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Die Seidenstraße» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session Report rss

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Having finally got the English card translations printed off, I thought it was about time we played one of my birthday presents. It’s a race game, at base; heading from Xi’an to Venice along the Silk Road. But it isn’t (necessarily) who gets home first who wins; it’s who gets home richest. There are places along the way where you can pick up silver, according to your position, and there are also “bazaars” you can hold, which earn money depending on how many have passed (some are played by the players, some are “dummy” ones that turn up in the deck. Movement is controlled by cards, but there is an unusual and clever mechanism; a card you have played to move stays face-up in front of you, and once you have three cards face up, you can’t play any more - you have to pass cards to other players for them to use (immediately, then the card is discarded). It’s made more complex by the fact that you can’t pass to just anyone - only two players are “eligible” on any given turn - and many of the cards can have different effects depending on where you are in the “race”, so some are much better if you’re at the back, others if you’re at the front, others if you’re in a “group” together. It takes a bit of getting used to (particularly with looking up card translations) but the mechanism is clever. People drop behind, but tend to catch up again, partly because there’ll generally be a tendency for good cards to be passed on to people who aren’t seen as challenging for the lead. It’s sometimes difficult, however, to decide whether a good position on the “race” board or the scoring track is what really matters…

It played fairly smoothly, there’s a reasonable amount of luck (if you’ve got bad cards there isn’t much you can do except hope other people will “take pity” on you and pass on good ones!) but there’s some decision-making to be made. It was also pretty tight, with only two points in it at the end. I was put in the unfortunate position of “kingmaker” on my turn - having to pass a card on to someone, and who I chose would determine who won. I tried to be fair and pass it on so as to cause a tie between Robin and Tim - but in fact we’d miscounted, so Tim got the solo win. I was, inevitably, in last place (despite being the one who crossed the line), in particular because I missed out when two of the bazaars were played and then never got the chance to play mine (it’s only worth playing when you’re in the lead, and I’d fallen behind).

It will be played again. Once I’ve numbered the cards so as to make looking them up easier!
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