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Elasund: The First City» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 4 Player First Time rss

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J Castellucci
United States
San Rafael
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Our group is recovering CCGers, and has sort of drifted apart some. Tim introduced us to a few "eurogames" and that sparked our interest. I made a huge online order and had 20lbs of games arrive via FedEx Saturday afternoon (based on reviews and ratings here on BGG), just in time to read the rules and familiarize myself with the games in time for the four of us -- Tim, Quyen, Denise and John (me) -- to have a huge slug out on Superbowl Sunday. We wound up playing Alhambra, Ra, Ticket to Ride: Europe, Tigris & Euphrates, Elasund, Runebound and Titan: The Arena (individual reports submitted for each game).

5. Elasund

We had all played Settlers of Catan at some point in the last 10 years, but it'ts never been a huge favorite. I would say out of us, I am the most opposed, and I'm definitely in the too much luck in Catan club. One of these days, we'll have to play it with a dice deck and see if it's less aggravating. Having read the reviews of Elasund, it seems that while it still has the lucky dice problem, the overall effect of the luck is minimized by allowing more people to get on the 5-9 squares, and also the tile combat allowing you to knock out someone.

The best way to sum up our game is by explaining the individual players and how they played their game. Quyen made a crucial early mistake and built his Shopkeeper (vertical 1G) on 11/12 (Windmill). I don't think he built a single public building during the game, instead concentrating on the Walls, where he got all 9 of his Wall tiles out (6 for 2G, and 3 for 4G). He fueled his wall building by opting for 2G over Permit placing and trading in sets of Influence for 2G. He Pirated a little, but without permits on the board, he was unable to effect the game much.

Denise's plan was build, build and build some more. After her Workers and Shopkeepers builds, she got out a Merchant on 6/8 by the Wall -- this generated her a ton of Gold during the game, and we foolishly never attacked it, and this gold fueled her eventual victory. She did build 3 Walls for a Tower VP, but her real victory was through Market Stands and Windmills. When she got to 7VP on the board, she built the first Church square going up to 8VP, planning to win in 2 turns by amassing 14G, but also cashed in Influence to place a building permit on a coastal Windmill allowing her for a quicker victory with a Well and her 3rd Trade VP on her next turn.

I played pretty much a building based strategy, but due to the dice rolls, I didn't get out an early Merchant, and when I did get it out, it wasn't in a primo location. I also played my Permits aggressively, and learned the lesson that unless you are battling for real estate, building over your own 2 Permit is just a waste of gold. Whenever possible, I tried to build over other players buildings, which probably hurt me a little, because I waited on a Merchant to nail someone's Gold Shopkeeper (I did this twice during the game). I got a few Windmills, but never got to the 2 VP marker on the Trade Track.

Tim didn't realize you could use opponent's Building Permits at first, and this set him back a turn or two. Tim used a diverse strategy, with a few buildings, some Wall and a couple of Windmills. Tim also did an aggressive build of the Town Hall to clear the center of the board of some money/card generating buildings, but it came back to bite him as he was almost always caught by the Pirates. Between the cards lost to Pirates and the gold he spent (and could have generated if he had built a Merchant instead) he was really having trouble by the end of the game.

By the time Denise was really threatening the game, we didn't have the Gold/Influence/Permits to stop her. Since this was our first play, we were mainly interested in getting the rules down, and learning the basic interactions. It seemed to us that Gold was more useful than Influence, but again, since we were more building than fighting, and Influence allows for more aggressive play in Permits. Also, not contesting builds on Windmills let Denise amass too many extra points -- I think that once someone starts getting in the 6-7 VP range, you will need to attack them before they can steamroll a victory.
 
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Tim Wong
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San Francisco
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As an addendum to John’s report, I’ll give some insight into my line of thought for my strategy as well as thoughts on the game.

Tim says: Blasted Catan! I, along with John, dislike Catan because of the gains that can be made through a short run of luck. 4 (produce). 4 (produce) 4(produce) 4 (groan)… This game shares the same luck factor, but at least there are some more things to do. Though in the end, he who rolls best wins game. I was fairly crippled (though not as much as the gimpy Quyen who decided that 11 and 12 were good production squares… Comon Boxcars!) because of the strange permit playing rules. Though all had no clue what we were doing, I found myself being pwned over and over again due my ignorance of the permit rules and the evil pirate. We should be able to hire ninjas to kill that flea bitten rat.



For the most part, the building “bombing” seems to be an interesting mechanic, though I don’t know how easy it is to do. I can see how the influence cards can be used to throw permits places, but doing it can get fairly, Obvious. Perhaps as we get better at this game, the permit playing part of the game will turn into a go-like affair, with people jockeying for position.



John: Ill play my 0, Me: I’ll pay 1 to place my 1 next to your 0. John: I’ll play my 4 next to your 1. Me: I’ll discard some stuff and move my 4 a bit down, under your 0, but far enough from your 4 to build my 4 block building and smash the two victory points you have. John’s out of cards, so he can’t do anything else. Me: **reach to build a building, but find I ran out of money fighting John**. Denise just plays a well for the win. Quyen, well… he just builds walls and draws money instead of permits because he is still waiting for boxcars to show up.



So certainly there is a bit more strategy to this game than settlers, as there is the go’ish aspect of placement and the zen of playing buildings to create economy, though it does suffer from the fact that you can no longer make fun of people who yell out “wood for sheep!” More time at the table will tell whether the strategy elements of this game will offset the catan luck factor, or whether it will either be eschewed for a game that is more strategy based like Puerto Rico or just simply the same Settlers of Catan that everyone besides John and I seems to know and like.



WOOD FOR SHEEP! WOOD FOR SHEEP!

 
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Denise Castellucci
United States
San Rafael
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Denise here.

Again, I didn't have the chance to read the rules so I just followed the 4 steps on my card which basically says to build and place permits.
I did really well staking out some sweet spots in the 8th and 9th row.
A short glance at the rules did impart the significance of windmills. So, from the very beginning, I wanted to stake a claim on the windmills. At first opportunity I put permits on windmills.

With a steady supply of gold, I started buying cheap walls and building on row 1 windmills. I bought one tile of the church, but never really got the chance to do more.

Bottom line, I did well chasing windmills and meesa loves the gold.

I may have to adjust strategy once John, Tim, and Quyen go on the attack!
 
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