This game was new to both Oggie and Steve. I'd played it three times previously, but with at least one rules error each time, so this was my first outing with the correct rules - I think.
Having been told that the purpose of the game was to establish favour with the Doge, Oggie set out to do exactly that. He grabbed sole control of an area and managed to get 22 points worth of scores on the board before me or Steve got off the starting blocks. By doing so he painted a large target on his forehead and gave myself and Steve every reason to mount a spirited campaign against the blue menace. Oggie therefore spent much of the game indulging in a Guerrilla campaign, sneaking men onto the board as and where he could before seeing them banished or transferred back off. On more than one occasion he was close to having less people in districts than on bridges.
Steve concentrated on taking a majority in a couple of districts and pulling back Oggie's lead slowly but surely. I decided to aim for tying up first or second place in all of the districts. This would give me some points whenever a district scored, meaning I didn't have to worry so much about taking the Doge cards. This strategy seemed to be backfiring when the end of the first turn saw me with just a single point. I was happy to see my score rate increase in the second round, though less than ecstatic with the rate of the increase. By half way through the second round, and thus at the half way stage of the game, I'd doubled this score to a less than impressive two points. On the basis of this, I'd have to doubt the worth of persuing a pure bridge strategy.
As the round progressed though, the points began to trickle in for both Steve and myself. Oggie was still scoring but his opportunities were few and far between. They were also spiked with a vicious cocktail of limit cards so he paid a heavy penalty for picking Doge cards. Steve seemed to be somewhat confused during this round as to what game he was actually playing. Having taken on the mantle of card splitter he kept muttering about 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations as he shuffled cards from pile to pile, obviously still suffering the after effects of the World Cup. This didn't seem to have too large an effect on his game though. The end of round two saw the gap between first and last place reduced to around a dozen points.
Round three brought Oggie the pleasure of splitting the cards. This event had been much anticipated and looked forward to. Having developed his now infamous "spend 45 minutes devising a program to fall down a pit" Roborally technique we were all eager to see how he'd rise to this new challenge. However, he completely failed to break his speed record, not managing to take 45 minutes to devise a single split. This round saw several set of duplicate action cards appearing, with three Doge cards being closely followed by three transfers. It also was sets of limit cards with an uncanny habit of being divisible by three so we all picked up limit cards at a pretty constant rate. The round saw all of us trying to set up district majorities for the final scoring round. Majorities changed hands round after round, with Oggie even managing to get in on the act despite only having five men on the whole board.
The final scoring round was to prove decisive. Oggie was forced to make a nasty choice on the last split and couldn't avoid packaging cards in such a way as to harm him. This left him scoring in just a single area at the end. Myself and Steve picked up almost as many points as we'd gained throughout the rest of the game, with my long term aim for majorities paying off richly and taking the game.
As ever, this was an intersting game with a number of nasty decisions to be made. We did, however, manage to stretch it out to 90 minutes including rules explanation which was a little on the long side. This is reflected somewhat in the lower scores than the game has previously attracted.
Final scores - Oggie 56, Steve 63, Paul 73
Ratings (/10, for this session) Oggie 6, Steve 7, Paul 7