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Louis XIV» Forums » Sessions

Subject: A Victory by Coats of Arms, PoF style rss

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Mike Olson
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Just before spring break, the start of which has been quite spring like here in New York, 4 of us got together one afternoon to play a game of Louis XIV. Only one had played before and only one more was familiar with the rules, so there was a lenghty, confusing explanation of the rules before hand. Being readers of BGG and this forum in particular, we were aware of the random aspects of the Coats of Arms bonuses (bonii?) and decided to do the Coats of Arms distribution "Pricnes of Florence style" where for each piece won, the winner would draw 3 and pick one.

In the first round, Courtney went all-out to try to win certain squares, causing her to get an early lead but lose most of her tokens to the general supply, putting her in a hole for the next couple rounds. I had the inconvenience of going first, in my game, with little clue of what was a good play. I managed to do OK, picking up a green influence card, coming in 2nd in the Louis square, picking up 5 gold and buying a crown. Because most of the things I obtained I did so without a majority, I was able to keep most of my tokens in my personal supply, setting me up well for the next couple rounds. Tom had won the Louis square, and Zach picked up a crown and a scepter, so we were all able to fill a mission on the first turn.

The mission that I had completed came with a nice bonus of being able to recover 2 people from the supply. This would be key - as this round I was thus able to place 14 influence tokens on the board, filling 2 missions. Meanwhile, Courtney, Zach and Tom were struggling without as much tokens, filling one (or less) orders on this turn. Tom, however, picked up a good deal of Coats of Arms, which would be huge later.

On the next turn, with my 4 people coming out of supply, I was able to fill 2 missions and take a 2 mission lead. However, Tom picked up another 3 or 4 Coats of Arms with his mission. It was quickly shaping up to be a 2-person race.

On the final turn, Louis was on square 3 and I was dealt the cards "2, 2, 3, 3, 8." I also had 2 people on a crown that could be won with 3 people. However, through mismanagement I was only able to pick up 6 mission tokens, filling 3 missions. I ended with 2 gold and a 2 person lead on square 2. If I'd moved one of them to square 1, I could have bought the token with my $2 (I had a one-off bonus), brought myself to 9 missions and been in excellent shape. As it was, I was at 8 missions and 4 Coats of Arms. Tom was at 6 Missions, having filled 2 on his final 2 turns, and a mile-high stack of Coats of Arms.

Before the bonus, I had 44 points, and Tom had 41. However, after the bonuses came in, Tom ended with 46 and I had 45.

In all, it was a fun game. A lot of the mechanics were definitely interesting. I liked the flipping the tiles to change the victory conditions, and I liked the playing cards and moving tokens to determine influence. However, it seems that the scoring system could be improved, like many here have said. How, I'm not sure. If the missions are given varying points, that makes the crowns too valuable. Perhaps the best thing would be to have the coats of arms distributed "Ticket to Ride style," where there are 4 or 5 face up and drawing one causes it to be replenished. That way, everyone knows what type others want. You could also randomly give each person a Coat of Arms at the start to "hide" the majorities a little better.

I'd definitely play this game again, even with the somewhat weak scoring mechanism.
 
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