Ben, Lawrence, and Dave arrived to games tonight. As Ben seemed to have had the worst of it last week, we let him choose the game for the evening and he spotted Nautilus.
This was last played during "N" week of our gaming through the alphabet back in April 2005. So you might want to read Dave's notes: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/61806 for an overview of the game. The key is that Nautilus is a game with 2 halves that are played at the same time. One half of the game is activating research modules for an undersea research structure gaining points. This is essentially an area majority game with the majority garnering more points. The other half of the game is discovering treasures buried in the sea. These also gain points. And through a "hidden objective" mechanism, not necessarily the same points for all. The final score is the product of the points from both halves.
As we built out the research station underwater, the shape was cluttered, but closer examination revealed that it really was 4 fingers of research stations twisting in proximity, but not really connecting. Therefore, it was a long path to move from one end of the station to the other. Rich managed to achieve the absolute majority in the Testing Stations early. Dave followed shortly thereafter with majorities in both the Training and Engineering stations. Rich and Lawrence found themselves in a race for the Sonar majority, but Lawrence moved his researcher into the fourth station first gaining that majority. Lawrence also gained the Analysis station majority and kept it with only 3 stations as the others had by this time shifted to recovering treasure from the ocean.
Lawrence was first to the submarines picking up the shallow treasures. Rich soon followed. The two entered into a race for Atlantis treasures that seemed to be neck and neck. Lawrence would find a piece, then Rich, then Lawrence. (Of course, we forgot about the rule where a researcher can move two spaces "spreading the news" for every piece of Atlantis treasure discovered.) Rich did find the "14" Atlantis treasure, so if tied with Lawrence would gain the higher bonus points, but Lawrence then managed to find two more pieces to gain (and keep the lead.)
Ben was doing a good job of finding snails as he explored. If they were his hidden objective they would be worth 1 point each...but they were not, so lots of wasted efforts there. We didn't really use sonar to scope the treasures until closer to the end when we had a choice between A or B and no time to get both.
The game end was triggered by the discovery of the "15" atlantis tile so we all made our last moves which didn't really change the outcome significantly:
Rich Ben Dave Lawr
Training : 1 1 3 1
Engineering: 1 1 3 1
Sonar : 1 1 1 3
Testing : 3 1 0 1
Analysis : 1 1 1 3
7 5 8 9
Rich Ben Dave Lawr
Atlantis : 4 0 2 5
Gold (2): 2 0 4 0
HS Crab (1): 2* 0* 1 3
Anenome (1): 0 2 4* 0*
Shell (0): 0(1) 0* 3* 0
Snail (0): 0* 0(5) 0(1) 2*
8 2 12 10
(The blue * indicate hidden objectives which increase the value of that trease by 1 (from 0 to 1, or 1 to 2), the yellow number in parentheses is the number of treasures found, but with a value of 0 for each.)
So multiplying the two sets of points and adding in final money in hand:
Rich: 7 * 8 = 56 + 9 = 65
Ben : 5 * 2 = 10 + 27 = 37
Dave: 8 * 12 = 96 + 3 = 99
Lawr: 9 * 10 = 90 + 1 = 91
So what to say to summarize our game? I had focused too much on the research stations and didn't get more subs out in time to explore more of the ocean depths. Ben did manage to do so, but kept finding the wrong things. But he did delay his engineering research, so was limited to moving only 4 for much of the game. Perhaps a bit more speed to move the subs to other areas might have yielded better finds. Of course, sonar would have helped, but at a price.
Dave/Lawrence did a good job balancing the two halves of the game. Dave for the majority early then exploring the ocean. Lawrence went to the ocean fast, and then tried to move his reasearched in the station as others played the research location. Of course, these are the two that played this game the last time we played it also. Rich and Ben were the newcomers to the game. So multiple ways to get to the points needed to do well, and a bit of experience helps at least according to our scores above.