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27060[SR] MVGA Holliston 2007-03-01

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  • brosiuse
    Mar 11, 2007
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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 Place (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:
      Anton, Rich, Steve, Eric


      PUERTO RICO
      (Anton, Rich, Steve, Eric)

      We had 4 players ready to roll at MVGA this
      week. It was Steve's week to be here, and
      as we discussed possible games to play, we
      learned that Steve had never played Puerto
      Rico, the #1 game in the boardgamegeek.com
      rankings. Puerto Rico is an MVGA favorite,
      and we immediately declared that he had to
      learn it. Steve has played San Juan, Puerto
      Rico's little brother, several times at MVGA,
      so it didn't take us long to go through the
      rules of Puerto Rico and get started with
      our game. We emphasized the Captain and
      Trader roles, because these (especially the
      Captain) feel very different from anything
      in San Juan.

      As luck would have it, Steve was chosen to be the first Governor,
      and after a few questions he took Builder and constructed a Small
      Indigo plant, reasoning that it made sense to get started right
      away with a building initiative. Eric and Rich snapped up the two
      Small Markets, and Anton built Small Sugar, eyeing the two Sugar
      Plantations on display at the side of the board. Eric then Settled
      for a Quarry, with Rich taking Coffee and Anton Sugar. It wasn't
      long before Rich had built a Coffee Roaster and produced Coffee,
      with Anton producing Sugar (though some of his Sugar was shipped
      back to Spain.) There was a lot of early shipping in this game,
      and on Eric's turn he had to choose whether to Build a Tobacco
      Roaster to get his own crop going or Captain to forestall Rich's
      sale. He chose to Build and Rich scored a lucrative Coffee sale,
      which he followed up with a second Coffee sale on the next turn.
      Rich used the proceeds to build a Factory and a Harbor. Anton
      got the other Factory and Eric the other Harbor. Steve took an
      early Hospice and used it to manufacture and ship enough goods to
      keep up in shipping VPs.

      It wasn't long before it was a two-tier game. Rich and Anton were
      clearly way out ahead of Steve and Eric; each built and manned two
      big buildings while Steve and Eric strategized about how to get the
      fifth. In the end, Anton Mayored to end the game before either could
      finalize the purchase.

      Final scores:

      Rich_ 59 = 24 VP + 23 Bldg + 12 Bonus
      Anton 52 = 20 VP + 21 Bldg + 11 Bonus
      Eric_ 39 = 22 VP + 17 Bldg
      Steve 37 = 21 VP + 16 Bldg

      Eric's rating: 10. I still enjoy Puerto Rico, even after what
      must be 200 games. I understand the game has been picked up for
      XBOX online; it was removed from BSW this month. The BSW
      interface wasn't the easiest to learn; maybe we'll get lucky
      and the XBOX version will be easier to use.


      WEB OF POWER
      (Rich, Steve, Eric)

      As has often been the case recently, Anton had to leave early and
      Eric didn't want to stay too much longer, so we chose Web of Power
      as a quick 3-player game. Eric led off with a single cloister in
      Aragon. Rich followed with a second cloister and an advisor, but
      Steve had no red cards, so he began operations in England. For
      some reason each of us kept getting stuck without the colors he
      needed, forcing us to open a lot of countries early. Frankreich
      [France] is a country that players often watch carefully, waiting
      to enter until the time is right. Eric finally placed the first
      cloister, picking up another purple card and completing a pair as
      well, and the action picked right up. At the first scoring, Eric
      had the lead, but he would fall behind in advisor VP unless he was
      able to make some connections. Rich and Eric each had 3 cloisters
      in Frankreich, scoring 7 VP each as Steve got 3 VP for his single
      cloister.

      First scoring: Eric 17, Rich 13, Steve 10

      Soon after the first scoring Rich opted to take the last cloister
      in Frankreich, giving him 4, but at the same time yielding Eric the
      sole majority in advisors by a 3-1 margin.

      Steve suddenly came into possession of a raft of green cards. He
      ran a cloister chain right through Burgund (it would score 6 VP at
      the end of the game) and placed 2 advisors there. This is a less
      efficient way to place cloisters (you're rather take first by just
      a small difference,) but the chain scoring made up for it.

      A key moment arose right at the end of the game. Rich used his
      antepenultimate play to place the last cloister in Burgund, gaining
      5 VP for a single cloister. Eric then played a pair of advisors
      in Burgund, completing an 8 VP connection with Frankreich and a
      6 VP connection with Schwaben. Steve wasn't too unhappy with this
      development, as he also scored 6 VP for the Burgund/Schwaben link.
      Web of Power typically ends before you're ready for it, and this
      was just another example (you should have seen what I would have
      done on the next turn, if there had been one!)

      Final scores:

      Eric_ 54 = 40 cloister + 14 advisor
      Steve 46 = 29 cloister + 11 advisor + 6 chain
      Rich_ 44 = 39 cloister + 5 advisor

      Eric's rating: 9. Web of Power is a game driven by the cards, and
      it certainly is possible to experience bad luck with the cards, but
      in most games you get cards that give you options (if they aren't
      the options you originally had in mind, you must adapt.) In most
      cases you need to strive for pairs of cards so you can place two
      markers down each turn; if you watch the deck you can often guess
      what colors are more likely to show up. Like Paris Paris, it's a
      quick game that feels like a big game, and that forces you to make
      the best of what you get.


      Eric Brosius