A Derk appears from the mists...
George, Elizabeth, Neil, Derk
The rest of us were having quite a difficult time trying to decide what to play next. About the only thing we could all agree on was that we had no interest in playing Robo Rally! Neil was pulling for Anno 14xx, but I wasn’t really anxious to give it try after the reactions I’ve seen to the game (I envisioned shades of Mare Mediterraneum rules fixes or a totally random ending after hours of fiddling with the admittedly nice bits). George, as per usual, wanted to play Reiner games until his brain seized up. Elizabeth wanted to play a new game, which is a refreshing sentiment coming from the female quadrant. And for myself, I was kinda pulling for either Ursuppe or Giganten. In the end George won, mostly by the virtue of Ra’s short playing time. George explained the rules to the others, with some help from Tim’s shouted corrections from the other room, and we began.
After George’s rule summary, I felt the need for a couple strategy tips. I tried to tell everyone not over-value their bidding tiles, because the round almost always ends before everyone’s really ready for it. The first round, Elizabeth shot out to a quick lead with some nice purchases, followed closely by my decent, if mundane, performance. Meanwhile, Neil and George were angling for a game of chicken. I knew that Neil would be keen to try his hand at this part of the game, because of his overriding tendency to want to get the highest return value for resources spent. And, predictably, he got totally iced in the first round with a score of negative something or another. George didn’t score negatively, but he wasn’t real positive either.
The second epoch saw Elizabeth again snag a bunch of Nile tiles and monuments tiles and pharaoh tiles! It was insane, because she appeared to be leading in every aspect of the game. After my last couple attempts at this game, I had chosen to take a monument approach because the payout seemed very good, especially in relation to the value of the bids in the early epochs. George came storming back in this second round by winning a bunch of Nile tiles. And good old Neil did much better in this epoch too. The round seemed to last for forever because the Ra tiles didn’t appear until very late in the round.
When the third epoch started I just assumed that Elizabeth would take the game. Up to this point, she’d been able to dominate most aspects of the tile collections, and even her monument collection rivaled my own very respectable collection. But I was able to nab some very nice additions to my monuments, which would give me the big bonus for having one of each type. When the round finally ended with George and Neil forced into playing chicken yet again to make up the point differentials, I figured that Elizabeth’s performance in the last two rounds would prevail over the points that I would score in this round. It was close, but I was able to pull it off (just barely) on the strength of my monuments.
Derk: 63, Elizabeth: 62, Neil: 26, George: 19
Ok, it’s a decent game. It plays fairly tight on the whole, once players know what to expect from the game. But for what it is, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I guess I don’t mind playing the game, it’s far too short for me to hate it outright (just grit your teeth and it’ll be over soon). I dunno. Admittedly I’m not a huge fan of the second tier Reiner games, and I’m certainly less thrilled with them than Drew and George’s borderline obsession with the man’s games. Will I play this again? Probably. Will I have a decent time? Probably. Will I ever buy this game? Probably not. About the only reason I think I would ever consider purchasing it would be to place it on the shelf next to Chinatown to complete Alea bookshelf-end numbering system.