I could not possibly pass up a game whose theme is set in my own stomping ground, New Mexico. So I bought Pueblo sight and comments unseen. It was after all a Kiesling/Kramer game, so it seemed an odds-on favorite to succeed. I did a solo run thru with 2-player setup first. Then, as folks showed up to game, as soon as we reached the magical '4', we sat down to a game of Pueblo.
It was tense, and the decision to place a block was often agonizing. As time goes on, the places that you can play relatively safely disappear. Soon you are left putting your color blocks in full view of the finical chieftain. However, I believe that, after this playing, that it is better in almost all cases to place a block in the worst possible place on the 1/2 level rather than go up to the 3 level, and the 4 level is to be avoided at all costs.
I realized before the game that this was one where players were often going to want a 360 degree view of the board, so I got out a plastic 'lazy susan' that I'd picked up at a garage sale ages ago. This was the perfect 'table' for the game, as it allowed each player to rotate the board to find (or in many cases, not find) that perfect spot.
As the game progressed, the lead changed often, and the 'get the leader' strategem was in full effect. Occasionally a player was willing to take a small hit themselves to inflict a larger one on an opponent.
I was in the lead in points for the first half of the game, mostly, which is to say I was in last place. However, as time went on, and the good places disappear, both Randy and Terri opted to place blocks up on the 3rd level, hoping in time to cover them up. But up there, they have four sides, and cover even two of them is fortunate. Both Matt and I stayed down on the 1/2 levels, although we became severely and irrevocably exposed down there. Also, both Randy and Terri were using their last neutral blocks to try to cover up those high blocks of coler. So, on the last turn, Randy and Terri both had one more color block, but Matt and I saved a neutral for last. As the last block was laid, the scores were relatively close (about 10-15 points from first to last). However, the chieftain still had his last round to go, and this is where the higher blocks began to do their damage.
As he went around the first half, both Randy and Terri began to shoot out in the lead in points, and I also started to creep forward, as this was my worst side. But once on the other side, Matt also started to move, and while Randy and Terri were racking them up, Matt crept slowly up to where I stood, until the last spot, where Matt got his last point and came up to meet me, tieing me for the win.
I really liked this game, and after a few more to give players a chance to develop a feel for the scoring 'opportunities', I would like to try the 'sacred sites', which will force building up into the 3/4 levels, and should make for a must more 'interesting' game!