect that Guillotine is heavily luck driven, it still gives the appearance that your card play matters and it is an absolute blast to play.

Final Score:
Brad - 34
Doug - 27
Ed - 27
 
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4. Board Game: Sixteen Thirty Something [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:7980]
Bradley Keen
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Ah. Next up was my Martin Wallace contribution of the week. I had spent a good amount of time reading through the pretty simply 1630 something rules and ended up suggesting that we play a shortened “variant” of the game that lasted for only 6 rounds instead of the standard 10. Although we were a bit concerned about the potential length of this classic, I think that the game only lasted about 2 hours with teaching. I enjoyed this first play, and both Ed and Doug said that they would also gladly play again. Perhaps what I like the most about exploring these older games is recognizing the ideas, concepts, and mechanics that show up in later Wallace games. Although I spent most of the game struggling to get the cards necessary to actually score 2 of my 4 secret countries, and was ultimately left in the dust by Doug who took a tremendous lead early in the game, I continued to enjoy the game and I struggled throughout to make up for the early points differential.

I would play this one again, but perhaps after I have played some of the other Wallace games on my un-played games list.

Final Score:
Brad - 39
Doug - 57
Ed - 53
 
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5. Board Game: Siena [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:3713]
Bradley Keen
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When you play Siena, you absolutely must appreciate the aesthetic quality of the game. It is absolutely gorgeous and the way that those neutral colored cubes look on the painting/board is stunning. As is the difficulty tied to teaching the game. Ed did an excellent job walking all of us through the first game, and his teaching and playing aids were a great help. I would actually recommend, for anyone who is playing this one for the first time, that they print out a full sized copy of the re-designed game board and use that for the learning game and then, during later plays, “graduate” to the regular board. This would be helpful since many of the areas on the board have special characteristics that were left unwritten to preserve the painting that makes up the board. But without a clear understanding of these areas, the game is confusing.

Anyhow, I jumped off to a huge monetary lead during the merchant phase, by unknowingly taking advantage of the unstated rule that you cannot sell two goods of the same type with the mule card (although I could have sold another good type for only a 5 point loss). Anyhow, this lead carried me into the final stage (the banker) a number of turns earlier than Doug and Ed. I used this to my advantage and pretty easily sealed a win in this game, making up for my disappointing and embarrassing show of skill and manipulation in 1630 something.

Joking aside, Siena was a fun game and it was neat to play a game on the stunning board. Yet it seemed to take way to long to play this game. I would be willing to give it another shot, but I would like most to do this with people who have all played before and with more than 3 players as I suspect that this would really decrease the time that players have to earn victory points during the final stage of the game.

Final Score:
Brad - 53
Doug - 41
Ed - 42
 
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6. Board Game: Mykerinos [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:788]
Bradley Keen
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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After Siena, Doug had to leave, but Ed and I decided to play another game. After only a bit of indecision, we decided on Mykerinos. And I am glad that we did. We briefly went over the rules and then sat down for an excellent Reuben sandwich compliments of Ed's wife Holly. By the way, Holly, again, the sandwich was excellent!!!

This was Ed's first game of Mykerinos and my first game for quite some time, but I remember why I really like this one. Ed quickly got the grasp of the special patron abilities and the importance of Museum placement. He was also very adept at utilizing the neutral third player cubes to block off my excavation extension abilities. In the end, I was able to take the lead, but it felt close the entire way.

Final Score:
Brad - 78
Ed - 67

What a day! Thanks again to Ed and Holly for hosting this wonderful day of gaming and I cannot wait to meet up again at Euro Quest and for our next gathering of the horesmen.
 
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