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Subject: Mesopotamia - Session Report rss

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Greg Schloesser
United States
Jefferson City
TN
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I’ve just about had enough. I’m really sick and tired of companies using my physique on the front of game boxes without giving me credit or sending me royalty checks. I’ve worked hard (well, OK … not at all!) to achieve this body, and I feel I should be compensated when my image is used by game companies. The final straw came when they used a sketch of my physique for the Mesopotamian god Marduk on the cover of the game. Have they no shame?

Yeah … I know: I’m dreaming. I haven’t had such a physique since … well, never actually. But enough of my dreams, let’s talk about the game itself. Mesopotamia is the latest from designer Klaus-Jurgen Wrede, whose repertoire continues to grow since his immensely popular Carcassonne was released upon the world. Set in the ancient world, players must explore the area, erect huts and holy places, and ultimately make offerings to their god, Marduk (who we affectionately called “Marmaduke”). The first to make all four offerings becomes the favored tribe of Marduk.

Mesopotamia has an “open” system in that players have wide latitude and freedom in choosing their actions and strategies. This can be a bit daunting at first, as there seems to be SO many options. And there are, and often these options compete for attention. You want to use your tribes to grab wood to build huts so you can get your offerings onto the board. At the same time you need Mana, so you need to use tribes to grab rocks to help construct the temple. Yet, you also need those rocks and tribes to help erect holy places. However, you also need new tribes, so it is important to gather them together so they can procreate. There are so many things one needs to accomplish, and they all cannot be satisfied at the same time. Wow! Sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?

I must admit that our 3-player game seemed not as tense. There wasn’t much interference with each other’s actions or plans, and the game seemed to move along without too much tension. Playing with four players is certainly tighter, and more competitive. Further, with experience, players will better understand how to use their actions to not only further their plans, but interfere with those of their opponents as well.

So far, I’m enjoying Mesopotamia. It is the type of game that I usually enjoy tremendously. It hasn’t reached the level of greatness yet, but it does hold promise that it might reach those lofty heights.

Rhonda, Gail and I scurried about constructing huts, erecting holy places and populating the countryside. I made a few quick stone deliveries to help construct the temple, thereby increasing my Mana capacity. I was also the first to make an offering, followed soon thereafter by Rhonda. Gail concentrated on constructing her huts, but fell behind on the Mana scale and was unable to make offerings until late in the game. We only experienced one resource theft, and that was at my hands. Gail was prepared to deliver a stone to the temple, but I muscled the resource from her and made the delivery myself.

I was able to remain ahead on the Mana scale, and used a card on the final turn to move some resources to advantageous locations. This allowed me to deliver a stone to the temple, giving me the final Mana I needed to make my final offering.

Finals: Greg 4, Rhonda 3, Gail 2

Ratings: Gail 7.5, Rhonda 7.5, Greg 7
 
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