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Subject: If only Jack Bauer was there to secure my win. rss

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KAS
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Arlington
Virginia
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On Saturday, we had an intense 3-player game of Innovation that was quite exciting.

Early Game Progression (Age 1-4)
Player 1 was able to start scoring quickly. He was able to grab the first 2 regular achievement cards. In order to do this however, he had to neglect building up his civilization’s infrastructure – he only had 3 top cards, none of which were splayed.

Player 2 took a different approach – building up her infrastructure quite nicely getting 5 top cards out relatively quickly. Unfortunately, she was not able to get many cards out that allowed her to score points, so she was unable to score any achievements in the early game.

I (Player 3) also tried to build up my infrastructure like Player 2. However, once Player 1 started taking achievements, I knew if we let him get more points, he could run away with it. I was able to match him in most of his icons to slow down his scoring. I was able to start scoring some points and then got a card that enabled me to swap Player 1’s highest score card with my lowest (Player 2 had no score cards so it did not impact her). This got me into position to get my first achievement card (the “3”).

Mid Game Progression (Ages 5-8)

Player 1 was still focused on scoring as many points as possible trying to rush to 5 regular achievements and although he was unable to do much with his infrastructure, he had several good scoring cards that got him to 4 regular achievements. He was on the verge of winning the game with another achievement until I was able to play “Pirate Code”. Since Player 2 was exempt (she had more target icons then me) and she had a card in her score pile, I was able to keep it and use it twice in a row against Player 1 (taking ~25 points away from him). With him now at ~16 points, it brought the threat of him getting his 5th regular achievement much lower.

Player 2 was still focused on making the best civilization ever. Although she didn’t get all of her cards splayed, she did manage to have 2 colors splayed up, one to the right and one to the left. And there were a lot of cards in each stack so she led in almost every icon category. However, since she was never really able to get many scoring cards in play, her point total stayed low making it very difficult for her to get any regular achievements (only 8 & 9 were left). She did manage to get two of the special achievements up to this point and was in the best position to take the remaining three if time permitted.

With my civilization looking decent (but not nearly as spectacular as Player 2’s) and some good scoring cards in play, I was able to get 3 regular achievements and was about to get my 4th (the “8”). I also had enough points to get the game winning (and final) regular achievement card (the “9”) once I was able to draw and meld a level 9 card. Although Player 2 was in the best position to claim all 5 specials, within two more turns I would have the two remaining regulars and victory would be mine.

Except for one thing: I didn’t plan for a nuclear bomb to go off. surprise

Game Ends with a Bang (Ages 8-10)

Just before I was going to get my 4th achievement card, Player 2 took her turn. As mentioned above, she had done very well with her board, leading in almost every category, but was unable to effectively score many points throughout the game. Having managed to get two special achievement cards up to then, she realized that it was very unlikely she would be able to get the other 3 specials before I got my 5th regular to win the game. So, she did what any person in her position would have done --- melded the Fission card and activate it.

For those who are not familiar with it, it is an “I demand” dogma that has players pick a card from the “10” pile. If a red card is drawn, the game explodes. Every card in all player's hands, score piles and boards go out of the game. Achievement cards remain with players and only the undrawn cards left in the center remain.

Since Player 2 was leading in the target icon, I drew 1st. The card was blue. Then, Player 1 drew and everything went white. When the smoke cleared, Player 1 had 4 achievement cards and no score or board cards; Player 2 had 2 achievement cards and no score or board cards and I had 3 achievement cards and no score or board cards.

In the center of the table, there was two 1 cards, two 4 cards, a single 6 card, a few 9 cards and several 10s. And it was my turn. Since I had no cards in my hand or on my board, I was forced to draw the “1” card. Not wanting to allow the other players to get more powerful cards sooner, I just melded it. The others did the same.

At this point, it was obvious that none of us would be able to get to 5 achievements before we ran out of cards. When this happens, the number of achievements each player has is only a tie breaker. The winner is determined simply by score. By the time we finished off the “10” deck, Player 1 was unable to get any cards to his score pile. I had managed to only get 4 points in mine. Player 2, having the last full turn, was able to slip a 10 into her score pile for the win.

After it was all done, Player 2 chimes in to say: too bad you couldn’t get Jack Bauer to stop the nuclear bomb.

Final Thoughts

If you enjoy games like Glory to Rome or other tactical games where anything can and often does happen, you will most likely enjoy this game. If you like games where the unpredictability and potentially unbalanced combos are a big part of the fun and where a player could pull out a win - even in the most unlikely of scenarios, you will most likely enjoy this game. As you can tell, I do enjoy this game.

Although some people may think the Fission card was too ridiculous and random for this game, I think it is marvelous. In most cases, if a player thinks they are in a position to win, they are not going to activate it. Even if they do, the likelihood of it being successful is relatively small. Nevertheless, the fact that its activation is a possibility under the right set of circumstances, it fits well within the game's theme and mechanics.

I hope you enjoyed the report. Good gaming.
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Chris Cieslik
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Banana!
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Alex Rockwell
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Awesome. Jack Bauer's Technology icon is...another clock.
And you can only draw him by using an effect that would cause you to draw a card above 10. That card would probably be balanced!!
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