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22605[SR] MVGA Holliston 2005-02-24

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  • brosiuse
    Feb 27, 2005
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      MVGA meets Thursday nights at 7pm in the
      Masonic Hall in Holliston, on Route 16 just
      east of the center of town. Turn north on
      Church Street (which is more a driveway than
      a street) to find parking.

      We welcome visitors. We'll even
      waive the $3.00 fee for your first visit.

      Roll call:
      Walt, Paul H., Eric, Dan, Rich, Paul L.

      (Walt, Paul H., Eric, Dan)

      There were 4 of us ready to play at 7pm, but
      we knew more were likely to arrive,
      so we wanted a short game to start with.
      Walt suggested another game of Leapfrog, a
      game we had played on February 10, but after
      some discussion we settled on Wyatt Earp, a
      rummy-like card game from Mike Fitzgerald and
      an MVGA favorite.

      On his first draw, Eric took an outlaw from
      the top of the discard pile and played three
      outlaws and the photo of that color to go
      out to a 10 point lead in that outlaw.
      Paul H. played a hideout on Eric, but it
      failed. Rich came in at this point and sat
      behind Eric, who showed Rich that he had four
      Wyatt Earps in his hand. Eric was hoping for
      hideouts so he could unload the sheriff cards
      more quickly. A few turns later, Eric again
      took the top card of the discard pile, played
      three outlaws and a photo in a different color,
      and discarded the last Wyatt Earp to go out.

      Scores after one hand: Eric 11, Walt 8, Dan 5, Paul H. 4.

      The second hand was a tough one for Dan, who had only three colored
      cards dealt to him. Two were photos and only one was an actual
      outlaw. You can usually only get rid of two sheriff cards a turn,
      so Dan, with nine sheriff cards, was going to have a tough time
      going out (especially given that you can't play many of the sheriff
      cards until you get at least one outlaw on the table.) This time
      Dan showed his hand to Rich for sympathy. Walt and Paul H. racked
      up the big scores this time.

      Scores after two hands: Walt 16, Eric 16, Paul H. 11, Dan 9.

      We usually finish Wyatt Earp in three hands. The game ends when
      someone reaches 25, so it can take two or four hands, but for some
      reason this seems to be rare. This time Walt was on fire, laying
      down cards right and left. Eric finally went out, hoping (without
      having counted it out exactly) that he'd be able to match Walt, but
      it wasn't to be.

      Final scores: Walt 27, Eric 25, Dan 19, Paul H. 17.

      Eric's rating: 9. There's a lot to this game. I don't even think
      we've explored all the possibilities; for example, it's rare that
      we use a most wanted card to attempt to take away someone's outlaw
      that has already been played to the table.

      (Walt, Paul H., Eric, Dan, Rich, Paul L.)

      Paul L. came in just as we were finishing up Wyatt Earp. This
      made 6 gamers, and it provided an opportunity to play a longer
      6-player game. The snow was falling harder and it was already
      8pm, so we didn't expect anyone else to show up. We discussed
      the options, and Paul H. suggested History of the World, a game
      Paul himself donated to the MVGA game locker a few years ago.
      Paul H. has changed his work schedule, allowing him to stay later
      than 10pm, so we had a real chance to finish this long game in a
      single evening. Paul L. had never played before, but the rules
      are fairly simple and we quickly filled him in.

      History of the World (HotW) is a long game that (as you might
      guess from the name) represents five or six millennia of world
      history. The map covers the entire world, and the game is
      divided into seven epochs, with each player playing one empire
      in each epoch. We played part of a game back on October 30, 2003
      (refer to the report on our website for a description. The url is
      http://www.unitygames.org/mvga/SessionReports2003.html#103003 )

      In HotW, each empire receives a certain base number of armies (or
      fleets.) The base number is printed on the card, though one can
      augment this number if one possesses the right event card. During
      the game you keep track of the total number of armies each player
      has received, and after the first epoch, new empire cards are drawn
      in order from the player who has received fewest armies to the one
      who has received the most. When you receive an empire, you look at
      it and may then pass it to an opponent of your choice who has not
      yet received an empire or (if you do not have an empire yet) keep
      it. A big part of the strategy of the game is knowing what empire
      to pass to whom (and when to keep the one you've drawn.) Players
      who are way ahead often find themselves playing lousy empires in
      later turns---and the empires do vary greatly in desirability!

      Because everyone is on equal footing at the start, we drew empires
      at random for Epoch I. Walt started us off with Egypt, the best
      Epoch I empire but (because it has 5 armies) one that gives a late
      draw for Epoch II. Rich got stuck with the Aryans, who get no
      capital and start in Eurasia, a region that scores no points until
      Epoch V. Rich did place an army in Hindu Kush, where it remained
      through all seven Epochs, scoring a total of 18VP.

      End of Epoch I:
      Walt Egypt (5 armies) 7 VP, 5 total armies
      Eric Minoans (4 armies) 6 VP, 4 total armies
      Paul H. Indus Valley (4 armies) 6 VP, 4 total armies
      Dan Babylonia (4 armies) 6 VP, 4 total armies
      Rich Aryans (5 armies) 6 VP, 5 total armies
      Paul L. Shang Dynasty (4 armies) 4 VP, 4 total armies

      Epoch II dawned with Paul L. taking the Assyrians and Eric keeping
      the Vedic City states. These empires go early in the turn before
      opponents have had a chance to wipe out your gains from the prior
      turn. Paul H. was happy to get the Persians, the epoch's largest
      empire, even though they go last. As it turned out, the Greek City
      States weren't in play, so Eric's concern about playing before the
      Minoans were wiped out didn't materialize. Paul H. did well, as
      expected, but Rich scored very well with Carthage, gaining points
      for Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and the Mideast and India
      (presences left over from the Aryans.)

      End of Epoch II:
      Rich Carthaginia (8 armies) +22 = 28 VP, 13 total armies
      Paul H. Persia (15 armies) +22 = 28 VP, 19 total armies
      Eric Vedic City St. (6 armies) +18 = 24 VP, 10 total armies
      Walt Chou Dynasty (6 armies) +15 = 22 VP, 11 total armies
      Dan Scythians (7 armies) +13 = 19 VP, 11 total armies
      Paul L. Assyria (8 armies) +15 = 19 VP, 12 total armies

      In Epoch III Eric received the first draw, and it was the
      Hsiung-Nu, another Eurasian empire. He passed them to Dan, whose
      leadership of the Scythians had already given him a presence in
      the areas neighboring Eurasia. Another tactic in HotW is to pass
      an empire to someone who's already strong in that part of the
      world, under the theory that it's not as advantageous to have one's
      presence limited to a single part of the world. Dan passed the Han
      Dynasty to Walt, who'd be forced to overrun the remnants of his
      Chou empire, and Walt drew the powerful Romans, which he passed to
      Paul L. as the trailing player (perhaps Walt also reasoned that as
      a beginner, Paul L. would pose less of a threat.) Rich received the
      Macedonians, a strong empire, but one that often serves as road kill
      for the Romans who come right behind. Eric got the Celts back from
      Paul L., a fortunate break in that the Celts go first, allowing Eric
      to score again for the Vedic City States. Rich had a disappointing
      run as the Macedonians, losing an unexpected number of battles as a
      result of poor die-rolling, but his position early in the turn order
      allowed him to score the Carthaginian points a second time for a
      good score. Paul L. played a Naval Supremacy card and stomped
      pretty much everything in sight around the shores of the
      Mediterranean, but ran out of steam as he reached the edge of
      India. Eric got another lucky break as the Maurya dynasty did not
      appear, granting the Vedic City States a potential third epoch of

      End of Epoch III:
      Rich Macedonia (15 armies) +29 = 57 VP, 28 total armies
      Paul L. Romans (25 armies) +34 = 53 VP, 37 total armies
      Walt Han Dynasty (12 armies) +26 = 48 VP, 23 total armies
      Eric Celts (8 armies) +22 = 46 VP, 18 total armies
      Paul H. Sassanids (9 armies) +16 = 44 VP, 28 total armies
      Dan Hsiung-Nu (7 armies) +11 = 30 VP, 18 total armies

      In Epoch IV, it's traditional to give the Khmers (if they come
      up) to the Romans. You score at the end of your empire's turn,
      so being last in the order of play gives maximum time for the
      other players to cut away at the remnants of the Roman empire.
      In this game, however, after Dan took the powerful Arabs,
      Paul H. gave the Guptas to Paul L. The Guptas are a fairly weak
      empire, but there was a power vacuum in India because the
      Maurya had not appeared. Paul L. scored most of his Roman
      points again to take a big lead. Walt spent yet another epoch
      in China, but scored reasonably well, gaining total control
      of China and pushing into Southeast Asia and India. The
      Goths didn't appear, helping Eric's Celts and leaving more
      room for Rich's Huns.

      End of Epoch IV:
      Paul L. Guptas (8 armies) +44 = 97 VP, 45 total armies
      Rich Huns (14 armies) +27 = 84 VP, 42 total armies
      Walt T'ang Dynasty (11 armies) +25 = 73 VP, 34 total armies
      Eric Khmers (5 armies) +20 = 66 VP, 23 total armies
      Paul H. Byzantines (12 armies) +19 = 63 VP, 40 total armies
      Dan Arabs (18 armies) +32 = 62 VP, 36 total armies

      In Epoch V, Eric realized that he could draw and keep a strong
      empire while retaining his place at the head of the line, given
      his 11-army edge over Walt, his closest competitor, but it wasn't
      to be. Eric drew the Seljuk Turks, a weak late-epoch empire, and
      passed them to Paul L. in an attempt to slow him down, but wound
      up with the Chola, a miserably weak empire that duplicated his
      presence in India. The big scorers in this epoch were Walt, with
      the Franks, who start the epoch off, and Dan, who played the
      Holy Roman Empire extremely well to claw his way back into the game.
      Paul H. received the Mongols---finally a decent empire starting in
      Eurasia! There was no Sung Dynasty, but the Ming Dynasty go first
      in Epoch VI, so it wasn't as good for Walt as you'd expect.

      End of Epoch V:
      Paul L. Seljuk Turks (12 armies) +30 = 127 VP, 57 total armies
      Rich Vikings (9 armies) +27 = 111 VP, 51 total armies
      Walt Franks (10 armies) +36 = 109 VP, 44 total armies
      Dan Holy Roman Emp. (10 armies) +38 = 100 VP, 46 total armies
      Eric Chola (8 armies) +30 = 96 VP, 31 total armies
      Paul H. Mongols (20 armies) +28 = 91 VP, 60 total armies

      Eric was hoping again for a strong empire in Epoch VI, but he got
      the Timurid Empire, which is a weak Epoch VI empire. He was
      reluctant to pass it to Paul L. since it goes early in Epoch VI and
      was in a region where Paul L. was not represented; Eric didn't want
      to give Paul another two-bagger. There are worse empires than the
      Timurids, and Eric hoped someone might give Paul L. on of them.
      This turned out to be a mistake as Paul L., drawing fifth, would
      draw and keep Spain, the best Epoch VI empire. Eric received the
      Ming Dynasty, a stroke of good fortune, given that the Ming go first
      and had no overlap with Eric's empire. Paul H. was stuck with the
      miserable Inca/Aztec empire this time; he drew last and had to take
      potluck, but the other card left in the deck (the Mughals) wasn't
      much better. If Pauls had drawn in the opposite order, the outcome
      of the game may have been different.

      End of Epoch VI:
      Paul L. Spain (15 armies) +29 = 156 VP, 72 total armies
      Walt Ottoman Turks (15 armies) +32 = 141 VP, 59 total armies
      Dan Portugal (10 armies) +39 = 139 VP, 56 total armies
      Eric Ming Dynasty (10 armies) +42 = 138 VP, 41 total armies
      Rich Timurids (8 armies) +26 = 137 VP, 59 total armies
      Paul H. Incas/Aztecs (4 armies) +19 = 110 VP, 64 total armies

      We had finally made it to the big showdown: Epoch VII. The
      scores were close, with four players lined up on the score
      track like pigeons on a telephone wire. The prize in Epoch VII
      is Britain; while they have only 20 armies compared to 25 for
      the Romans in Epoch III, you don't have to worry about being
      picked on when you get Britain, since the game ends after you
      play. Eric drew first, as usual, and got the Netherlands. The
      Netherlands offer some opportunities, but they have only 8 armies,
      and Eric passed them to Dan. Dan was next to draw, and he passed
      the Manchu Dynasty to Rich (yet another Eurasian empire!) Rich
      was next up, and he took the United States, the worst Epoch VII
      empire, and passed it to Eric. Paul L. was last in the order, and
      three weak empires had been drawn, but no one had yet passed an
      empire to him. Walt drew Russia and kept it; Russia goes first
      in the turn, so no one can pick on Russia until after its owner
      scores for the last time (at which point it doesn't hurt.) This
      left the two Pauls, and Paul H. drew France, a strong empire,
      which he kept. Amazingly, Paul L. had made it all the way to the
      sixth card draw without receiving an empire! We didn't know it,
      but the two remaining cards were Britain and Germany (a weak
      empire that goes at the very end of the epoch; Germany's turn
      represents the start of the World War.) Paul drew a card and
      smiled slightly---we knew he had Britain!

      Final scores:
      Paul L. Britain (20 armies) +50 = 206 VP, 92 total armies
      Walt Russia (12 armies) +45 = 186 VP, 71 total armies
      Rich Manchu Dynasty (12 armies) +44 = 181 VP, 71 total armies
      Dan Netherlands (8 armies) +40 = 179 VP, 64 total armies
      Eric United States (10 armies) +29 = 167 VP, 51 total armies
      Paul H. France (15 armies) +40 = 150 VP, 79 total armies

      The game finished at about half past 1am; it took about 5 1/2
      hours. The box says it should take 45 minutes per player; we
      took about 55 minutes per player, but we don't play regularly,
      and I'm sure we're a little slower than people who do.

      Eric's rating: 8. I enjoy this game, despite the fact that I'm
      not a strong player (I was last when we halted the incomplete game
      back on October 30, 2003.) It can drag if people don't pay
      attention, but we moved it along nicely, without too many long

      Eric Brosius
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