Bill Sanders was eager to give Vinci a go as he'd read about our previous sessions of it. Bill has a strong wargame background, so I thought this one might appeal to him. I wasn't disappointed. We were joined in the struggle by Darren Arnold and John Moore.
Our games of Vinci are going faster and smoother, with the rules clarifications and errata compiled by Dan Blum being a tremendous help. The really fantastic thing about this game is that one can get a taste of History of the World, Civilization and even Britannia without the time investment required of these titles. Our games of Vinci are clocking in at around two hours with four players.
One of the paths I have attempted to take in this game is to concentrate on grabbing civilizations combinations which give extra victory points for holding certain territories (ports, mines, agriculture, etc.). I will eagerly scoop those which award 2 victory points, and/or those which remain in place even when an empire is in decline. I was fortunate enough to be able to grab several of these during the course of this game without having to expend many victory points. This helped me greatly.
I was very worried about Bill, whose initial empire included Agriculture and Medicine. Medicine, which grants an additional token each round (including the first) can be awesome if that player is not assaulted. Bill wasn't attacked early on and quickly overcame my quick start to grab the lead in rounds 3 and 4. Fortunately, he began being attacked, primarily by John, but eventually Darren and I as well. Plus, he held on to the empire just a turn or so too long, and this proved to be his demise.
John dug himself an early hole with the Astronomy and Espionage powers, which really weren't all that strong in the early rounds of the game. When he put that empire into decline in round 3, he then surrendered four victory points in order to grab the mining and forts power. Unfortunately, he chose to begin the empire in the middle of Bill's still powerful nation as if he had begun in the south, he would have been adjacent to his previous empire, which would have forced the removal of several of his tokens. It really was a no-win situation for him, and he suffered several defeats at the hands of Bill and also Darren. It was a hole he could never climb out of.
I used the powerful Mining / Agriculture combination to amass an impressive lead following round 5. I built upon this lead with the same nation, not placing it into decline until round 8. By the end of that round I was approaching victory:
Greg 94, Bill 87, Darren 81, John 80
Fortunately, I knew that all I had to do was earn a few more victory points with my next empire, using its Port / Mountaineering abilities, and hope that Bill wouldn't be able to expand too greatly. He wasn't, and coupled with Darren's confiscation of two of his previous empire's territories, Bill fell just short of catching me.
Greg 103, Bill 98, John 94, Darren 93
Ratings: Bill 9, everyone else 7