Valdir Jorge
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Date: November 26th, 2005

Game: Maharaja

Players: George, Norman, Stephane and Valdir (myself)

The Montreal Boardgames Meetup Group usually only meets once a month, on the first Saturday, but this month one of the members called an extra meeting and ten people answered the call.

I was the first to arrive at our meeting place, there were no tables set up so I had to prepare two of them for my fellow gamers. George was the first to show up. A few minutes later Johnny came up from the ground floor to tell me that they were down there (sometimes we meet on the mezzanine, sometimes on the ground floor...). They all came up and we could start our day.

We were eight at this time, so we separated into two groups of four: one would play Princes of the Renaissance, the other would go with Maharaja, that I had set up while I waited for them.

George, Norman and Stephane joined me for some palace building in India, while Johnny, Pierre-Luc, Jean-François and Charles (a newcomer to the group) went on to fight in renaissance Italy.

I explained the rules to them and this time I think I didn't mangle the rules too much. The bit about the governor track change was a bit unclear in my mind but I showed them the picture in the rulebook and we were all happy with it. During the game the other players requested the rulebook a few times to confirm parts of the rules and it seems that everything was ok.

We chose randomly who would pick the character first and it ended up being me. I chose #4 for the cheap travel. George chose #5 for the extra house, Norman took #2 for the extra money and Stephane went for cheap building with #6.

The first city visited by the maharaja was Ahmadabad (the brown one on the lower left corner of the map). Norman forfeited his right to build a palace in there and built only houses. As I was second, I took the opportunity to build the central palace there and a house as well.

I won that first city and used the money to build my second palace right away. I think I built one palace in each of the first three rounds, putting me in the lead. But then I slowed down because I didn't have enough money and the others could do some catching up.

Stephane used the governor track change in the first two rounds to make his cities come up earlier than expected. Later in the game Norman did this governor track change twice in the same round, upsetting all my plans.

Delhi (the black city at the upper right corner of the board) was where I had two palaces. However that city was not scored at all. Due to this governor track changing by the other players, some cities where my presence was less important were scored twice in the game, while Delhi simply didn't get its chance. Darn!

Up to the end of the game I was leading, I was always one palace ahead of the others but then money got really tight for me and I slowed down so much that Stephane and George caught up with me by round 10 (Norman was farther behind and totally out of contention).

This last round was the most agonizing because the three of us knew what we had to do and depending on what the others did our plans could go down the drain.

The scoring in the last city was the tightest one and the most heatedly disputed. When it came to Norman's turn to move, he took character #3 (the one who gives you two VP's for each outer palace) from Stephane. Now, this was a critical move because Stephane was counting on this character to beat me at the last city and win the game. Before this last round he had done all the math and according to him he had all the chances of winning. Well, this was not counting on Norman's sneak attack...

In my turn I also had to do a character change. When I had chosen my actions, my idea was to take #6 to pay less for the palace, but during the round someone paid me two gold, bringing me to 13 pieces of gold, so I didn't need that character. Instead I stole #1 from Stephane to win the tie-break, won the last city and the game, as you can see below.

Final Score
Player: Palaces Money
Valdir: 7 13
Stephane: 7 11
George: 7 9
Norman: 6
If I had taken character #6, I would have saved three pieces of gold in building my last palace, but would have lost the tie break in the last scoring city, which would have cost me three pieces of gold, so I would have been even. Stephane, however, would have got three more pieces of gold, beating me by one. What a closely contested game!
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