DER UNTERGANG VON POMPEJI (aka POMPEJI)
After the tense game of Ticket to Ride, and letting them have a few minutes "talk-break", we were ready with the next gateway game, Pompeji. This is a game that's easy to explain and even easier to play yet for a group of gamesters who like nothing better than to *screw* their opponents, look no further.
Everyone's in cordial mode when the game starts...
We've four players - Bryan, Wai Keen, Alan and Neoh - with Lai Wah facilitating the game. Only Alan has played this before so this puts him in errr.. a disadvantage. That's how it works in our group. You'll understand later.
The game started cordially... everyone was just focused on their own play, trying to spot the best location to place their own citizen. Most obviously placed their citizen as near to a city exit as they can thinking it'll make the exit faster - wrong move mate, wrong..... (you'll see why later).
It was all well and nice until we entered the Relative Phase of the game (ie. when the AD79 Volcano card was drawn for the 1st time). In this phase, you are able to introduce relatives (basically bonus citizen) when you chose to place your citizen in a building that already has existing citizens of yours or other players. You get one relative for each citizen already in the building. You may place this bonus relative(s) in buildings of the same color or neutral buildings (ie buildings without any numbers).
Now the players concentrate on getting hold of buildings that have a fair number of existing citizen so as to obtain bonus relatives. However in this phase, the Omen cards were also in play. Drawing this card allows the player to "kill off" one of your opponents' citizen by dumping the poor thing into the volcano! Now things started getting nasty. From cordial smiles, we now see devilish grin... as they cackled while surveying the board to see who to chose for the volcano sacrifice!
Usually only two types of citizen were sacrificed. 1) Citizen belonging to players who have (or seemingly have) placed the largest number of citizen on the gameboard, or 2) Citizen placed very close to city exits! Aaah.. now you know why it's not a good idea to place your people next to or near a city exit. They get bumped off when the Omen card appears (sic).
However in this group, when they cannot decide which player's citizen to bump off, they simply go for Alan's citizen! Ooi... Alan complained but they all reasoned since he's the only experienced player, they wanted to "handicap" him somehow.. hahaha....
And then Mount Vesuvius erupted!! Citizen of Pompeii were now running in blind panic trying to escape from the oncoming hot lava..... which were "steered" by the wicked players into his opponents' path. Citizen were getting toasted almost to the tune of 2 for every one that can escape from Pompeii..... A group of them, about 7, were stranded in the middle of Pompeii when the lava completely surrounded them. They huddled together in the middle of the city, amidst all the ruins and in such dire state they remained.
When the lava stopped, the game ended with Alan tied on score with Neoh (9) but losing to Neoh because Alan has more citizen killed (in the volcano). As expected, the new players to Pompeji enjoyed this game tremendously. Not a deep-thinking game but simply one that's great to get their gaming interest going.
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