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Subject: RTEAM Gamers play Siena rss

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Don, Curtis, John W., Bill and I played Siena. Bill made the comment that it was "opaque". Joe watched us play for a few minutes and could not figure out what was going on. Still I think everyone enjoyed themselves, despite John's blowing the game by spending too much money in an auction at game end.

The game is inspired by a 1338 A.D. fresco of the town of Siena, Italy. In fact, the board is a copy of the fresco (reason #1 for why the game seems opaque is that there are no markings on the fresco itself so the game doesn't have an intuitively obvious board). During the game players progress from peasant to merchant to banker (reason #2 for opacity is that players at each level play the game differently). Peasants can only produce goods and sell certain types of goods for money. Merchants can sell different types of goods and can also choose to take victory points instead of money. Bankers move around the city doing deals to get money which they can parley into points, all the while avoiding money grubbing beggars and courtesans. At game end, if you are not a banker you automatically lose.

The game started out low key as I was the only one who had played before, and then, only once. I took a hit early while trying to sell some goods on the Via Frangecina(sp) during which I was bedeviled by bandits and lost out on a lot of money. Curtis and John were making the most money and were the first to jump to Merchant status. Don, Bill and I were really holding back since with lessened competition for peasant goods we stood a chance of making more money with the two of them gone.

John made a vast sum of money at one point. As I recall he did this by selling both cloth and spices and making a trip to Frirenze. He jumped up to being a banker while still pulling down some points by wowing the Senesi (town counsel) with an impressive donation. Curtis followed John's jump to banker but didn't quite make enough money to get any points out of it.

I decided to make the jump to Merchant about this time thinking my money level would put me in last place (and thus first position) for next turn, but then Bill also made the jump to Merchant and had less money than I did so he scored big on some cloth and spices goods that I was hoping to cash in on. I stayed merchant for a few turns, long enough to sell some spices and make a trip to Firenze to score some big money (and points) in the foreign market.

Curtis fell for several femmes fatale at the inn and was out a lot of money, but he started the first auction for an Artista card. Soon John also started an Artist auction. Don was making vast amounts of money as a peasant (being the only one) but peasants don't make any points so he jumped on the merchant and soon the banker band wagon. Bill and I were soon to follow each of us auctioning off artists. Curtis managed to build two levels of the Torre de Mangia. Don and John each had built one.

The game was running down. About this time John spent way too much money on a special card auction and was left without being able to do anything. I spent a lot of money to win an artist auction worth 7 points. This left Bill with almost 3 times as much money as his closest competitor so he won the next artist auction for a song. Don refused to pay the beggar and was punished with a reputation for stinginess. The game was ending so Bill and I hurriedly made donations to the church for a few points.

Bill turned out to be the winner having scored on Senesi cards and Artist auctions. Curtis came in second due to his contributions to the Torre de Mangia. I was in third thanks to my 7 valued Artista card. Don's stinginess put him in forth. John's lack of auction skills put him in last place.

Overall a fun thematic game that I would like to play again.
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