As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, now remain in my love. You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. -- Jesus Christ
Our gaming group played Colonial last night and had a good time.
Present: Rob R, Mark G(game owner), Alex V, Josh M, Bill T.
We started at 9:00 pm and spent about an hour and a half on rules reading and explanation, and musing out loud about the "flow" of counters and the possible consequences of certain actions. Once we all felt that we understood the mechanics and the reasons why you would take certain actions, we started.
Josh was start player, and set up shop in the Barbary coast. Bill rolled a 1 and failed to explore. I explored West Africa and went for gold. Rob rolled a 1 and failed to explore. Mark moved his progress marker.
Second round, Josh took a loan, Bill took a loan, Rob moved a progress marker, I explored Angola, and Mark took a loan.
Soon, I had a colony and a mission in Angola, although unrest had been sown in West Africa. Josh had a colony and a booming city in Barbary, and Mark had viceroyed into territories that Bill and Rob had finally explored after failing each an additional time to explore. I spent three card actions removing unrest, putting a mission, and viceroying goods into West Africa, with perhaps too-clear intent that I would put a colony there with my fourth card. Mark then viceroyed into West Africa, leaving me with a dead action with Conqueror since I didn't control all the goods anymore.
It was then that we had one of the game's defining moments. I decided that it would be better to use the Sovereign half of the Sovereign/Conqueror card to start a war with Mark, because otherwise I would have had to pass, and because I needed the colony to boost trader because I hadn't moved my economy marker up yet. Mark was incredulous that I would start a war, because it would clearly hurt both of us, but I told him that he had given me no choice as it would take my entire next set of turns to set up a new plan. He felt it was just tit-for-tat retaliation, so with feelings hurt (of our virtual generals, not the actual players) we went to war. He decimated my navy, but I bankrupted his treasury and was able to remove his goods. Since the defender has to surrender first (although we both would have had to), I won the war and the prestige token, and took start player, now having the most monopolies. This enabled me to place a colony immediately the next turn, and then I proceeded to trade all the goods others had moved to market, even though it gave everyone else money, and then I used that money to steal the booming city.
Fast forward to the endgame. Rob is in China, Bill has setup shop in Cuba, Josh has booming city back and is all over the place. I've been very careful to only explore territories where I wouldn't break monopolies, and so I'm tied with Rob on the second row of the diplomacy tier so no one but him can declare war on me, and my colonies are protected by missions, so no one can start a rebellion. However, I've got no logistics, no economy, no navy, so I'm relatively weak, but I've got seven prestige. Josh has six but a loan, Rob and Bill have four and a loan, Mark has four and three loans. I explore another territory and build a third colony and I have nine prestige. I should win next turn if I can just explore to get a tenth, but as a backup I viceroy into New England with Rob, and I move my economy up so I have a chance to grab the booming city back.
At this point there is open collusion around the table, with the consensus being that Rob must declare war on me. He does, and I find out that I performed an accidentally fortuitous action by viceroying into his territory. We play the land battle and I destroy his one marker in New England, so he will have to surrender next turn, giving me a tenth token and the win. His only chance is to beat both my navies with his five dice, causing me to also have to surrender, and being the defender I would surrender first. He rolls ...... one success!, and I win.
If I had lost, I would have been back down to eight prestige, with the other players posed to remove my missions and start sowing unrest. I think Josh would have taken the game at that point, although I still may have. We pack it up at about 1:30 am, so the game took about three hours after rules explanation.
An interesting and entertaining game, and the map is just so awesome. I'd be happy to play again. We did spend some time chatting about the game after, and noted that the Rob and Bill, who had each lost two exploration rolls early, were never really back in the game, and we wondered how that luck factored into the end result. More plays will shake out whether that was just a coincidence. We also noted that no except Mark had taken aggressive action against either Josh or my efforts to start colonies protected by missions, and perhaps that's what put us into contention for the win.
Very nice AAR. We played this three times at BGGCON. It was our favorite game of the con. Every game was close and involved the open diplomacy/colussion to gang up on the leader. Our games ran about 4 hours with six players. There are so many strategic nuances. You all touched on one and that is wars..when to declare and on whom. We also learned to keep unrest active in territories as well as players home countries. There are so many different paths to victory. You all are fortunate to have access to this great game.