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21928[SR] GSG 11/30: Age of Steam, Modern Art, I'm the Boss, Acquire, Money x2

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  • Phil Alberg
    Dec 1, 2004
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      ROLL CALL: Mark, Eric-4, Phil, Brian, Bob, James, Jeremy, Stephanie,
      Gil, Melissa.

      Word must've gotten out that Mark's place was no longer quarantined,
      as we had a pretty good turnout. In fact we welcomed two new players
      to GSG -- Gil's friend Melissa, and Jeremy's wife (who I suspect is
      also his friend) Stephanie. Even Eric-4, bad toe and all, hobbled
      over for some gaming fellowship.


      GAMES PLAYED: Age of Steam - Korea, Modern Art, I'm the Boss, Acquire, Money x2.


      AGE OF STEAM: Eric-4, Brian, Phil, Mark
      Earlier in the day Eric sent me an email message requesting that I
      bring AoS with the new Korean map. As fate would have it, I never saw
      the email message, but had sent Mark a similar message pushing for the
      same game! I arrived early and began setting up the game (which is
      probably the best way of determining which game will be played), and
      soon the others arrived. We recruited Brian, and after a brief rules
      refresher (most of us hadn't played in about a year) we were off!

      The Korean map presents a couple of twists to regular AoS. The most
      visible change is that all cities are gray, and all cities added
      through urbanization are deemed to be gray. These gray cities inherit
      the demand from the goods that they produce -- that is, if a city has
      a red cube on it, then you can deliver a red good to it. Similarly,
      once you've moved a good off of a city the demand there also weakens.
      It's kind've a weird economic model, but from a gaming perspective it
      adds a dynamic that increases both the complexity of planning and the
      screwage that one can inflict on opponents. Also, since demand shifts
      due to goods growth, a long route that was cultivated may become less
      profitable by an added goods cube in the middle of your route. Other
      changes are that hills -- and there are plenty of them -- cost $3 to
      build through, and urbanized cities come onto the board loaded with
      all goods (and replacements are drawn to fill the display).

      Given the terrain and our rust, we all figured we'd go bankrupt fairly
      quickly. Well we must be pretty good players, or we're too nice to
      each other or something, for no one came close to going bankrupt.
      Brian was the only one who ever slid back on the income chart due to
      lack of funds, and it was a planned slide at midgame to fall out of
      the -2 region. I built mostly along the hill-less western side, and
      had enough cubes around to avoid ever having to choose the production
      option. Mark was primarily in the north, but was hampered by a lack
      of goods growth early in the game and then growth of similar goods
      late in the game. Brian's network was smack dab in the middle and
      intertwined with Mark's and mine. Eric was primarily in the
      southeast, and around mid-game he stuck his good toe into my area in
      the southwest. Eric won consecutive auctions mid-to-late game that he
      used to upgrade his locomotive, which gave him a commanding ability to
      deliver goods and earn cash. I was stuck at level 3 for most of the
      game, and only upgraded to level 4 during the last turn. I was lulled
      into thinking I could get away with this, as Eric, even at level 5 and
      then 6, was still only a couple of points ahead of me on the income
      track. But it doesn't take long to zoom ahead, and that he did.
      Between Eric just edging me in auctions and then Mark driving up
      auctions late in the game I basically spun my wheels for the last few
      turns. Eric crushed us, with Brian in second. Final scores were: 81,
      72, 47, 43. I liked the shifting demand aspect of this expansion, and
      hope to get this (or any flavor of AoS) to the table again real soon.
      Oh, and 4 players seems about right for this board.


      MODERN ART: Jeremy, James, Bob, Stephanie
      While we were at the grownup table for three hours steaming through
      the ages, the other group was relegated to the kiddie card table and
      finished three games in the time it took us to finish AoS. I love
      Modern Art, but always seem to be at the wrong table when this comes
      out. I don't know much about what happened, but I hear that Bob went
      against form and spent money wildly in this game, inflating prices to
      marginal gain levels. James and Jeremy recognized this and tried to
      capitalize on the situation, and Jeremy wound up controlling the
      decisive once-around auctions in the end to take the win.


      I'M THE BOSS: Gil (Gerry?), Melissa, Stephanie, Jeremy, James, Bob
      Gil and Stephanie arrived during the middle of both ongoing games, and
      soon joined this group for some negotiating and deal making. I don't
      know who won, but everyone (I think it started with Jeremy) started
      calling Gil "Gerry", which confused the rest of us in Korea.


      ACQUIRE: James, Bob, Gil, Melissa
      Jeremy and Stephanie had to go -- something about getting enough
      beauty sleep before facing hoards of 10-year-olds in the morning -- so
      the others broke out Acquire. Mind you, it took them about 10 minutes
      to decide which version of Acquire to play with, as they literally
      opened four different versions before settling on the newest AH
      version. How many copies do you own, Mark? Again, I don't know the
      specifics, but James came out victorious in the end.


      MONEY: Bob, Mark, Phil, James, Brian
      Gil and Melissa then left, and the rest of us chatted until Eric's
      wife Linda arrived to carry him home. We ended the evening with two
      quick hands of Money. Bob crushed us in the first game, grabbing all
      the Grants while the rest of us fought over the remaining
      denominations. He doubled James' total (which was second place), who
      in turn doubled Brian's total (which was last place). Brian says he
      likes this game, but never manages to do well. In the second game
      Mark just edged me 630 to 610, and I swear he had twice as many cards
      as me. Brian again got a rock.


      Next week is the first Tuesday of the month, so we'll be having a road
      trip. Eric-4 has graciously agreed to host so that he can give his
      toe the rest it deserves. The question is, how many are gonna show up
      at his place in the backwaters of Blackstone? I, for one, will be
      there...

      Thanks, as always, for hosting, Mark!

      - Phil


      --
      Eastern MA Gaming, Unity Games 9 - January 29, 2005
      http://www.unitygames.org/

      Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change ready.
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