It was Mario's birthday today and for gift he asked us to play the AoS England map. We couldn't say no to such a request. England have always been one of the favorite map in our group with its simple rules but usually very challenging. 5 players would play tonight, Nathalie, Martin, Mario, Marc-Andre and Pierre.
The setup of goods was probably the worst one we ever made for this map. So the bets went pretty high for the initial round even if Martin started at 4$, Pierre followed at 6$, and then Marc-Andre betted 7$ for the important urbanization action. Marc-Andre reserved his urbanization action in the northwest area and it wasn't available for other players. Pierre builded in the north, Mario in the northeast, Nathalie in the west and Martin in the south. There was only 1 players to ship for 2 income and the rest had 1 or 0 income after round 1. Martin was in a critical situation and he had to take 4 shares. Marc-Andre knew this and he started the betting round at 6$ and as predicted the situation was so critical for many players that the bets went high and Marc-Andre finally won the 4th place for 3$. Martin and Nathalie fighted hard but Martin won first place for 11$ for the urbanization action. On turn 3, Martin, Mario and Nathalie took 4 shares and the bets started again at 6$ and Nathalie followed at 7$. On this important turn, 3 players were finally able to connect London. Mario was squeeze in his area and decided to split his network in 4 seperate sections, we supposed he did that because he was so anxious with his birthday celebration. Marc-Andre had a nice network from London to the northwest and he won the loco action and made 2 shippings of 5 income each to take the lead. On the next turn, Pierre won the loco action for 4$ only as the other players were so poor that they couldn't afford to bet more. Marc-Andre still had the lead when he decided to block Martin in connecting Dover with his first build. As Martin had the urbanization action he retaliate when he placed a black new city on Marc-Andre's network to deny him many nice shippings of 5 or 6 income. Beware of Martin when he has the urbanization action. On the last turn Marc-Andre took 2 shares to win the bet for the urbanization action so Pierre took the first build action as he knew he would receive this nice gift (the black new city) on his network. In doing so, Pierre was able to prepare some links to the city that would be urbanize by Marc-Andre and prepare a nice loop.
We had a great time on this map even of it was one of the toughest game we had on this map. Interaction was great as we had to use the other players network several times in order to ship intersting goods. Happy birthday Mario.