I was best man at a wedding on Saturday and was in charge of coming up with something fun to do on Friday night for the bachelor party, so I decided we would play 7 Ages.
There were five people in attendance: Myself (John), the groom (Mike), his brother (Tom), and two friends of the groom (Bruce & Joe). This was our first time playing 7 Ages (although I had played 2 turns via PBEM before).
I decided to play with the following extra rules:
- No Events in Age 1
- Redemption (so that everyone was sure to start with an Age 1 Empire)
- Total History
I pre-separated the unit force pools into just units available in Age 1 to simplify the fiddling. We started setting up at 9:30PM and by the time I had finished giving everyone a brief overview, selecting colors, dealing the cards, and doing a couple of redemptions, we were playing at 10PM.
We bid for turn start and Tom started, followed by John, Mike, Joe, Bruce around the table, and he played the Summerians. I played Pirates in Egypt (which would later prove to be my downfall), Mike played the Iranians, Joe played the Etruscans, and Bruce played the Amazons.
Play proceeded with most people playing a second empire on turn 2 and doing either maneuver or destiny actions for their second action. I played the Assyrians which made it impossible for my Pirates to move into the Middle East for fertile lands, but I was confident I could move south. Imagine my horror when the Tom played the Nubians directly south of me in the mountains. Not only was I boxed in with my Pirates, but I was foolish enough to spend all 19 of my money on Spears/Bowman at startup figuring I would have income and be able to buy Galleys later. My Pirates spent the whole game without ships and earning no glory.
My Assyrians were a different story. They took a while to get going, but by the end of the game I was earning 3 glory per turn with them and they had a sizable army marching towards Eastern Europe. I was pretty confident I could have worked them into a 4-glory empire.
Mike had a tough go with his Iranians, but managed to play the Shang about mid-way through the game. They were only earning 3 glory but they were producing at 20 income per turn and growing extremely fast. They would have been a force in Age 2, I think.
Joe probably had the roughest time. His Etruscan had quickly conquered Italy and were making their way into Western Europe when ... up popped the Romans. The Romans gutted him in three areas immediately and then left the Etruscans to languish in southern France for the rest of the game. The Romans were very close to becoming a force with 20 money saved for those precious Galleys. Soon the Mediteranean would be his, but the game ended before he made it a reality.
By 2AM we had played 6 turns and made it to Age 2 with the Pirates leading the way from some good trades. So 4 hours for a our first game with 5 people managed a whole Age, which I think is pretty good.
Bruce and Tom managed to tie for 21 glory. Joe and Mike earned 8 glory and I brought up the rear at 7 after my dismal start with my pathetic landlubbing Pirates. The decisive thing for Tom was his early and effective play with the Summerians and his control of Africa with the Nubians. He never fell out of the lead, but Bruce was coming up strong with the Romans and Amazons. The most decisive thing for Bruce was Zena - Philosopher. I would guess that he got an extra 6 glory throughout the game because of Zena breaking all of those ties in his favor.
Joe played a good game, but just when his Etruscan were getting started (he earned 3 glory the turn previous to his destruction at the hands of the Romans), his luck ran foul. His other empire (Free States) just couldn't get going against the Amazons, but he was slowly building his money for some units with them. Mike got to a really slow start with his Iranians, which were going absolutely nowhere when we ended, but his Shang dynasty was absolutely owning China. He was guaranteed 3 glory per turn with them and was getting to the point where he might be able to actually purchase extra glory with all the production he had.
My situation was pretty pathetic at the end. I had two dead-end Empires and was just waiting for the opportunity to dump my Pirates and play my Egyptians instead, which might have improved my situation quite a bit. My Assyrians were fine and I was getting ready to do some damage to the Summerians in a couple more turns as my production was fairly high at 15 and raising.
Overall the game was a total success. Everyone expressed interest in playing again and I've scheduled a game for next Saturday night. Mike and Tom live in different cities, but I'm hoping Joe, Bruce, and I along with two or three new recruits, will be able to play through another Age 1 game. After this we'll probably try a full length game with a permanent multi-session setup.