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Subject: Session Report rss

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Justin Berman
United States
White River Junction
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While the rest were playing Stephenson's Rocket, Anand, Brian, Geoff, and Laura decided to try Carolus Magnus. This was the first time it had been played, so some time was taken to read and explain the rules. CM is a game of territorial control by Leo Colovini for 2 or 3 players or with 4 as 2 teams of 2. Players fight for control of 15 territory pieces on the table using paladins in 5 colors. However, control of each color of paladin is also up for grabs. On a player's turn, he or she places 3 paladins on the board and/or in their court from their supply. The player with the most of a given color of paladin in their court controls all paladins of that color on the board. After placing paladins, the player moves the Emperor. In the region the Emperor is moved to, the number of paladins each player controls is totaled. The player (or team) with the majority takes control of the region and places one of their castles in that region. This castle also counts as another paladin if control of the region is contested again later. If the player who wins control of the region also controls one or both of the adjacent regions, he or she may decide to join them into one larger region, which makes it easier to defend, but also a bigger target. After moving the Emperor, the player rolls dice to replenish the paladins used earlier. The game ends when one player has ten castles on the board or when there are 3 or fewer regions left. The player / team with the most castles wins.

In this game, Anand and Laura were on one team with Brian and Geoff on the other. After the first turn, the colors were all controlled with Brian controlling Red and Yellow, Geoff with Blue, Anand Green, and Laura Pink. The game continued with players taking and joining regions until the end of the fourth round, leaving only 5 regions. Geoff and Brian managed to convert one of Anand and Laura's regions and joined it to another large area, but Anand and Laura took the last solitary region and joined it to their adjacent area. Since there were only 3 regions left the game was over with Anand and Laura winning 8 castles to 7.

This looks like a game where the strategies will become more apparent after a few plays, but the randomness of the dies rolls may detract from it by affecting how well you can implement those strategies. Also, Brian thinks the 2 and 3 player versions may be better, since, with teams, one player could concentrate on maintaining control of a color, while the other could put paladins of that color on the board, so fewer tough decisions are required.
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