Was invited over to Glenn Drover's house to get an early play of his new game. We wound up playing 2 games, 1 with 5 and the other with 4. The game really has a different feel with the different number of players, but scales well.
1st Game - 5 players
We used the "expert" starting rule of bidding for turn order after I got to start the bid since I was the youngest :-) Glenn won the bid for 8 while Jack had to pay 1/2 of 4 to go 2nd, but didn't get specialist since his bid wasn't high enough. The Caribbean was one of the 1 Native tiles and not much of a start for Glenn. The rest of us bid on capitol buildings and specialists while also grabbing the trade goods.
The game forshadowed how well Glenn was going to do when on the 2nd turn the 20 Gold building came up and only Glenn had money since he didn't get a building in the 1st turn. However, he was able to use that building to also buy 2 more buildings which he placed workers for in the placement phase. While this exact situation might be rare, it was the beginning of the end for the rest of us. Paul (the artist of the game) was doing an explorer strategy and I tried to follow, but gambled and went exploring with only 4 and happened to pick 1 of the two 5 Native tiles and lost everyone :-( Everyone was collecting trade goods, but Glenn was going after the Sugar. You can guess what came up in the 2nd phase while Glenn had money for the capitol building. Basically the game came down to a race for 2nd (which I got) while Glenn sailed to an easy victory. On the last turn for example he collected 77 gold and happened to have the tile to award victory points for gold, not to mention everything else that game him over 100 points with me in second around 80.
Game 2 - 4 players
Dan had to leave, so the 4 of us decided we had time to squeeze in another game tonight. This time we used a random draw to determine who would bid 1st and in the end I won the bid at 8. However I also only got a 1 native tile and did NOT get the 20 gold building on the 2nd round. I also got lots of Sugar, but no Distiller came out for me :-( Meanwhile Paul was able to combine his discovery strategy with getting a missionary every turn and the Cathedral. Paul managed to flood the new world with his green converts. Meanwhile Jack was messing with Glenn's plans on becoming a pirate and fighting with Glenn over the merchant ship every round. I tried several different things, but never got them going nor stuck with them long enough to make an impact in the game and finished tied for 3rd (read last) at 75 points with Glenn. Paul won the game with a score just under 100 and Jack was thrilled that he had beat the designer at his own game!
Edit: speilling and grammar mistakes
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Game 1 (5 players: Glenn, Todd, Dan, Paul, Jack) All 5 players are experienced gamers and 4 out of five have played AoE III several...many times. I didn't like my chances. We play with the advanced auction for starting turn order rule, and I won for $8, leaving me with only $2 plus $1 and 4VP's for discovering the Carribean.
Turn 1: I decide to concentrate on Trade Goods, the merchant ship, and a merchant (to get some money so that I can buy a Capital Building on turn 2.
Turn 2: I get lucky and the "Conquest of the Inca Empire" Capital Building becomes available. However, even after sending my Merchant to the Caribbean, I will still only have $8. Therefore I wait for another player to claim the 1st turn order spot (Initiative) and jump on the 2nd spot (which will give me $2 before the Capital Building area is executed! I claim the Conquest of the Inca Empire, which costs $10 and gives me $20 (netting $10). However, I have cleverly invested 3 of my colonists in the Capital Buildings area, so I turn my investment of $10 into 3 Capital Buildings. The Inca Empire building has no long-term benefit, but I manage to get buildings that give me a Merchant every turn and a free colonist in the X space on the Colony Dock. After a shakey start, I'm back in the hunt.
Turn 3: I make sure that I send my merchant and a couple of colonists to secure the Carribean for the English (me). Scoring for colonies will occur at the end of Age I (turn 3), so I snag 8 VP's for being first in the Caribbean and second in Canada. I also manage to grab a third Sugar (and a Merchant Ship) to complete a set of four, ensuring a decent flow of income.
Turn 4: I continue grabbing trade goods and a Merchant (The merchant will allow me to grab a Merchant Ship and thereby build my economy, or I can send him to the New World to trade with the Natives and bring valuable short-term cash into the economy). I build the "Taxation" Capital Building. With it's $10 per turn revenue for the King (me), I am now assured of $16 per turn.
Turn 5: The Rum Distillery becomes available and I really want it (it will give me $3 per Sugar Trade Good (and I own 3 of them at this point). My evolving strategy is to pump up my economy and cashflow and to snag as many Capital Buildings as I can.
Turn 6: Unfortunately my concentration on money is starting to show in the New World as my early colonies in the Caribbean and Canada are being overshadowed and eclipsed by other, more aggressive colonizers. The other nations are shipping Missionaries, Colonists, and Soldiers at a rate that I cannot match. I see that I will not win this struggle for colonies and determine to follow a "Dutch" strategy of some presence, but concentrating on trade and profit. Following this strategy, I grab the "West Indies Trading Company" Capital Building which will give me a free Trade Good at the end of each turn. The Age II scoring round at the end of Turn 6 sees me fall into last place, but I'm not worried. I plan to go first on Turns 7 and 8 and with all of my money, grab three or four Victory Point generating Capital Buildings.
Turn 7 and 8: It works out as planned. While my tiny colonies in the New World continue to suffer at the hands of my vengeful European antagonists, I am raking in huge amounts of money in Trade Goods, Merchant Marine, Rum Trade, and efficient Taxation. My Turn 8 income is $77!!! I manage to purchase four very powerful Age III Capital Buildings:
Wealth: 1 VP per $5
Factory: +$30 per turn (and 5 VP's)
Prosperity: 2 VP's per Capital Building
Merchantiliism: 1 VP per Trade Good
The power of my industrialized, merchantile economy ensures that London is remembered for all ages as the richest and most prosperous city in the world! I finish first with 117 points, while the gaggle of competitors straggle in at 65 - 80 Vp's.
Game 2: (4 players: Paul, Jack, Todd, Glenn) Since history is written by the victors, I won't bother elaborating too much. I can't quite get my Captain/ Navy/ Privateer strategy to pay off and tie for third (last), while Paul dominates the New World with Missionaries and gains huge VP's through colonization and discovery.
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Your memory of the details is amazing - should have let you write the session report! Of course trying to write it in the early hours of the morning probably didn't help either
Anyways the two games were a lot of fun and you did a great job "teaching" us how to play your game (at least in the 1st game)! Hopefully, Todd D., Ray, Alan, Dan & Chris aren't reading this so I can try it out on them tonight!
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Just played another game with my poker buddies downtown Chicago and Jack and Keith (6 player game).
The tension really goes through the roof in the 6 player games as you can never be sure if that OTHER thing that you want will be available to you when your turn comes back around.
In a squeeker, I pulled off the win by 4 points thanks to a balanced approach (Discoveries, Colonization with Soldiers, and VP Capital Buildings).
4th Ray Z
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Budley wrote:Just played another game with my poker buddies downtown Chicago and Jack and Keith (6 player game).
In a squeeker, I pulled off the win by 4 points
Congrats! Sorry I couldn't make it, but it seems you were full anyways! I got to play 2 games on Saturday night and won both of them doing about the same balanced strategy you did. It also helped that everyone picked on the leader after the 2nd Age and let me come from behind for the victory.
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Always good to hide in the weeds rather than be the obvious leader! In AoE its not always clear who the leader is, and sometimes it can seem like someone is leading because they are making lots of money, but they may not really be collecting many VP's.
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