(Paul L., Eric, Evan)
We had already established a theme for the evening. Paul L., Eric and Evan played quick 3-player games while Anton, Rich, Dan, and Scott labored away at Goa. The next 3-player game was Paris Paris, a Michael Schacht creation that Walt hates, but that many of the rest of us enjoy. Some people complain that Paris Paris is too strongly dominated by the central intersections, and that the player who seizes those spaces will win. (To be fair, Walt doesn't have this complaint; he simply complains that he has no idea what to do to win Paris Paris.)
We started off with several shops for Evan up north near Montmartre and several more in the southwest near (but not in) Montparnasse. Evan established a stronghold in the east, in and on both sides of Bastille, while Eric scattered his shops more widely across the map, trying for key junctions. Oddly enough, Montparnasse never got a single shop, even though it comes up three times. Each time, the alternative options were good and the final player couldn't afford the resulting grand tour.
As the game progressed, we began to send each other's shops to the bag. Because Paul L. and Eric were competing for intersections, Paul L. tended to put Eric's shops in the bag while Eric tended to put Paul L.'s shops in the bag. Evan had his own private territory, a little out of the way, so he put some of each opponent's shops in the bag, but he more often added to his territory.
On the final turn of the game, Paul L. dumped a final shop into the bag (Eric's) and Evan warned him that this might give Eric a majority in the bag and an easy win. Paul L. disagreed, but it was pretty clear that whichever one of Paul L. and Eric had the majority in the bag would be the winner.
When we emptied the bag and counted the shops, there was a dead heat between Paul L. and Eric, who had 6 shops each. This tie meant that no points would be awarded for the bag. Evan had only 2 in the bag (and thus had 4 more shops on the board than either opponent.) Much to our surprise, Evan's "avoid the limelight" strategy turned out to be the winning approach.
Final scores: Evan 53, Paul L. 52, Eric 51.
Eric's rating: 8. I like Michael Schacht's games more than most people. I really enjoy Paris Paris; a game can afford to have some luck when it plays so quickly.