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Subject: Archery isn't everything rss

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Philip Thomas
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Following on from my rather embarrassing misreading of the rules a fortnight earlier (see, An Influence-Rich Game), I embarked on a 4 player game with three players who hadn’t played before: Scott, Tonio and Ian. The victory condition cards in play were Influence (Tonio) Cards (Scott), cubes in the Cathedral (Ian) and meeples on cards (me).
I drew Start player and, after explaining the rules, and examining began placing meeples. I ended up not getting any yellow dice, with 2 white and 2 red. In a related development Ian had 3 Yellow dice and 1 white. Tonio had 2 yellow, 1 white and 1 red and Scott had 2 white,1 red and 1 yellow. The Greys of course had the 2 remaining red dice, spots 1+2.

The cards were revealed as Archery (roll black dice, 3+s get you hits on event cards), Tithing (collect 1 Yellow die from each opponent for free to form a group of Yellow dice) and Journeyman (swap influence for deniers). The event deck got off to a flying start with heresy (everyone loses 2 influence).Ouch!

After seeing off the black dice, I paid 2 deniers for Tonio’s red 6 and slammed it straight into Archery, getting 2 hits off three black dice. The first round continued with several cubes being loaded into the Cathedral, Ian fighting the starting event with his yellow dice (Journeyman seeming unattractive given low influence levels) and my buying a yellow die and pushing Tonio out of the yellow building. Someone polished off Heresy and Scott and Tonio and me were able to pass out early while Ian continued for a round, getting us needed cash.
Turn 2 saw the cards Tax Collector (collect money from people in the Yellow building), Chivalry (turn one White die into 2 Red dice) and Blacksmith (boost a group of red dice by +5). The events were Succession Crisis, which kicked Scott out of the red building, and the one that makes everyone lose 3 deniers. Tonio had rolled a red six and a white six, and after much deliberation put the white six in the Cathedral. Of course, someone bought the red six from him. Not sure what else happened this round. Tonio pushed me out of one of my spots in the red building. The Cathedral continued to be popular.. Ian invested in the Blacksmith. Scott went into Archery, killing the 3 deniers event...everyone ended about the same time.

Turn 3 saw Captain (1 VP per event card you have a cube on, does not include completed events(?), Pilgrimage (use dice of any colours to get VPs, is free to enter but the divisor is 7 making it tough to get a good return) and Goldsmith (get VPs and Cash). Event cards saw Scott kicked out of the Grey and the Red building. Tonio invested in the Goldsmith, as did I. Scott collected some cash from everyone with Tax collector and Tonio kicked a grey meeple out the Red building. Scott also went into the Blacksmith. I bought some dice and went on Pilgrimage, and kicked Ian out of the yellow building..

In turn 4 the events kicked Tonio out of the red building and Ian out of the grey building and added a couple of cubes to two event cards, but they moved back in at my expense, bringing me down to 2 yellow dice and 1 white die. Scott finished off the event that was chucking people out of the grey building. Ian spectacularly failed his Archery (1 hit off 5 dice!), and Tonio joined the crowd at the Blacksmith. I was able to put a single white die into Tithing.

Turn 5 saw me as Start player again, up against 3 Black dice, which hurt both me and Scott (sitting next to me and having rolled three ones on his 1 white and 2 red dice). I was however able to recover a little with Tithing, putting the dice into the goldsmith. Having seen Tithing at work Ian also invested in it, and I became the last player to use the Blacksmith. All of us were using the Blacksmith against the events quite successfully. Tonio used Journeyman to get some cash form his influence.

In Turn 6 Ian was able to tithe into the Goldsmith while I scattered some arrows over the events. However, Tonio’s archery then finished off the events I had started, while Scott took the Captain slot, so I changed plans and went into Chivalry. But there were no white dice left by the time it got round to me again, so I went into Journeyman instead, making 1 influence into 6 gold. My influence had been low all game and lowering it would make no difference to the influence card , but if the deniers card was out there 6 deniers would make a difference… The others were mostly fighting events and finishing the Cathedral.

The final scores were Me 39 Scott 35 Tonio 35 Ian 29. I lost 2 VPs on the Cathedral and scored nothing for cubes in the Cathedral or influence, but got the full 6 VPs for meeples on cards. Scott had the 6 Vps for influence but was also hoping for the deniers card to be out there.

In retrospect Archery proved pretty disappointing given all the hype about it on the geek. Tithing was probably a better idea for the first turn, but neither I nor anyone else saw it. Journeyman proved unpopular due to low levels of Influence. Blacksmith and Goldsmith are strong, Pilgrimage seems weak (although useful for the meeples on cubes card).

Scott was definitely unimpressed with the game- he particularly disliked the randomness of what got victory points at the end. Ian said the game was a bit too complicated for what it was. Tonio had been complaining all the way through the game but I think that might just mean he likes it!meeple


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Zubbus O'Really
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It proves the value of activities are relative just like Le Havre and Dominion
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