A fan of new Knizia games
One of Pat's requested games - we got one in for him! Pat has been looking for a copy of this, but boy, we cured him of that! A new game to Pat and Craig (Greg had to leave), and we warned both newbies several times that there was no point planning anything, just get set for a chaotic ride!
And initially, that didn't eventuate. For the first two ages, Sweden prospered. Despite being thumped by Prussia in our first war (which cowardly Craig didn't fight in), Sweden easily won her next two or three wars and every fief on the board that could be owned was owned.
Strategies were basically commercial from Roger, commercial from Pat, land ownership from Doug and Craig (who we noticed was buying all the fiefs that didn't have troops!), and a mixed strategy from Janet.
On the last stretch it indeed looked like we would finally score status points that the rulebook hints are possible in the game (usually 2 status points wins with us!). However, with a few turns to go we were brutally beaten in a war with Russia, losing the Finnish fiefs along with Estonia from the game. That hit Doug hard, who was suddenly down to 1 fief. One war later and Doug was fief-less, and the others were starting to struggle as well.
With two turns to go, the event cards began flying around the table, hitting players left, right and centre. Craig went from owning half the fiefs in the game to owning 3 in the last two turns. Doug had a palace burnt down, in short it was hit and be hit.
The final straw was the final turn when Doug played "Winds of War" right after his action phase to shut the other players out for the turn - much to the displeasure of Craig!
Scores: Roger: 5 (mainly through merchants and cultural personalities)
Doug: 5 (5 Palaces, crowns, and 3 merchants)
I think I may have played my last game of this. I certainly enjoyed playing it, but it always seems to break down in the final few turns. There definitely needs to be some sort of "1 event card per turn" rule. At least we saved Pat some money :)
That ended a quiet, but enjoyable, evening.