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Subject: First play with 5 players rss

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Thomas Franke
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We (Bodo, Rene, Stefan, Eddy an me) decided to give this Essen release a first try on our weekly gaming session. We were all playing more or less for the first time. (More or less because Bodo had played in Essen, but with terribly wrong explained rules: e.g.: no favor after each castle building phase, no replacement of buildings by residential buildings etc.).

The explanation of the rules took about 15 min., the actual game lasted about 2:45 h. However, we played only 10 rounds, which is on the lower end of the 9-18 round scale. So we got the impression, that the game could last substantially longer.

Everybody in the game played a rather mixed strategy, not concentrating too much on castle building, house building or favors.

The scoring of the dungeons came surprisingly early (as the bailiff moved quickly), so Rene, Stefan and Eddy had to take the penalty for not building in the castle at all. On the other side, the carpenter and the mason were built very early, along with many production buildings.

The lawyer came into play exceptionally late (I assume): I built it on the site after the goldmine. In the following rounds, Rene, Bodo and I managed to build residences and also the first architect was installed.

However, Bodo, who jumped to the architect in order to build his first prestige building, was prevented from doing so by a combined effort to move back the provost. In the same round, the second architect was installed by Eddy, who sat in position two for the next (and final) round, in order to ensure, he could place there. However, Eddy had forgotten, that he did not even possess a residential building in the first place.
Therefore, Bodo sitting on position three took saw his second chance to place on the architect. In the final round, Bodo, who was hit by the provost movement in the round before, suffered the same fate again with the worker he placed on the architect. So only one prestige building (for 12 points) was built in the whole game (by Rene).

I was able to mine for gold and build three batches of the castle in the final round, gaining the favor for this round and reaching the threshold of four in order to gain an additional 2 favors when the towers were scored.

The final tally showed, that it was indeed a very close game, with three players tied at 58 points:

Rene: 58
Eddy: 58
Me: 58
Bodo: 53
Stefan: 49

If he had not been shut out of using the architect twice in a row, Bodo surely would have won, trailing only 5 points after the "winners" as it were.

All in all, it was a really tense game (that left me with a headache).
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