I’m really liking this game the more I play it, as I find new game “trajectories” and explore different sub-strategies and combinations, even if they don’t work all that well for me!
I thought I had cracked a few truths on my last playing, but applying these this game were not so effective in combination with my chosen income strategy.
I raced up the track that gives you gem cards along the way (as the Faerie), before going for the artifact/sentinel discount track, then the reduced gemstone prices. For income I migrated towards the emeralds, and this seemed to serve well until maybe 3/4 through the game, when money then seemed to stagnate compared to others (ie., Brad and Pat). Accruing cash was difficult too, as my hand limit was stuck on 5 for most of the game.
The lesson from last game was to not neglect the artifact/sentinel discount track. And I did observe this, but two other factors also apply: a) Make sure you buy the artifacts to make the investment decision worthwhile, b) Don’t go into the lead too early. Well, I did OK on the artifact cards, ending up with 6 in total, although I think I could have gone for more. But, I did go hard quite early in the game, being the first to hit 10 and keeping the lead until about half way, when Pat and Brad suddenly surged ahead. Better to do this the other way around!
At one point Pat made the remark that you should avoid getting into artifact bidding wars too often, because they end up being such a financial drain. I have to agree with this - the two auctions I had were with Brad, and I think went 1:1, at least $20 over list price in each case. Better to know your limits, but keep them low.
With four experienced players, this game ran considerably shorter than previous ones. Brad has been known as a poor performer in Zepter, but I went out on a limb and predicted a Brad win or a placing within 3 points of the leader. He didn’t quite get there, but it was close and certainly a respectable showing. As I said before, I floundered from about the halfway point. Don’t know what happened to Brian, but he obviously couldn’t get any momentum. Pat seems to find an optimal strategy almost every time, usually only pushed into second place if Alex pips him with clever sentinel or artifact buys at the end.
97 minutes for this game.
Results: Pat: 61. Brad: 56. Paul: 49. Brian: 23.
(Originally posted on www.themineshaftgap.com.)