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Subject: Hammer of the Scots - Settlers ROME - Tichu be do rss

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M Loebach
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goo

Good turn out and a couple of long lost sheep returned to the fold.
It was nice to see you again.

First up ... HEADS UP and HEAD WEST
The Kanata group has sorted the details for their tournament for PR.
Talk to the Rat King if you need more info.

onto the games...


Lots of SOC in many forms.

SOC Cities and K-nig-gits (spoken with ridiculous pompous pyton accent) -- and most importantly the ALL SPANKY NEW
SOC E.T. go ROME edition

I'm anxious to hear a couple reports on these (especially the Rome).
What is your opinion on replayability?
Do you think having the tiles prenumbered takes away too much variety of the game?

SOC -- 2 Player Card game.
I was a bit rusty (6-8 months) on this one.
It was nice to get this back on the table for a bit.
I think it would be better with better lighting (because of card text)

HAMMER OF THE SCOTS
It was great to finally get into this game.
I'd been looking for a while, but didn't want to purchase myself then learn it myself.
The game has the "fog of war" concept (BLOCKS)
There are a lot of one-off details, I am sure they become vital as you play more but for the most part we just dealt with them as they came up.
The only odd piece of info we had a little problem adjusting to was unit retreat/roll order. I'll have to check for clarification and post a little later this week.

(Quick note -- If you lick the back of one of the red blocks and slap it on your forehead it will stay there on average for about 40 seconds. (Sample size 20, results accurate 19 out of 20 95% of the time copyright Idiot research inc.)) Blue block results to be done when grant money received.

SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT
I hear there was a weird ending. The situation could have been interpreted as a win, loss or tie because of mechanics vagaries.
I'm looking forward to see how you were able to sort it out.

Looking forward to hearing your opinions.
Post'em if you got'em.

See you in 14
goo
MrZoz
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Sean Ross
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MrZoz wrote:
HAMMER OF THE SCOTS
...There are a lot of one-off details, I am sure they become vital as you play more but for the most part we just dealt with them as they came up.
Going back through the rules after the game, there were some details/exceptions I managed to omit: Nobles defending their home areas have a combat advantage (B2 becomes B3); if the Welsh and/or Ulster blocks are in a battle, you need to roll a die to test their loyalty (on 5-6 they return to the draw pool); and I forgot to disband the English king after wintering two years in Scotland (he was there for 4). As to the combat order, the rules say all A blocks attack first, then all B blocks, then all C blocks; with the defender attacking first at each stage. For each alphabetical group we alternated attacks between defender and attacker (e.g., your B3 attacked, then my B3, then your B2, then my B2, etc) - so, I got that wrong as well. Sorry about that. Still, I don't think these omissions/errors had any great impact on the overall outcome, so it wasn't too bad. Thanks again for playing.

Last night there was a brief, hopeful, period where it seemed Tichu would be played. But, as it too often happens, that hope was dashed for want of a fourth. Instead there was a single round of 6 Nimmt!(6 nimmt!) followed by a game of Ninety-Nine, an exact bidding trick-taker for three. In the latter game, we had three rounds where everyone made their bids, and then I made the hubristic error of saying aloud that it didn't seem difficult to determine how many tricks you should bid. As could be expected, things went downhill from there....

 
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Mark McEvoy
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Catan Histories: Struggle for Rome was a very interesting take on the Settlers mechanic. No, I don't view the fixed number locations to be much of a problem at all, because there's so much mobility in early game (followed by a comparatively short endgame) that you never feel anyone's really 'squatting' on a single valuable intersection. It's an interesting mechanic, though, that the game is effectively broken into two 'phases' - you move, explore and plunder cities early and move your tribes in sometimes enormous steps; but once you conquer a city the game fundamentally shifts, as your conquering tribe can no longer move, only expand by conqering adjacent cities. The real dilemma was the ever-present dangling 'carrot' of the 2-VP bonus for plundering in all five regions. You can start conquering as soon as you've plundered 3 regions but once you conquer you're forever throwing away the possibility of the 5-plunder bonus card. So it's a tricky task of determining whether to conquer as early as allowable and start your exponential growth through conquering, or to defer your conquer to chase that 5-plunder bonus. I chose the latter for both my tribes, John did for only one of his, and won in large part for that reason - he was able to sustain a resource income that my wandering tribesmen coul not match.

Then came Cities and Knights of Catan. It was fun, but like a lot of games with oodles of cards, a first timer can't help but feel out of control when you don't even know what rules might be 'broken' by cards you don't know about. I had to build a fifth road early to try to get a settlement I desperately needed to ever be able to compete in ore... but because I got that fifth road and the long-road card first I was the early 'leader' and I was basically pinned down for the rest of the game (cards that take resources from anyone with more victory points than you, people choosing the 'leader' for robber movement or other targetted effects). I never built a second city (never even came close!) because I was constantly stripped of resources. I started the game at 3 VP, I was piled-upon for being the early leader at 6 VP, and ended the game at 5 VP - I earned two whole VP all game and I was considered the 'leader' for most of it.

Then the single hand of 6 Nimmt! to demonstrate how 6 Nimmt! fails to be an interesting game with only 3 players. I ducked taking any of the points and won the hand.

Then we played ninety-nine, a Wizard / Oh Hell style exact-trick-prediction game, where I got a couple of finer-points of rules wrong (working entirely from memory) but it was mostly right. I just think it was 'bad luck' that our first three hands our bids happened to add up to 9 (making everyone-makes possible) all three times. Under most circumstances, from what I've seen, those hands are rare, and successful premium bids are also rare (while I believe we were 4-for-4 on them).
 
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J R
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SoC ET Rome Edition

Great game, but I do think that it will be less replayable than SoC due to the start positions, production numbers and resource hexes being fixed. But given that the pastures result in a random horse or bull card and that the plunder is random I think it will be reasonably replayable. Time will tell.

I like the movement mechanics and the options available to a player if they get shut out of one strategy. I ended up with the strategy I went with (plunder 3 cities and then conquer with one tribe; plunder 5 cities first with the second tribe for the 2 VP before conquering) because I got blocked early on as I was the last player in turn 1. As Mark mentioned there is also the decision to make on whether to start building an empire to generate more resources or wander to get more VP cards.

A few other things that were key to my victory: 1) I got the diplomacy 2VP card (equivalent to largest army in Soc) early and managed to hold onto it for the entire game surprise; 2) I usually spent everything to discourage having the legionaire (aka robber) placed on me; and 3) I reached the 10 VP on the last turn of the round playing as the last player, so nobody had a chance to do anything about it.


SoC C&K

This was weird. I got trapped at the beginning of the game and was only able to expand by placing cities and settlements around a wheat field, but fortunately the wheat had an 8 on it and one of settlements was on the 2 for 1 wheat harbour. I think being land locked made me appear less of a threat. I also got the merchant early and nobody ever drew a card to take it away surprise

I also got lucky in that some retaliatory playing from SoC Rome carried forward and did not involve me. So, with the added bonus that Mark was the early leader target, the robber rarely made it to my hexes until it was too late.

Amazingly nobody built a metropolis, and the barbarians only succeeded in raiding Catan once. On the other 2 occasions I got the VP card for most knights, which really helped. The commodity cards (or whatever they are called) got played a lot, and many of them were screw your neighbour cards like the arsonist. This definitely added some action to the game.

One thing to remember, once you build a level 3 city improvement you have to remember to make use of the benefit (e.g. take the resource you are entitled to if you don't produce anything). As it is a new mechanic and not overly obvious you tend to forget about it angry

It is definitely nice to be able to win even if you cannot do any meaningful expanding.

Cheers
 
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Stephen M
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Shadows Over Camelot

This game was pretty fun, with five knights on the quest. I was King Arthur (and the youngest, surprisingly). The Traitor adds a hint of suspense, but after 2 knights killed themselves to save the team, it became obvious that there weren't any. What happened was this - Sir Kay, with the Armor of Lancelot, could choose either Saxons or Picts to add to the evil armies. Since choosing one fulfilled a winning condition, he chose that. What he chose led to a lost battle. 2 black swords would fill the round table and cause the knights to win. 2 siege engines would fill the siege slots and cause EVIL to win. The battle results show 2 swords + loss of life + 2 siege engines. Now IF the swords go first, then we win. If they go simultaneously, we win AND lose. IF losing trumps winning then EVIL wins and we lose. The instructions really don't say. However, all that being said, IF evil would win AND we knew this, Sir Kay could choose the other option, and (we played it out) we would have won 2 turns later...

I can see it being pretty hard to beat EVIL in this game (as it should be), but its pretty fun to try. I'd like to try it again with more knights (I think 6 or 7 would be ideal).
 
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Kory McDonald
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I enjoyed both Settlers Rome and SOC K&C, although as a newbie many points of strategy only became clear over the course of the game - I would definitely like to try both games again!
 
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M Loebach
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The Steve wrote:
Shadows Over Camelot

This game was pretty fun, with five knights on the quest. I was King Arthur (and the youngest, surprisingly). The Traitor adds a hint of suspense, but after 2 knights killed themselves to save the team, it became obvious that there weren't any. What happened was this - Sir Kay, with the Armor of Lancelot, could choose either Saxons or Picts to add to the evil armies. Since choosing one fulfilled a winning condition, he chose that. What he chose led to a lost battle. 2 black swords would fill the round table and cause the knights to win. 2 siege engines would fill the siege slots and cause EVIL to win. The battle results show 2 swords + loss of life + 2 siege engines. Now IF the swords go first, then we win. If they go simultaneously, we win AND lose. IF losing trumps winning then EVIL wins and we lose. The instructions really don't say. However, all that being said, IF evil would win AND we knew this, Sir Kay could choose the other option, and (we played it out) we would have won 2 turns later...

I can see it being pretty hard to beat EVIL in this game (as it should be), but its pretty fun to try. I'd like to try it again with more knights (I think 6 or 7 would be ideal).


So what did the FAQ/rules say happens in that situation.
Does it count as a win or a loss?
 
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Mr. D
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From the FAQ:

Quote:
During a defeat against the Picts (or Saxons) where a 12th Siege Engine is laid simultaneously with a 12th sword, of which a majority are white, is the game won (because of the majority of White swords) or lost (because of the 12 Siege Engines)?

In this case the game is lost: It is lost the instant a 12th Siege Engine is laid around Camelot, before there is even a chance for the Knights to count the White swords!



 
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M Loebach
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Boooooooooooo.
 
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J R
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mojohoya wrote:
I enjoyed both Settlers Rome and SOC K&C, although as a newbie many points of strategy only became clear over the course of the game - I would definitely like to try both games again!


Glad we did not scare you off with the cut throat games. I can bring SoC C&K or Seafarers anytime with at least a days notice. I can also pass on to Paul to bring Settlers of Rome.

Cheers
 
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Mark McEvoy
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All told, I still far prefer plain old vanilla Settlers of Catan to any of the expansions or spinoffs. In large part to its short play time and the absence of all the distractions of so many special game events and card abilities to manage (or defend against / prepare for).

One thing that I didn't mention about Struggle for Rome - there was virtually no trading! This, I believe, was in large part because both John and I were deliberately doing our best to use all our resources on our own turns and thus had nothing left (for trade or theft) for other players' turns. This was one area that was *radically* different from conventional Settlers.
 
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Eric Blood
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MrZoz wrote:

(Quick note -- If you lick the back of one of the red blocks and slap it on your forehead it will stay there on average for about 40 seconds. (Sample size 20, results accurate 19 out of 20 95% of the time copyright Idiot research inc.)) Blue block results to be done when grant money received.


thanks for the report... i look forward to trying SOC Rome. but i did have to comment on your quick note:

"Did you eat a lot of paint chips when you were a kid?" -- (Tommy Boy, http://imdb.com/title/tt0114694)

 
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Kory McDonald
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q]

Glad we did not scare you off with the cut throat games. I can bring SoC C&K or Seafarers anytime with at least a days notice. I can also pass on to Paul to bring Settlers of Rome.[/q]

I'd love to try SoC again - either C&K or the original - and would like to try the Seafarers version as well.

Cheers,
Kory
 
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J R
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I agree with you that vanilla SoC is good for a quick game, but I much prefer the Seafarers and C&K variants. They add more strategy to the game and also make it possible to win even if you get boxed in. Well I guess in Seafarers it is actually kind of hard to get boxed in.

Re trading in CH Struggle for Rome, I find it similar to playing 5 or 6 player SoC. There is a bit less trading going on because players can build between turns. I was playing 4 player the other day with a friend who has only played 5 and 6 player SoC and it came as a shock to him that he could not build between turns, especially after getting burned a couple of time by the guy before him rolling a 7. I also found it was easier to build in CH SfR because there are only the 4 resources and you can substitute gold for a resource once per turn. This makes it much easier to build without potentially trading to your detriment based on other player’s hand, and also makes it easier to get your cards down so you are less of a target.

Kory, we can try to get Seafarers in at the next Tues. Eventually I would like to try Seafarers plus C&Ks, but I think it best to play a few of each separately before combining them.

Cheers
 
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