Indy Boardgamers Meetup, October 18, 2009 - Chez Daulton edition
Todd McCorkle
United States
Anderson
Indiana
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Dave was still away on his trip and couldn't host. Adam (of 13th tribe fame) kindly stepped up and allowed his dwelling to be invaded on a Sun. Despite normally doing his own GL for his Sat game days, he still forced me to do this week's GL.

What did we play this week?
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1. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:55]
Todd McCorkle
United States
Anderson
Indiana
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Adam 106
Todd 102
Ross 99
Mike 91
Brent 76

Attendance was fairly low with only 5 showing up. What better game to pull out with 5 than El Grande?

Mike started off with a huge 1st and 2nd turn getting a score the 6 and 7 regions turn 1 having the most in 2 of them (plus a grande bonus). He also grabbed another special scoring action turn 2 to take a 24 pt lead on most of us. Adam was the only non-0 player with 4 at the time. I managed to set myself up for a big 3rd turn playing my 1 turn 2 and then my 13 turn 3. I was able to lock the king in new castille(?) and win the region with only 2 cubes (2 others tied with 1). I was also fighting with Brent in the region he put the 8-4-0 score board in. I think I spent too much effort throughout the game doing this. After the first scoring round, I jumped from a 0 pt last, to 2nd with around 30 points and only 2-3 pts behind Mike in first. A turn 4 scoring card pushed me in the lead shortly after wards.

Brent failed to see the king in new castille and accidentally killed his dudes in the castle. The loss of morale was devastating and he never really recovered.

Ross took a couple of early 'decay of authority' cards so everyone buy him was hurting for cubes in their courts. This allowed him to go first for cheap a couple of turns since the rest of us were playing low to fill our courts back up. By the 2nd scoring round, a lot of cube manipulation put a hurt on my board presence. Adam took over a lot of regions and scored very well jumping from 4th to tied with me for first.

The last 3 rounds I was basically only worried about Adam's score and ignored the rest. I think Adam felt the same, but not sure. The deciding moment came in turn 9 when Adam grabbed the 'score the castle' card. My castle presence was abysmal with only 3 cubes. Adam had the most with 7. When the final scoring happened, Adam pulled a great move sending his guys to my home region of Galacia where I had 6 guys. That region was more or less ignored all game and I didn't think anyone would target it. I lost 4 pts while he gained 4. I tried to do something similar in the neighboring region that had the 4-0-0 mobile score board. I was trying to gain 4 points and make Adam lose 4 pts. I wasn't expecting anybody to fight for this region either, but Mike had the same idea I had. We wound up being tied with 4 cubes a piece (Adam had 3), and got the 2nd place 0 pts. If Mike had gone somewhere else, or if I had 1 more cube, or if I chose to defend Galacia, I would have tied Adam (and jokingly won our made up tie breaker of most guys in the court).

Well played!
 
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2. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:308]
Todd McCorkle
United States
Anderson
Indiana
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Ross 41
Brent 34
Todd 31
Adam 30
Mike 28

This was a weird game with the largest cards in hand seen by any of the players. Which also prompted the lame joke exchange:

Adam - "I have a fist full of cards!"
me - "Well, I have a few cards more!"

Ross and I dropped the first visit. I don't know if that started a trend, but it seemed like only 3 players were fighting over a region for the first 6 visits or so. Ross was able to grab the princess fairly early (again!). Somehow he's always able to play more princess symbols in 1 visit than I see all game. Ross more or less milked the princess card and was able to get some nice connection points grabbing 3-4 corner spots in a circle. I don't think he grabbed any elephant tokens...

I tried focusing on elephants, but nearly started swearing up a storm after the 8-10 visits. I was ready to fight heavily for these since I already had 1-2 goods of what was pictured. I think I had more elephants than anybody else, I just wasn't able to play them quickly. 3 times in a row it came to my turn and I was unable to tie the elephant leader with my card play. I did have a big finish on the last turn with getting 2 palace spots to grab the +4 chit and make 3 pts on connection. I also ended the game with 5 cards of the same color (also counting white) which was just enough to surprisingly beat Adam.
 
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3. Board Game: Amyitis [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:802]
Todd McCorkle
United States
Anderson
Indiana
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Todd 77
Adam 66
Krista 48

Adam's amusing session report.

I was the only one who could stay for another game so Adam pulled out my request. I thought I messed up my timing in the early game since after planting the first tile, Adam then Krista immediatly grabbed the bank cards. I was able to upgrade my camel, but so was Adam. At some point, I noticed Adam could grab the highest camel. I tried to thwart that by moving passed to the next plant spot (I didn't have the proper resources to upgrade my camel). I didn't realize Adam could have just gone to the next camel spot. Fortunately, for me, Adam didn't realize this either and I was able to snag the best camel. The game would have played much differently if he had got it.

Meanwhile, Adam got the best bank. I really felt the pressure to end the game soon to limit his 2 pts per turn. I was starting to struggle for camels and money though. I think most of my camels came from the first temple and most of my money came from passing 1 turn when Adam wanted to do a bunch of stuff.

I started using my camel advantage to upgrade my palace and plant tiles that also upgraded my palace. For a while Adam and I was in a palace upgrading race. I was able to beat him out to the single level 5 and kept going to the max level 7.

Krista was blocked off from the palaces and camel upgrades and only got the lv1 bank. She focused mostly on irrigation and being in the 2nd temple. I think she also had some bad luck being stuck in 2nd place in the 3rd (farming) temple.

I think only 1 lv 3 plant was taken while all the lv 1 and 2 were planted. I managed to get 7 tiles for the full 10 pt bonus. I was hoping to deny Adam his 4th tile, but he managed to get it for the 5 pt bonus. I think Krista only had 3 tiles.

I really enjoy this game. Wish I got to play it more, but I seem to be the only one in the group who really likes it. Adam like it enough to play occasionally. Everyone else seems to avoid it. *sigh*

and to Dave and his "banks are broken" - I didn't have a bank and still won. HA!
 
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