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Subject: Adding the international routes to the Germany board rss

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David Thompson
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Mark and I fit in a few games Wednesday after school and settled on Dampfross, since our options for 2-player games are limited. This was Mark's second time playing. I have put in quite a few rounds of Dampfross, as it was my first German game (and only one for quite a while). Dampfross sat on the shelf for a long while before I introduced it to Mark and Stacy two weeks ago, mostly because clean up with the crayons was such a bear. Last time we played, we decided to try dry-erase markers and they worked great. Mark enjoys the game, and adding the international routes today injected some new life into it for me.

We chose the Germany board, which we had played last time and which I have used for 95% of the games of Dampfross that I have played. We decided to start only in Hamburg and Munchen, because the last time we played, it seemed like Berlin was at a disadvantage to start. To start game one, I won Rock-Paper-Scissors and chose Hamburg. I raced to the Ruhrgebiet and picked up the cluster of cities there. Mark was rolling poorly, and kept to the south too long, as I beat him to Kassel and Frankfurt. I had a strong network by the time we completed the last city and won rather handily (261-187).

While we played the first game, Mark asked about the ferries, and I read the directions about the international routes. These involve alternating every other race between the standard domestic routes and routes between foreign countries and/or German harbors. We decided to play a second game using these rules.

I won Rock-Paper-Scissors and again chose Hamburg. Mark had a stronger start out of Munchen, both in rolling and in his choice of direction. He competed more for cities and we ended the building phase with a more balanced split (18-14, my advantage). I had a point advantage as we moved to the racing phase, but had made a large tactical error. I wasn't watching how many cities were left, and had neglected to connect to any foreign countries. I had also left a train line one unit short of Berlin (even though I had started some other routes).

Mark was able to take quick advantage of these errors, as he won the first two races unopposed - one international and one to Berlin. He used all his points to build up more international connections and to strengthen his network elsewhere. I was sure that I was in an insurmountable hole. But I lucked out, the next city rolled was good for my network, and I won the race. I spent all my points on international connections, and the playing field was pretty level - so level in fact, that we spent most of the game trading the lead back and forth. It seemed that I won all the city races, and Mark won all the international races. At one point, we tied in a race, and that made the score even closer. We had some good long races and a few crazy short ones (one was 10 units for him, 11 for me). In one race, I beat Mark by one point, and he returned the favor twice. Heading into the last few races, it was 220-211. I won the next to the last game to make the score 240-221 and the rest was a formality.

I really liked the addition of the international races. It gave you a lot to spend your winning points on, and made for fun long races. It gave a new perspective to parts of the board and to certain routes. I think we will always choose to play with them in the future.
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