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Subject: Session Report rss

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Kevin Larkin
United States
Woodside
New York
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After months of talking about getting together, Morgan and I set up an evening to play In the Shadow of the Emperor. Scott, the spiritual leader of BQE Gamers, even as most of the Q-end have moved away, and my wife, Clarissa, whose copy we played (a birthday present to her from me) made for a full 4-player session. Meredith, aged 2, played with Dora the Explorer colorforms, some yellow Carcassonne meeples and the Lost Cities board; at times, she also menaced Clarissa's knights and nobles.

As the most experienced player, Scott was responsible for the rules summary; he is very good at making clear how a game works and offering strategy tips that had emerged so far.

In the early rounds, 3 clear strategies were in action. Clarissa (green) focused on Thaler-development, placing cities early and often (after an aborted 2-player session was lost when she had failed to place any halfway through the game). I (yellow) concentrated on the imperial strategy- using the position of emperor to earn the imperial benefits and to break ties in elector elections. Morgan and Scott went for what has emerged as the most popular strategy- churning through elector positions for 2 VPs each.

For each player, this meant the game evolved in a different way (although everyone loves that Doctor card- but it often was used defensively):

* for me, action cards were purchased to influence imperial elections (Church Influence, Pope, Excommunication), and the key electorates were Bohemia, often contested for by Clarissa and Trier, to earn the extra action card if was off the board. But with limited income (no cities, due to spending income influencing elections) and a concentration in 2 key electorates, I found myself lagging income and often unable to wiggle into new electorates without a heavy investment on moves, new barons, etc., which is hard to manage in the crowded 4--player version.

* for Clarissa, who often went 2nd (sitting at the Emperor's left for 3 of the 5 rounds), the cities were a key to generating Thalers that could be used to by extra actions. She also seemed ahead in VPs for the early going. She was often in contention for the secular electorates, especially Bohemia. She was also not afraid to cast her lot with rivals at her husband's expense.

* for Scott, the key was moving barons from place to place, letting older barons assume electorates when he did win, and fighting with Morgan in particular for the Rhein and Saxony. (I had also contended for the Rhein early on, but backed away when it became too steep.) Scott also enjoyed a round as emperor, and was gaining quickly or passed Clarissa for VPs late in the game. But in the last round, he found himself with a lot of barons who died of old age in Round 4, and not enough time to get them all in play for Round 5.

* for Morgan, there was the handicap of going 4th in 3 of the 1st 4 rounds. He had a similar strategy to Scott, and his key electorate as Rhein, which he used to introduce new barons for free in as many rounds as possible. He fretted that the turn order was preventing him from winning, but was in a strong enough position at the 5th round to win the last imperial election.

In the end, Clarissa and I (as emperor) passed (Clarissa's last card was Indulgence, IIRC, to take a VP for 2 Thalers), leaving Morgan and Scott to fight it out for the last few actions- a showdown they seemed to have expected and had at times tried to put off as much as possible. Morgan opted for the rival card, Scott and Clarissa voted with him (and earned themselves 1 VP for their troubles).

At the end, the scoring was Clarissa 25, Scott 25, Morgan 22, Kevin 15.

Clarissa won the tiebreaker 6 Thalers to 0.

It was great to try this game with the full slate of players, and see the shifting goals each player set as the game went along. It seemed at times to devolve to Kevin vs Clarissa in one region and Morgan vs Scott in another. My imperial strategy handicapped me in later rounds, where some muddled adding also led me to pursue a short-term goal that proved to be impossible to attain. But I was so far behind, it didn't matter.

Clarissa's victory was hard-earned- she spent most of the game (and it went for over 2 hours, with Meredith "helping") coping with a tired 2-year old who refused to go to bed. And it was just, since it was her game.

Daytona 500 had to be cancelled (poor Scott dragged it through 3 boroughs and in the pouring rain), because In the Shadow was longer than we planned, and everyone was getting too tired.

At least on Saturday, 3 of us get to join in a game of Civilization (Clarissa gets to work... Meredith gets to visit Grandma for the day).

-kl
 
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Charles F.
Germany
Berlin
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Re:Session Report
klarkinhistrep (#484081),

Hm, at least our German edition rules don't offer a tiebreaker. Not sure that I personally need one. Happy to share my 15 minutes of fame. But if I had to determine a tiebreaker, I'd go for a) endgame ownership of the electorates b) occupation of the throne c) amount of nobles present on the board.
 
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Kevin Larkin
United States
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Re:Session Report
charlesf (#485738),

I'm not sure, off the top of my head, that the English rules have a tiebreaker, either- the 6-0 Thalers tiebreaker was a consensus we reached without checking the rules.

-kl
 
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Kevin Larkin
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Re:Session Report
charlesf (#485738),

I'm not sure, off the top of my head, that the English rules have a tiebreaker, either- the 6-0 Thalers tiebreaker was a consensus we reached without checking the rules.

-kl
 
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