Finally, the Advanced Civ. game concluded, and Clyde, Mike, Jerry and Steven departed for home. John swung over and joined Lenny, Jason and I for a game of Palermo, a little known title released by Piatnik.
I first played this game while visiting Mark Jackson in Nashville. I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, the game is fairly light, but I found it to be a fun experience. So much so that I sought out a copy for myself. None of my opponents had played before and they were all amenable to giving it a try.
The idea of the game is that players represent mafioso 'heavies', collecting protection money from various businesses and scurrying back to their home base. Players earn points in a fairly strange manner. Each movement point they have remaining when they reach one of their businesses earns them a point. So, this would seem to reward a player moving slowly and in an inefficient manner so as to have as many movement points remaining when he reaches a business. Yes, but players are also encouraged to speed their way back to their home base. Once a player reaches his home base, he earns 5 extra points for each turn at least one opponent has not yet made it back to the base. So, the game does force a player to manage his movement carefully, yet at the same time make sure he gets back to base quickly.
The first phase of the game is the construction of the town. Players take turns placing businesses onto the board. Tiles depict an aerial view of businesses. The main placement rule is that each tile must connect to a previously laid tile, but is free to turn the building depicted in whatever manner desired. If a building ends by reaching the edge of the board, then the next player can begin a new business anywhere on the board.
When a player places a tile, he marks it with a chip of his color to indicate that this is one of his protected businesses. A player must visit all businesses marked by his chips before returning home. Thus, players should attempt to place their business tiles in such a fashion as to make movement easy and quick, forming efficient paths and avoiding back-tracking.
Once the town is formed, players begin moving their pawns. Each player begins with 3 movement points and gains one movement point each time he visits one of his businesses. As mentioned, players earn victory points based upon how many unused movement points they have when they reach each business.
Players can interfere with the movement of their opponents by the placement of their police token. Before moving his pawn, a player may place his police token anywhere on the board, except it cannot be placed adjacent to another player's police token. When a player moves his token over a police token, he loses one additional movement point. Nothing tragic, but it certainly does cause a small degree of frustration.
The game ends once all players have visited each of their 'protected' businesses and returned home. Of course, the player with the most victory points is victorious. This isn't a Knizia game, so the victory points are pretty straight-forward!
I managed to be the first player to reach home and enjoyed three full turns there before the final player, Jason, staggered home. My bonuses were just enough to carry me to victory:
Greg 43, Jason 40, Lenny 38, John 26
Ratings; Jason 7, Greg 6, Lenny 6, John 5