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Subject: Getting it right this time rss

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This game of Notre Dame played at Halesowen Boardgamers on 20 June 2007.

When we first played this game some weeks back, I forgot a crucial rule that severely disadvantaged Matt, so it was good to give it another try with him. The game played much better as written, and the only disappointment was my own performance.

I made a good start in the first phase, scoring good points for Notre Dame, but got into a mess by running out of money and influence, which even playing right reduced my rate of scoring I think.

Steve suffered a lot from the plague, but adopted a policy of not letting it bother him too much, concentrating on making money initially and then points after a slow start. In retrospect I think he might have won if he hadn't adopted quite such a laissez faire attitude to the rats. An extra 2 VPs together with an extra influence on the board might have given him the win.

Matt went for moving the carriage a lot, collecting messages and collected VPs steadily with bonuses for the park, later in the game he upped the bonus to 2VP and I thought he was on for the win.

Mike got early points for a 2 way Notre Dame share with me and collected some points with the carriage, he also crucially was able to get all his influence on the board, allowing good points from certain personalities. He ended up the winner with what seems a respectable score for a first game.

There was some discussion afterwards about the characteristics of the game. The phrase multi-player solitaire was used, with Mike being the most vocal in the expression of this view. Although it is certainly true that there is limited interaction in this game, you can affect other people and in fact Mike was able to do this very effectively on the last turn by passing me such a load of tat that I scored no points at all from the cards I got to play that turn. Interaction is between a player and the 2 on either side, try to pass your left opponent what you think will be least important to him and try to predict what you are likely to get from your right opponent and plan accordingly (it is this aspect I suspect will take a few plays to get used to). There is also scope for interference in carriage moves. If you can pick up a message someone needs, it may then take them extra moves to reach another one (due to the colour set mechanic) causing them to abandon the idea or waste actions. Also there is Notre Dame, it is good to stop anyone getting sole occupation, but by the same token if everyone else is in there then the rewards diminish rapidly, particularly if you can't afford a big donation.

So all in all, I like this game, despite my poor performance this time.

Scores Mike 60, Steve 57, Matt 55, Dave 42
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