I was given the last game choice of the day. Hmm. . . three of us left. I considered Puerto Rico, but didn't want to struggle through all of the setup and the rules. Tikal tempted me, but seemed too long. So I picked Through the Desert.
Understand, I never pick Through the Desert. We've played it too much for my tastes, and it's just not my game. What possessed me to pick it? Nothing else seemed right for three -- so many games I'd gotten out just don't work well with three: Princes of Florence, I'm the Boss, 25 Words or Less, etc, etc.
Anyway, Through the Desert, like T & E, is a difficult subject for a session report.
Ed did his usual good job of connecting efficiently to the oases.
I diagnosed early on that I would be competitive in only three chains -- Sea Foam, Lavender, and the Strawberry-ish one. But I couldn't hang in there in all three, and eventually had to give up hope of winning the Strawberry chain.
Ron plopped a camel in the middle of a side of the board I had dominated in the setup, which was a good move. Had he not done that, I probably would have won.
Ed had a little too much free roaming in the northeast corner of the board. He was able to complete a couple of decent-sized enclosures there.
Partway through the game, I suddenly remembered that in a three-person game, you're supposed to remove five camels of each color. I'm pretty sure we've played it wrong before; I only noticed when Ron commented on how crowded the board was going to get.
I had a real mental block this game. Early on I was staring at the board, and Ron and Ed were impatient for me to move. I felt there was a lot to study, but I felt silly about taking so long, so I just moved. From that point on, I had real trouble focusing my mind. I kept looking at the board, knowing what I should be focusing on, but just being unwilling to do it. Only about halfway through the game did I force myself to pay attention to the various factors I should pay attention to, whereas in the first half of the game I moved without significant thought.
The mind can be a disobedient thing. I tried to get it to focus on the task at hand, but it refused. I could well have taken the time in the early going to calculate which move would best preserve my total point-scoring potential, but just couldn't bring myself to do it.
Ron and I wasted some camels as he made a run at the Lavender chain. I eventually won it as I knew I would, but we each lost opportunities to get points elsewhere or to block Ed.
Ed won nicely, mostly due to the large number of oases to which he had connected.