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Subject: One extra player = twice as much fun! rss

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I've never seen a flying hogfish. I saw one gliding once, but never flying, not actually flying.
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This report assumes some vague familiarity with R+B, if I'd explained everthing, I would have put it in as a review.

The backstory

To date, I've only had the opportunity to play R+B solitaire. I've enjoyed it immensely, but always felt that another player would make a bit of a difference. So, when my regular gaming-buddy Ian was keen to give it a go, I jumped at the chance.

The map

We plumped for the "Such A Cute Little Sea" map, as it claims to be a learner's map. Good choice, I think, in hindsight. I opted to start next to one piece of stony ground, and Ian went for the other.

The early game

In the early part of the game, I decided to build up my donkey haulage and goose empire, while Ian went whole-hog for the woodcutters. We both built a quarry and a sawmill. Many, many roads were built - Ian was drawing his road map with the masterful hand of a city planner, whereas I went more for the wiggly dirt-track approach. We both contributed to the wonder, it was fairly even scoring here, although Ian made a slip in the very early part of the game, and didn't have a donkey on his home, allowing me to claim the first row all to myself.

Mid-game

This began at the point where we both realised that more stone was going to be needed, lots of banter passed back and forth about walling players in, and I decided that it was time to head for them 'thur hills! I was planning to build a mine in the one mountain hex near to the starting position, but I wanted to stick a wall or two up to stop Ian from plundering it once it was built. No such security issues were going through my erstwhile opponent's mind, however, and he rushed off and built a mine, "Old 17" as it has been christened, as it's then number that pops out first every time.

So, change of plan for me - I'm now thinking about building a raft factory down by river, to transport me to the far-off mountain range and start mining down there. Little did I know that it would all be unnecessary.... (whooooooooo!).

Deciding that stone was a bit to scarce a resource, and that I could do with a few more spare resources to win the wonder-building escalation, I built a clay pit and got ready transporting goods to build a stone factory. In the mean time, Ian's mine started producing.... IRON.... and a discussion got underway about how useful iron is or is not. Despite that fact that he pooh-poohed the iron, Ian's obedient donkey grabbed it up and headed back home with it, to stop me from claiming it (not that I wanted it, you understand). Another of his evil-donkey crew wandered over to plunder my clay-pit, which was building up clay, waiting for the stone factory to be built.

At this point, I saw a PLAN - it was a good enough plan that it required capitals. It wasn't a brilliant plan, or that would have needed capitals and bold, possibly italics too. Ian had left a lonely donkey at the mine, to pick up his next deep-earth delivery. I stationed a donkey there also, and at the end of the turn, I said I wanted to build two bricks in the wonder, ending the row and winning me a few vital points. Ian was having none of that, and used his position in the front pew of the church to take first action and finish the row himself. Fair enough, and that evened up that line of the wonder. New turn...

New turn, production. Ian's mine spews out gold. Lovely, gleaming, glittery 10pt gold. Now I'm not sayin' I's a claim jumper, but I used my new position at the front of the church to change the action sequence and go first. Donkey away! As Ian was still laughing about his wonderful theft of clay, it made me feel a bit better. I figured that was it, and I'd better get on with my own mine now, 'cos there were still two gold left in the mine, and he wouldn't fall for the same trick again, would he? Oh, he would, you say?

Late game

One of my donkeys is laden down with two of my opponent's gold, I've dropped all plans of building a new mine and instead I figure that the smart money is on building a coal burner to produce fuel and a mint to make a coin. Ian starts putting vast sums into bricks in the wonder, which I can't keep up with. Oddly enough, no walls have been build, and we've hardly strayed out of the top of the map. No water transports have been built and no research has taken place. As it's getting late, and I need to get home and be up early the next day, we agree to play to the end of the current wonder row and call it a day. I think we were two rows away from reaching the proper game end.

The scores

We count up - it was never going to be a high scoring game, I'm still getting to grips with the game and it was Ian's first go.

Firstly, resources - Ian's mine came up with a fabulous three gold, I nabbed two and he had the other, so 20 points to me, 10 to Ian.

The Wonder - it was a close run thing, and Ian was pulling it back at the end, but by allowing me to get the first row to myself, I ended up with two points more than him. It was along the lines of 34 points to me, 32 points to Ian, if memory serves.

TOTALS:

Me - 54
Ian - 42

Slight victory to me, then! thumbsup

Conclusion

The game was close. I was incredibly lucky to get two gold out from under Ian's nose. He was closing the Wonder gap and would have overtaken me there if we had played on to the end. I was about to build a mint, but Ian was (I suspect) about to research digging a new shaft in his mine. It could have gone either way.

Although there was little actual conflict, it feels as though you're constantly in competition with the other player. Ian got spooked when I started breeding donkeys at the start of the game, and I got a bit jumpy when he ended up with four woodcutters producing mountains of boards. Stone was the scare resource for both of us for most of the game, but neither of us did anything about it until right at the end - why not? I think it was because the other player seemed not to be too bothered.

In short, I'm wild about this game - with two players it was at least twice as good as playing singly (hence the title) - it introduces so much more into the game. Tomorrow, I've got some friends coming over, looks like we'll manage a three or four player game (I've picked up a copy of &cetera just in case more turn up). I'll try and get a report in for that, along with some pictures.

After playing R+B solo, I gave it 10/10. Now that I've played it with another player, I have only one question, how do I rate it 11/10?
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