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Subject: Session Report rss

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Greg Schloesser
United States
Jefferson City
TN
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I had the pleasure of playing this at Gulf Games 9 just over a month ago
and, in spite of being called away in the middle of the game for a few
rounds, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And why shouldn't I? After
all, it is from the gaming god himself, Wolfgang Kramer (and his partner
Michael Kiesling)! Further, it is part of the Tikal / Java series,
which is magnificent. I've since managed several complete games and
find the game fascinating.

I won't go into great detail here as I have just submitted a full review
to the Gamers Alliance. The game does appear to be the easiest to
learn, teach and understand of the series, and plays in the shortest
amount of time. My games have clocked in at anywhere from 1 1/2 - 2
hours, which is quite acceptable for a game with this amount of
strategy, depth and options. Although I still hesitate to pull out
Tikal and especially Java in a family gaming environment, I feel Mexica
would fare well in that situation.

As others have mentioned, the game certainly has a "Manhattan-esque"
feel, with players scurrying about attempting to gain control of various
districts. Control of districts can be fleeting, forcing players to
re-establish priorities and make decisions in regards to which districts
they will elect to compete. Often, you erect temples and grab control
of a district, only to watch in horror as one of your opponents erects
even more temple levels in that district, forcing you down the scoring
ladder. Do you go back and attempt to re-establish control, or turn
your attentions elsewhere? Ahh ... delicious decisions!

In spite of the late hour, I really wanted to get Joe and Tom into a
more 'meaty' game. Lately, when I've been gaming with Tom, his young
son Paul is with us. Although Paul is quite astute and quite the
accomplished game player, due to his age (11) certain games are just a
bit too involved and complex. So, I've been itching for the opportunity
to introduce Tom to such games as Princes of Florence, El Grande, Java,
etc. So, with the departure of Paul with his mom Ann, I seized the
opportunity. Sadly, since the hour was late, I feared playing a game
such as Princes of Florence, as it takes longer to teach and could have
lasted much longer than the time we had remaining. So, I opted for
Mexica. We managed to play the game to completion in slightly less than
2 hours ... a bit longer than we planned, but still worth the loss of
sleep!

We were joined by Steven for our late night construction efforts.
Steven set the pace early, founding several large districts and giving
him a slight lead. Tom, however, managed to gain control of numerous
districts and emerged as the leader following the first scoring round:

Tom 31, Steven 30, Greg 24, Joe 24

In spite of trailing through much of the game, I was gaining confidence
as I established dominance of two large districts in the second round.
Had I managed to maintain control of both of those districts, it would
have yielded an impressive 25 points. Alas, this was noticed by my
opponents, and they quickly moved in for the kill. I did managed to
maintain majority position in the 13 point district, but was prevented
from returning to the other district when Steven viciously blockaded me
in another district by moving his pawn onto the only exit bridge. I was
forced to use 5 of my 6 action points to move out, leaving me with
insufficient points to erect any new buildings in the contested
district. ARRGHH!

As a result, Tom managed to capture first place in that district, while
I slipped to second. This was a swing of 12 points, which was enough to
deny me the victory. However, Tom earned it as he played a masterful
game.

Finals: Tom 84, Steven 76, Greg 72, Joe 66

Ratings: Greg 8, Tom 8, Joe 6, Steven 5 (no figuring out this guy!)

 
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