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Subject: My First Game of Taj rss

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Taj Mahal Session Report (Review in LIBO INDEPTH Summer 2006)

On a LIBO Replay Night, Chris taught the Reiner Knizia classic Taj Mahal to three players who were trying the game for the first time, Bill, Matt and Vince. The nasty character of the card play became evident when Bill was forced to withdraw early from the first conflict with no gains to show. Everyone else profited nicely with Chris taking the tile and Vince placing two castles in an important central region. Subsequent rounds saw Chris and Vince playing relatively high numbers of elephant cards to attempt to seize the tiles while Matt and Bill tended to concentrate their efforts on controlling the colored people who determine palace placement. Chris managed to dominate the tile collection aspect and wound up seizing 5 of the 12 tiles by the end of the game with Vince taking 4, Matt taking 2 and Bill only 1. What was even more advantageous was that Chris strategically planned his battles so that he ensured that each of the five tiles that he won had a rice symbol which gave him additional bonuses. Matt and Chris were the most successful in building their palaces in places that allowed them to make significant palace chains that extended through a number of individual provinces. Taj Mahal is apparently not a game that rewards those who attempt, like Bill, to participate in every battle. Vince and especially Chris make ample use of the first round withdrawal with the long term goal of sacrificing unwanted tiles in order to restock their card supply and save their resources for the crucial battles. The game was fairly tight for the first 10 ten provinces with Matt, Vince and Chris each holding the lead for a few turns. Ultimately, Chris pulled away because of his dominance of the symbols on the tiles and his palace chains while Matt moved into second through the combination of his linked palaces and his domination of the yellow two-point bonus card. Final scores were: Chris 49, Matt 38, Vince 37 and Bill, who discovered that possession of the Taj Mahal itself in round 12 cannot save a misplayed game, with 32.
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