Editor at Lookout Games
I'm rather a newbie to Antiquity as I played 3 times 2p before. On Saturday we (girl-friend and me) finally played our first 4p game of Antiquity with two friends of mine, one already knowing the game, the other one being new to it. This is my first session report, so don't mind if it is too confusing.
I had a nice starting position with two medium size lakes (4-5 hexes each I think) and another one closely to one of mine (later I connected it with an inn to my zone of control using harbor). My starting city was on the edge to the middle of the game board, so my entire starting hex was free for me for later purposes, but unfortunately I was not able to use it later on. There was a wonderful huge mountain range I used for stone later in the game, but unfortunately my city was one hex too far away from it, so even using stables I was not able to get more than 4 stone from one worker. I used another 3 hex mountain region to get my inital stones to built my cathedral in round two. So did my friends in round 3, but my girl-friend did not built her cathedral to the end of the game.
In round one I also built a woodcutter and a fisherman (with fish, of course *g*) as I had no exploration markers in my ZOC (actually I built my city on one of them). Two ohter players explored early and pushed famine to level 3, so I started to get graves right from the beginning. But they never were a problem to me. Some nice guys used to build some fountains later on, so pollution stalled on level 7-9. With my granary and some food I always avoided graves or got 0-2 of them. Later in the game I had a hospital and was always able to remove graves. But I'll talk about this later.
So, having 1 stone, 1 wood and 1 fish at the end of round one (I'd built and manned 3 cart shops!), I built a cathedral (St. Christofori) and another wood cutter in round two. My strategy was from the beginning the following: use St. Christofori to avoid storage problems, store food to avoid graves and build all buildings. Then finally raze Cathedral and rebuild to have St. Barbara. My food storages (fish only as I never explored) helped me with famine in the beginning, later on I used my food for two additional houses and a new city (after having connected a third lake to my ZOC as described above). I was the second to have two cities. My girl-friend could build due to play order earlier than me, taking the place I planned to build on (she knew that, I think). But that didn't matter much as I had another good alternative.
But the other players soon followed. One of them was too on St. Christofori, the other one on Santa Maria. The Christofori guy was the newbie and he did not remarkably well, but he didn't do bad either. Only Santa Maria guy had always plenties of resources but did not concentrate on his victory conditions too well and therefore was no threat to me. The player we least cared about wasmy girl-friend. Although I threatened her early buy connecting those lakes (and then polluting her ZOC), she did not care much about and played "her game".
My greatest sorrow was Santa Maria guy. His loads of resources let me think that he'll win, but as I mentioned above he cared more about polluting my ZOC and taking away good building sites than on his victory condition.
By this time (I had built a third city in the center of the whole map, using inns) I stopped producing food. As mentioned above this was the time of 7-9 famine stall and having a granary I effectively got 0-1 graves per round (I had enough space to place them, then removing 5 of them next round). My plan seemed to comply and I needed only that single additional round to get 2 bricks to build theology, raze cathedral and rebuild it, when my girl-friend suddenly has built all of her buildings, taking Barbara and claiming for victory. Bof! Nobody expected this. She was so quiet all the time, refusing to build a cathedral earlier and then this... lol.
Was a wonderful game, though. I would've possibly won if I had more places where I could harvest more than 3 resources. So I was too often using wood to get further resources. It was a good thing to not harvest food any more after building my third city. This saved me additional wood I could use to get the last stone pieces I needed. Unfortunately, this was one round too late.
I hope, my report is not too confusing. I just wrote, what I remember, concentrating rather on what I did and suffered, cause the only problems in the game were my girl-friend building her city on a place I wanted to (no problem at all) and the Santa Maria guy polluting my ZOC as I needed my men for other purposes than dump.
With set-up and clean-up we played 3.5 hrs altogether. That's a pretty good time and was a pretty enjoyable one!