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Subject: After c. 20 years, a Couple Games... rss

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William Wood
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Since it is highly likely that I am the only person that owns this game on BGG, it behooves me to review it. And so I shall!

Let me say first of all, thank you to Lisa for playing (and enjoying) the game.



OBJECT

The "winner" is the person with the most converts in his or her cult when the world ends (or in the year 2000, if the world doesn't end).

GENERAL PLAY

Each player takes a cult (we chose at random) and receives 10 converts; no matter what happens in the game, you never go below 10 converts -- some people will believe anything! Each player also randomly chooses a Day of Reckoning card, which is the year your cult predicts that doomsday will come.

The game is 10 turns long, with one turn per year from 1991 to 2000. When it came out in 1990, this was a timely but silly look at Millennial Angst, but now you have to climb into your way-back machine to play. Oh well.

There are two or three phases each turn:

1. Gawk and Grow

Each year starts with an Annual Sign. If it's related to your cult, you gain converts, and if you're the cult most affected you get to keep the sign (it helps you end the world -- more on that later).

Then you gain converts and money based on the converts you already have (1 convert + $1K per 10 converts in hand). And if you build a Temple, you get converts and money for that, too.

2. Read 'em and Reap

Players roll to see who goes first this turn.

On your turn, draw a Cult Event card, which may affect you immediately or be saved for later, depending on the card. You may then play 1 or 2 saved Cult Event cards on yourself or your opponent(s).

Next you take your Annual Action, which consists of activities that gain you converts, money, or special things (such as a Disciple or a Temple).

Finally, if you have over 100 converts and a Disciple, you have to check to see if he or she "cleaves" your cult, taking away half your converts. This is a check on the power of Disciples.

3. Prophecy and Panic

If one of the players' Day of Reckoning occurs in this year, that player checks to see if the world ends by rolling 2d6 and adding any signs he or she has accumulated: 9+ = panic phase and that player becomes the Ascendant Prophet.

During panic phase, players may play Event cards in last-ditch efforts to swing the numbers in their favour, and then they roll 1d6 each, with the Ascendant Prophet again adding signs to his or her roll. If the Ascendant Prophet rolls highest, the world ends and the player with the most converts wins. If not, play continues.

The Ascendant Prophet goes back to being a regular player and now becomes a "29'er", which means that they now believe the world will end on February 29 (i.e., in a leap year) and they check for the end of the world in every leap year -- which includes the year 2000!

REVIEW GAME

I chose the Green Gaspers cult (who believe pollution will get us all -- how timely), with a Day of Reckoning in 1998. Lisa chose the Boomers (the A-Bomb will wipe out life on Earth), with a DOR in 1995.

1991: Annual Sign = War in the Holy Land Continues (+3 converts for the Boomers).

During the R&R phase, the Gaspers choose to distribute pamphlets (which costs $1K and gains you 2d6 converts), for +4 converts. The Boomers draw a Persecution card (which stays in front of her) and lose their turn.

1992: The Ozone is Gone (+6 converts for the Gaspers!).

The Gaspers have 20 converts, so they can appoint a Disciple (and do); Disciples give you an extra action each turn (at the risk of splitting your cult if you grow big enough). The Boomers choose to distribute pamphlets.

1993: Europe Unites (a year late!); no effect to either player.

The Gaspers hit an unfortunate Event card that removes all cash on hand, so he is reduced to going door-to-door (which is free, but only gets you 1d6 converts); however, with his Disciple, he at least gets to do it twice. The Boomers are persecuted again and lose another turn.

1994: Alpha Centauri has the Bomb (+3 converts to the Boomers).

The Boomers distribute pamphlets. The Gaspers get a bit more ambitious, first by "soft selling" the converts (raising $15K) and then by advertising for converts (normally each $1K you spend nets you 1 convert, up to $50K, but, due to an Event card, it adds an additional 2d6 converts). The advertising ($12K + bonus) nets 17 new sheep for the fold!

1995: California Falls into the Ocean (all players lose half their converts). The tally at this point is Boomers 17, Gaspers 28.

The Boomer perform good works, which costs $5K and gets you 2d6 converts and a Good Works chit (more on that later). The Gaspers get an Event card (convert the Boy Scouts) that gains a free Good Works chit. He then soft sells again (+$6K) and distributes pamphlets (+9 converts).

Because the Day of Reckoning has come for the Boomers, Lisa rolls and gets a 7; with her 2 signs in hand, that makes 9, so the world trembles on the brink! However, in the head-to-head roll, the Gaspers prevail (even with the Boomers +2 advantage), so life goes on and the Boomers become a 29'er cult.

1996: Strange New Epidemic, which costs players 2 converts/10 they have.

The Gaspers' Event card allows for hard selling (which normally drives some converts away) at no penalty, so he hard sells (raising $32K) and then spends $17K on advertising, netting +17 converts. The Boomers draw a Persecution card, which is her third (although she doesn't lose a turn this time, just cash). This means that she becomes a Martyr, raising double cash and converts in each year's G&G phase. She chooses to distribute pamphlets.

Note: Scandal cards remove Persecution cards, and if you fall below three Persecutions on hand, you lose your Martyr status; Good Works chits can be used instead to "pay for" Scandals. However, this won't matter because...

1996 is a leap year, so the Boomers get another kick at the doomsday can. Again, she passes the first hurdle (rolling a 9 even), so the Panic phase begins. And in the head-to-head roll, she is "victorious," so the world ends. However, the convert tally is Boomers 28, Gaspers 61, so the Gaspers win.

Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

Post game analysis: The Boomers were really hampered by losing two early turns, and the Gaspers' Disciple was a huge advantage. Between these two factors, the Gaspers performed 10 actions to the Boomers' 4.

EDIT: I moved the second game to a Session Report, since this entry was getting pretty long.
 
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Andrew Nichols
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This makes me want to play! Hurrah for silly themes!
 
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William Wood
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Drew1365 wrote:
Great theme! But most importantly, "Trumpy can do magic things!" (Great avatar!)


Heh.

"It's called evil, kid."

 
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