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Subject: Late night with lessons learned rss

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Jim Leesch
United States
Buffalo Grove
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Four of us were up to burn the midnight oil at the past meeting of the Elgin Eagles game group, so we (Chris, Todd, Lew, and me) took out Louis. Of the four of us, only Todd had never played.

After a rules session, We dove right in. Turn order for the first turn was Chris, Todd, Lew, and me. The first round went as you would expect, with Chris and me knocking out two missions (our starting ones), Todd getting one, and Lew making the first mistake of the game. Lew went after the wrong chits during the influence phase, so none of the three that were infront of him allowed him to complete a mission. All of Chris' and my missions allowed for placing general pool influence markers on the portraits during the influence phase.

In the second round, Lew made up for his first round by getting 6 mission chits, and fulfilling three missions. I fulfilled two hard missions, including the uber-wild card (place 4 anywhere on the board with any influence card). See my comments at the end about this particular mission. In the second round, I made it a point to get Mazarin's extra influence card. (See below about this idea as well.)

In the third round, I was building the momentum I needed to win the game handily. Todd and Lew had fallen behind in missions, and Chris did not have quite as good a set of mission powers as I did. Here was where I made the mistake that could have cost me the game. In an attempt to get an even better power to take into the last round, after completing my first mission, I took a middle level mission instead of an easy one. It had the one combination of chits that made it impossible for me to fulfill another mission in the round. Todd and Lew fell even further behind in missions. At this point, Lew and Todd had significantly more shields than Chris or I (my only two had just arrived due to my miscalculation with missions).

In the final round, I was the starting player, but I also had Mazarin's extra card from round 3, and a mission that I used to trade an influence marker for another. I was able to get all 7 available chits in the round, making it possible for me to perform 4 missions to end the game. My final total was 9 missions, Chris had 6, and Todd and Lew finished with 5 a piece.

Todd's idea of getting the shield lead earned him 4 bonus points, but Chris also earned 4. I got a cheap bonus point as well. Final scores:

Jim - 50, Chris - 47, Todd - 42, Lew - 32.

I have played this game half-a-dozen times now, and I have two observations. First is that of all 30 missions, the hard mission that allows the player to turn a mission card into the super-wild card is by far the best. My concern is that it may be so good as to unbalance the game. My other observation is that of the "outside" portraits (ones that do not provide mission chits), perhaps the 11 (Mazarin) is the most usefull. Having the ability to go last in the second and third rounds gives a player a larger advantage than just about any of the other "outside" portrait would.
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