Be seeing you... -Alphonse
Last night, three of us from the Toronto Area Boardgaming Society (TABS) ventured out to the Worlds Collide gaming night in Oshawa (Ontario, Canada).
When I got there around 6:45-ish, I found VonCougar lurking in the back drooling over all the board games. On the main table, Mark (the WC employee running the games night) and his girlfriend had already set up Ticket To Ride (Marklin Edition, no?). As we all chatted about what games we were going to play and who was interested in what, Zarquon showed up and sucker-punched me in the back (just can't trust a man with a goatee).
We helped Mark get a second table set up, and before long, the games were underway. Since just about everyone was experiencing indecisiveness, I latched onto Cleopatra and the Society of Architects and suggested we play that. After a bit of setup and some rules explanations from our hosts, a four-player game of palace-building was underway.
As Cleopatra is a Days of Wonder game, I probably don't even need to mention the quality of the bits (actually, I think I just did). The game itself puts players in the role of architects trying to build up Cleo's palace while trying to gain as much money as possible and gain as little corruption as possible.
In a way, it's kind of bizarre. You build things with your resources, and then you gain money for doing so. You would think you would have to spend money as well as resources to build up the palace. Oh well. The money ends up working as victory points in the end. He/she who has the most money wins (as long as that person doesn't also have the most corruption, as the most corrupted player is killed -- poor Zarquon).
The first couple of turns were a little shaky, as we were getting our minds wrapped around what goes in a turn. However, since you really only have two choices -- take resources from the market or build stuff at the quarry -- turns go fairly quickly once you have the turn sequence down. As pieces get finished (i.e. all the sphinxes, the doorway, the walls, etc.), Cleo moves closer to the palace. The game ends when the palace is completed, at which point she arrives for her big inspection.
At the beginning of the game, Mark gave us only strategy tip, which we largely ignored. He told us the key to winning was to focus on building out the mosaics near the throne and work our way down. I started up there as quickly as I could, but as you need the rarest of resources to build up the mosaics, it's actually not as easy as it sounds. Still, the two mosaic pieces I did build ended up helping me out a fair bit -- even though I still ended up with the lowest amount of money (but at least I didn't end up dead like poor, corrupted Zarquon Wink).
VonCougar ended up taking the win at the end of the evening. He had gained a fair bit of corruption, but because he had managed to square off a sanctuary area for himself around the mosaics (I was first to do this, but VonCougar ended up with a better sanctuary than me), some of his corruption vanished (just enough for him to have less corruption than Zarquon, as I recall). Since he had been building like a fiend and gaining a lot of cash, Cleopatra was most pleased with VonCougar.