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Subject: First La Citta play rss

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John Mellby
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La Citta Session Report
2/15/06
JRM

We've been trying to get La Citta on the table for 3 years now,
always delayed because we feared the game would be too long
for our usual weekday evening. Typically we have no more than
3 hours and we suspected an initial game would be longer.

Chris Anderson was hosting, including his friend Kyle. They
both assured us that a La Citta game could finish in little
more than an hour. They were wrong.

We went 2.5-3 hours and only got through 4 of the 6 turns.
We all enjoyed the game, so I can now get out my unpunched
copy and play it.

The La Citta board is an array of hexes divided by "fields"
that are triangles of 6 hexes, representing Food fields,
Quarries (for money), and Water (for city growth).
Cities grow in the (one-hex-wide) lanes between these fields.
They start with a single hex, and add building (one hex each)
for food, money, growth and citizen's needs.

The winner is whoever gets the most citizens. Citizens get added
in three ways:
1) Every turn a citizen is added to each city (if permissible)
2) The "growth" card adds one or more citizens
3) You can steal citizens from a neighboring city

Basically a player gets buildings to feed their people, get money,
and then for each city, allow for growth. After this the battle
is to steal other city's citizens.

The turn order is:
Get money (1 gold per quarry); gain citizens; layout 7 action cards;
layout 4 "Voice of the People" cards (one of which is face-up)

Note - you gain 1 citizen per city, except a city can only grow above
5 citizens if it has a Market building, and can only grow above
8 citizens if it has a bath house or fountain (next to a water source).

Then there are five rounds of political actions. In a round each player
(in turn order) takes an action card and plays it.
The action card comes from the 7 random action cards available to
everyone, or from the player's own standard card. Each player has
3 of these (per turn), so up to 3 of their 5 actions are one of
the standard choices:
* Take two gold
* Establish a new city
* Build a small building (whenever you build a building, you must
move a citizen from the city center to that new building)

The other action cards let you build other buildings, double harvest
of one farm, look at the "Voice of the People" cards, Golden Times
(increase citizens by 1 for free, or more if you pay gold), ...

Stealing citizens and the "Voice of the People"
Each turn the citizens decide what city characteristic they value.
The choices are cultural (white), educational (black) or health (blue).

The Voice cards (3 face down and 1 up) are turned up and whatever
color shows up most is what the citizens value.

Most buildings (other than farms, quarries, and markets) have 1-3 colored
arches: white, black, blue. For each pair of adjacent cities, compare
the number or arches of the preferred color. If one city is ahead,
that city steals a citizen from the other city (chosen by the losing
city's owner). This might cause a city building to vanish if the losing
city doesn't have extra citizens.
Note that if your city doesn't have the buildings to expand, say
if it is at 5 citizens and doesn't have a market, it cannot steal
a citizen.

Then each player checks to determine if they have enough food in
their empire to feed all the citizens. If they don't they lose
the citizen, and lose a political action next turn.

Basically the game is about stealing citizens.

In our game we all started with two cities and 3 citizens on each city.

We started out with Chris and Kyle having played before,
and Roy, Bill and I being new. Initially we all build
farms, quarry's, and got some gold. You can only steal
citizens if the cities are two hexes apart, so we were
safe the first turn.

The second turn the penny dropped. A city starts at 3, grows
to 4 turn one and 5 turn two. At that point you cannot steal
or grow citizens unless you have a market. So everyone
rushed to build markets. Except Chris who built one
megacity and let the other grow slowly.

Roy made a mistake and built a city to 5 without a market.
This made the city stagant. Fortunately Roy is a good friend,
so I stole one citizen (destroying a building in the process),
so he could regrow with a market. What a good friend I am.

The big fights continuing through the game were Roy and I fighting.
Kyle, myself, and Bill fighting. I eventually stole two from
Roy and one each from Bill and Kyle. Since no one build a third city,
I was the winner.

We did use the beginner's starting layout, that gives everyone
equal chances. We also saw that a lot of the tension was from
people competing for the best political action cards.
Kyle and I also made good use of the cards that let us
peek at the "Voice of the People" cards.

This turned out to be longer than we expected, although it
should get a lot shorted with experience. Its quite a nice
build-and-expand game, expecially if you like to fight
with your neighbors a lot.

 
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Jeremiah Lee
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jmellby wrote:
Roy made a mistake and built a city to 5 without a market.
This made the city stagant. Fortunately Roy is a good friend,
so I stole one citizen (destroying a building in the process),
so he could regrow with a market. What a good friend I am.


You guys misplayed this. Markets get a free citizen from the supply when built.
 
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Matthew M
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texasjdl wrote:


You guys misplayed this. Markets get a free citizen from the supply when built.


An easily forgotten rule...one I forgot last time I played! Thanks for the reminder!

-MMM
 
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Jay Little
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The built-in citizen on the Market tiles is a great, subtle rule that helps prevent lockdowns like this...

I'd be interested to see how a second, full game goes. How often was starvation a factor?
 
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Jenny Nguyen
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Absolutely love this game. It reminds me so much of city building PC games back in the day.

I find starvation issues to vary from game to game (sometimes it's a big issue, sometimes not - it's mostly not an issue if you get in there and snag those farms). It's great fun seeing a whole lot of your opponents citizens dying end of year because they forgot to make more farms...by the same token it's heart wrenching when you miscalculate and are 1 short of corn come end of year and lose some vital guy.

What I do find bizarre is that the coloured lords don't really do much at all in the way of swaying the "battles". I find if you can - that it's more crucial to create a new permanent amenity than to bulk up a preexisting one for one game year...but perhaps I feel this way because my copy was missing half of them and I went through hell to get them replaced laugh)
 
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