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Subject: Session Report rss

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Terry Gough
United Kingdom
East Sussex
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The rule book to this game is not that big so quite how it took 40 mins to go through the rules is beyond me. There are a couple of tricky concepts, not least of which is the 2 different definitions of adjacency.

Titicaca is by Cwali and at first glance the components bear similarites with Morisi, however the gameplay is very different. The 15 pieces that make up the board are shuffled and randomly connected together. Each piece is made of 4 connected hexes, 1 of which is a numbered lake, the others being made up of 5 different landscape types. Each player receives 20 cash (weapons) and all the huts in a colour. Each round is centred on one of the numbered lakes starting with 1. Players then have a sealed bid for the unoccupied tiles adjacent to this lake. This could mean that there are between 0 and 6 tiles up for auction. With 0 this lake is skipped. Each player starting with the highest bidder then gets 4 actions. First they claim one of the empty tiles by placing one of there huts onto it and use the border sticks to isloate it from all other tiles. If there are no available tiles then the rest of the players don't have to pay their bid but don't get to have any actions this turn. The next 3 actions are all optional. They can remove a single border from their new tile to connect it to another (adjacent) group of occupied tiles. To do this the landscape tile of the current tile must not already exist in the other group. Secondly they can remove a border from between 2 other areas providing the following rules apply: the current player has representation in one of the 2 areas; Each of the 2 areas contains a landscape type not in the other; and one of the 2 areas is adjacent to the group now comprising the new tile. For this case adjacency means that the two groups share either a common border stick or a single lake tile. Finally the player can place one of his 2 temple tiles onto a hex that is in a group adjacent to his current group. A mini scoring phase occurs after lakes 5 and 10 have been auctioned. In these cases all groups touching the relevant lakes are scored. For scoring count the number of occupied tiles in an area and whoever owns the majority of each landscape type scores this many points. In the case of ties then the value of temples is added to the number of lake tiles each player is next to with the hihjest value breaking the tie. If still equal then points are shared. Secondly the number of lakes bordering the group is scored by the player with the biggest presence in the group. Finally each player also scores for how much cash they have left. Extra cash is now awarded according to how many tiles you have claimed and the size of your largest chain. The game ends when all the tiles are occupied, if this hasn't been achieved after lake 15 then each subsequent round each player can choose any unoccupied tile. Finally we have a last scoring round this is as before except every country is scored and players get additional points instead of cash. Highest score wins.

Having read the Cwali website before the game Tel had worked out the majority of the game, yet this did not help him know how to play the game as he tended to overbid for low scoring tiles. Paul had spent some time pouring over the rules the night before, and this obviously helped as he quickly opened up a big lead without spending too much money. Although he didn't win too many auctions he seemed to have discovered where to place huts to get into the lucrative areas. Steve concentrated all his efforts in one small area of the board trying to construct the largest chain possible. Oggie seemed to be going for the quantity rather than quality approach as he got many pieces on the board. Andy started slowly but managed to get a presence in most of the bigger areas, plus he managed to get a reasonable chain. Both Tel and Paul suffered from a total lack of chains, causing Tel to slip to the back of the pack, and allowing everyone else to close the gap to Paul. Oggie missed out on a couple of the big countries which relegated him back towards Tel. Steve bid high in the last round to ensure he got a big chain this meant that he almost caught Paul. Andy scored heavily in one particular area to also close the gap to Paul , however Pauls frugality won him the game with his mass of cash left at the end.

Most of us (Oggie excepted) realise that there is a great game in here. Personally I missed most of the subtelties in the first game and despite how to play the game I still don’t know how to "play" the game.

Final Scores
Pau 109, Andy 107, Steve 105, Oggie 84, Tel 79

Ratings / 10
Paul 8, Andy 8, Steve 8, Tel 7, Oggie 5
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