The same group of five then dove into Michael Schacht's Kardinal & Konig (Web of Power). Jim, Steve and Dave were all new to the game, so immediately began directing barbs at the two veterans, Willerd and I.
Early on, the cards were simply not falling my way. I did not receive a pair in the initial draw, and was unable to acquire a pair until the fourth round. Thus, I had very little on the board. Further, my first attempt to set myself up for the potentially lucrative advisor scoring was immediately countered and negated any possibility of me obtaining a majority in the Schwaben region. Things looked bleak.
Steve Pouey, meanwhile, was building an impressive link of cloisters in Italia. Everyone else was jostling for cloister majorities and seeking round one scoring opportunities.
When round one ended, it was Jim who held the lead:
Jim 12, Steve 9, Dave 8, Greg 8, Willerd 7
Round two was where my advisor strategy began yielding dividends. I made ample use of 'wild card' plays to place advisors and cloisters in neighboring territories. I was fortunate to make several critical links and hold off Willerd for the victory:
Greg 47, Willerd 41, Jim 38, Steve 36, Dave 25
Ratings: Jim 7, Steve 7, Dave 7, Greg 7, Willerd 6