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Subject: Session Report rss

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Scott Borton
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It was M.'s lucky night, because S. was up for a game of Svea Rike. C. and P. were pressed into service, and the four competitors began the game. This marked the first full game for each of the players, although M. had the advantage of already being familiar with the rules.

To satisfy time constraints, it was agreed that only the first two (of the available three) eras of Swedish history would be played.

The language issue loomed over the game from the very start. Since languages spoken by the players included Norwegian, Finnish, French and English, but not Swedish, M. provided printed translations of the Swedish card text into English for the benefit of all players.

The game started with the players choosing the noble families they would represent. The choice was more or less based on either the attractiveness of the family's crest, or a personal preference towards the family name. Only after the families were chosen did anybody bother to see which starting provinces were granted to each family. It proved no matter, as the initial distribution of provinces is designed to be equal.

Next, the players chose their initial trading partners. M. and C. chose to engage in the caviar trade with Russia. P. decided to link up with Prussia for the lucrative woolen goods business, and S. made an agreement with Denmark to import 16th century Lego prototypes.

The first round saw M., C. and P. choosing to expand their territory by purchasing additional provinces. S., seeing that the most tasty of the provinces had been taken in this land rush, decided to expand his family's culture. He purchased a scientist card, which in turn allowed him to purchase a second card. The second card was the expensive "Bergsbruk" resource, which granted S. two free crowns for every turn for the remainder of the game. This proved to be a wise investment.

The game proceeded through the Vasa era. This was a peaceful period, which saw no wars at all. All the players except S. expanded their land, while S., already possessing the smallest territory, continued to spend money on history cards. Some sniping was done here and there with event cards, but nothing terribly tragic happened.

The next era of the game was reached, which opened up the possibility of overseas colonization. S. jumped at this opportunity, expanding into the relatively cushy American colonies to gain his third province.

The second era also brought the higher probability of war, but only in the last two phases did the terrible spectre of battle rear its ugly head. The first war was with Prussia, and all players chose to support Sweden in this glorious battle. S., still having the smallest amount of land, was able to raise a regiment of only two military units, but was able to supplement this force with two mercenary units provided by Military history cards. M. also provided a total of four units, and C. and P. raised three units each. With this force, our heroic Swedish army handily defeated the dread Prussians. The glittering prize for this victory was the previously-unavailable province of Pomerania. Since both M. and S. had provided an equal amount of support, a blue-and-yellow die roll had to be made to determine who would claim Pomerania. M. had luck on his side, and grabbed the rich province. S. soothed his wounded pride by playing an event card which gave him two victory rewards rather than one, and used this opportunity to buy another mercenary unit and to receive extra funds.

The second war was with Denmark. S. had a significant trade presence in Denmark, but this wasn't too bothersome as this was the last phase. Again all four players provided maximum support to fair Sweden, but this time S. had the edge with three mercenaries. The war with Denmark was slightly more protracted than the previous war with Prussia, stretching into a counter-attack phase on Denmark's part. But Sweden still took the day, and S. chose to claim Skane as his spoils of war. The second Danish province was taken by M.

This marked the end of the main game. S. took a last-minute potshot at M. by playing a "Clever negotiator" card and stealing a palace from M. This gave S. three palaces, affording him another victory point.

The victory points were distributed as follows: C. had a huge cash reserve, three queens, and modest land holdings, giving her 8 victory points. S. had built up an impressive series of cards, also giving him 8 victory points. P. gained 7 victory points, almost purely through his expansive territory, and M. was well-balanced, also earning 7 victory points. The tie between C. and S. was resolved in S.'s favor, as his fiefdom provided more crowns than C.'s provinces.

This shortened game lasted approximately 3 hours. The play time was aggravated by the need to constantly consult the translations for the card text.

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