After a somewhat longer-than-usual hiatus, the Five Guys convened at Cafe Mayorga in Rockville (becoming our favorite gaming venue) at 2 o'clock on Saturday. We were a little short-staffed: it was Ed, Ron and me, with Rick to join us later.
Ed had first pick and had hinted that Venture or Daytona 500 might be the selection. But when Ron arrived toting Modern Art, Citadels, and Evo, Ed started to consider Modern Art. Ron made a bit of a plug for MA, I told Ed it worked fine with 3, and so we began to play.
Ed was doing most of the buying in the first round, as he did pretty much the whole game. And Ron was doing just the opposite, letting Ed and me grab works while he himself held back.
I began the game with a hand that was heavy with the works of Karl Gitter. I had assumed that I would invest at the right point in Gitter, but I also got into the Lite Metal market, and it turned out that Lite Metal was the hot artist in the round, with Gitter second and Yoko third.
Second round, I was dealt a ton of Cristin P cards, and held a hand that was mostly Cristin and Gitter. Ron steered the auctions in the direction of Gitter again, and this time Gitter was the leading seller, followed by Lite Metal and Yoko. Very curious. This had to mean that Cristin P and Krypto were being stored up by everyone, and would be the hot artists in later rounds, right?
Not necessarily. In each of the first two rounds, the only paintings sold were by the three leading artists, so the rounds ended with fewer paintings sold, total, than normal.
Only in the third round did some paintings start to sell that turned out not to be lucrative. Once again a market in Karl Gitter began, which surprised me, because there seemed to be so little chance of his placing in the money, given that eight of his paintings had sold in the first two rounds. But the competition was between him and Yoko.
Cristin P and Krypto entered the fray late, angling for third place, with Ron and Ed respectively picking up copies of their works, cheap. I could have chosen to increase one of their respective investment losses by selling another of either artist (I was starting to amass Kryptos at this point) but instead I cut the round short in order to ensure that my own investments paid off the most handsomely of anyone's. Third round: Yoko, Gitter, then Krypto, with Gitter's going for a cool 70K each.
Surely we must be done with Gitter, right? Nope. The last Gitters got onto the board in the final round, and Gitter once again placed (for 80K). Krypto finally dominated, but Cristin P never sold any lucrative paintings the whole game. Yoko was the second place finisher in the final round, her paintings selling for 70K.
Ed and Ron felt that one another were the main competition, but I knew that I was in good shape, and thought I was flying under the radar. I was right.
I'm normally an extremely calculating player in all games, but I played this game of Modern Art very intuitively. I didn't calculate values of paintings down to the last digit so much as I tried to gauge how much other people would pay for them, and where I wanted them to buy, and where I wanted to wind up with the painting.
We all agreed that it was a nail-biting game. Ron was clearly playing some kind of subtle strategy of driving the market in vanishing artists in the second and third round. I presume he must have intended to hoard valuable paintings for the final round, but it never got to the point where those paintings became valuable.
Ed bought most aggressively, including many instances of buying his own paintings, which I felt cost him a competitive position.
I used some double auction cards at key times, sacrificing potential for large payoffs later, but to drive rounds home to their conclusions. My opponents were surprised by the moves, but I think they paid off.
All in all, a terrific game of Modern Art, one that will cause it to continue to climb up the ranks of my favorites.