I’ve read a lot of good things about Liberte in the past while. Quite a few people have been raving about it, especially Greg Schloesser. I had heard it was fairly long, though, so instead of having it at a regular game night, I thought we’d try it tonight. We had a six player game with Corwin, Dan, Joe, Shari, William and me. We were all newbies.
Liberte is a fairly involved game, though it isn’t tremendously complicated. We went through the rules and got down to business.
A game of Liberte is four turns long, unless the game ends with one of the alternate victory conditions. In the first turn, we were pretty much feeling our way around – it wasn’t until the second turn that we really got the hang of what was going on, enough to realize all the mistakes we made in the first turn!
I took the lead at the end of the first turn, while William took the lead for the rest of the turns. I concentrated mostly trying to see which way the wind was blowing election-wise, and then jumping on the bandwagon. If it looked like blue was going to win the election, I tried putting as many blues as I could on the board and at the same time, trying to avoid confrontations. I did pretty well, coming in second, but Joe was able to capture the win by scoring in victory point provinces and winning battles. As a matter of fact, all except for two of Joe’s victory points came from victory point provinces and winning battles.
*Joe * - 14
Rick – 13
Corwin – 11
William - 11
Shari – 5
Dan – 3
Joe – 6 (for first play)
Rick – 8.5
Corwin – 8.5
William – 7
Shari – 8
Dan – 7
There was a lot of discussion about the game afterwards (a mark of a good game). We all though the there were lots of things to think about it the game, which made it hard to come up with a coherent strategy. I think this problem may lessen with further play.
One thing we realized is that being in the lead is not the best thing as the leader moves first – it is much more advantageous to move last. It may be tempting to grab the lead early, but because the leader moves first, this could end up being a problem (shades of San Marco where being the leader at the beginning of the game is a surefire way to lose).
All in all, we liked it quite a bit. I’m not sure how long it took us to play the game, but it certainly didn’t feel long – it didn’t drag at all. I’m looking forward to trying this one again.