Last Wednesdays weekly game session had us reduced from the usual 4 to 3 players. Perfect timing as I received my latest order of games with which I picked up Fire&Axe for a very cheap 11euros.
I played the game once before with a friends copy, but both Matthias and Marlon didnt know the game before.
So I was introcuding them to the game in about 20minutes inlcuding all the details about the final scoring and the bonus points.
I decided to leave out one additional card from each saga stage deck in order to shorten the game abit. So we went with 5 instead of 6 and it turned out to be a wise choice.
I started the game to show them how to do a full turn, loading my ship and drawing some rune cards, which they both followed with some variation. I then traded some goods at northern Germany. Matthias chimed in on that going down as far as France while Marlon headed eastwards into Russia.
Controlling the good in demand, I rendered my fellow vikings loads less worthwhile and changed to trading with England and raiding cities here and there to open ground for new settlements.
This was immediately punished as the fellas made good use of minor mistakes and fulfilled first sagas rather early. Matthias had an extraordinarily lucky punch at Paris where he used his very last crewman on a raid for just giving it a try before going back to winter camp anyways. He needed a 6 and he rolled a 6, even finishing a saga by that - boohoo
Through the course of the game I was adding the most points by trade but by the same time was greatly falling behind on saga cards. Some of my efforts just utterly failed and others were cleverly picked away mostly by Marlon, some by Matthias. Marlon was founding settlements in all of Russia, Matthias in France and Spain while I set up new towns at northern Germany and England. We were all pretty much trying to gain all settlements within one region for maximizing our score while we all tried to sneak into the opposing lines. Rune cards were used quite a bit to take over or remove enemy settlements and sneak into others regions. Succeeding several times and also failing just as often. At the end of the game this was pretty much put back the way we set up regional control initially, with few exceptions.
I was struggeling to keep up with saga cards while Marlon and Matthias sailed down the Mediterranean. Constantinople fell similarily easy as did Paris, only Rome did proof for abit more of an obstacle but only temporarily. I didnt get any of the major cities but took quite a few of the smaller ones instead. Marlon was lucky enough to draw the Storm card twice this game which allowed him to make each of us once discard two crews/wares from our ship and have the rune deck reshuffled.
Somewhere in between, Marlon also played a card which gave points immediately for each settlement to everyone. This is probably why our final scores have gone up quite a bit, despite leaving out an additional saga card from each deck.
I had some bad luck with a saga card being drawn where the objective was to settle the english towns while I just did that on the prior turn. I was owning all three of them by myself, nevertheless the card was discarded - really too bad for me
Marlon was accomplishing some more sagas in the Mediterranean while I was fighting over Ireland and Iceland with Matthias. I thought I had the better of it but still lacking behind. In the end, I was having a single saga card of each nation. I clearly didnt aim for that but Marlon was just too quick for me to intercept on the missions. So I had to be content to at least gain something.
Time was flying by and it we were all greatly entertained but at some point we realized more than 2 hours have passed and it started to drag on a bit. Luckily the end was not that far and thats where I found myself confirmed it was the right decision to shorten the game. The last 3 turns were played down and the game ended with still one or two sagas out.
Despite my ill saga management I was able to score a few points but nowhere near what Marlon scored, 50 points for Norway and additional points for Sweden is alot to catch up with. My little advantage worked out by trade wasnt anywhere close to that. Matthias took away the bloodied axe bonus by being one razed city ahead of me - too bad again
We all enjoyed the game, even though it was a bit too long with two and a half hours. I guess that might be a problem for adding a 4th player next time so we will have to remove another saga card from each deck to keep the duration reasonable.
Oh, btw we were also using all available rune cards, not just the basic ones. It felt that Marlon was drawing rather powerful cards, so he could also pick up a card of his choice from the discard pile once. But he simply played a superior game and thats why he won. Noone felt it was all lucky punches...
I am looking forward to playing this game again, preferably as a 3 player again because of the time factor, but I guess I'd give it a try with 4 as well. Given we are familiar with the game now and remove some additional saga cards to see the end abit earlier.
- Last edited Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:26 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:23 pm
Nice write-up. Nice bargain on the game, too!
This one looked appealing to me but it fell off my radar for a bit and the next thing I knew, it was out-of-print and very hard to find, at least west of the Atlantic. Shucks.
Maybe still . . . .