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Subject: Dogged Footsteps rss

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Joe J.
United States
Colorado Springs
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Usually Thursday night at Doug and Beth's place is reserved for lighter fair like Citadels or Ticket to Ride. However, on rare occassions some of the heavier stuff like Euphrates & Tigris or El Grande come out, but those instances are few and far between. But this last meeting was an exception, perhaps due to a larger than expected group showing up. The night was started with a quick and dirty game of dragon delta as others showed up, and when we split into two groups of five, I was surprised and pleased to find Alexander the Great the choice for my table.

Having previously only played once before with three, I was looking forward to a full five-player game, just to see what it was like. My first play of the game was never really finished either because we quit when it got too late. After getting set up; and numerous comments on the great looking board and bits, I ran through the rules and we got going. My only real nitpick is that while the provinces are named, the regions are not. We made some educated guesses, but we were never quite sure where we were for certain.

Region 1: Black (me), made an aggressive move into the region and attempted a city and two temples. I was quickly followed by the other players, and the end result was that I was only successful with a temple in Sparta. Brian (playing blue) got the only city in Pella, Tina (red) got the temple in Thessalia, and Nathan (green), grabbed the city Thessalia. Doug (yellow) moved into Thracia to finish the turn and score the region.

End result: Nathan and Brian tie for first, followed by Tina, then Doug, and me in my usual spot of dead last. I wouldn't succeed at anything for several turns.

Region 2: Several attempts by me to build temples are all thwarted, while the other players all manage to grab temples and cities before the region is scored. Brian jumps into the lead, with Nathan dead on his heels. Doug and Tina change places, I remain in the same spot, completely scoreless. Apparently, my strategy isn't working.

Region 3: Moving into what has to be Africa and the Nile area, I somehow manage to grab a city in Phoenicia and a temple in Judea (Iudea on the map). I get stomped everywhere else, but do manage to control Memphis for two puny points when the region is scored a round later. Nathan and Brian are still jockeying for the lead. Nathan comments that he doesn't like the game. "I keep messing up," he whines. This from the guy some twenty points ahead of me. We ignore him.

Region 4: Doug bids high and chooses to go last. This allows him to outwit all of us. While we moved through the less costly provinces, he pays 4 resources to move directly into Media and found a city, make a free move into Persis to build a temple, and force us to score the region. Wow. He was not going to get to do that again! I only manage to get a single temple constructed. While Nathan and Brian still held first and second, Doug's tricky move vaults him right into third only a single point behind them. Where am I? Still dead last. (Tina quit the game at this point to give a player from the other table a ride home, so we finished with four).

Region 5: I try to copy Doug's maneuver and bid so that I can go last. I use only a few resources to build an army, the rest go to use for temples. To my surprise, it works. I built temples in Parthia while the rest struggled over cities in Bactria and Sogdiania. I moved closer to the pack but never really caught up. Brian moves several points ahead of Nathan. Doug changes tactics and tries for points through province control. He nudges his way into second.

Region 6: Last push for victory in what has to be India. I get my only city in Puniab, and build a temple in Indus Inferior. A second round adds more to my army in Puniab for control points, but when the region is scored I still remain in the rear, Brian and Nathan are again tied for first. We almost thought that was the end of the game until I noticed the FINAL SCORING section of the Player Aid card. Oops, we all missed that even looking at the card several times during the course of the game.

Nathan gains 10 points for most cities, and I manage to grab the 15 point bonus for most temples. Brian has the most cities in one region, while I again get the most temples in one region addition. Nice!

Nathan wins the game, I manage to sneak my way into second, Doug holds third through his control method, and Brian ends up last. He gripes that it wasn't really fair since he didn't know about the final scoring. Granted, but neither did the rest of us. Nathan is suddenly a big fan of the game, Doug wants to try it again soon, and I'm just happy not to be in last place.

Final Thoughts: This is a great game. I wouldn't call it exactlly a wargame, as players don't really fight each other. It's almost an area control game, but that's not a major part of it. Blind bidding? Kind of. In my opinion, it has a bit of everything to it, which adds to its appeal. The complexity is minor once you have the game figured out, and turns move quickly. There maybe a bit of of good ol' AP as players try to figure out the best uses for resources, but we finished in under 90 minutes.

I recommend Alexander the Great: Founder of an Empire. It may not be the first one I suggest on any given game night, but I certainly won't turn down a chance to play it again.
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