When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
I had only picked up Elasund on Friday, and had played two test games with my eight-year-old daughter to familiarize myself with the mechanics, when I introduced this game to my group on Sunday afternoon. It was a two table day, and by pure coincidence the women wound up at one table, playing Seafarers of Catan while the guys dove into Elasund. One of the players, Matt had played it once before.
It took little time to explain and we were up and running. I was surprised initially how quickly the city wall went up. Playing the test games with my daughter, I wasn't sure how valuable this would be, especially after playing your third wall and locking in a VP and free card when the pirates come to call. About a quarter of the way into the game I realised I had better claim my own tower VP and took the last two wall spaces.
It was also at about this point in the game that the first church tile was layed. The church, in the end, didn't really have much impact in this session, as it was placed in such a way that it would never displace any port buildings, and thus reduce a players trade points. In the end I believe four pieces of the church were built.
At about the three-quarter point in the game, the standings were approximately: Kevin with four points to place, Matt with five, Lenny with three and Rick with four to place. Kevin really appeared to be in the driver's seat, although Matt had a fistfull of cards. A very important tavern that sat on two trade spots in the upper right corner of Elasund was surrounded by building permits in three colors. The tavern was displaced by Kevin, who took over the two trade points as well as placing his VP on the tavern. Unfortunately for him, he lacked one gold card that would have allowed him to use Matt's building permit and take an additional VP by playing one of the 2x3 buildings. In the meantime, one of my trade point buildings in the lower right hand corner was displaced, and suddenly I had five VPs in front of me.
Quietly, with his fist-full of cards, Matt had stragically set himself up on the #2&3 trade ports, and the games final action was Matt's displacement of Kevin and placing his last three VPs. Game time: approx. 3 hours.
Throughout most of the game there was a shortage of influence cards, especially on my part. It was Matt & Kevin's ability late in the game to get these cards that put them in control of their own destinys. I will never again underestimate the value of these cards!
One interesting point to note: after about the mid-point of our game, the pirates never again came to visit, which certainly would have had an impact on the game.
After all was said and done, we decided that we loved this game, and appreciated how well each of us played it. This made it extremely tense, and we joked that we shouldn't play this game with our spouses, if we wanted to sleep in our own beds that night!