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Subject: weak starting position turns to surprise victory rss

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C Cruz
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Santa Cruz
California
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Tonight, we played Colosseum for the first time as part of this year's first Games Night ever! There were 5 of us at the table, all newbies to the game, and 2 toddlers ambling about, so it took quite a while to get through the rules. We needed a few rule clarifications regarding auctions, but aside from that, once game play commenced, we found the game to be fairly straightforward.

The first game was clearly a learning one, so we played two in a row. Since there were so many mis-steps taken the first time round, this session report is on the second game, of course, written from my perspective.

I was second in the line-up and was dealt an awful set of tiles and program events -- I got 4-Race of Janus, requiring 2 gladiators and 2 horses, and 9-Anthem to Cupidon, requiring 3 musicians, 1 comedian, 1 scenery, and 1 decoration.

Based on my newbie view of the game, my tile selection seemed hopelessly scattered and terribly weak. The starting tiles dealt to me were: 1 comedian, 1 ship, 1 horse, 1 scenery, and 1 lion. Having no gladiators or musicians seemed to me to be a terrible blow, especially since my fellow gamers had them in abundance already. One gamer had 4 gladiators from the get-go and instant star performer status! Everyone else had 3 and there were none out in any of the initial markets. Musicians were also scarce in the initial markets. Here are the play highlights:

Turn 1 Investment: Everyone invested in a loge to get the advantage of being able to roll 2 dice in Phase 4 (practice first game indicated this was well worth the investment). I managed to acquire 2 musicians and a horse in the market. Nobody produced an event this time round. As a result, it was deemed that I was in the "lead" since I had the most money. I got the podium, but my already scarce resources were made even skimpier as the player with least money snagged an asset token from me.

Turn 2: Most of us opted to plan ahead and add an expansion to our arenas, me included. This decision ended up hobbling me badly as I was then left with not enough money for auctions! But, my inital rationale was to do *something* so as not to waste a precious turn! At this point, my 2 small program events seemed terribly difficult to attain, so I was thinking I should focus on a longer range strategy involving a larger program event and, since I didn't see anything helpful/desirable in the markets, I may as well use my money in investment.

Luckily, everyone around me needed horses desperately, so during the trading phase, I decided I'd completely ditch attempting to put on Program Event 4. I had no gladiators and still no gladiators had emerged in any markets, so I traded my 2 horses for a whopping 4 tiles, giving me star performer status for comedians and musicians.

During event production, I got a good roll and was able to get a medal and move a consul into my arena (good thing I had expanded!). Nobody else was able to place a nobel within their arena and the combination of tiles was still not optimal for anyone else, so I was the only one to produce an event. Owing to my star performers (comedian, musicians obtained by savvy trades), the consuls, my award medal and my podium from Turn 1, I had a spectatorship of 29.

I didn't expect to hang on to this lead. After all, the other players had abundant resources and seemed well equipped to carry out their strategies!

However, since I was now unequivocally in the lead, I got another podium. Player 4 took my star comedian performer status away from me. I felt hobbled again.

During Turn 3, I couldn't participate in auctions or investments for lack of money and nobody wanted to trade with me (I had so few resources)! Everyone else around me bulked up on asset tokens during auctions and trading phases. Luckily, I got some emperor awards during Phase 4. Still, nobody else seemed prepared for an event, me included, so Turn 3 went event-less, and ended with me keeping the lead and getting another podium.

Turn 4, I turned in a medal for money and invested in a season ticket. Folks finally started producing events they'd been building up for. Since they were all vying for similar resources, it took them all much longer than expected to amass enough to put on events. Still, nobody touched my lead! So I got the last podium and got my star musician performer status stripped from me.

Turn 5, everyone was hobbled in money and trading terms were fierce and competitive. I managed to get a musician and star performer status back during trades as Player 4 had no need for musicians at all. I gave him my torch for it. During Phase 4, I lucked out and was able to move the Emperor right into my arena! I re-enacted Program Event 9. With all 4 podiums and a season ticket and the emperor in the midst, I had 24 spectators. Add in my star performer status for the musicians, I had 28. My award medals bumped me to 34.

Everyone did their game best to produce an event with more spectators, but I ended up keeping my edge by a mere point!

It was a surprising outcome, the unpredictability of which made it fun for everyone involved. Of course, I was particularly pleased.

At the end of our second game, we were all still wondering, however, how it's possible at all to build larger arenas to put on bigger events! Money and asset tokens seem terribly scarce. The only means for getting more money that we could identify was via the emperor medals. If we've missed an opportunity for getting more coins, we'd love to know!
 
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Sven Van Roeyen
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I think you missed the rule that you get money equal to the total number of specators when you organise an event... The last rounds you should have enough money to buy the big events... Your endscores seem too low...

Think you will find the game totally different when you play this correctly...
 
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Hahn Arama
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I had a guide, a Bedouin man, who called me 'Abu el Banat'. And whenever we'd meet another Bedouin, he'd introduce me as Abu el Banat. And the Bedouin would laugh and laugh and offer me a Pint of beer. (cont below)
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And I'd go to pay them for the beer and they wouldn't let me. "Abu el Banat" means "father of daughters." They thought the beer was the least they could do.
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SvenVR73 wrote:
I think you missed the rule that you get money equal to the total number of specators when you organise an event... The last rounds you should have enough money to buy the big events... Your endscores seem too low...

Think you will find the game totally different when you play this correctly...


Hey in his defense the American rules are marginal at best. I bought this game a few months before GenCon. When I went to the DoW booth for help on rules the were clueless about the game. They had no prior training what som ever. It was not until I ran into an official DoW rep at a small con back in November that I played the game the way it was meant to be.
 
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Richard Berg
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"Hey in his defense the American rules are marginal at best. "

I didn't find them so . . . we played first time thru last week, scores were for low 90's to high 50's, and we had no trouble finding any explanations . . . and we appeared to play correctly (although i played rather poorly, which is usual for me).

RHB
 
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Appleton
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IMHO, the biggest limitation to getting a high score is the auction rules. If you play with the variant auction rules (everyone can bid on every auction, regardless) then the final scores go up appreciably. In our family games it is regarded as remarkable if any player does not put on a large (4-section) program on the last turn, and the scores tend to run from 50 to about 100. Almost invariably, the winner uses this turn build sequence:

1) Build a loge (or perhaps expand)

2) Expand an arena (or build a loge)

3) Put on a medium (3-section) program

4) Expand an arena

5) Put on a large (4-section) program

We have been experimenting with putting on more than one program a turn, to try and make more variability in the game. We have played once, and want to try again.
 
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Hahn Arama
United States
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I had a guide, a Bedouin man, who called me 'Abu el Banat'. And whenever we'd meet another Bedouin, he'd introduce me as Abu el Banat. And the Bedouin would laugh and laugh and offer me a Pint of beer. (cont below)
badge
And I'd go to pay them for the beer and they wouldn't let me. "Abu el Banat" means "father of daughters." They thought the beer was the least they could do.
Avatar
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Emperor Medal, Emperor Medal, Emperor Medal

It's the secret to winning.
 
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C Cruz
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Santa Cruz
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Ahh! Thanks for the rule clarification. That is an embarrassing oversight on our part!!!

The only confusion we really had with the rules was with the auction. In particular, we were unclear as to whether someone who had already won a bid but had not yet initiated was still supposed/allowed to initiate an auction. We read up on boardgamegeek and got our answer!

I will add, in our defense, that we had a 1 and 3-year old running around and two parents had to leave in the middle of the rules session to put the kids down for naps (essential for successful game play)!!!

Again, thanks for the clarification. We're eager to give this game another go, playing with correct rules.

 
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It looks to me as though you also missed the rule that says that you don't have to have a complete set to put on a production. If you did miss it,the numbers along the bottom of each program tile indicate how many points/gold you receive for an incomplete set. With what you had on the first turn after the auction, you were missing two asset tokens for each program. You would have received 5 points for Race of Janus and 8 for Anthem to Cupidon.
 
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