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Taj Mahal» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Waxing lyrical rss

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Andrew Rae
New Zealand
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Meowsqueck has reaaly been pushing Taj mahal lately and the impetus was there for a short game at the end of the night. Taj Mahal, as he said, does not have a single winning strategy, it has plenty of balance, it plays quickly, it has return on investment, it has intricate bidding. I suspect he would say it has it all. for all that I don't wholly disagree.

The thing about Taj that I love best is the bidding system. Firstly it is incredibly difficult to get everything. You just can't load up a whole heap of cards. You have a maximum of two cards you can ply, with a maximum of five symbols. Some of the rewards from the round are gone before you play your second card, so you must be very sure that you get what you want and don't get distratced with counter bidding. Yes this bidding system has it all, multiple rewards, nasty standoffs, strong counterbidding. It can hurt you, you can feel it deep in your gut when someone bids on the items you want while other items dangle free for the taking. But the mechanic itself is brilliant and allows a huge range of bidding strategies. Pull out now and be rewarded, take the free reward, battle for the bigger bonus. It's all there.

Anyway last nights session was actually decided in the second round. Not that I realised it, though the others may have suspected it. In a freak accident of fate I recieved not just the elephant but four temples as well resulting in a completely encompassed position in the centre of the board. Although the points did not flow from this till round 7 on the investment in teh centre of the board enables links of 4,5,6,7 and 8 along the way and this was probably the difference in the end.

The game was characterised by big hands. Our bonus points at games end included a 13 and two 11's effectively cancelling each other out. Our desires to save big hands resulted in only three cards being played on the final round and generally tame bidding. My first game included a 12 card standoff, but there were no such battles this time. In the end a sedate game played more cooperatively than one might of thought.

Anyway the game was only decided in the last turn and I enjoyed even those tense moments when my stomach crumbled under the pressure of being forced to withdraw with nothing to my name.
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