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Subject: Session with Designer's Final Prototype rss

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Brian Darnell
United States
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I got a chance to play Take Stock with 6 players to start off our evening of games and I definitely enjoyed it.

Simon explained the rules and we were underway after about 5-10 minutes, which is good. There was some initial confusion about when discarding happened, but it became clear after a few plays.

In the first round, Movies and Gems were the high value stocks, while technology remained low, despite having two splits. At this point, I had a pretty good mix of cards, although most were of the middle numbers which were only worth one share of stock. I didn't use any of my stock options that round, but several other players used one.

One thing that was a neat surprise was that the market event deck doesn't get shuffled unless the market closed card comes up, so in the 2nd round, we knew that the market close was fairly near the top of the deck and could plan accordingly. I drew lots of high value cards and played them down as stock as fast as I was able. I did well that round, as it ended more quickly than the first. I still held on to my options for later, though an event card had made us all lose one.

The third round was also interesting, and I saw another aspect of the game, as stocks were audited and frozen. I definitely saw the divergent strategies available in the choice of what stocks to take shares in. I could either go with a popular stock and have others helping me raise the price, or try to do my own thing, and weather the consequences. I got a boost when someone ended the round by playing the 11 card on movies, in which I had 5 shares.

The scores were fairly close at the end of the third, with me leading and 2nd place down by only one point.

The fourth and final round was a little frustrating, because I couldn't draw a card over a 6, and the second place guy had drawn some high cards and pushed to end the game before I could recover. I felt there wasn't anything I could do about it, though I tried to play the market by discarding my low cards and fishing for events.

I'd definitely like to play this one some more and see some more of the many dynamics which we saw glimpses of in this session.
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