Monday, August 07, 2006

Weekend of many games

I missed Friday, so someone else will have to comment about what was played. But saturday morning it was finally time...7 Ages was hitting the table once again. The players were Jon, Brian, Carlos, Mark and myself. We got a relatively late start, and things started relatively peacefully. I, as the Amazons started spreading out over eastern europe, Brian as the Hellenic greeks mainly stuck to southern europe and the mediteranean, Jon started a civ in southwest asia/the middle east, carlos grabbed the babylonians in the middle east and Mark went for the Hans, quickly dominating China.

Apparently my role for this game would be leader basher since in turn I attempted to bash Mark's Han's into submission with a well timed free state (that attempt got counterspelled aka. "shooting star"), then followed that up to attempt to bash Brian's Greeks with a pirate state across the sea in Carthage (he quashed that with the formation of the Carthaginians), failing that I gave him an outbreak of pestilence to "help" him control his exploding population, finally I turned my attentions back to Mark, sending Attila and friends on a friendly ride through the civilized portions of China.

My leader bashing? Effective. Nobody I leader bashed ended up on top at the end, and I had a nice plan to bash the new leader (Jon) ready to go into action on the next turn (pinching his offending civilization in the double vise of the amazons and the arabs). Alas, it was not to be as Mark had to return home. Also, just to let people know, they are beta testing the 7 Ages computer game and still taking applicants (I'm signing up).

After a short dinner break we returned to play a game of stage II. My memory sucks, I can't remember a single question or theme from that particular game. Maybe someone can fill in some gaps. I did manage to eek out a victory over the others.

After a somewhat longer going home and sleeping break we resumed on Sunday. Jon and I arrived to find Scott and Brian finishing up a game of starship catan. Jon loves those Alan Moon "train" games so he suggested one called Santa Fe rails. The mechanics are pretty simple, every turn you play a card or two, play a 2-6 trains, collect some money for completing links potentially and then refresh your hand. The turn order staggers ala Puerto Rico. Early on I let everyone know that Jon was running away with it as he had just taken in like 50 dollars in profit. Of course, I was horribly wrong, as the only person Jon ended up running away from was me. Scott edged out Brian on the final turn where Brian had to guess whether to give 3 points to me or 2 points to Scott and guessed wrong.

Scott had to leave, so after a quick dinner break it was time for Indonesia. I got off to a poorish start and ended up eating an early merger that I didn't want. The net result was that Brian ended up with a rubber monopoly in the duly abbreviated 2nd era. Now to the untrained eye (mine), that may have immediately tipped me off to the fact that Jon was running away with it. Thus noted, I started methodically avoiding shipping on Jon's boats.

Of course it turned out that to the eye that has brains, Brian was in fact running away with it and beat us in a pretty hotly contested end game (I think everyone was within 100 or so dollars of eachother).

I've noticed something about my ability to pick out the leader in games with hidden victory conditions: it is not so good. A quick rundown over the past month or so:
Warrior Kings: accused Ben, Ted ran away with it
Indonesia: accused Jon and Brian, Ben ran away with it
Santa Fe Rails: accused Jon, Scott ran away with it
Indonesia: accused Jon, Brian ran away with it
I guess the lesson here is if we are playing hidden victory conditions and I proclaim X as the runaway leader, we should all bash the other guy(not me though, I'm not the other guy).

Thus humiliated about my uncanny inability to judge other players standings, I suggested something with open scoring. Vinci was the choice. It was a fairly close battle until Brian got the diplomacy/medicine combo. Because of the way the timing was working out, every turn he was able to almost guarantee that his growing empire would be safe from attack. He rode that and then a late slave trading civ to victory, and while Jon and I mostly worked together to try to stop the inevitable, it was too difficult.

The two big problems with the weekend as I see it were that we didn't play nearly enough games and we didn't play for nearly a long enough time. Other than that it was great.



At 11:02 PM, August 07, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Yeah, it does sound like you didn't play enough games. I mean, only 1 game on Saturday? boring...

Kidding of course. I wish I had been able to go Saturday.

Vinci on Sunday? I like that game. Only played once with Dennis, and it was suprisingly good. I liked that it has almost limitless replayability (ie almost guaranteed to have different civs every single game).

Trying to predict who the winner is with hidden scores? Lets try Acquire! I suck calling out the leader in it.

thanks for the report.

At 11:29 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Michael: You forgot all the times you accused yourself of losing, then you run away to victory (e.g., Railroad Tycoon)!

At 12:40 PM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Mark said...

That sounds about right for Michael.

I enjoyed 7 Ages and I'm sure I'll enjoy it more the second time now that I know how it works.

At 1:27 PM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ben, you nailed it.


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