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Subject: Session Report rss

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Richard Pardoe
United States
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During the last round of Bottle Imp, Dave arrived with Helen and Carrie making 6 for the evening. With so many players, we decided to split into 2 groups of 3 to play a couple of "B" games. Rich ended up playing Big City with Dave and Helen while Carrie, Sterling and Lawrence split off to play By Hook or By Crook (Adel Verplichtet). This was our first playing of Big City, so after a bit of rules explanation, we were off building the Big City.

Big City is a compact (as in small footprint for the city tiles) game wherein neighbourhoods (either 2x4 or 3x3 tiles) are arranged by the players who then proceed to develop the city. Each development (represented by 3 trays of multicoloured bits) is worth a base number of points that can be modifed by the developments location and proximity to other developments. At first only businesses and residences can be played, but once someone erects city hall, other developments (post offices, banks, movie theaters, etc) can be built. The trick is that the city hall gives no points to the developer of city hall, but hopefully opens up scoring opportunities. The right to build at a certain location is controlled by cards that are matched with one of the plots on the neighbourhood tiles.

Dave started the game with a medium residential strip while Rich and Helen built small residential plots. Helen then kick-started the game by building city hall in the second turn. Rich found himself hold three cards in the inner city adjacent to city hall that he developed with a business worth 22 points which jumped his score ahead of Helen's and Dave's. Dave and Helen both had the park cards and played the parks early. As we began to see areas of opportunity, we started to go for the larger items. Helen managed to build 1 shopping center for 30 points to draw her close to Rich's score. However, Rich had noticed that no one was taking the 10 Block (Midtown) cards and he held the 11 (perfect for the church). When Rich found himself holding cards 11, 12, 14, 16, and 18, he realized he needed the 15, so a quick exchange of the 14 and 16 for the 2 cards still in the draw pile gave him three in a row for a large residential development. After building that, he re-drew the 14 and 16 and quickly built up all but slot 11 allowing him to place a church for 15 points. Helen managed to build the second church also. Dave was not left out as he managed to develop and place the second shopping center for his 30 points to draw the scores closer together. The factories came out late and had the effect of slowing (but not eliminating) the final developments. I believe we all managed to get something built for a few points next to the factories.

By the time, we couldn't develop any more, Rich had 104 points, Dave had 96 points, and Helen had 94 points.

I seem to like Delonge's other designs and had heard that Big City was one of his best. Our playing tonight reveals that Big City is indeed a good game. I do think this was a good first playing by all of us. I am sure others more experienced in the game will criticize some of our play. Perhaps city hall emerged to early? Were the parks played too early? Were the factories played too late? We didn't appear to focus on drawing cards for the unplaced neighbourhoods in an attempt to uncover the factories (or to build a hand for potential development). I certainly cornered the 10 neighbourhood to some advantage, something we might have to watch out for in future games. I think there is more to learn from the game and I look forward to playing it again in the future.
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