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Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The Privateers of Portugal rss

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Merric Blackman
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I note with some surprise that it's actually been three months since our first (and last) game of Age of Empires III. Considering that we thought it a really, really good game then, why so long before the second play?

Not sure really - just a result of a lot of really entertaining games to play, I guess. Boardgamers like me are really spoilt for choice at present. This game really solidified my impression of AoE3 as one of the standout games of this year, though.

For those who are unlucky enough to have not experienced this masterpiece, the basic idea is that you get five colonists each turn that you must assign to various tasks: getting trade goods, making buildings (which give you benefits), crafting a navy, colonising provinces, discovering new "worlds", or recruiting specialists.

Some tasks are limited in how many colonists can be assigned to them (only 5 buildings may be bought each turn; only four trade-goods are available to be taken), others are unlimited, and the navy option goes to whoever actually assigns the most colonists there.

Randy, Rich and I had played this game before, but it was new to Mike and Josh. After we explained the rules, it was time for my Portugeuse empire to take shape!

In our first game, I'd won by not quite understanding the rules well enough and creating a great merchant-navy that also did their bit of piracy. This time, we were aware that you couldn't use more than one ship per set of trade goods, and so I didn't go all gung-ho into ships at the beginning. Instead, I started to organise myself around recruiting a specialist Merchant on the first turn, and then sending him to the New World on the second turn, so as to give me money to afford another round of capital buildings.

This worked exceptionally well. Better than I expected, actually. I had the good fortune of going first, and so I was first on the Capital buildings option, and then I took the Merchant. What was the Capital Building I took? Trade Routes. So, you see, I had two Merchants in the second turn, and thus could easily get the $10 that I needed to build a second Capital Building.

To really make things fantastic, Conquest of the Inca Empire came up in the next round, allowing me to buy an additional two Capital Buildings that round! So, by the end of the second round, I had four buildings: Trade Routes, Conquest of the Inca Empire, Navigator, and Training Grounds.

For the rest of the game, I was well placed with bonus specialists.

Of course, while I was doing all of this, I was somewhat ignoring actually colonizing the New World, and Josh took a definite lead there. Trade Goods were going to Mike in particular.

I think I got all of 4 points when the first round scoring came up. I've seen better scores. Josh got somewhere about 14 points.

A result of getting the Navigator building was that I was a lot more engaged in discovering new areas of the New World than I was in my first game. My soldiers were helping the captains. Although I wasn't doing this every turn, I was doing enough of it to get extra money and victory points.

The second age saw me actually get a couple of trade goods - mostly Silver - and acquire a Merchant Ship or two. I found myself actually slipping behind in wealth, and so wasn't quite able to buy all the Capital Buildings I wanted to, so I resolved to fix this situation. Privateers helped markedly, and everyone got extremely wary of the number of Merchant Ships I was acquiring. Mike was able to outbid me in the sixth round, but I now was concentrating on Specialists.

Everyone but me was colonizing the New World as if there was no tomorrow - or rather, a tomorrow that included a bunch of point-scoring. I would send people on discoveries (now we into the card deck), and get points that way. I was particularly pleased when I managed to Circumnavigate the Globe - a lot of points and VPs came my way from that.

Mike had created the West Indies Company and now had a huge number of trade goods. Randy had missionaries. Josh was just already in the New World in force, and Rich was splitting his time between trade goods, discoveries and colonising - perhaps splitting his attention a bit too much!

Josh got a Rum Distillery with 5 Sugar goods. That's +$15 per turn!

Randy picked up the University before the second age ended, and it would have a decisive influence on the last turn.

The third age saw soldiers finally beginning to have an impact in the New World. Well, not much of one, but we had a few minor skirmishes. (I think there were only five colonists assigned to Warfare in the entire game - a big difference from my first game with its Soldiers'R'Us emphasis). I picked up the Navy, and I was looking pretty good.

However, it was the last turn that was the killer. Josh had picked up the Factory, and I was all ready to take the first two capital buildings. However, Randy used his University, and took away Prosperity before I could take it - just as well, as I was likely to get 22 VPs from that one card!

So, instead I took Wealth and Glory. Josh was reduced to taking Migration.

I then blundered terribly, and assigned both my soldiers to an area I was already coming first in. I'd completely forgotten I'd taken Glory, and I should have been assigning my colonists to all the areas I hadn't yet entered...

We shot each other a bit in the colonies, and were ready for final scoring:

Rich: 62 = 20 (first two ages) +9 (income) + 14 (colonies) +2 (taxation) +4 (new world cartography) +13 (discoveries)
Randy: 70 = 18 (first two ages) +15 (income) +14 (colonies) +10 (properity) +5 (university) +8 (discoveries)
Mike: 72 = 20 (first two ages) +14 (income) +12 (colonies) +8 (population) +18 (discoveries)
Merric: 81 = 10 (first two ages) +7 (income) +10 (colonies) +8 (glory) +4 (wealth) +16 (navy) +26 (discoveries)
Josh: 82 = 28 (first two ages) +9 (income) +22 (colonies) +5 (factory) +18 (discoveries)

My mistake at not assigning one colonist to another colony in the final turn came to haunt me... I would have won the game otherwise! One point in it! Josh had won with a huge presence in the colonies (50 points in all over the three rounds) and a good lot of discoveries.

My final Capital Buildings:
First Age
Trade Routes
Conquest of the Inca Empire
Navigator
and Training Grounds

Second Age
Colonization Laws
Fortress
Privateers

Third Age
Wealth
Glory
Navy

A great game, and one I really need to play again in the near future. Of course, given that Randy owns it, and he's away to India for a couple of weeks, that may not be too near. But soon!
 
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John Provenzale
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Now that was a great session report!
 
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Merric Blackman
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Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Glenn Drover
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No wI want to play again! It's been too long.

 
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