It's kind of strange how easily we have converted the members of my family to my style of games. I guess it really should be no surprise as we have always played games when we have gotten together. Now, we just play more interesting games. Since they have become more interested, we have been bringing more and varied games with us. In addition, we have purchased several as gifts this year. At any rate, as we all slowly gathered at my parents' house, we began to want to play games. The first game we played was Bohnanza, which Philip won quite handily. The second game was Union Pacific -- a present Matt received from Maria. At first it looked as though we were going to have five or even six, but dad declined to join us (again) and Christine went to watch the remains of The Sound of Music.
That left four of us playing -- Myself, Maria (my sister), Matt (her husband), and Philip (my youngest brother). I had to explain the rule to both Maria and Philip as Matt was the only one who had played before. When they asked what it was like, I joked that it was "like Acquire". However, since none of them have played that game yet, the description didn't really help them any They seemed to catch on pretty quickly. Strangely, the placing of the locomotives was the most difficult concept for them to grasp. For some reason, they seemed to think that only a single color could be on each section of track. We finally got that straightened out. The only other problem was a few hiccups regarding the rail-building cards, but that was not too much trouble.
Second Game: Union Pacific
I started with the orange 7, Maria with the brown 7, Philip with the red 15, and Matt with the green 18. Philip immediately started building the red. I am used to seeing red built on the clear tracks down toward green or out an around to the north. Sometimes you see some dotted lines built, but this is primarily done to get out on the upper clear tracks. Philip took the reds all over the place on dotted lines. He even built several on the stripe lines. It was not until the fourth round that he really did much in the way of clear tracks. It was certainly the most unusual red train placement I have ever seen. At any rate, Matt fought him for the reds, but was never able to take the lead. Matt and Maria ended up fighting over the greens. However, Maria was building brown up (which eventually was fully built with three of us in a tie for minority) and Matt was working on red, black, and light blue. When the first light gray six came up, I built so as to block green's expansion and took the six, holding majority until the end. (My weasel of a brother managed to draw a single gray 6 stock card and get it out just before the last score card. Fink!) Because of the way yellow, brown, purple, and a single white had been built, I was also able to close off green's southern route with a single placement of a purple train. I then commented to Philip that a single red train play and he could completely block in green, which was easily to his advantage. Green was now limited to a maximum size of 11 trains, which it never even filled. Talk about a strange game.
Early in the game, I began trading my one UP stock out of the game for another UP stock. Everyone else was taking them during the first round. After the first scoring round, Philip and Matt had three each, and Maria had two. I began my acquisition, and was able to get six (and discard another) before anyone was aware of what was going on. Maria caught on and picked up a pair, leaving the last one for Philip. It was nice having majority, but it had hurt me on the stock cards. I had a bunch out, and maybe even the lead, but I was really thin. I worked a lot on getting the purples and the oranges up to a pretty good size, but had to fight with Philip the whole game over these. As mentioned before, when the gray sixes started to show up, I worked on them a fair amount, which allowed me to score quite a bit. Eventually, they were completely built, which is amazing given the number of reds that were built on dashed lines. I started working on white some, but Maria took majority and never built it. I certainly wasn't going to spend my time making extra money for her, so I kind of let it go after setting up a good minority ratio. Meanwhile, Maria had been building yellow like mad. Philip had managed to get a single yellow 12 down, which allowed him to reap some major profits with no effort. This is probably the most important point that lead to his victory.
Philip -- 141 million
Stephen -- 131 million
Maria -- 121 million
Matt -- 100 million
This was one of the more unusual games of Union Pacific I have ever played. It just seemed a whole lot more trains were played to the board than usual. As mentioned before with green and red, there were some really odd builds in this game. Brown was completely build, which I have never seen before, as was gray, which is somewhat unusual. In the end, Philip controlled red, got a lot for yellow from a single stock, and was always in the hunt for bother orange and purple -- my two big lines. All in all, that single yellow card that no one else bothered with, won him the game. Beginner's luck