Everyone showed up pretty much right at 11:00am. We even had a magnetic board that displayed the AST which was very handy as it was immune to bumps.
We drew placecards for nation selection and here's how I remember the selection order. woo-hoo I drew the 1.
1. Africa - Me (not usually considered a 1st pick, but i'd never played Africa and wanted to give it a shot)
2. Italy - Ravindra
3. Egypt - Mary
4. Crete - Greg
5. Illyria - Scott
6. Babylon - Mike
7. Asia - Julian
Not played: Assyria, Thrace
We took a quick lunch break before starting. So by 11:30, we were underway!
I'll recap each nation working backwards...
7. Asia - With Assyria and Thrace not in play, Julian had the benefit of plenty of room to grow. He did almost build a city too early, which would have really crippled him. Since it was his first game, we offered him some advice to grow his population a bit before building his first cities. Asia grew rapidly and expanded into Asia Minor with little interference. By giving all of Syria/Judea to the Babylonians, he kept his eastern border secure. At one point he had a small skirmish with the Illyrians, but for the most part he was able to grow to 7 cities without problems. I think he spent most his time trading with the other side of the table. I don't remember many trades until later in the game. But as an advanced civilization, he was looking for items such as bronze and spice...too advanced for the Africans. At game's end, I believe he had reached the 7 civilization card requirement and was picking up some steam. Early on, he seemed to get bit by the earthquakes every other turn. There was one city in Asia Minor that I seem to remember him reducing at least 3 times.
6. Babylon - Babylon took the common early stop on the AST in order to grow his population before building his first cities. Mike ended up having all the room he wanted to grow and a plethora of city sites. He often had all 9 cities on the board. With all that land and so many cities, there was never a reason for him to make any aggressive move towards Asia or Egypt. He was able to completely avoid Civil War and only got hit by a flood once that I can recall. He was an active trader and made several good deals to turn in some nice trade sets. I remember he was able to opt-out of buying Mysticism and bought Architecture instead to satisfy 2 of his 3 colors. He quickly snatched up Coinage too which proved very useful to him especially with 9 cities in play. At game's end, he was over the 7 advancement requirement and he had positioned himself nicely with some high cost civ cards that would lend well to reaching Babylon's steep 1400 point requirement. I'd say he was probably positioned to finish in 3rd place. I'm not sure what went wrong w/Babylon. I think the problems can be attributed to having too many cities. By the time he drew trade cards, often many stacks were depleted.
5. Illyria - Poor Illyria. What can I say. He got beat over the head by everyone. And he was a very good sport about it I must add. You would think with Thrace not in play, he'd of had it easy. Unfortunately, the Italians started the game by moving a token north and staking a claim on Germany (an Illyrian starting space). "With Thrace not in play, you have plenty of room to grow over there (points east)", said the Italians. Crete also infringed on his territory by moving out of Greece and up into Macedonian. "With Thrace not in play, some of this territory should be mine", said the Cretans. Scott ended up having some key early city builds wiped out by Crete. This robbed him of necessary cards to complete required trades. Illyria was forced to fight just about every turn. Usually with both Italy and Crete. Looking for a home, he shipped east, landing in Troy where he was able to remain undisturbed. However, he also was forced to fight 1 or 2 skirmishes with the Asians in some other territories. The calamities weren't kind to the Illyrians either. It seemed he drew them all at some point in the game...flood, earthquakes, famine, civil war...they all hit Illyria. He did exact his revenge on Crete towards the end of the game by trading him piracy. It was especially vicious as he had 4 ships available to eliminate 4 Cretan cities. By the end of the game, Illyria was finally rolling. He had established some good territory and had 7 cities. But the cost of war had exacted a toll on Illyrian culture and he was way behind on the AST. I recall him stuck at most junctures on the AST. He was still under 7 civ cards at the end of the game, but he had purchased some of the more valuable ones such as Law. As I remember the Illyrian culture was musically and theatrically inclined which didn't mesh well with all the wars inflicted on its people.
4. Crete - Now we are getting to nations that were a little closer to me so I remember better. As mentioned, early in the game the Cretans shipped into Greece and started moving north into Thrace's land. There were constant battles w/Illyria, but because Crete moved last (his ship construction lower his population) , he got the better of Illyria. Crete left Asia Minor alone for the most part and focused solely on Greece/Macedonia and the islands. His warlike tendencies were not just for Illyria however. At one point he attacked an Italian city forcing it to surrender (no Italian tokens in stock). He built up 5-6 cities and started buying advances such as Astronomy and Metalworking (surprise huh). Towards the end of the game, he used his knowledge of Astronomy and Metalworking to wage war against the peaceful Africans. His name was cursed. Somehow, with all the bloodshed, he was able to maintain his cities for most of the game. He was a vocal trader and made some good deals, and he had over 7 civilization cards in his possession at game's end. There at the end, Crete had thrown everything he could at Africa. Two turns of all out war with Africa, combined with calamities saw Crete lose every single city. He was forced backwards on the AST and had to call off attacks on Africa (for at least for a turn) to rebuild.
3. Egypt - Egypt expanded slowly out of the Nile region and into the Gaza area. Mary took the early hit on the AST in order to grow the population. Peaceful borders were setup with Africa and neither nation violated the agreement the entire game. Egypt had no time to make enemies because there was constant internal rebuilding efforts taking place following floods and civil wars..and even revolts. Mary was very active in the trading. I recall at one point we made a very crucial trade for both of us towards the end of one trade session. It was 3 salts to her for 2 cloths + 1 ochre to me. It was crucial to filling out our commodity sets and allowed both of our nations to buy key advancements. Even though there was no military action by Egypt, that doesn't mean there weren't threats. Although Italy was on the other side of the board, there was often harsh words angled at the Italians. This was usually over trading sessions when information was not being communicated to her liking.
2. Italy - Ravindra let his population double until the last possible moment before building cities. He even shipped tokens into Sicily early on. With so many other city sites available, plus the fact he had pushed into Germany, plus he had not shipped into Sardinia-Corsica yet, there was no need for him to ship onto Sicily. This was obviously a move to hem in the Africans. I made it known early on that Sicily would likely be fought over. The next turn, in order to meet the AST requirement, Italy planned to build 3 cities (1 more than required) including one on Palermo, Sicily. I (Africans) moved last, and I shipped 2 tokens to the Palermo city site and prevented its construction. Throughout the game, control of Sicilian territories went back and forth between Italy and Africa. For awhile we settled on Italy receiving the 2 volcano territories and Africa got Palermo. Italy was very active trading and was able to purchase the 2nd most civilization advances, including Law and Philosophy. At game's end, they had the necessary 1000 points and had moved into the late Iron Age. I think they were clearly in 2nd place, though they had bought a lot of cheaper advances earlier in the game. I'm not sure how close they were to 1300 points required to win, but they would have definitely needed 11 advances + a good trade card set to get to the finish line.
1. Africa - I expected this nation to be the toughest to play due to limited land and arid territories. But being 1st on the AST is such a huge advantage when drawing trade cards, I've revised my opinion on it. I think it may be the easiest to play. You can manipulate your city count to always draw the trade cards you want. ie, if you want cloth and there is one available, you can build 5 cities and you will always get to draw the cloth (as you win ties against everyone). I tried to stay active in the trade sessions and focus on collecting sets of grain and cloth. I delayed trading them in until the last possible moment in order to maximize the commodity set worth. I know that at least 3 times I had full sets. I became an early target after I turned in my 2nd trade set which netted me 3 civ cards. So after buying Mysticism and Agriculture (an absolute must for Africa) with my first trade set, my 2nd trade set included buying Pottery. I thus became known as a grain whore as I always tried to keep a couple in hand to use w/Pottery. If I didn't draw the famine myself, I was constantly being targetted by whoever did draw it. Italy targeted me w/the first famine....which followed the Palermo incident. It became a recurring theme, hit Africa w/famine. Never has Pottery been so valuable. Overall, I thought there was really good trading sessions w/everyone. This allowed everyone including myself to put together some nice trade sets. I was able to chug along the AST without stoppage until late Iron Age when I hit my 1200 point requirement (also another reason to play Africa). I stopped for one turn while in an attempt to get enough trade cards to buy Philosophy as my 11th card. I could have potentially bought Literacy on that turn, but that would only put me at 1160 points, and I feared a some serious leader-bashing which would likely have robbed me of enough trade cards, making it very difficult to put together the final 40 points. It turned out to be a good decision to delay on the AST and overbuy w/Philosophy (1290 points) because the last turn saw just about everyone attack me. Crete, Italy, even Babylon and Asia attacked me. I retreated to the Sahara where I was able to hold out w/my 2 desert cities and about 8 tokens; thus allowing me to move across the finish line.
Total playing time was about 9 hours, 45 minutes with two 15 minute breaks. Thanks for hosting Ravindra and Mary. Awesome time as usual.
- Last edited Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:34 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:56 am
Nice Session report! Makes me remember my games of Civ...