Hey guys, I just finished our almost 6 hours long evening with Rex and I am so excited about it I just have to post something here!
We were with 6 players. After about 1 hour and 15 minutes I was done explaining all the rules to the rest of the group (it took a bit longer than necessary cause of some joking around and too much talk . The game itself took us 4.5 hours (we rushed the last round a bit because nothing fancy could happen anyways). I played the Universities of Jol-Nar.
In the first 2 rounds nobody really knew what to do, so people just attacked each other bit, and some went for the influence. As I was Jol-Nar I started with 1 stronghold, but as my first move I decided to attack the Hacan in her stronghold (I had her best leader traitor), dividing my units and ending up loosing both
The Xxcha and Hacan actually did the best in the first few rounds, because the did not try to attack too much and instead tried to bolster their defenses.
By round 3 Sol and Letnev managed to get hold of 2 strongholds each, and I remarked that that would be very powerfull if a cease-fire would come up. By this time all of us really noticed how the Lazax and Hacan were swimming in influence so we were all in our heads and out loud trying to think of ways to either alliance against them, or with them to share in their riches.
At the end of round 4 Only Letnev still held 2 strongholds, the other 3 being held by Hacan, Sol and Lazax. We were all still trying to figure out what a good strategy would look like. We were also really waiting to see our first cease-fire hoping the game would make more sense with alliances.
5th round: Cease-fire! I was first trying to get Sol and Letnev on my side. Even though I did not have any strongholds, they held 3, and Sol could more or less easily get a 4th. Then I just had to take on Hacan and we might be able to win. But then the Xxcha managed to get their attention and tried to convince them they would make a strong team (even though Xxcha himself had almost no units on the board and no strongholds). I didn't really mind, cause I just thought of the Lazax and Hacan swimming in their influence and convinced them to alliance with me. Everybody quickly agreed and there we had it, two 3-player alliances, each of us convinced we were on the stronger side! Jol-Nar/Lazax/Hacan versus Sol/Xxcha/Letnev.
The rest of the 5th round I manahed to get a stronghold so the round ended with 3 for us against 2 for them (but they held the 2 strongholds Sol needs to win in round 8).
In the following rounds we kept trying to take either of the two strongholds and every time we went in with higher numbers and a better chance to win, but every time we had 'bad luck' cause of strategy cards and a traitor against us.
By the end of round 7 we finally managed to get our 4th stronghold. And because we still had way more influence then them it seemed like an easy victory. Letnev was almost completely wiped out in the last 2-3 rounds, only managing to get in a couple of units each round, and the Xxcha didn't do much better. Sol was still strong enough to keep her 1 stronghold though. We felt it wouldn't really matter because with Sol not meeting her requirements and us having Hacan we would win after round 8. When the bombardment card was drawn at the end of round 7 I managed to pull of a *uhum* brilliant move, playing the card that lets you move the fleet 0-10 sectors I parked it right in the bottom left corner (1 of the strongholds Sol would need for round 8 victory). This shattered any hope for them to win the game.
As it was running late (and two players need to leave soon) we agreed to rush the 8th round, cause nothing fancy could happen anyway (we skipped bidding phase intirely). Indeed nothing fancy did happen but now my alliance was getting really nervous about which winner the Xxcha would have chosen at the start of the game.
Finishing the 8th round with the Hacan victory almost in our pocket we all looked expectantly at the Xxcha. He first turned his round number: 8th round. A small *oh ooh* was audible from our alliance. The he turned around his race token (surely he would have chosen Sol), and it was: Hacan!
And there you have it, with all of his units in the casualty pool and 1 influence teh deceiving and treacherous managed to pull of a solo victory!
All in all it was a very succesfull evening and we all really enjoyed the game!