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Subject: First game for four players rss

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Merric Blackman
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My Science of Board Games class has finally reached one of my favourite games: Tigris & Euphrates. We've previously browsed through Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Niagara, Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride: Europe, but we've finally reached a game that I consider to have a lot more tactical weight than those games we've previously looked at.

Due to having less time in the class than I'd like - after gathering the students, setting up the game and explaining the rules, we had less than 40 minutes to play - I decreed that the game would end when the bell went, regardless of how many tiles were left in the game. As a result, we only saw the opening and early middle game, but it was nonetheless fascinating.

The four players (A,B,C,D) began fairly conservatively: playing their black leaders (Kings) in the corners of the maps and beginning to build kingdoms around them. This is with one notable exception: D placed her king in the same kingdom as A, and discarded four temples to win the conflict. There's an interesting feature in this: it gave her an extra victory cube. Rather than playing a leader and a tile, which gives one VP, she played an internal conflict and a tile, so two VPs!

The next stage of the game was without conflicts, with the four students keeping to their corners of the board, and gathering points as they played different tiles. C was the first to join two regions together and grab a treasure with his Merchant; the others followed suit.

It was B who built the first monument: a Black/Red one, which matched the two leaders she had in her kingdom. The players quickly awoke to the possibilities raised by the constant flow of cubes, and started to folow suit. B placed her Farmer (blue leader) in D's kingdom and attempted to place tiles to build a Blue/Red monument, but D played the last tile and placed a Green/Red monument there instead.

A played the final Red/Blue monument; C played the Blue/Green monument (using the our farms on the west side of the map), and a few more victory cubes began to flow. As not all of the players had their leaders on the table, D was able to place her Blue leader in A's territory to gain cubes.

At that point, the bell rang, ending what was becoming a fascinating game: we'd had no external conflicts yet, but they were getting very close.

The final scores were equally fascinating:
A: blue 4 (3+1), green 4 (3+1), black 4, red 8
B: green 3, blue 4 (3+1), black 11, red 11
C: green 4 (3+1), black 4 (3+1), red 4, blue 7
D: black 4 (3+1), green 4, blue 4, red 9

A, C, and D had tied for first on their first, second and third best cubes. In the end, it was D that had the victory by one red cube: The cube she had taken by her aggressive move in the first turn of the game!

We'll be studying this game for at least the next three weeks (one class/week), so it will be fascinating to see how their strategies and tactics change as they become more familiar with Tigris & Euphrates.
 
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Marco Fuini
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I dont know if you had an earlier post(s) explaining the "Science of Baord Games" class. What is this? It's the kind of subject I dont mind studying...
 
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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MerricB wrote:
C was the first to join two regions together and grab a treasure with his Merchant; the others followed suit.
Trader you mean? (or have they changed the name in a reprint along the lines somewhere) meeple

It would be worth pointing out to your students that scoring a four player game before the natural end of game does not give a realistic view of what the end game scoring would have been especially since, as you said, no external conflicts had occurred. There are always going to be external conflicts in a four player game.
 
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Merric Blackman
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Ah, yes... Trader. Same difference.

The next game should be a full one, so my students will get a better grasp of how the full game plays and the differences.

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Merric Blackman
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It's an "Ad Astra" class I run at the school I work at. Basically, the really bright students at my school can take part in supplemental classes outside the normal curriculum. Things like Ancient Greek, the Stock Market, Claymation, Podcasting... and this year, Board Games.

It runs 1/week for about an hour; the students get to experience a range of boardgames (generally Euros) that they probably wouldn't otherwise see, and I try to explain elements of the game they're playing and game design in general.

Incredibly strict and rigorous it is not, but I think they're rather enjoying it. My original intention was to focus more on the theory of the boardgames, but the practical business of playing them has become the major focus. Oh well; as long as they're learning something, and isn't the best study of a game by playing it?

Previous session reports...
Niagara - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1475218
Ticket to Ride - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1477597
Ticket to Ride: Europe - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1493321

I haven't written reports for every game we've played, alas.

Cheers,
Merric
 
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