Bernie Meyer writes:
Players: Debbie, Tina and Bernie
A new one to Debbie and Tina, so I went through explaining it. I threw in a fair number of "what seems to have been a good strategy in previous games" kind of hints, and boy was I going to regret that....
Things started typically slow, with everyone just grabbing little dukedoms all over the board. The 30's island once again hosted two players (Bernie and Tina), with the even-numbered opposite bank being controlled by the third (Debbie). After a while, Tina actually managed running out of dukes and had to use one from another colour --- alas, it wasn't to last, in the immediate next turn, I took over one of her 7 mini-dukedoms.
And then things suddenly started to go all wrong for me. Debbie managed to grab the archbishop card (she had done so earlier, but lost it before her next turn as both Tina and I went level). If I remember correctly, I had a little dukedom on areas 51 and 53, with a 3 city in there. So Debbie went and converted my knight on 53, and I was grinningly telling her "well, I can just reinforce over to 49, and you can't, becasue there is no 55". She looked rather dejected at that realization, and so I did it --- only for Debbie to play the 49 card on her next turn and take my brand new knight away. ARGH. Call her "Ms Pokerface"....
But my worries weren't over. Tina had played a single knight on 54, and had neglected to reinforce it with a second one. So when I drew the 52 card, I gleefully played it, locking in her single knight without any chance of reinforcement, while I had several spaces to reinforce to (50,48 etc). What happens? Tina just happens to have the 50 card, locks in my poor knight, and takes the dukedom. Uh-oh, there was my whole game going down the drain. I guess I had it coming, though.
Once again, the end came as a surprise (as in "what, you have only one tile left? But I still need two turns to complete my insidious plans...."), and the last turn was actually along the lines of "Well, can't do anything useful, so I'll just play any odd card" for all players. Scores were rather higher than usual, as there had been relatively few dukedom-fusions. I think Tina ended up with 6 and Debbie with 5 dukes on the board.
Scores (final, plus held in hand):
Tina: 39 + 19 = 58
Debbie: 48 + 4 = 52
Bernie: 27 + 8 = 35