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Subject: Session Report rss

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Dave Kohr
United States
San Jose
California
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(LarryS, *Gordon*, MattC, Rick)

Rick: "Three of us had never played before. We modified the rules by not enforcing VP penalties for drawing Scorpion cards. As I was one of the new players, I'm not sure how this affected things. I was the only one to get a 24-point bonus at the end, but to no avail as I tied for last place. Larry seemed to be winning for most of the game with a big pile up of purple pieces in the center of the board that scared everyone. I'd say Gordon helped in the group perception of Larry as the leader, i.e. the place one never wants to be. As a result there was a general group effort to stop the purple with the eventual result that Larry was tied with me for last and Gordon won."

Gordon; "This game is rather abstract. Each player gets pieces of 3 shapes in their color. The board consist of 10 areas, with 2 side-by-side in the middle, the other 8 around them. A pool of pieces is created by mixing 4 pieces of each shape from each player. Pieces are randomly drawn from the pool to seed the board. Each outer space receives 1 piece per player in the game. The 2 center spaces receives 2 pieces per player. Each space also contains a small deck of [shuffled] cards. One of the ancestor figures is placed in one of the center space, one of the elder figures is placed in the other center space. Each player also receives 2 cards from the ritual deck plus a double ritual card. Randomly select one player to receive the other Ancestor figure [and the boomerang which serves as the first player marker] and another player the other Elder figure. We were playing with 2 out of the 3 advanced rules [1: the double ritual cards given one per player rather than shuffled in the ritual deck. 2: scorpions don't sting, normally the player who draws/reveals a scorpion loses victory points equal to the number of players who are behind them in victory points.] [the other advanced rule is to remove 2 ritual initiation cards from each area deck and give each player 2 of them]. There is a scorpion [time] track with three regions of 4 spaces each. The game ends after the current round when the scorpion reaches the last space on the scorpion track.

The play proceeds in rounds, the holder of the ancestor reveals the top card in each space where necessary, if a scorpion is revealed, advance the scorpion marker and reveal next card in that space. The holder of the elder receives one card from the ritual deck. Each player, starting with the holder of the ancestor, takes a face up card from one of the spaces and performs the action associated with the card. There are cards corresponding to each of the shapes which allows you to place a piece of the corresponding shape in that space and you then must either place 2 additional pieces of that shape in any combination of spaces on the board , draw 2 ritual cards, or one of each. There are cards showing 3 pieces of all three shapes which allows you to place 3 pieces of any one shape in any combination of spaces on the board. There are cards showing 4 rectangles which requires the player to draw 4 cards form the ritual deck. Finally there are the cards which trigger rituals. The elder card requires the player to take possession of the elder figure from its current holder and to move the elder figure on the board to an adjacent space, triggering a ritual there. The ancestor card similarly requires the player to take possession of the ancestor figure and move ancestor figure on the board to an adjacent space, triggering a ritual there. The ancestor and elder card requires the player to take possession of both figures and to move both figure on the board to the space the card was taken from.

Scoring: At the end of the game points are awarded for collected the most cards in a shape. For each shape, the player(s) with the most cards of that shape gets 8 points. During the game players receive points from rituals.

Rituals are performed in a space. Participants of a ritual is always only those players who currently have pieces in that space. [When your last piece in the space is removed by another player during the ritual, you are no longer a participant.] Starting with the holder of the ancestor and working clock-wise, each participant may pass [passing also removes you from the ritual] or play one ritual card do one of the following: a) remove an opponent's piece matching the shape on the card in the ritual space, b) move one of his pieces matching the shape on the card to/from the ritual space from/to an adjacent space. When all participants have passed, victory points are awarded for each shape to the player with the most pieces of that shape in the ritual space. Ties are broken by closeness to the ancestor. The number of points depends upon the type of card used to trigger the ritual and the 'time' region the scorpion is on.

For most of the game I had a slight lead in points. However Larry and Matt were dominating most of the spaces on the board, Rick was scooping up the shape cards (good for a 24 point bonus at the end). I felt my long term prospects were very poor. The space best for me only contained 2 of my pieces making for a very fragile position. Fortunately for me, noone decided to contest me for that space! Towards the end, everyone else spent all their ritual cards and I hadn't (can't spend your cards if you don't have pieces there). That was the difference because I managed to score for all 3 shapes in the last ritual for the win, edging out Matt.
 
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