Christopher Wood
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Fresno
California
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An Infamous Traffic Session 2018-04-15

=============== PRELIM ===============

5-hand schizo.

For Prizes in AIT schizo, I play one face up, the rest face down.

Using the "More Prizes" set, for the first time! Boy, is this a lot of Prizes! There is NO predicting the pecentages, or at least, no practical prediction.

It's been my experience that symmetric factions only take on individual character as the game progresses. But to begin this session, I'll give Rustomjee the intent of monopolizing Fleets, because Fleets -always- pay. I'm sure the rest of them will unfold somehow. Anyway, no player can ensure a monopoly in this game, because everybody has 5 of each enterprise (a word removed from the rules, though I'm still not sure why).

The Companies, Ready To Deploy

=============== SETUP =================

Conspiracies L-R: Bur0 Sm1 Qin, Bur3 Bur3 QinP, Bur2 Flag, Flag Flag, Qin, QinP, Sm1, Flag.

Prizes: A Croquet Ball To The Noggin = -1, [Hidden], [Hidden].

Dice Pool: 1,1,3,4,6,6,6.

Region-A Demand: 2,5 (would be "no Opportunity" but Region-A is open in 5p).

A Dismal Rumor

=============== 1830s =================

Rustomjee wins the First Player by random draw, clockwise Rustomjee, Russell, Jardine, Perkins, Dent.

------------
Rustomjee

• Invest Fleet. Inv 0→1, Rev 0→-1. Fleet Leader.

------------
Russell

So many opportunities. Compete vs. Rustomjee in Fleets? Invest in Opium for Rustomjee's Fleets? There are 4 Flags in the conspiracies, 2 in one circle, so I can take half the Flags in one move, and no one could tie me. Controlling the British army brings no revenue though, and really it's all about revenue, isn't it. Competing in Fleets it is! I'm one step behind, but that can change as the First Player marker moves around.

• Invest Fleet. Inv 0→1, Rev 0→-1. No Fleet Leader.

------------
Jardine

So Fleets are not attractive now, really. Jardine will take advantage of the zero-cost for a Merchant, and get in some Merchanting.

• Invest Merchant. Inv 0→1, Rev 0→0. Merchant Leader.

------------
Perkins

Rustomjee & Russell have no investments remaining, so they'll be hitting the Conspiracies, or passing (which adds cost to Conspiracies). Time to get in on the Conspiracies now! Those two Flags are too tempting.

• Conspiracy: 2 Flags @ Holdings. Outrage 0→2.

------------
Dent

Opium is the obvious choice here. Might even work toward a monopoly, as Rustomjee and Russell are going for Fleets. But it's early days yet.

• Invest Opium. Inv 0→1, Rev 0→-1. Opium Leader.

------------
Rustomjee

No investments left :\ and Russell is on my heels with Fleets, ready to undersell, so profits will be minimal.

• Place Fleet-1 @ A3 Merged Sea Zone.

Just need some Opium, Dent!

------------
Russell

With the first Conspiracy circle, Bur0 Sm1 Qin, I can probably make B1 as attractive to Dent as A3, tho still one step behind Rustomjee. OR, pass and take the Start Player, to cancel that step-behind? Yes, I think Region-A is too attractive for anyone to be looking at Region-B yet. And I really want to get one up on Rustomjee!

• Pass. Take Start Player. No Scion.

[Placing Scion up by the Conspiracies as a reminder that they now cost 1 revenue. This concept is in my list of intended map enhancements.]

------------
Jardine

The damn Bureuacrat at A3, where Rustomjee's starting a supply chain, is a Bur1: pointless to undersell him! Bah. No action to get in on there. The only other way to cut that Bureaucrat out of the chain is by an Opium War, and Perkins would control it. A3 is a no-go for Jardine.

None of the Conspiracies are attractive at all. Bureaucrats and Smugglers compete with my focus in Merchants. Qin do no good. The single Flags are impotent bcz Perkins has two—not to mention, they each cost a revenue now.

I'll just keep investing.

• Invest Merchant. Inv 1→2, Rev 0→0.

------------
Perkins

I can easily take another Flag to trigger an Opium War. 3 Flags is enough to open Shanghai. But to what effect at the moment? My chumminess with the army is of no monetary value currently. I'm invested in nothing. And if I do invest, it'll put me down either in revenue or in turn-time. I'm thinking of my Scion. I can send him home with 0 thru 4 value, the first Scion in this London season. Only Jardine could tie me in value, but not place, so he'd send lower and take the second hidden Prize. So if I spend 3 revenue on my Scion, Jardine could surpass me, but I'd still get the second Prize, avoiding the Croquet Ball. It's a lot to put myself in the hole! -3, and invested in nothing yet! The next decade will be tough! But I'll already have got a Prize this decade, which is the whole point. It's the way to go.

• Pass. Start Player Clockwise (so I'm 3rd, not 4th). Send Young Scion-3 to London. Rev 0→-3.

------------
Dent

No-brainer ...

• Place Opium-3 @ A3.

Supply chain A3 complete. Rustomjee Rev -1→0. Dent Rev -1→2(!).

------------
Rustomjee

Hah, revenue from the A3 endeavor gives me an investment this turn!

• Invest Fleet. Inv 1→2, Rev 0→-1. Fleet Leader.

MONOPOLYYY Eat seaweed, Russell.

------------
Russell

(Passed.) Ugh, eating seaweed.

------------
Jardine

A1 is looking like the next boomtown. There's still 7 Demand left, minus the Bur1 sitting there like a bug, but I'm Merchant Leader and can't be undersell, so a Merchant-2 still leaves 4 total Demand for Fleet & Opium. Rustomjee and Dent can fight for the profits ... but I'm sure Rustomjee will take his max 3 and leave just 1 for Dent.

OR, I could use a Bur0 to undersell that Bur1. But Conspiracies cost 2 revenue now, so that's a bad deal.

I'm counting on Rustomjee to send a Fleet, and Dent (flush with 2 revenue!) to invest in Opium again.

• Place Merchant-2 @ A1.

------------
Perkins

(Passed.)

------------
Dent

Yeh sure ...

• Invest Opium. Inv 1→2, Rev 2→1.

------------
Rustomjee

Opportunity knocks again!

• Place Fleet-3 @ A1 Merged Sea Zone.

There's a little profit left for you, Dent! Come get it.

------------
Russell

(Passed.) Glaring @ Rustomjee. The Fleet competition so far has been unprofitable! But that might change in the 1840s!

------------
Jardine

As soon as Dent plays his Opium, we'll both go to Rev 2, and Rustomjee is Rev=2 also. But unfortunately, I have to take an action right now, or pass right now, and I don't want to pass with my current Rev=0 bcz Dent and Rusty could then both send wealthier Scions; and I don't want to, or can't, take any other action, as they cost investments (which I don't have) and/or revenue. Too bad "no action" is not an available action! :\

It comes down to the London Season. Perkins sent a Scion-3. Dent & Rusty will be able to pass that easily, to take the first & second Prizes. I'd be spending all my revenue for a Croquet Ball. There's only 3 London Seasons in 5p, but I just can't take advantage of this one.

• Pass. No Scion.

------------
Perkins

(Passed).

I'm in the doldrums now about to take a Croquet Ball to the Noggin. And nothing I can do about it.

------------
Dent

Not happy about taking only 1 revenue for my Opium. But nobody is going to complete a supply chain anywhere else this decade: the investments and enterprises aren't at hand. So ...

• Place Opium-1 @ A1. Supply chain complete. Jardine Rev 0→2. Rustomjee Rev -1→2. Dent Rev 1→2.

------------
Rustomjee

Hmm, can invest again ... and will, by God! Gonna cement this monopoly before the turn order goes to Russell. Only costs me one point off my eventual Scion, PLUS, I get to see Dent's final Scion value, instead of him seeing mine. So he can sweat it if he wants the top Prize.

• Invest Fleet. Inv 2→3, Rev 2→1.

------------
Russell

(Passed.)

------------
Jardine

(Passed.)

------------
Perkins

(Passed.) Gulp. :\

------------
Dent

Rustomjee can send up to a Scion-6. I can send the 7, but it will cost me a lot, and then Rustomjee need only send a Scion-4 to beat poor stupid Perkins. That will put both me & Rustomjee at Rev -3. But it's all about the London season, and I have the monopoly on Opium. So here it goes ...

• Pass. Send Notable Scion-7. Rev 2→-3.

------------
Rustomjee

Dent miscounted. Sending a Scion-4 puts me at -2

Also, he needn't have sent a 7 to beat my 6. His 6 would have beaten mine by precedence.

• Pass. Send Notable Scion-4. Rev 1→-2.

--- End of Decade ---

PRIZES:

• Croquet Ball to the Noggin = -1 → Perkins.
• 9 Men's Morris Board Game = 0 → Rustomjee.
• A Brilliant Dentist = 1 → Dent.

CURRENT SCORE:

• Rustomjee = Prize 0 + Fleet Leader 2 = 2
• Russell = Prize n/a + Leader n/a = 0
• Jardine = Prize n/a + Merchant Leader 2 = 2
• Perkins = Prize -1 + Leader n/a = -1
• Dent = Prize 1 + Opium Leader 2 = 3

The First Season's Awards

=============== 1840s =================

------------
Refresh

All Inv→0. Scions return. Start Player is Russell, clockwise.

Conspiracies L-R: Bur0 Sm1 Qin Qin, Bur3 Bur3 QinP Sm2, Bur2 Flag Miss, Bur1, Qin Flag, QinP Bur2, Sm1 Miss, Flag QinP.

Prizes: A Gambling Debt = -1, [Hidden], [Hidden].

------------
Russell

Before I invest in another Fleet (assuming I want to keep up the competition vs. Rustomjee, which I'm not sure I do) ... I need to consider conspiracies or placement.

Five black tokens in the Conspiracy circles, two of them in one circle! That's a lot of Demand. No guarantee that there would be Opportunity, though.

Sure wish I could undersell Jardine with a Bur0. But he's Merchant Leader. Everybody on the map is a Leader.

Maybe placement is the way to go. I really need revenue and a single revenue bump will get me to the next investment bracket. And a Fleet-1 can't be undersell, even by Fleet Leader Rustomjee. It's not immediate revenue; there's no supply chain I can complete; but I can get in on A2 now. Otherwise I'd have to create Opportunity somewhere, and I can create Demand, but can't guarantee Opportunity. I hate just to focus on Region-A; it seems short-sighted not to expand. But that's the best play I see, and then next turn invest in another Fleet, and if I get more revenue then I can invest in a 3rd Fleet and tie Rustomjee for Fleet presence ... assuming he doesn't invest in more Fleets in the meanwhile.

• Place Fleet-1 @ A2 Merged Sea Zone.

------------
Jardine

A2 looks like a good place for a Merchant. There's 2 open land Zones, and no one else even has a Merchant, so if I want to do something else now, I'm guaranteed at least one of those land Zones on my next turn ... UNLESS somebody fills those Zones with Bureaucrats or Smugglers, which would prevent me taking the max-value 2 revenue if I place my own Merchant there. So I better place now, knowing I can't be undersell. Lock in that revenue!

• Place Merchant-2 @ A2.

------------
Perkins

No one has Opium, and A2 needs Opium. I can invest for Rev 1, only to get back Rev 1 if ever the chain is complete, a net wash. I can't place it as Opium-2 or Dent (or even somebody else) could undersell me.

I could lock in control of an Opium War by taking a 3rd Flag. And unless things change, that 3rd Flag would trigger the War. Among other things, I could break the two supply chains in Region-A ... but I'm part of the A1 chain so I wouldn't break that. Dent and Rustomjee would lose Rev 1 each if I broke A3. Not much of a return for my troubles. There's 3 Demand left in A2 (d=2,5 minus Merchant-2, Sm1, Fleet-1) and still Opium to be put there for at least 1 (because placing at 0 is pretty unusual), so if I invest in a Merchant now, I could place him there for at least 1 next turn. But if Opium-2 places before my Merchant, I could only place Merchant-1, another net wash.

It's really seeming as if taking these 2 British Flags did little but put me behind the eight ball. It might have been a fatal play! The most I can do with them currently is open some new Regions, but there's no Demand and I have no enterprises to capitalize on them. I -must- get some revenue. I have one investment. Merchant or Opium? Opium can pay more, so I'll give it a shot, though feeling extremely unconfident.

• Invest Opium. Inv 0→1, Rev -3→-4.

------------
Dent

LOL @ Perkins horning in on Opium. He's bankrupt & spasming! so very much not a threat.

But I'm rather bankrupt myself, actually, currently. My only advantage is Opium Leader, but investing in another Opium enterprise will cost 1 and bring in max 3, a net 2 to put me at Rev=-1, still the single-investment bracket.

I spent too much for my Brilliant Dentist!

What I'd really like to do is break my own current supply chains and send my enterprises back to Holdings to be placed elsewhere. Being at Rev -3, I'd lose only 1 if those chains broke, and could gain up to Rev 6 with those two Opium enterpises. But alas, only an Opium War can break those chains, and it'd be difficult to take control of it from the otherwise useless Perkins. Maybe I can make a deal with him? What does he want? The rules don't specifically allow for selling/trading etc., but we can make a bargain to act in certain ways. If he agrees to break those two chains, what can I offer him in return? I'll offer not to undersell his Opium enterprise. That's substantial. It might hurt me, but I have to put something real on the table.

However, the Opium War would only occur at the end of the decade. I could not place my A1/A3 Opium enterprises elsewhere until then. But that might be sufficient. I can work toward preparing some other Regions now, to be exploited then.

An Opium War would also need at least one more Outrage. I can raise Outrage by taking a Flag, or by killing a Smuggler or Missionary via Police Action. The Police action would only lower Demand in A2, which Perkins would not like. But we have the whole decade to trigger the War. Don't have to do it this turn.

The big question is, will Perkins agree to this. So I put the offer to him now:

"To The Esteemed Perkins Of Boston. Greetings and warm wishes. We propose that you exert your influence with Her Majesty's armed forces in China, to remove self-interested Chinese Bureaucrats from the Region of Hong Kong. Despite short-term difficulties in our current operations, we expect such efforts to profit all British business in the long term. Furthermore, in recognition of your efforts thus and so, we, who are prominent in the Opium trade, pledge a non-competition with your fledging efforts in said trade, i.e. and to wit, wheresoever you establish your current enterprise into operation, we shall withhold any and all direct competition, a.k.a. underselling. We await your reply. With kind regards, Dent & Co. etc."

---

Perkins considers: The War would destroy A1 and A3, but the Demand would still be there. But not until the 1850s, the final decade of the game. Still, having one Opium enterprise free from undeselling (by Dent, anyway; I don't see anybody else getting into the trade, but they might) would be a nice all-but-guaranteed Rev 3. But I'd still be at Rev -1, in the single-investment bracket. Dent's offer doesn't get me out of that hole. So: "To the Gracious Dent & Co., salutations. We regret we are unable to assist in this regard. Please do accept our most sincere wishes for your continued prosperity. God save the Queen! Your servant, Perkins etc."

---

What a useless bastard. I sure as hell won't tell him who my dentist is.

Next idea is to run the Opium War myself. Perkins has two Flags and there's 3 out in the Conpiracies. He would see this coming and might take a Flag just to stump me. If he ran the Opium War, he would NOT break A1 and A3, or he'd have taken my offer and got the no-undersell pledge into the bargain. So what would he do? Open other Regions? or would he take a Flag just purely to stump me. He probably would. Not that it would do him any good, the loser. But he'd do it.

Could invest in a Merchant, take conspiracies with Flags, which all come with other things, and try to complete Region-E or Region-F. But I'd also need a Special Envoy. Damn, I'm really stifled!

Placing Opium in A2 is the only program that moves me forward. It's not enough, but it's the only positive thing I can do. And if Perkins sees it coming, he might place there at 1 or even 0, out of spite. That Croquet Ball must have done some real damage.

• Invest Opium. Inv 0→1, Rev -3→-4.

------------
Rustomjee

There's nothing for me in Region-A, or in -E or -F for that matter. Time to work on Region-B. Perkins and Dent both have Opium, so I need a Smuggler or Bureaucrat for the land Zone, and I need some Demand, which I can get from a Smuggler or a Missionary. And by gosh, there's a conspiracy with both a Smuggler (a cheap one!) AND a Missionary, which really ups my chance of creating not only Demand but Opportunity.

But which shall I place first? If the first gives junky Demand or no Opportunity, would I want to place the other somewhere else? I don't see how that really increases my chances, just dilutes the resources.

• Conspiracy Sm1 Miss.
• Sm1 @ B1 land Zone. Take d=1 from Dice Pool, roll Demand d=6!

WAA HAHAHA that did it! But Perkins or Dent will place high ... but wait, Perkins goes first, and if he places, Dent will undersell him, so I'd still place my Fleet at 3. Or would Dent undersell? He can't afford not to get 3 out of that Opium. And will Perkins even place, knowing he'll get undersell? Sure he will, to cost Dent a point of revenue. But the thing is, I can't place that Missionary anywhere else but Region-E or -F, which does me no good. So I guess he's going into -B.

• Missionary @ Region-B. Take d=6 from Dice Pool, roll Demand d=6!

Talk about creating Demand and Opportunity!

[Rustomjee has left only a single d=6 in the Dice Pool; the Opportunity in B1 is vulnerable.]

DEMANNND

------------
Russell

Region-B explodes and I have nothing to capitalize with.

Investing in a Fleet now would do no good. Rustomjee created that Demand in B1, will certainly send a Fleet there, and can't be undersell.

But B1 is not the only chain wanting Opium. If I put a Bur0 or Sm0 in A2, Opium would complete the chain, making A2 even more attractive than B right now, becuase both allow Fleet-3 but A2 would complete immediately. Perkins would take it, confident that Dent would rather place Opium-3 in B1 than undersell to Opium-2 in A2, which would give Perkins Opium-3 next turn in B1.

Except there is no Sm0. There's only a Bur0, who comes with Sm1 Qin Qin. How can I use those other guys? The Qin are useless to me; I have no chain with Bureaucrats to protect. I might, however, send that Smuggler to Region-E or -F, and then next turn invest in a Merchant, and then next next turn place him up there. But that's 3 turns and someone might get ahead of me. So scary to set up a profitable situation that someone else might take before I can! Rustomjee has one investment remaining; Jardine has two or even three! and he's ahead of me in points due to his Merchant leadership. He would take -E or -F from me. I can't set him up like that. So I suppose I'll put the Smuggler out in Region-C where at least the future is not foreseeable.

• Conspiracy Bur0 Sm1 Qin Qin.
• Bur0 @ A2.
• Sm1 @ C1. Take d=6 from Dice Pool, roll Demand d=2, no Opportunity.
• Qin x2 @ Region-A bcz now I -do- have a chain with a Bureaucrat to protect in it.
• Qin Forces 2→4.

Business Spreads North

------------
Jardine

If I continue my focus in Merchants, I've only Region-D Shanghai in the north, or Regions-E and -F east of Hongkong. Shanghai is too much trouble to develop now, with only one decade remaining. So I'll work on -E or -F. To create Demand, there's a Sm2 ... or, there's a Missionary, who comes with a Flag, which would have triggered an Opium War, except Russell kindly sent two Qin forces to Hongkong.

So for now, invest, and then next turn the conspiracy, and after that, placement. A 3-turn plan, and strategic foresight is difficult in 19th century China, but this is my agenda.

• Invest Merchant. Inv 0→1, Rev=2.

------------
Perkins

Desperate for revenue, and will take the 3 there in A2, tho it still leaves me below zero. It helps Jardine more than it helps me, really.

• Place Opium-3 @ A2. Supply Chain complete.
• Return d=2 to Dice Pool. This creates Opportunity in C1!
• Jardine Rev 2→4. Russell Rev -1→0. Perkins Rev -4→-1.

Central Hong Kong Fulfilled

------------
Dent

I have a better plan than underselling Perkins at A2. That chain has a Smuggler. I'll send Police. But first I need to establish my Opium at B1. Rustomjee will supply a Fleet forthwith, and I'll have locked in the Rev 3. Then next time around, that damn Perkins's Opium concession is a goner.

It might push us closer to the Opium War, but Perkins won't profit from that. He took those two Flags to no avail whatsoever. In fact, one of the current conspiracy Flags comes with a Police force. That's what I'll take.

• Place Opium-3 @ B1.

------------
Rustomjee

This is the third supply chain I share with Dent ...

• Place Fleet-3 @ B1 Merged Sea Zone. Supply Chain complete.

[Error: the Region is not open; the Sea Zones are not Merged.]

• Return d=6 to Dice Pool.
• Rustomjee Rev -1→1. Dent Rev -1→-1.

------------
Russell

Fleet & Opium will be needed in Region-C. I'm not sure I want to complete in Fleets anymore. Rustomjee's still a step ahead. I must have missed a stride somewhere. And I suspect that Dent will undersell Perkins's one Opium enterprise at A2. Invest Rev 1, get back Rev 2, not a lot of profit for 2 actions, but it's still a profit.

That leaves the upland Regions-E, -F, and -G, or Region-D Shanghai, all wanting Merchants, though Shangahi also wants Fleets & Opium and isn't likely to get them. If I invest in a Merchant this turn ... but Jardin already has one in holdings, ready to deploy. He's a step ahead of me also. If I prepare something, he's next up and would snatch it. But Shanghai takes 3 Merchants per chain! This is probably the best enterprise to invest in. The price is right, anyway.

• Invest Merchant. Inv 0→1, Rev=0.

------------
Jardine

Russell horning in on my Merchant monopoly? There's no Smuggler or Bureaucrat worth underselling, so he must have his eye on Region-E, -F, -G, or -D. Regions-E, -F, -G aren't fully trailblazed yet: no Demand; I was about to do that, but now Russell's poised to take advantage of it, so he knows I won't do it, so now we're both looking at Shanghai and a grudging cooperation. But there's no Demand there either, let alone Opportunity. There's a Sm2 an a Missionary. The Smuggler would just make one of the Shanghai chains too competitive. But would that be a bad thing? The other chain would be open. But there would be so little Demand, 6 at the most, for a chain of 5 spaces.

On the other hand, I can take the top Prize right now, not to mention the Start Player. Yes, that's what to do.

• Pass. Send Notable Scion-7. Rev 4→1. Take Start Player.

------------
Perkins

I have no investments and no holdings. We're nowhere near an Opium War so my British Influence Flags are pretty but useless.

I have a sneaking suspicion my one Opium enterprise is about to fall. If that's the case, I might as well use all the revenue I have now, to send a Scion and hope to get the 2nd Prize. But Rumstomjee and Russell both have more revenue than I, and might send wealthier Scions, and I'd get a Gambling Debt in addition to the sore Noggin.

If there's any beneficial action (note I don't say profitable), it's in conspiring with ... somebody. I can't participate in a supply chain ... but wait, if that Opium enterprise comes home, I sure can participate! To that end, I could lather up Region-C with more Demand with that Missionary ... but there's only one spot for Opium there ... but Dent has no Opium even to undersell me, let alone to place in Region-C, so I could place in Region-C, except that if Dent doesn't undersell me I can't place anything anywhere.

Okay, I see the Police action. Dent can break the A2 chain and send my Opium back to holdings. But why would he do that? Only to drop my revenue. So if I spend all my revenue now for my Scion, Dent's motive to break the A2 chain is mostly gone; in fact, he'd be doing me a favor—the same favor he wanted me to do for him with the Opium War: send his enteprises back to holdings with no loss of revenue. In fact, I'd Police-action my own self there at A2, except that I'd have to do it before I pass, so I'd lose 3 revenue, so that won't work.

And Dent's up next, and if I haven't passed, he'll still have the motivation to Police-action me, so I have to spend it to send a Scion. But I'll end up with a gambling debt.

I'm so zugzwanged! :\

Okay, he's gonna Police-action me, so I'll have my Opium back. So I will prepare Region-C for that.

• Take Conpiracy Bur2 Flag Miss.
• Flag @ Holdings. Outrage 2→3.
• Missionary @ Region C. Take d=6 from Dice Pool, roll Demand d=3.

Now what to do with this Bur2? If I could, I'd just kill him. Region-H is harmless.

• Bur2 @ H1.

------------
Dent

The spite-play against Perkins now could be sweeter. But what the hell, spite is spite.

• Conspiracy Bur3 Bur3 Sm2 QinP. Rev -1→-2 (bcz Jardine has passed).
• QinP @ Region-A. Police action vs. Sm2 @ A2. Supply chain broken.
• Jardine Merchant-2 @ Holdings, Rev 1→-1.
• Russell Fleet-1 @ Holdings, Rev 0→-1.
• Perkins Opium-3 @ Holdings, Rev -1→-4.
• Sm2 @ A2. Take d=6 from Dice Pool (because want to deprive Region-B of Opportunity), roll Demand d=2.
• Bur3→D1 and the other Bur3→D2.

Shanghai is overrun with Bureaucrats!

------------
Rustomjee

Now that Dent's wrought hell across China, it might be time to think about my Scion. The best anyone else can send now is a Scion-2, so if I send a Scion-2 I'll take the second Prize; and I'll still have enough revenue for 2 investments going into the 1850s.

However, there's the matter of Perkins's revenge. The B1 chain depends on a Smuggler. Send Police in there, and the chain falls part. Dent would lose Rev 3 ... and so would I! There are 2 Police still extant to conspire with. I can take one and deploy him into the middle of nowhere. Russell has no motivation to take the other ... then Jardine's next, but he has passed ... then Perkins, hunched and angry. What can I offer Russell to defuse this situation? What does Russell want? He has a Fleet, and there's Opportunity in C1. Out goes the following missive: "To Russel & Co., felicity. Request you contact one of two Police forces currently soliciting conspiracy; direct said force to any Region other than B1. In return, Rustomjee pledges noninterference vs. your impending Fleet operations. Respond soonest convenient. Yours etc."

---

Russell contemplates: If B1 falls, Rustomjee will have a Fleet back in Holdings, ready to undersell me if I play for C1 or A2 or even something in Shanghai, though Shanghai looks hopeless now. But Rustomjee and Dent, who are trying to protect their supply chain at B1, are far ahead of me. Only Jardine is tied with Rustomjee. I'd be crazy to help them protect their revenue. ... But ... "To The Honorable D.M. Rustomjee. Greetings and warm wishes. As British Merchants, it behooves us to cooperate in international affairs. We are pleased to comply with your instructions forthwith. By way of reciprocation, we should greatly like to see a capable Chinese Bureaucrat, deserving of two Revenue, installed in central Hongkong aka A2, to facilitate trade in that corridor; to this end we humbly solicit your assistance. With gratitude, Russell et al."

---

Why does Russell want the Bur2 in A2? That would leave A2 with 3 open Zones at 1 Demand each. Povertous! What's the plan there? Is he trying to force Perkins to send his Opium to Region-C instead? Something is afoot ... but what? If I take the QinP Bur2 conspiracy, Russell will have to take QinP Flag. Why would he want a Flag? It won't start an Opium War ... it'll push us closer to one ... but not trigger. Would Perkins trigger it then, by taking the last Flag? Why? He could break A1 and A3, but Dent and I both have enterpises locked into those Regions at Rev 1 and we'd love to free those up. But no, the Qin forces will have increased also.

Bah. Moving forward. "To Russell etc., let us proceed as specified. DMR."

• Conspiracy QinP Bur2.
• QinP @ Region-D. Qin Forces 4→5.
• Bur2 @ A2.

------------
Russell

"To the esteemed D.M. Rustomjee. Vicissitudes force us into agendas at variance with our previous discussions. With great regret, Russell & Co."

"To the attention of Perkins of Boston. Be advised an Opportunity of Rev 2 will open in Region-C. However, should you be preoccupied elsewhere with Chinese Police and other such matters as seem imminent in Region-B, be further advised that the revenue in Region-C shall have upped to 3 by the time you have completed your affairs elsewhere. With our hopes that this information eases whatever conundrum you feel between Regions-B and -C, we remain your servants, Russell etc."

• Place Fleet-3 @ C1 Merged Sea Zone.

[Error: the Region is not open, the Sea Zones are not Merged.]

------------
Jardine

(Passed.)

------------
Perkins

Well, Russell has done us a job, hasn't he! I can't see any way for anyone to destroy the Opportunity at C1; there will be no more Police after my turn here, and no one has any enterprises to undersell anything. Worst case scenario, Russell fails to live up to his word to undersell the Smuggler; but he'll want to, anyway, to protect the chain. It seems a solid deal. And I'm burning to hurt Dent more, anyway.

• Conspiracy Flag QinP.
• Flag @ Holdings. Outrage 3→4.
• QinP @ Region-B. Qin Forces 5→6. Police action vs. Sm1. Outrage 4→6. Supply chain broken.
• Rustomjee Fleet-3 @ Holdings, Rev 1→-2.
• Dent Opium-3 @ Holdings, Rev -2→-4.

... Oh my goodness.

... I just freed up one of Dent's Opium enterpises.

To Kill A Smuggler ... & A Chain

------------
Dent

Hahahahah but it's not as bad as Perkins fears due to the low Demand in Region-C. I can only place at Rev 2, and I don't care to lock my enterprise in at Rev 2. In fact, the net will be that he did me a favor, really, as I only lost 2 revenue when the enterprises came home, and I intend to place it back out at 3, a net gain of 1.

Furthermore, he's triggered an Opium War. [Error: Qin & Outrage are currently both 6; the Qin Force track had not updated.] Only a new Qin force would stop it, and the only Qin force extant comes with a Flag, which cancel each other out. But I don't think Perkins is stupid enough to send my other enterprises home from A1 & A3, esp. now, as I'd lose no revenue at all. So he'll either open some Regions, or do nothing. And he can sweat about whether I'll undercot him in C1. (I might, out of anger.)

Meanwhile, I can't send a Scion. But I can get my Opium on the map at max revenue:

• Place Opium-3 @ B1.

------------
Rustomjee

Russell and Perkins have made a complete hash of the entire continent of China! Idiots! Well, I'll do as Dent has done, and begin to rebuild Region-B. We'll need a Bur0 or Sm0. If neither shows up in the 1850s, we'll have to reduce price. That would be unfortunate. So maybe I'll wait. There's no hurry.

I could send home a Scion-0, but Russell and Jardine can both beat that.

• Pass, no Scion. Start Player counterclockwise (so I'm 3rd, not 4th).

------------
Russell

By rights I ought to live up to my deal with Perkins, or no one will ever even consider cooperating with me. But other than a smidgeon of cred-after-the-fact, there's really no advantage in it for me. Instead I think I'll send my Scion now, bcz Jardine can tie me in wealth, so I need to get for precedence.

"To the esteemed Perkins. The matter of which we spoke, while not cancelled, must be delayed. Circumstances require us in London. Yours, etc."

• Pass. Send Scion-2, Rev -1→-4.

[Just discovered the error of having played Regions-B and -C with Merged Sea Zones, when in fact those Sea Zones are not Merged because the Regions are not open. Too late to correct the error in Region-B. Correcting now in Region-C: Russell Fleet-3 Merged Sea Zone→outer Sea Zone. Adding to my Map Enhancement notes: split the Merged Sea Zones away from the Inner & Outer Sea Zones, and use tokens (need 7 only) to indicate which side is blocked.]

------------
Jardine

So an Opium War is imminent. The big question is, what will Perkins do with all that military influence? We'll see shortly. I have only a single enterprise on the board; would hate to lose him, as he's at max value. But I suspect, as Dent suspects, Perkins will open some Regions. And as Perkins has only Opium, he'll open coastal Regions. I might place a Merchant now in Region-B, but I have no Special Envoy. Drat.

Except also, I already passed

------------
Perkins

I could place Opium-2 in Region-C. But I'd rather place Opium-3 somewhere. But Dent is ready to undersell me anyway. Well, I'm about to command an Opium War, so doing much of anything right now is probably irrelevant.

So when the War comes around to me: shall I wipe out the chains at A1 & A3? Rustomjee and Dent would lose minimal revenue, and would benefit from the chance to redeploy their low-value enterprises. My other option is to clear out Shanghai, or at least clear out the Bur3s, though they are easily undersell. Lastly, I can open Regions. I have one Opium enterprise (I don't know what I've been doing with all my time!—not investing, obviously!) I can open some coastal Regions, though currently only Region-B has Demand w/o Opportunity. And if I place my Opium there, Dent will undersell me. I can benefit others in this War, to small or large degree, but I can't benefit myself! and I can't hurt anybody. It's a non-starter.

• Pass, no Scion.

------------
Dent

• Pass, no Scion.

--- End of Decade ---

OPIUM WAR:

• Command to Perkins. Discard 4 Flags. (If only all War were so bloodless!)

PRIZES:

• An Admirable Snuffbox = 1 → Jardine.
• A Good Marriage = 1 → Russell.
• A Gambling Debt = -1 → [unawarded].

CURRENT SCORE:

• Rustomjee = Prize 0 + Fleet Leader 2 = 2
• Russell = Prize 1 + Leader n/a = 1
• Jardine = Prize 1 + Merchant Leader 2 = 3
• Perkins = Prize -1 + Leader n/a = -1
• Dent = Prize 1 + Opium Leader 2 = 3

The Second Season's Awards

=============== 1850s =================

------------
Refresh

All Inv→0. Scions return. Start Player is Jardine, counterclockwise.

Conspiracies L-R: Ms1, Bur1, Flag, Bur1 Sm1, Qin QinP Flag, Lin Zexu, QinP, Sm0.

Prizes: A Newfangled Bicycle = 0, [Hidden], [Hidden].

Outrage 6→0.

------------
Jardine

Everybody's broke. My revenue is highest at -1. Hah!

Region-A2 Demand = 7-4 = 3, and 3 Zones to fill, Rev 1 each.

Region-B Demand = 6 but no oppportunity.

Region C Demand = 5-4 = 1, and 2 Zones to fill.

Unless we complete a supply chain, everybody will have only a single investment this decade.

There are 3 Smugglers looking to conspire. But there are many Police as well, making Smugglers vulnerable.

There are 2 Flags, so there won't be an Opium War unless we kill 3 or more Smugglers/Missionaries. And the Opium War will not be relevant at the end of the decade, anyway, except possibly to cost someone an enterprise leadership. Scions will already be sent.

Shanghai looks like the only real promise. Can place 2-3 Smugglers there to drum up Demand. Can undersell the Bur3s with max-value Merchant-2s. But it's a closed Region. I'll need a Special Envoy.

• Invest Special Envoy. Inv 0→1, Rev -1→-2.

This might be my one investment for the whole of the 1850s. I hope he brings me fortune!

------------
Russell

Counting things up, I believe my only chance is to break the Fleet monopoly of Rustomjee. I should never have faltered, should have hammered on it the whole time. Vacillation is withering death! Can I pull it all together in one decade? It's my Hail Mary. I can invest in one Fleet now: if I'm able to place it well, I can invest in another, to take away Rustomjee's leadership, costing him 2 points. Then if I send a wealthy Scion, I might gain 3 points. That would put me only 1 point above Dent, assuming Dent keeps the Opium leadership, which he will, and assuming he gains no Prize. Is there any chance to gain the Fleet leadership itself, for 2 points, rather than just deny it to Rustomjee? I'd have to place my Fleets at max value, and my Merchant also. And there's so little Demand out there. But others will be drumming up Demand. I'll let them, and be ready to pounce on it. Ultimately, I don't believe the numbers are runnable at the moment. So I will proceed on faith.

• Invest Fleet. Inv 0→1, Rev =-4.

------------
Rustomjee

Jardine and Dent are both a point up on me. I need to put my one remaining Fleet into service, to drum up some revenue. But I need an Envoy to do that. OR, I might create Opportunity with a Smuggler, and maybe even some Demand as well. But I see there IS Opportunity in C1, where I could undersell Russell's Fleet. It would bump me to the next investment bracket. Would he undersell me in return? I doubt it: he'd have to place his Fleet at 1. Two other companies have Opium, Jardine has an Envoy and a Merchant. C1 is completable before Russell can act again, and I don't think he'll undersell me, so I'll have another investment to take.

• Place Fleet-2 @ C1 outer Sea Zone.
• Russell Fleet-3 @ Holdings, Rev already -4.
• Rustomjee Rev-2→0.

Scrabbling For Demand

------------
Dent

B1 shows Demand, but no Opportunity.

C1 shows less Demand, with Opportunity.

I -might- create Opportunity at B1, if I place a Smuggler. There's 50% chance. Max Demand would be 10, but only a 1/3 chance of that, could be 9 or 8. Perkins might well place his own Opium there, maybe even Opium-1 so I can't undersell him. Even if he placed high, it'd cost me a point to undersell him. I would lose max value.

I could place Opium-2 @ C1. But I'd need a Sm0 to complete the chain, and there's only one out there, and Perkins might take him, either to his own interests or just to spite me. And if I bring in that Smuggler, Perkins might place his Opium, so again it's cost me at least one point, and maybe the whole placement.

B1 and C1 can both be in play, but both need Smugglers. If I place a Smuggler now, by the time it gets back around to me, probably whichever one Perkin's hasn't placed in, or maybe both, will be ready for my Opium.

Both have Demand, one needs Opportunity, so I'll take the 50-50 shot to create Opportunity at B1.

• Conspiracy Sm0.
• Sm0 @ B1 inner Sea Zone.
• Take d=1 from Dice Pool, roll Demand = 5! No Opportunity! but LOTS of Demand. Someone will be using a Police action to shake up the dice pool, I suspect. Maybe it will be me. But for now, I took my shot.

------------
Perkins

Dent's muddling things up for the Opium trades in B1 & C1. But he hasn't placed in either. I see 3 possible placements for Opium. Dent has one in holdings, as do I. I might as well throw my last investment in for Opium. If I can place them both at value 2 in complete chains, I'll get one more investment, and/or maybe a modestly wealthy Scion.

• Invest Opium. Inv 0→1, Rev -4→-4

------------
Jardine

The Demand & Opportunity situation is awful.

C1 is a no-go: the Smuggler, who should be in the Inner Sea Zone, is in the Land Zone, blocking my Merchant placement. Who the hell sent a Smuggler so far inland in that corridor? [It was Russell, last decade].

B1 has no Opportunity. I could expend my Special Envoy on there; there's lots of Demand; that might be the best shot. But how will others place a Fleet? They'd need an Envoy also. That won't happen.

A2 has a little Demand; surplus is 3, with 3 open Zones, giving only Rev=1 per Zone.

The Interior might be the way to go. If I place a Smuggler there now—and there's only 2 left!—Demand would be anywhere from 1-6, minus 1 for the smugger, leaving 0-5 for my Merchant, a 50% chance to get max value. That's the way to go!

One of those Sm1s has a Bur1 friend with him. Can I make any use of a Bureaucrat? I don't see how. But somebody might stick him in B1. I should ditch him somewhere harmless before he costs me a chance to act for myself in B1.

• Take Conpiracy Sm1, Bur1.
• Place Bur1 @ D1, aka Bureaucrat's Limbo.
• Place Sm1 @ E1. Take Dice Pool d=2 ... wait a minute.

If I take the d=2, it kills Opportunity in A2. But A2 is open so no worries. And no one is likely to try to create Opportunity anywhere except B1. So my choice makes little difference. I don't need Opportunity in Region-E; I have the Envoy. I just want lots of Demand.

• Take Dice Pool d=2, roll Demand d=4! Rejoice!

Just Begging For Opium, BEGGING

------------
Russell

Partial chains:

A2, surplus only 1 per Zone.

B1, no Opportunity.

C1, no Zone I can place in.

A dismal prospect!

The only efficacious plans are via the Conspiracies. There's a Smuggler, who might create more Demand in A2, but Rustomjee and Jardine would eat it up before things came back around to me.

There's some Bureaucrats, who are as useless as white shirts on hogs. Ditto two Union Jacks, long may they wave, but not profitable to me in particular.

But aha, I can hurt Rustomjee. hahahah

If I run a double Police action in C1, I send two dice back to the pool, for future Demand & Opportunity. And I strand his Fleet there forever, FOREVER.

• Conspiracy Lin Zexu. Lin Zexu @ C1, Police actions against Missionary and Smuggler. Missionary & Smuggler killed. Return d=2,3 to the dice pool. Qin Forces 6→7.

------------
Rustomjee

Blast & hell! My Fleet @ C1 is nullified.

Central Hong Kong is all that remains for the future. There's so-o-o little Demand! 7-4=3, and 3 Zones to fill. There's one last Smuggler who can up Demand, would add at least one. So I can place Fleet-2 and still guarantee (to whatever degree is possible in 19th century China) that the corridor could complete. But it's a 5in6 chance that the Smuggler would add more than a single Demand point, so I can place at max Fleet-3 and still expect the corridor to complete, and if the Smuggler adds 3 or more, well, that's revenue for someone else, which is incentive.

Except I have no Fleet. So Russell will have a chance to get a Fleet into A2 before me. And if he places at 1, I can't even undersell him. And he knows it.

But a Special Envoy will get me into B1, where there's MUCH Demand. And no fewer than 3 Opium enterprises (1 Dent, 2 Perkins) are waiting to come into play. But they would need Opportunity, and there is none. Can I create it with that Smuggler? The Dice Pool is 2,3,3,4, so I'd roll the 3 for a 50% chance of Opportunity. And if it misses, then ... only Envoys could get a Fleet and Opium into the Region, which would take another round entirely, but it's possible. It's worth a try.

• Conspiracy: Sm1 @ B1 land Zone.
• Take d=3 from Dice Pool, roll Demand d=4! Did it! Opportunity!

Now Russell might still place a Fleet to spite me. Unless he places at 1, I can undersell. And placing at 1 doesn't even allow him to send a Scion. It does him no good whatsoever. It only hurts me. That might well be motivation enough for him.

------------
Dent

There won't be any new Demand for the foreseeable future (i.e., the rest of the game). We can destroy Demand via the 2 extant Police, but we can't create it. So if any revenue is to be had, it'll be from the Demand that's out there now:

A2: 7-2-2=3. Could add 1 by underselling with a conspiring Bur1. Still paltry.

B1: More Demand than anybody knows what to do with. Opium and a Fleet wanted! And no one can undersell my Opium.

E1: 4-1=3, but only for a Merchant, and Jardine will take it.

So ...

• Place Opium-3 @ B1.

Dent On The Scene

When it completes, I'll be 1 revenue short of the next investment bracket. And I still have an investment, so with profitable placement of that, I could send home a truly wealthy Scion.

B1 is dreadfully vulnerable to Police, tho. I'm quite nervous.

------------
Perkins

Indeed B1 is vulnerable. A Police action would remove Opportunity. But Rustomjee still has an investment to acquire an Envoy, which would let his Fleet into B1 despite lack of Opportunity. So damaging B1 with a single Plice action would do little harm to anyone. The chain will almost certainly complete. Even 2 Police actions could not destroy it for certain.

Can't send a Scion, can't Conspire to any significant effect, can't place anywhere except A2, which is unlikely to complete, and even if it completes, will not give me enough revenue for a Scion. For the part of Perkins of Boston, the game is over. Even passing, which would impose a cost on conspiracy, does me no good.

• Place Opium-1 @ A2, just to give myself one more turn this decade.

------------
Jardine

The sweet fulfillment of success!

• Spend Envoy, Place Merchant-2 @ E1. Supply Chain complete. Return d=4 to Dice Pool. Rev -2→0.

------------
Russell

I can place a Fleet-3 at B1 to reach Rev=-1, not enough for the next bracket. Rustomjee can't undersell me this round; he has to invest first. By the time the turn gets back to me, I can place again at A2, which, if it's complete—and Jardine can complete it!—would give me the 1 extra Rev I need for the next bracket. But I need to make it more immediate for him. I can place in A2 first, then in B1 next time ... unless someone uses a Police action in B1? Should I place there first? But if someone sends Police to break that chain, I'd lose a turn as well as the revenue. I hate to take 1 revenue in favor of 3, but all things must be properly juggled.

"The honorable Jardine. Do you please direct attention to central Hong Kong. Circumstances there are on the cusp of fulfillment. Yours, Russell."

• Place Fleet-1 @ A2 Merged Sea Zone.

------------
Rustomjee

Russell is about to take a lot of profits from MY Fleet sector! But even if he places a Fleet-3 in B1, which will bump him to the next investment bracket, he still won't have time to use that investment before I undersell him, which will be immediate ... but which is not quite enough to put me into the next investment bracket, dammit. I'll be at Rev=-1, enough for a humble Scion-2, which might be the best I can do. So I will play it cool and hope no one is spiteful enough to send the Police.

• Invest Fleet. Inv 0→1, Rev -2→-3.

------------
Dent

Gah, no Fleet yet at B2? Damn seamen, I have Opium sitting in India waiting to be carried! I can't invest, I can't pass yet (need B2 to complete for revenue for my Scion) ... I'll have to Conspire ... which, to be honest, I want to do anyway to reduce the threat from the Police.

• Conspiracy Qin QinP Flag.
• Flag @ Holdings. Outrage 0→1.
• Qin & QinP @ Shanghai. Qin Forces 7→9.

------------
Perkins

So here's that extra action I saved for myself last time. The only move that has any effect whatsoever is to send Police to B1, which will destroy Opportunity, thus requiring Envoys for placement. But if I kill the Inner Sea Smuggler, the chain becomes impossible to complete. Does that do me any good? It only harms others. I am so far behind in status in London that I cannot possibly rise to anything of significance. Shall I go down in a blaze of glory and drag others with me?

... I think not. The world is mean enough as-is.

• Pass, no Scion.

------------
Jardine

That stupid waffler Russell should have undercut the Bur2 in central Hing Kong with the conspiring Bur1. But then, he'd only have given the extra point of revenue to me. From his point of view, it's better to let it go to waste. If -I- conspire for that underselling now, Russell will take the land Zone and the extra point. So that point is not to be had through competition. I'll take the one that -is- to be had.

• Place Merchant-1 @ A2 land Zone. Supply Chain complete. Return d=2 to Dice Pool.
• Jardine Rev 0→1. Russell Rev -4→-3. Perkins Rev -4→-3.

Busy All Throughout Hong Kong

------------
Russell

I see you, Rustomjee, lurking to undersell me in B1. I deny you! I circumvent you! I will send a Scion-0 and take the second Prize in London (Jardine will take the 1st).

A Little Is Better Than None

• Place Fleet-1 @ B1. Supply Chain complete. Return d=4,5 to Dice Pool.
• Russell Rev -3→-2. Dent—

—Oh bloody hell, I forgot about Dent. He'll have the revenue now to take the second Prize! I'm stuck with a ridiculous Newfangled Bicycle! How humiliating. The bicycle as a Prize should be something like a -3. Curses! I smack my head!—

• —Dent Rev -4→-1.

------------
Rustomjee

You think I'm out of it? I think differently.

• Conspiracy QinP. QinP @ B1, Police action vs. Sm0 inner Sea Zone. Smuggler killed. Supply chain broken.
• Russell Fleet-1 @ Holdings, Rev -2→-3
• Dent Opium-3 @ Holdings, Rev -1→-4.
• Take d=4 from Dice Pool, roll Demand d=3. B1 Demand = 9-1 = 8 w/Opportunity.

------------
Dent

Well, that was nasty and chaotic, but not irreparable.

• Place Opium-3 @ B1.

------------
Perkins

(Passed.)

------------
Jardine

Even if the B2 supply chain completes, no one will gain enough revenue to beat my Scion. But I will "blow it all" anyway and send home the wealthiest scion possible!

• Pass. Send Notable Scion-6. Rev 1→-4.

------------
Russell

Dent hahaha. Do you not see what Rumstomjee did? Why do you think he targetted that Inner Sea Zone specifically? The chain is impossible. You've wasted your Opium. [Perkins, too, had seen it.]

I'm without any play of value. Can't even send anyone home to London. I don't even get that bloody bicycle.

• Pass, no Scion.

------------
Rustomjee

• Pass, no Scion.

------------
Dent

Yes, it's over.

• Pass, no Scion.

--- End of Decade ---

PRIZES:

• A Long-Lost Royal Pedigree = 3 → Jardine.
• A Fancy Hat = 1 → [unawarded].
• A Newfangled Bicycle = 0 → [unawarded].

FINAL SCORE:

• Rustomjee = Prize 0 + Fleet Leader 2 = 2.
• Russell = Prize 1 + Leader n/a = 1.
• Jardine = Prize 4 + Merchant Leader 2 = 6 *WINNER*
• Perkins = Prize -1 + Leader n/a = -1.
• Dent = Prize 1 + Opium Leader 2 = 3.

Perhaps A Princess, Fifth Cousin Thrice Removed

=============== Thoughts After =================

This is still one of my favorite games of all time, in fact afaict it's my #2. I suspect it's the uniqueness of mechanisms plus the integration of those mechanisms with theme. Maybe some people will derive shock-value from the concept of pushing Opium of a population of victims; probably, for my part, it's a spice that enhances the dish, which I'd miss if removed, but which isn't the meat of the main course. I've long been an Anglophile; I'm a white imperialist oppressor by birth (though also a rebel and traitor to the Crown); I do love Age of Empire. Modern culture gives in to transports of anticolonialist enlightenment and anticapitalist utopian equity etc. etc. yada yada, into which I do not buy in even the smallest degree. This setting is the stuff of adventure!

I've said elsewhere and repeat here, the rulebook as written (rev Oct.2017 as of this log) really doesn't convey the design. As part of my plan to produce a home-made giant-size AIT set, I will rewrite the rules in a cleaner, more comprehensible, yea verily perhaps even teachable form. I was surprised when first I saw people posting "restructured rules" on BGG; now I get it. The map, too, can use some refinement. For kicks, I will post my current list of Map Enhancements below, though it's not final.

This is only my fifth play, so I have a long way to go, as the below-optimal choices and the bare-naked rules errors bear out. Ugh, I'm dismayed at making rules errors! I can only claim that they are performance rather than competence errors.

The swinginess of the Prizes bothered me a little this time, though the final reveal was something of a sundae cherry. Granted, I used the "More Prizes" set, but that set bears the same proportion of digits as the original set, so I am disinclined to blame the "More Prizes." Could be wrong, I dunno, more plays might reveal more info. The Conspiracies, I hesitate so far to call "swingy," but they can certainly influence the session greatly!

Otherwise (unlike Belisarius's War, which I have set aside for now due to so many [imho] "design problems"), I find nothing in AIT that threatens to reduce my enjoyment of play after play.

This was my first 5-company session. I've noted before that the number 3 is "hard-wired" into the system: 3 different markets for the companies to compete in: Opium, Fleet, Merchant. The player count for me therefore is less relevantly spoken of as 2,3,4,5 than as <3,3,>3. That said, 5p seems pretty sparse! But that might have been my play style this session, in which all five companies (poor schizo?) often placed low to avoid getting undersold. Thereby, I think I've learned a trick to this game: Do not be afraid of getting undersold! Place high! and before you lose the revenue to an undersell, invest! This scissor-step of gain-invest-lose, gain-invest-lose, might be the big secret to success in this game. I'm eager to try it next time ...

=============== MAP =================

Planned AIT Map Enhancements (not final)

- Add placement prerequisite icons @ each Zone:
--- Opium Zone -- OPIUM = Opportunity|Open|Envoy
--- Outer Sea --- FLEET = Opportunity|Envoy
--- Merged Sea -- FLEET = [Region open, OK to place]
--- Inner Sea --- Smuggler = [Conspiracy, OK to place]
--- Land Zone --- Smuggler|Bureaucrat = [Conspiracy, OK to place]
--- Land Zone --- MERCHANT = Open|Envoy [Opportunity never relevant]

- Erratum: Legend implies Merchants can only place in open-Region land Zones; s/b, can place in closed-Region land Zones via Envoy.

- Add a turn-sequence area and include pawns for each company; first player to be set at first pass, sequence .... no, think this out better, don't want 2 pawns per player. FIX THIS. (AoS?)

- Split the Merged Sea Zones away from the Outer & Inner Sea Zones. Add tokens to block whichever side is inactive. (Too easy to forget when a Region is open/closed!)

- Split the Internal Region Mnemonics (spots for "chain complete" cubes) so that the cube can indicate which coastal Region is the source. (Only matters once, when completing the Internal chain, but maybe will help transparency.

- Add a "Passed" area for the Scions not sent to London. (See turn sequence above?)

- Link (how?) the "Passed" and "London Season" areas to a reminder that Conspiracies cost 1 revenue per passed player.

- Increase Outrage track past 10. Max possible = BritishInfluence(11)x2 + PoliceActions(8) = 30! Would never get so high ...

- Bling / Add Prize and Conspiracy pools. Hate stacking them off-board.

- Bling / Add city names (why not!?).

=============== /END =================
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Rob Crosby
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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What did you expect to see here?
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Nope, nothing much here either, but thanks for looking :)
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As always, a great write-up Christopher. Looking forward to your contemplated tweakings of the map and rules.
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