Basil Hilder KIA Lone Pine, Gallipoli
Thousands of years ago in a land far away, priests, farmers, soldiers and fishermen gathered quietly over wine and cheese to create civilisation in the Mesopotamian basin.
Four players took part in this epic saga of empire building – the Bow Empire (Richard), Bull Kingdom (Marcus), Lion People (James) and Urn Makers (Me)
All of us commenced squabbling for the best positions for our leaders on the board. We were looking for the best set of red tiles and a close set of starts to minimise our exposure to other players. James and I were competing to start in the south while Marcus and Richard rapidly developed the northern areas. There was a tendency to monopolise the river areas. I (Tom) was merely looking for an opportunity to grow my kingdom in relative peace (as I am sure the others were!).
Richard rapidly laid out his tiles and managed to get the first monument down. Unfortunately this was a bit too close to Marcus who quickly extended across and took control of the area. Richard was pushed back due to Marcus aggressive play.
Marcus' takeover of Richard's monument was the beginning of the middle game with rapid construction of another four monuments by myself (Tom), Marcus (1) and James (2). Marcus cleverly covered all four colours with his two controlled monuments.
Richard still suffering from his melee with Marcus was forced into trying to re-enter via James and my kingdoms. James successfully used devastation tiles to box Richard away from his precious monument. I (Tom) was less successful with Richard's leader gaining a foothold on my southern (and only) monument. I managed to finally separate Richard's vice-like grip from my monument with a devastation tile.
Richard noticing Marcus' slow accumulation of points commenced a number of conflicts to slow Marcus' progress. I too joined the fray and managed to cut off Richard's old monument from Marcus' clutches (and get a few points out of it!!).
The game was rapidly approaching its conclusion. All players were now so closely spaced conflict was inevitable, but where and how, and who with?
I had avoided conflict with Marcus due to his superior blue and black tiles (or was he just bluffing ??), but I had the upper hand in red and was fairly even in green. Similarly James had less red tiles, but more blue and green than I. Being in the centre of the board I was bound to be the ham in someones sandwich soon.
Marcus tried to engage my empire in an internal conflict but due to the linked tiles could not join up without sacrificing his red and black tiles and leaders. To try and get a bit of room he attacked the remains of Richard's empire.
After this I decided to short circuit Marcus' kingdom and see what would happen. My red leader won out, as did my black (helped by four black tiles in my hand). This devastated Marcus' kingdom and cut off his monuments (as well as giving me a few badly needed black and red points).
James continued to milk his monuments in peace, taking all four colours. Richard continued to try and build in the south eastern corner and threaten Marcus but progress was slow.
The game tottered to an end as the last tiles were drawn. Vast empires had risen and fallen and left their monuments behind....
A tally of the points had Marcus on top with 13 points (for a well deserved win), James and Tom tied for second with 11 points each and Richard third with 6 points. Richard had obviously suffered (as you could see on his face) by being the persecuted pariah throughout the game.
All up an enjoyable game with lessons learnt about the need for observation and intervention if a player is able to lock themselves away for any extended period with monuments of all four colours.
“When action must be taken, it must be taken soon or risk reaping the whirlwind.”