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Serenissima (first edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Serenissima returns! rss

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Rob Cooknell
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Well, it had been about 15 years since we last played this so the absence of Dan from our regular gaming session and its reduction to 4 players suggested to me that this was the perfect time to bring it out again.

The box had become a bit battered after all those years of sitting under the stairs, but I was delighted when my pre-game audit revealed that all the pieces were still there.

Reading the rules through again, I was surprised at how straightforward and well laid out they are, because I seem to remember when I first played it that they seemed quite complex. Have boardgame rules just become harder to understand over the years?

Anyway, on to the game! Jase and I have played this many times, but not for years and years while Jon and Alex were new to it. After a quick recap of the rules we drew to see who would control which power. Jase got Spain, Jon Genoa, Alex Venice and I got Turkey (for the first time ever!)

Onto the game itself and I managed to snaffle first place in the turn order chart which let me use Turkey's strategic position to gain control of the crucial Eastern orange and green ports (I can't remember what commodities they're meant to be - sorry!). Jase and Jon each nabbed a gold port while Alex cautiously sailed down the Adriatic picking up the ports there.

As the game moved on, I used my monopoly status to pick up bonuses selling orange and green into Jase, Jon and Alex. Jon and Jase danced cautiously around one another, sharing control of the various ports in the Western Med while scrupulously avoiding any combat. Alex sneaked into Sicily and then managed to grab a couple of Italian ports that Jon had ignored. Alarmed by the fact that everyone could now build extra galleys and had begun to do so I grabbed the wood and iron ports in Asian Turkey before the supply of iron ran out completely.

Alex then pottered across to my orange port in the hope of being able to buy some, but my initial asking price of 1000 put him off and he instead opted to have a crack at vulnerable Smyrna, which despite a plucky defence succumbed to his vicious and unwarranted aggression. Alarmed by this loss I responded by throwing everything I had at it and was able to snatch it back before it became fortified. Phew!

Meanwhile, the 2 Western powers had decided to send some ships over to the East to pick up the valuable and rare green and orange commodities. Slightly alarmed by the sudden presence of several galleys at my criticial (although heavily garrisoned) green port I was relieved when neither Jase nor Jon decided to attack. Jon offered me 1800 for an orange and a green and I practically bit his hand off, while Jase (having mis-counted the number of turns we were playing) announced he would buy some green on 'the way back'. Slightly puzzled as to his intentions I was nevertheless relieved when he claimed the port of St Jean D'Acre instead of attacking me.

As the end of the game approached the period of Cold War between Venice and Turkey turned well and truly hot and ships soon began to sink left, right and centre. Wisely staying out of it, Jon and Jase started heading back to the West. Jase, having realised that Jon's plan was to fill his capital then decided to block him off on the last turn which caused Jon to attack all his blocking galleys instead of attacking Venice's vulnerable port in Sicily.

As the traditional last turn armageddon played itself out, very few ports actually changed hands, although plenty of galleys and sailors met their doom.

Final positions:

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