A Derk appears from the mists...
George, John, Derk
Ken still hadn’t showed up, and Neil had called to say he was having car troubles and probably wouldn’t be joining us. Oh well, we decided to hit another classic and brought out this Alan Moon title. After some initial problems remembering all the rules and a brief run-in with the Domino’s pizza guy, we started. I decided to use the Union Pacific rule that allows players to play a single piece of stock of two different types, as this seemed like it would make the sabotage rule much less influential.
My initial hand was unbelievably bad: my route cards were a two, three and five. So while the others each established an airline for the first couple turns, I was only able to start one, the HIT. After George started the CAL, I was able to dump several of my unusually crappy cards onto this airline. It worked out fairly well, at least at first. No one would be able to take a convincing lead in the hunt for CAL stocks for the first two scoring rounds. John had started the FIS and was doing pretty well with it adding several tokens to the central part of the map. And George was doing about the same for the DDL. Both of these suited me well enough, as I had a couple pieces of stock for each. But not being the initiator for few airlines put me in a rotten position: I could up the stock ante in either airline, but my majority would be short-lived, if I tried to go head-to-head with both of them. So I continued to add to my HIT, hoping that I’d be able to capture a couple more pieces of each type of stock to make the play harder to answer. As is to be expected, pushing the ‘wertung’ envelope too hard is just inviting fate to mess with you. And I got hammered hard in the first scoring round.
John: 22, George: 16, Derk: 7
I suddenly had pretty good luck with the stock cards, and attempted takeovers in both DDL and FIS. This touched off several stock turns, as each of us tried to top the other. Eventually we exhausted our stock supply and switched back to expansion again. I added to my HIT company a couple of times. George had a strangle hold on the GAP, and it was turning into a major airline. And John was adding several to both FIS (which he’d be able to retain control of) and ITA. However, I’d been saving up ITA stock from the beginning of the game, and played enough stock to take the lead rather convincingly. Very soon after, the second ‘wertung’ card showed up (score for the round is in parentheses).
John: 43(21), George: 39(23), Derk: 34(27)
After a very good showing, I was back in the game. Sorta. George continued adding to the GAP, and had secured majority in it. I continued adding tokens to ITA, thinking that helped me the most as both George and John were tied in second and hopefully the third and final ‘wertung’ would come up shortly. John had also secured a lead in the FIS, which didn’t do me any good. But the game would be decided by control of the CAL. Up to this point, each of us had been tied in the CAL, so the points had been a wash. But George was able to nab a couple pieces of CAL stock and quickly took the lead. Combined with another couple ITA stock cards to give him second place stockholder, this translated into a fourteen-point turn around, and would place George in the lead for good. Predictably, George had a huge scoring round (virtually doubling his score from the previous two rounds) and a convincing win.
John: 68(25), George: 77(38), Derk: 60(26)
<em>John: A decent little game that introduced me to the light "railroad" type of game, which I have since experienced to much greater satisfaction in Union Pacific. Since the game has not been played by the group as a whole, I'll save the rating on it until later. Rating: 4</em>