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Mare Nostrum: Empires» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Play for 5 New Players rss

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Andrew Kluessendorf
United States
Waukesha
Wisconsin
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I received my Kickstarter of this a few weeks ago and have been excited to get it to the table since - complete with the Giant Game Map, Resource Chips and Building Miniatures set. So Wednesday night, 4 of my friends and I had a chance to play this; it was the first play for all 5 of us.

We chose starting Empires at random and I ended up with Egypt and Cleopatra as my starting leader. As none of us had ever played before, we really didn't have any preconceptions as to our leaders or how best to employ them. I was pretty happy to have Cleopatra and her ability to substitute a coin into commodity sets or a commodity into coin sets. My first turn I took control of Judea, built a legion there and added another control marker in Africa. I wanted to grab some control in the east before the Babylonian leader Hammurabi could use his ability to drop a free control marker there. Instead Babylon expanded towards Greece. Greece fortified against both Babylon and Rome. Rome built infrastructure. And Carthage with Hannibal's ability to use one commodity twice in a commodity set, was able to add a wonder right away - the Hanging Gardens - enabling him to store 2 Commodities each turn for the rest of the game; this became a major driving force for the rest of the game.

In subsequent turns, Babylon continued to expand in the Northeast and to build infrastructure. Rome continued to build up troops, but was cautious about attacking Greece due to Greece's leader Pericles' defensive bonus. Greece was busy building up defenses against Rome and Babylon and also expanded to Syracusae. Carthage continued to use it's lead in commodity production, along with the Hanging Garden ability to store 2 commodities between turns, to buy Heroes (normally all unused commodities are lost if not used during the building phase). I was able to buy Nebuchadnezzar early, boosting my defensive ability against both Babylon and Carthage. And I added defenses in Africa and both fortresses and legions in Judea for a potential showdown with Babylon. When Carthage was able to add a 4th Hero / Wonder on the 5th turn, it became clear that we were being too conservative and were going to lose to Carthage without taking the battle to him.

As a last ditch effort, I decided to make a run at building the pyramids on the 6th turn, before Carthage could buy its 5th Hero / Wonder. I added two temples, including one in Judea - and collected 8 coins; I also had carried over a coin and so only needed to add two coins during the Trade Resources phase (along with Cleo's ability) to get to the necessary 12. Most of the other players hadn't noticed how close I was on coins (and Carthage may not have realized it - except the Babylonian player, Eric, was also the banker for the coins!). Since Carthage was making an attempt at building its 5th Wonder / Hero, as the Trade Leader, Carthage chose the maximum Trade 5 resources. The rest of the Empires did realize that Carthage was probably going to buy a 5th Hero / Wonder - so on the final turn, Greece attacked Crete (where Carthage had expanded) and Rome took a province from Carthage in North Africa. This last ditch effort still wasn't enough, and Carthage was able to to build its 5th Hero / Wonder. However, I had managed to get 12 coins and was able to build the Pyramids for the win. At least that's how we read the rules, since the builder of the Pyramids wins "immediately", while Carthage would have won "at the end of Phase 3: Build".

As new players to the game, I think there was much more an emphasis on our parts to get our economic engines running, rather than realizing how quickly the end of the game can come if these economic engines are allowed to run unchecked. In discussing the game afterwards, we all realized that we had made minor mistakes that might have changed the ending. Babylon was one commodity away from being able to build the Pyramids, Rome was also within a commodity of being able to build them and Carthage may have been able to build a Hero / Wonder a turn earlier. I could have added the legendary city Jerusalem a turn earlier and could have added a temple to boost coin production sooner.

In the end, there were no battles - no battle dice thrown in the game and only a couple of control markers flipped. As I mentioned, I think this was mostly a result of us being new players and not realizing how quickly the end game can be reached if everyone is simply focused on defense and production. It was also due in some part to the order in which the first Heroes / Wonders appeared on the board and how we bought and used them.

Here's a look at the final board:



Overall it was a really fun experience - all of us seemed to really like the way the Trade / Cultural / Military Leader is able to affect player order, and there seemed to be a general consensus that this needs to hit the table again soon, especially since we realize how quickly the game can progress without opposition.

After only one play, I'm really happy to have Kickstarted this, along with all of the add-ons. And since I don't always get to game as much as I would like to, having gorgeous looking games on the table, can make the experience that much better. And of course the game has all of Uwe Eickert's and Academy Games' outstanding quality. If you haven't looked at this game yet, you should definitely check it out!

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Linus Höglund
Sweden
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Nice experience . Very intresting the game can be won with out combat, as it could be a slaughter party as well. devil

What are the table size you are using?
My dinner table is to small for the big map. But i will buy a wood slab and put on top of it. With the measurment of 2000mm x 1200mm. 79 inch x 47 inch.
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Andrew Kluessendorf
United States
Waukesha
Wisconsin
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Thank you! The game table is 8 ft. x 4 ft.
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