Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
Players: Craig Viau, Jean Jodoin, Steve Zanini, Brent Lloyd and Norbert.
I think the last time I played this game was way back in 1998/99, when I was playing at a game convention, and I was playing by the wrong key rule: we were only scoring the King's region(!)
Brent was an apparent shark at this game and this is Steve's favourite game. I found this out when they were rolling for seating order in this game. I felt that rolling for seating order in a game like this is is like rolling for player order in a game like Liberte or something. I asked them some basic questions since I had not played for a while then remarked that Jean, Craig and I were sandbagging so we could surprise the two veterans. Steve also had every single expansion, so we played the way that Steve and Brent likes to play: Everyone started with the 10 (Traitor), 25 (do not use flywheel when putting your men from the castillio), 30 (remove all opponent's units from the court), 130 (score a region of your choice), 150 (Double a scoring region) and 180 (King) cards. Your next 7 cards would be random from your player set. My set of 7 cards were: 40 (veto), 43 (civil war, remove all of one opponent's caballeros in one region!), 50 (remove 3 of everone's units from court), 70 (remove 1 of everyone's units from the board), 75 ( have 1 special cabellero that can be used before any scoring), 83 (castillio is no longer secret), 90 (mobile scoreboard).
Turn 1: Steve went first. Cards in clockwise order around table were: Steve 30, Craig 150, Brent 140, Norbert 70 , Jean 100. Brent's 140 cards removed two of everyone's units from the board, which was quite powerful, since that was all we started with!
Turn 2: Steve 150, Craig 10, Brent 25, Norbert 75, Jean ??
Turn 3: Craig 180, Brent 150, Norbert 50, Jean 53, Steve 145. Steve's 145 card scored a region, then wiped it all out. Jean's 53 card merged two provinces into one gigantic scoring region!
As the first scoring round ended, the scores were: Craig 30, Brent 27, Jean 23, Norbert 16, Steve 15.
Turn 4: Norbert 150, Jean 170. Steve 70, Craig 100, Brent 75. Craig's 100 card scored the '4' regions, pushing him further into the lead.
Turn 5: Steve 20, Craig 30, Brent 10, Norbert 43, Jean 25. Playing second last, I hoped to use my civil war on Craig and wipe out five of his units, but Jean didn't seem to interested in helping as he played below my 43.
Turn 6: Brent 180, Norbert 40, Jean 90, Steve 160, Craig 155. Round 2 scores: Craig 64, Brent 52, Jean 49, Norbert 49, Steve 42
Turn 7. Norbert 25, Jean 20, Steve 90, Craig 43, Brent 30. I had hoped to be the lowest this round, play my 10, then be King for the final scoring round where I could let out an unsuppressed evil laugh. Except Jean undercut me to do just exactly what I wanted to do. Craig used his 43 card to wipe out a bunch of Jean's units.
Turn 8: Jean 10, Steve 40, Craig 63, Brent 70, Norbert 90. Craig's 63 would have created a bridge between two provinces, but Steve vetoed it using his 40. Craig took away my majority in one province, saying that I was the threat now, since I had my 25 and 75 all saved up for the final scoring round. ( I was still sitting second last, so I guess I should be flattered. )
Turn 9: Jean 180, Steve 130, Craig 160, Brent 95, Norbert 10. Steve had doubled Galacia, where a mobile scoreboard had made that scoring region a 7 point for first and 4 points for second. Craig was currently leading there with 5 units, but Brent and Steve had 8 units in the castillio, which were parachuted into Galacia. We had all expected Steve to double his Valencia province, where he was leading and had his Grande there and earn 14 pts. So Steve and Brent got 8 pts in Galacia after the doubling. I went into Altkastien to take away the lead from Brent using my 25 ability and using my 75, I took away Brent's Grande bonus in Aragon. I knew who the real threat was. Unfortunately, it was not enough.
Scores: Brent 80, Craig 77, Norbert 76, Jean 65, Steve 62.
Wow, great play by Brent, the El Grande savant. He was able to walk the talk and back it up as well.