None of us had played Samurai in years, so we started with the rulebook to get us up to speed on details like which parts of the map to use in a three-player game (all but the big squarish piece), how many of each type of figure would be used (ten), and how many tiles you'd have in your hand (five).
Jim and I headed for Edo at the beginning, the capital city where all three figures appear. Ward took advantage of our preoccupation with Edo to establish himself in the provinces at the places where a single tile could influence two nearby figures of the same type.
The pivotal play in the game was when I closed Edo, thinking that I was going to get one figure, Jim was going to get one, and the third one would be set aside as tied. I had miscalculated, though, and with the corrected arithmetic it turned out that Jim got one figure and two were tied.
This reminded me that, while the usual ending condition for the game is when all of one type of figure has been claimed from the board, there's a second way for the game to end, which is when four figures have been set aside because of ties as unclaimed.
I looked up the four-figures-tied ending in the rules and reminded Ward and Jim of the possibility. Neither of them could remember even having heard of it -- but I recalled a game several years ago where Ward himself had taken advantage of the early ending to beat us.
Even with the discussion over the table, nobody else seemed to think the possibility deserved serious consideration, but I, having been thwarted in my original intention in Edo, set my mind to an early win -- and I found it!
Jim had taken just two pieces in the game: the tall tower from Edo and one other tall tower. Ward, positioning himself for the long game, had yet to take any. I had taken just one piece, a rice paddy. I spent a couple of turns making plays designed to bring cities near to closing. Then on my final turn I closed two cities at once -- one of them a city with two figures in it -- by using one regular tile plus the one you can place on the same turn (called the ronin, I think). The ronin tile created a tie, so that was the third figure out by a tie; with my other tile I claimed a tall tower from the larger city and sent its second figure out by a tie; thus, the fourth figure tied and the game was over.
Jim had most tall towers (two) but no other figures. I had most rice paddies (one) and one other figure, so I was the winner.
For some reason neither Jim nor Ward felt this was a satisfying ending.
But I'm glad it's there. It's like the flag in Revolution or the treasures in Euphrat & Tigris or the connection in Attika: one more thing you've got to worry about. Sure, it's fine to make long-range plans, but you've got to keep an eye on the guy who comes out in slash-and-burn mode, too!
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Yes, I really am that awesome.
I love Samurai's crazy scoring too. The game itself is so dry and mathematical, and I think it really needs something to shake stuff up and surprise everybody once in a while, and the scoring system delivers that perfectly! I remember a four player game with three players dominating the whole board, one player left in the dust...who won because the three "lead" players had managed to tie each other in high hats and buddhas, leaving the last player to win with nothing but a few rice paddies!
Excellent session report.
- Last edited Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:19 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:17 pm