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Through the Desert» Forums » Sessions

Subject: A sound defeat, but not for me. 2P rss

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William Crispin
United States
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Through the Desert -

I purchased TtD in early 2006. It sat unopened for several months but in the Fall I played a few games with my wife and older kids. It was fun with three and four players, although I was a little new to the rules so it did not play very smoothly at first.

A couple of months later I played a three player game against my brother-in-law and my eldest son at one of our Saturday game days. I suspected I would win because I was the more experienced player and had a clearer understanding of the 4 VP goals. Sadly for my ego, my brother-in-law is a fairly sharp abstract game player and he beat me and my son by leaving an almost enclosed area open so he could expand another color caravan on the last couple of moves, score for longest caravan for that color and knock me out of the lead.

I had been introducing another married couple to some of my game collection. The husband has been asking me to bring over games when we visit, so TtD came in the early spring. He beat me and my eldest son again in a three player game and a few weeks later he played me in a two player game and won again. So, on our last visit he wanted to play so we setup a two player match as our last game of the night.

The game started out with a strong concentration of 2-3 point water holes on the far sides of the board and an inner section with mostly one point water holes and no oasis. It was a more unevenly distributed board than usual. My initial placement was more aggressive than in the past I played close to his leaders and sometimes with the same color hoping to reduce his points even more than my own.

I gained control of the right hand side of the board fairly quickly while my opponent was focusing on the lower-left side.

We both played to cut off areas by running caravans from the outside edge to the inner mountain area. This was initially to restrict the other player from expanding their caravans more than to enclose areas. Later on several of those turned into enclosed areas.

He shut me out of one side of the center section due to my lack of attention to that area. He continued to focus on enclosing several large areas. He captured a large area in the middle of the board but it had few high scoring water-holes. He also finished his area in the lower-left.

He also played aggressively to surround several of the oasis’s to prevent me scoring. This was successful but potentially costly use of camels. He had one caravan sandwiched between one of his own in another color and one of mine. I blocked this one off so it could not grow beyond four. Another color of his was also sandwiched. It was between two caravans of the same color. They could not touch so there was a long single hex corridor between them. He continued it along here but it was a capped run and I was able to take my caravan another couple longer. This gave me two caravans in the bag. One of my opponent’s caravans could extend into an almost closed off area of his so that one was not in competition.

The end of the game was a race to complete longest caravan on the two colors that were still in dispute and close off any remaining surrounded areas. I did not get any more points for enclosing additional areas so I used my remaining turns to make sure that my opponent would not be able to continue extending the 2 caravans in dispute. I was not able to grow mine much more but I was able to stop my opponent from surpassing my lengths.

At the end I had 4 of the longest caravans, my friend and I had about an equal number of points for enclosed areas, and he was slightly ahead in points for oasis’s and water holes.

The final score:

Me: 133
My friend: 98

At the end of the game, my friend said this was the even better than the last two games where he won. Even though the score looks lopsided, it was not clear which of use would get two of the longest caravan scores until very near the end of the game.

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