Matt Smith
United States
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Date: August 8, 2009
Location: My house
Players: Bob (blue), Michael (red), Robert (black), and me (yellow)

This was our first game with the expansion. We chose to use the new building mats with 7 rows, but no replacement rows. We used the soldier tokens. We also used the Destiny deck and the following Governor cards:
- Bob: Sculptor
- Michael: Carpenter? (the one that's like the Sculptor, but gives wood instead)
- Robert: Politician
- me: Heiress (of the three I had to choose from, it seemed the Heiress was the obvious choice.)

Disclaimer: It's almost a week since the session, so I'm a bit foggy on some of the details. I also don't remember the names of some of the cards, so I'll describe the effects instead.

The first year, we had the Destiny card that provides free stone each productive season on a roll of 4+. Since I knew I was going to eventually get two 2-pip tokens from the Heiress, I decided to start with the bottom row, as I wanted to be able to buy soldiers using the 2-pip tokens. I also decided to get the Inn so I'd have a free 2-pip token each year. Other players built defensive buildings, except Robert, who started with the Statue row. He had mentioned before the game started that his key mistake the last time he played was not paying enough attention to getting the big VP buildings. Unfortunately I rolled too well, and didn't get any benefit from the Heiress in year 1. The first enemy was 2-strength Goblins, which we all defeated using 0, 1 and 2 soldier tokens. Robert was in the lead, with Bob and I in the rear.

The second year, we had another beneficial Destiny card that (I think) provided a resource of our choice at the start of the year. Michael built the Sawmill to take advantage of his Carpenter. Both Bob and I built a Market, as we like the flexibility it provides. Robert was making good use of his Politician, but because he was focusing on high-VP buildings, he was usually short of resources when it came time to recruit soldiers. The Heiress finally starting providing some resources. Naturally I took the 2-pip tokens first. I also was able to get more tokens from advisors 7 and 12, so I only spent pip tokens when recruiting. We all easily dispatched some weak Orcs, then headed into year 3. Robert and Michael were in the lead, with Bob a little ways behind, and me bringing up the rear.

In year 3, we had the Destiny card that provided free wood on a roll of 4+. Michael continued to purposefully lag one building behind so he could get the Envoy, but he rarely put him to good use. In the fall, I took a big risk by building the Farms. I wanted the white die going into year 4, but it meant I had another -1 in battle for year 3. I had already built the Barracks (I think), so I spent 3 pip tokens to buy three soldiers. It turns out the enemy was weak (Goblins again), so I overspent, but I didn't want to take a chance. I also wanted to save my 3 and 4 soldier tokens for the last two years. We were starting to bunch up on the VP track, but I still trailed the lead group.

For year 4, Destiny gave us Fog of War, which prevented anyone from looking at the enemy card. Players naturally focused on defensive buildings, and/or made use of advisors 5 and 10. Someone even used the King that year. I built the Wizards Guild and the Sawmill, then started preparing to build on the Statue track. I think we faced (and all defeated) Orcs again, which was the fourth relatively weak opponent. Now Bob and Michael were in the lead, with Robert and I slightly behind.

And finally, year 5. Destiny decided the King was Displeased. Robert was also displeased, because he was one building ahead of everyone else and stood to gain a VP on us. Everyone positioned themselves to get maximum VPs from their available resources. I got a good roll in summer and influenced the Queen. Since I was still a little behind in VPs, I desperately needed her grace. However, it was the insight into the enemy that really paid off. I turned up the card and faced the Dragons! Knowing I was not as strong as the others in my defensive buildings, I had to carefully calculate how many soldiers I needed to recruit, and which soldier token to spend, to ensure I defeated the Dragons. I couldn't let any other player get that 3-VP advantage on me. It meant I could only build the second building on the Statue row, but I had to save one resource cube to recruit one soldier. I also had to spend my 4-soldier token to get to exactly 10 combat strength. IIRC, Michael tied the Dragons, while the rest of us beat them. I was the only one to spend my 4-soldier token.

At this point, I was 1 VP ahead of Bob, and I had my 3-soldier token, but he kept his 4-soldier token, so we ended up tied. Michael was 1 VP behind us, while Robert was 3 VPs behind him. Neither Bob nor I had any resources, so we went to the second tiebreaker, which was buildings. I had one more building, so I won!!! Or so I thought. As I celebrated my victory, Bob looked again at his Sculptor. "Hey, don't I get a stone at the end of year 5?", he said. I checked the rules, and sure enough, he was owed one stone. That gave him the win via the first tiebreaker (most resources). We all couldn't believe that it all came down to the stone from his governor card!

We all liked the additions from the expansion. The game took about 2:10, but we're all a bit AP prone and still fairly new to the game. I can't wait to try the expansion again.
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