This game was new to me and Alan. Coop explained the game to us in about 15 minutes (including the time I took off to get some more coffee to soothe my scratchy throat.)
At first the rules sounded a little confusing to me but it turned out they were quite simple. I believe after the first round both Alan and I had the hang of it.
I had four Amazon cards in my hand and figured that was good enough for a secret bet as well as an open one. Coop and Alan also placed their secret bets during the first round.
As we started playing, I was pleasantly surprised at the mechanics and the player interaction the game has. Although, drawing cards always adds a luck factor, to me it just adds spice to the soup because you have to roll with the punches and be flexible. There are some tough decisions to be made during the game: boost your own monsters or annihilate others. Of course I got my first taste of the latter by lowering one of Alan's monsters from a 7 to a two. I really didn't want to do it, but I felt like I owed it to him. What this move did in the end is paint a big red target circle on my back and Coop and Alan did not hold back anymore trying to bring my monsters down.
My Wyrm (unexpectedly to me) was next. Before he got killed he was tied for lowest points with my Amazon. I had to choose to save one of them. Having my secret bet on the Amazon, that choice was a no-brainer. I did also have control of the Seraphim with the special power of removing played combat cards. I had used him quite a bit to save my Amazon from an early doom.
With some luck I was able to bring the Amazon all the way to the last round for a total of nine points. My other monsters/bets got crushed.
Coop came out on top with 10 points and Alan with 7. The game took about 45 minutes.
I enjoyed the game very much. It plays fast, has some tough decisions to be made, lots of interaction, and plenty of back stabbing.
Thanks to Coop and Alan for playing.