Our game of Settlers had taken an incredibly long amount of time -- about two and a half hours. Ed had the next choice of games, and after the Settlers marathon, we all took a deep breath when he chose Tikal.
Jerry also being new to Tikal, we played the basic version instead of the auction version which we felt would disadvantage him. I was quickly reminded of why my enjoyment of Tikal increased dramatically when we had graduated from the basic to the auction version. The basic version can be infuriating; I went first, which I don't like to do, not knowing how the board will lay out. And then I continued to draw only blank tiles at a time when they weren't very useful, there being no collection of valuable temples lined up yet for me to try to sneak up on with a camp. Meanwhile, others used their temple and treasure tiles to rake in points. When there were temples valuable enough to try to situate a camp towards, I then found myself drawing volcanoes. I tried to restrain my regrettable instinct for whining (with some success), but I really felt that whole game like I just couldn't get a break.
Despite that, things didn't start out so bad. I stayed in second place for most of the game, owing to getting an early lead in the treasures.
Ed built the first camp, and a worse situated camp there has never been. We took rather sadistic delight in rendering it absolutely useless.
Out past Ed's camp, Diana got the jump on me in invading the series of fairly valuable temples that began to crop up. She fought a few battles with Jerry in capping them, Jerry capping one early and Diana capping a couple after that.
This led to a rather odd-looking board, which seemed to me to offer no good opportunities for a placement of my camp. Along the near edge of the board were a few temples in succession near the entrance, but they were filled with all of Ed's, Jerry's and Diana's pieces. I had fewer pieces on the board due to the moves I'd spent gathering treasure, and mine were near the middle, where the treausures had been, with a few others at a temple near the entrance. Ed had a camp close to the board center, the useless one. Diana's camp was out further, and she had built up the temples there nicely. Unfortunately then it seemed like I could not get a blank tile to come up at that point, to enter those temples from the other side. Nor would anyone else put a blank spot there. So the area past Dian'a s camp and the following temples got filled up without me having a chance to invade there.
I finally built a camp on the very far edge of the board, to come back at some reasonably big temples that Jerry had invaded just past his camp.
Diana was in a formidable position the entire game. The big temples were in the middle of the board. She had capped one, and her camp was the only possible camp near the others. Lacking good opportunities for temple theft, I tried to build up the temples I could get into valuable ones. Soon the one on the far edge was a 10, just next to my camp.
Here I began to have problems wrestling with Jerry. He couldn't really compete too well with me in that area, but that didn't stop him from trying. Hence I had to pour a lot of men into that camp, more than I felt I could afford, to hold onto that 10 temple from turn to turn. If I'd known what he was going to do beforehand, I would have capped it, but on each individual turn, it was always cheaper to take it back than to cap it.
With me defending myself against Jerry, there was no one really to stop Diana. Ed came after me too, admittedly playing for second, which he managed to achieve.