After El Grande, I suggested that we pull out a Martin Wallace game. I suggested 3 of my favorites, and the rest of the group quickly agreed that Liberte should be the next on the table. Again, this game is listed among my favorites, and despite losing to the bloody Counter Revolution, I was happy to play!
As anyone who has played before knows, there are 3 victory conditions for this one. The first is the traditional "Most Victory Points" condition. This should be the most common victory condition, but it doesn't always play out that way. Simply put, if the game plays out to it's "normal" conclusion, the the player witht he most victory points will win.
The second is the "Radical Takeover" method. This Victory Condition occurs when the Radical faction of the government wins the election by a vast majority (if they get more than 16 votes). Both Michael and I seemed to be pushing for this ending, but weren't able to get Radicals into Paris after round 1. Because of this, we never got more than 12 or 13 possible votes.
The 3rd Victory Condition, and the one that carried the day this time, is the Royalist Counter-Revolution. This Condition takes effect if, at any point, the Royalist faction of the government controls 7 or more specified regions on the map. To make a long story short, I miscounted the number of regions controlled, and Bruce & Josh were able to cooperate to get the regions under the control of the Royals. Josh controlled more of the Royals than Bruce, and therefore edged out a victory.
The balance in this game is really very interesting. Because of the alternate Victory Conditions of the game, even players who are clearly out of contention for the "Victory Point" route to the win are able to push ahead for a win. In the case of this game, Michael Josh & I appeared to be in close competition for the best position to win with Victory Points. Bruce, however helped to force an endgame whereby he almost pulled out the win (and in fact he likely would have won if he had forced the Counter-Revolution by himself rather than giving Josh a chance to squeeze himself in). It means that you are never completely out of contention for the win, and it means that the obvious leaders have to be very careful to not let people gain control with the Royals or the Radicals. Fun Stuff!
Liberte is Martin Wallace almost at the top of his game. It's a strong 9 for me, and just might move up in the future.