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Subject: Miriam Learns How To Block rss

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David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
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Ave Caesar


Chariot Racing In Ancient Rome For Six Players


My Monday Night Games Group tends to play lighter games. Ave Caesar is one of the group’s favourites. It was played seven times in 2007, six times in 2008 and last night was the third time this year that it has seen an outing.

It is a card management game with a relatively high degree of luck. The game takes place over a series of four races. I have the Ravensburger edition which is, in my opinion, vastly superior to the new ProLudo edition. The only change is the configuration of the map. The Ravensburger map doesn’t look as good but it is much more exciting to race on and I don’t really know exactly why. Anyway, there are two maps with the Ravensburger edition – one side of the board is a track for 3 or 4 players and we used the other side of the board as it is for 5 or 6 players. On that side there are two tracks (one marked with Red edges and the other with Gold edges) – we race clockwise on each track and then counter-clockwise so that the four races are on four different tracks. Players get points for the order of finish – it is possible to score no points if your horses run out of hay.

Rod and Miriam are one of the couples who come along – Rod loves to block other charioteers and will do it simply on principle while Miriam rarely blocks and when she does it doesn’t seem to be deliberate. Speaking for myself, I prefer not to block other charioteers and will only do so if it gives me a big advantage and normally towards the end of the series of races when I know who I need to finish ahead of to beat on the series score-points. I prefer to take the inside running and force the other chariots to have to go around the outside of the track and use up extra hay in the process.

Our previous session was a month ago – I won with 18 points ahead of Denise on 16, Vida on 15 and Rod and Margaret tying with 14. Miriam had failed to finish a race and had two last places giving her a meagre 6 points.

Last night I has selected randomly as the start player and got off to a good start. I pointed out that I did not block at the first choke point, even though I could. I pointed out that I did not block at the second choke point, even though I could – Margaret made some disparaging comments. I went into Imperial Alley and blocked Margaret so she couldn’t come in – she complained and I just pointed out that she was never satisfied – don’t block and she has nothing nice to say, block and it’s the same story. Halfway through the last lap I was blocked by one person and the sequence of players meant that I was then blocked by other players. Margaret won – Margaret tends to be quite good at Ave Caesar and has won four times in the last two and a half years.

The second race saw Miriam blocking other chariots and doing it deliberately. Her maliciousness was rewarded as she won the race.

The third race was very close with the first five horses all being on the final straight as the winner crossed the line – I have never seen such a close race. I was a bit disappointed with my performance having only had a couple of thirds and a fifth so far but I was only five points behind the leader.

The last race saw me suffer a bit more blocking on the last lap but I had high-value cards and was able to rush into second place behind Rod.

The final scores were Margaret 18, Me 15, Denise 14, Vida and Rod 13 and Miriam on 12.

It was a good night’s play, a close series and, I expect, not the last time we will be playing Ave Caesar in 2009.

 


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Frank Eisenhauer
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New Delhi
Delhi
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Quote:
The Ravensburger map doesn’t look as good but it is much more exciting to race on and I don’t really know exactly why.


The Ravensburger edition race track is "longer" (has more fields)while the card-mixture ("movement point" total on the cards)stays the same, thereby making it much more likely that players can't finish the race (run out of "movement points"). You have to be more careful when to use which card (making the game more tense).

I prefer this edition to the ProLudo edition for that reason.
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