Green is the colour, football is the game; we're all together, and winning is our aim!
My wife and I had played 4 games of this (I'm 0-4) so we thought we'd test it on our friends.
The games started tentative as always, with Katherine pumping up green in the market but the rest of us concentrating on the city. Selena had a slow beginning, only picking up a half dozen points after 2 rounds. Green gems continued to soar in price (thanks to Katherine) but she and Daren were neck and neck in terms of green gems. I had neglected to pick up many black gems and was shut out in the last round-leaving me with only 3 (something I would regret!) Selena had caught on and she, Katherine, and Daren had all pulled into a slight lead over me after 3 rounds. Katherine had picked up the spy card but forgot to use it until the last round - something that might have cost her the game. Daren picked up 2 free gems and Selena used the queen to lock off a character area (to secure a white gem).
The character cards are all valuable (although some more so than others) but all can be useful as we found in this game. Daren used to mercenary to manipulate the stock market - but not enough as yellow (which he was hoping to raise) ended up tied with green and still finished second. I managed to obtain a big majority in blue but of course it was in last place. I needed one more pawn to secure a rasie for blue but just didn't have it as I needed my last 4 and 3 pawns to beat Katherine out of a white gem in the last round.
Selena had an even number of Gems all across the board (including 5 black ones) and this carried the game in her favour.
A great game - it was tense, some backstabbing, and alot of uncertainty especially in the market. For this reason alone this game is a great one. And it was a close one in the end as well, another big plus for me!
Selena - 82
Daren - 80
Katherine - 78
Jason - 76
I could never think that Black Gems were worthless in this game...but they could be significantly less valuable is you were to invest more of your resources into just other gems or bonuses. As for the King's Favor...I have yet to try the variant. If anyone who reads this post has significant experience with both the normal game and the variants, which do you find that is most enjoyable?