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Re: [Unity_Games] GiP Session Report 8/30/03

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  • J C Lawrence
    On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 20:18:10 -0400 ... Is that the full photo set? I seem to recall a few others being taken that I don t see there. ... There once was a man
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 31, 2003
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      On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 20:18:10 -0400
      Allan Smulling <smullster1@...> wrote:

      > If you'd like to see some of what was going on, stop by
      > www.squishyturnip.org and check out the mega-battle that they had
      > organized.

      Is that the full photo set? I seem to recall a few others being taken
      that I don't see there.

      > I ended the game by reciting "There once was a man from Nantucket.."

      There once was a man from Nantucket,
      Who kept all of his cash in a bucket,
      But his daughter, named Nan,
      Ran away with a man,
      And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

      But he followed the pair to Pawtucket,
      The man and the girl with the bucket;
      And he said to the man,
      He was welcome to Nan,
      But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.

      Then the pair followed Pa to Manhasset,
      Where he still held the cash as an asset,
      But Nant and the man
      Stole the money and ran,
      And as for the bucket, Manhasset.

      Of this story we hear from Nantucket,
      About the mysterious loss of a bucket,
      We are sorry for Nan,
      As well as the man-
      The cash and the bucket, Pawtucket.

      There now is a man from Nantucket,
      Who used to have cash in a bucket;
      Today, sad but true,
      He hasn't a sou,
      Since the man who ran off with Nantucket.

      Nan decided to chuck it-
      The adventure, the man, and Paw's bucket.
      Whe opened a store
      Three miles from a moor
      And, delighted, grew rich in Nantucket.

      Nan followed her Pa down to Wheeling,
      The bucket of bills to be stealing.
      But her Pa wasn't scared,
      And became well-prepared,
      He knew she'd be Wheeling and dealing.

      The scam about Nan running off with a man
      Leaving Pa without cash or his bucket,
      Tis unfair and untrue,
      If you all only knew,
      Nan, Pa, and bucket are all at Consue.

      Nan's tryst with the man soon turned rancid.
      She could fend for herself while in transit,
      So Nan on the lam
      Told the man he could scram,
      And they split when they reached Narraganset.

      Nan returned to her home in Siasconset,
      With the bucket for whoever wants it.
      Bedecked in bright lace
      She, not one to efface,
      Said: "I gots it and I'm gonna flaunts it."

      The bucket wound up in Kentucky,
      Where Nan bought a horse named Nantucky.
      When the Derby took place,
      Nan's horse won the race
      So she dumped Man and called herself lucky.

      The Man first hid the cash when he tuck it,
      But when grabbing it from where he stuck it,
      Along came a cop.
      He had no time to drop
      It, to hide it, or simply to shuck it.

      A modern-day Nan would have snuck it,
      (The bucket, that is) from Nantucket.
      Her Paw wouldn't guess
      She had had UPS,
      (For safety, she wanted to truck it).

      She had it sent up to Alaska,
      It's farther, she thought, than Nebraska.
      Did she and her man
      Fool her Paw with this plan?
      Well, the next time I see her, Alaska!

      Nan's lover, named Kit, was from Madaket
      And there he returned to be close to it
      not the lost love of Nan
      but Pa's gold, was his plan
      But, now Nan and her Dad are both Madaket

      There once was a man from Nantucket,
      Whose finger he pinched in a bucket.
      As he roared and complained,
      His distraught wife exclaimed
      "Don't go on so, my dear, just go suck it!"

      Now, where in the Hell is that bucket?
      Has it surfaced again in Nantucket?
      I just can't keep track.
      Did someone bring it back?
      Is there cash left; perhaps just a Ducat?

      While the bucket was stashed in Alaska,
      It was found by a man named Prohaska.
      He said with a grin,
      I know it's a sin,
      But I'll hide it in Lincoln, Nebraska.

      When he tucked the bucket in Lincoln,
      Prohaska started to thinkin,
      Perhaps I'll call Nan
      And be her new man
      And up with her I'll be linkin'.

      Now Paw was back in Nantucket,
      Wondering where in the heck was his bucket.
      He tried to call Nan,
      But instead got a man,
      Twas Prohaska from Nebraska in 'Sconset.

      > This was my second game of El Grande. J.C., Chris, and Roy had never
      > played before, so Larry taught the rules in record time.

      After playing a few new games with him, Larry seems particularly skilled
      at rules explanation.

      > J.C. seemed to take to the game right from the start and began moving
      > the King for maximum screwage by placing it in the corner provinces.

      I've been playing a fair bit of Web Of Power lately, so the thought
      processes needed for the area influence game in El Grande came easily to
      me.

      I also happen to rather like area influence games.

      > His placement of the King in Catalonia caused quite a bit of chaos
      > with my forces located in Aragon.

      Larry's insistence on the King being and staying in New Castille was
      interesting. It had some useful effects for me in regard for the
      defence of my placements. Once the fight was over I was locked into
      second place in New Castille, which was pleasantly profitable, and had
      little reason to fight Larry away from his Grande bonus. 2nd was good
      enough for me -- especially as Larry's lead over me in New Castille was
      slim, making an end-of-game king-move and re-inforcement play
      attractive.

      My holdings and first place positions in the three corners were likewise
      defended, either being out of reach for placement (too far from the
      King), or with me strong enough to be unprofitable to fight for
      placement there[1]. That's the primary reason it made sense for you,
      Chris and Roy to prey on each other rather than me or Larry: you were
      all near parity for most of the game in those other regions, making
      gaining or increasing position in any one of those territories
      relatively cheap and easy (add a couple caballeros), whereas fighting me
      or Larry would have required a spot commitment of far more caballeros.

      [1] I think Chris and Roy didn't fully realise until the middle of the
      game that fighting for placement in a territory makes little sense
      unless it is a scoring round. It took me until after the first scoring
      round to twig fully on that one. If instead they'd fought for
      placement at the scoring rounds directly (which would have required
      taking control of the King) we both would have been more of a target
      for them. I didn't figure this into my strategy in that game at the
      time (actually only just realised it while typing this message), and so
      I guess we came out lucky that they left use along to that extent.

      > Despite J.C.'s efforts to corner the King, on reflection most of the
      > action between the leaders (J.C. and Larry) took place in the center.

      Yup. Larry insisted on it being there, and after I took one first place
      round there I was quite happy to trail him with a well protected and
      largely unassailable second there (only down by one caballero -- thus
      making an end-of-game lunge potentially attractive).

      > By the endof the 6th turn Larry and J.C. were vying for dominance in
      > Old and New Castille.

      We had a quick battle over Old Castille (assuming that is the southerly
      one) before Roy stepped in with a vengeance (it was his home/Grande
      territory). I then fought Larry briefly for second before he
      Castille-whipped me into third place (there was no way I could compete
      with 7 caballeros coming in at once). While it was unplanned, this was
      in all a fairly cheap exercise for me as I really only 'wasted' three
      caballeros across that whole territory, while at the same time forcing
      Roy and Larry to invest far more heavily than that just to gain and
      maintain their positions. In retrospect it seemed like a near ideal set
      of tradeoffs.

      Additionally from my perspective this squabbling had a rather good
      effect on my other placements as it effectively protected my relatively
      week outlying placements in the corners. That allowed me to retain
      first position in those corners with minimal investment, while also
      keeping them too far from the King for anybody else to really mess with.
      Of course this also meant that the two times an action card came up
      which could have cast those weak corners at risk (eg, move five
      caballeros from any territory to a neighboring territories), I made sure
      that I either got the action, or Roy did, and that when he did he was
      much better served by kicking you about (he joined your northern forces)
      than beating on me in the corners for little gain to himself. [2]

      [2] See note above for how this logic was flawed.

      > Larry clearly demonstrated and made great use of the Castle. I was
      > taken by surprise a few times at how one moment Larry didn't have much
      > of a presence on the map and then after scoring the Castle he became
      > dominant.

      Yup, Larry was the true Castillo master. After he so trounced the rest
      of us on the first scoring round with his Castillo caballeros I made
      sure to always have at least enough in there for a Castillo third
      placement. I wasn't (and still aren't) comfortable enough with the
      mechanic to exploit it fully -- the fact that all the caballeros have to
      be invested in the same location rather than strategically scattered is
      daunting. However I spent much of the drive home delightedly pondering
      how it could be best used in future games for a light weight
      strike-force type of affair to swing critical territories over to my
      side just before scoring.

      Much to think about and explore. We must play again!

      > I believe Larry's skillful use of this device placed him securely in
      > the lead and eventually sealed his control in Old and New Castille.

      Actually he gained control of New Castille (which I stole from him), via
      a quick shift of the King in and out (the King was was there, he moved
      it out, added enough to gain first place, and then moved the King back
      in). This was perfect from my regard as it secured and utterly
      protected my second place scoring there (albeit while giving him the
      first, Grande and King bonuses). However this matched my basic strategy
      of diversified income rather than toe-to-toe (and debilitating) contest
      over key scoring territories.

      Old Castille was more brutal. It was Roy's home territory, but you, Roy
      and Chris had so fought over the area and ripped it about that I was
      able to come in and steal first (briefly). Roy then lunged back to
      regain first (at the expense of quite a few caballeros), leaving Larry
      having to commit everything he had in the Castillo (7) to get first for
      himself.

      For an investment of three on my part it was a nicely expensive tea
      party.

      > J.C. played a more safe and analytical game and diversified in his
      > placement of forces. He and Roy lead in having the most diverse
      > holdings - 5 provinces by the end of turn 6. J.C. ended up with more
      > pieces in these areas than Roy, only because Roy began his
      > diversification strategy later in the game.

      I also got some nice actions regarding placement in king-illegal
      territories (which I carefully kept away from y'all) and King movements
      that allowed me to grab the corners safely. In all honesty they weren't
      fully planned that way, but rather happy accidents which I then palmed
      off as fully intentional (Hurm I could take this action or that one, but
      lessee, if I take this one look at all these cool things I can do! Yea,
      I'll do that! I planned this from the beginning! Really!)

      Roy had to fight you and Chris for his spread across the top and right
      side of the map, leaving me all pretty well alone. The fact that the
      corners are low earners helped make attacking you and Chris more
      profitable to him than attacking me. If the corners had been worth more
      that situation would have reversed, with my becoming the preferential
      target.

      To an extent this reveals how much impact the initial grande placements
      had. I was essentially way off by my self with Larry buffering me from
      you three. To an extent that gave me room to get an initial growth (and
      scoring) spurt in behind Larry's early wall building.

      > Chalk that up to being a newbie at it. I feel that if J.C. caught on
      > to the advantageous use of the Castle earlier he would have taken the
      > lead.

      Aye. I held the points lead for almost the entire game, but Larry was
      so close behind me and his position was so visibly unassailable in his
      main territories that I was seriously worried about the end game.
      Conversely I earned almost everywhere, but with weak positions. As I
      still had my 13, 10, 2, and 1 cards left I *think* I could have made a
      good go of it, but I'm not at all confident that I could have held him
      off as the Castillo master. Much of it would have depended on what
      actions came up in the last rounds, and especially what happened with
      the King.

      > Roy's strategy started to heat up by turn 4 and he ended up making
      > good use of his action cards.

      Yup, he quite had me worried, especially as it was clear that I was
      going to be next on his target list. If Larry didn't keep control of
      the King and let Roy move it out toward the edges I was slated to be
      cinders. Aiiiiieeeeee!

      > I think that his next game will be quite different than this one.

      Yea and verily.

      > Chris also made some neat decisions allowing him to catch up to the
      > rest of the pack.

      Chris targeted Roy early, especially with that 4/0/0 mobile score sheet.
      If he'd played that on Larry instead it would have been an utterly
      different game. I think that's what really set up the core of the
      cannibalistic battle among you, Chris and Roy. Without that my approach
      would have been dog food very early.

      > The game wasn't played to its conclusion and ended at the end of
      > scoring onturn 6. Larry and J.C. were clearly in the lead and had
      > very little point separation between them. I think Larry would have
      > eventually taken the game by turn 9, but I also think that we would
      > have seen some very interesting action going on with the use of the
      > Castle.

      Aye. Larry had spent his 13, I think his 12, and also his 3 and 2 (I
      think he had the 1 left). I'd already determined that I had to milk the
      Castille for all it was worth as there was no other effective way of
      defending point locations. However Larry had already repetitively
      proved himself quite tricky and I'd have been unsurprised if he did it
      again.

      > Roy, Chris, and myself would have had quite a struggle in taking 2nd
      > and 3rd place. I had more pieces on the board and was a bit more
      > spread out.

      If you'd gotten a move-five-caballeros-about action you could have done
      serious damage to Chris and Roy's scoring positions on the northern
      border. You also had a nice setup down south that threatened my (weak)
      corner placement. A few good actions there could have demolished Chris'
      and Roy's strongholds, kicked me out of the south western corner, and
      seriously threatened my placement in the north east. No matter what I
      might have done with the Castillo there's not much I could have done to
      rescue from such a broad fronted attack. Larry's comparatively strong
      and isolated positions in old and new castille would have made him an
      unappealing target (or at least me a far more appealing target).

      > At the end of turn 6, a clear strategy for Roy and Chris would be to
      > chip away at my holdings. They had already discovered this advantage
      > by Turn 4 and had proceeded to dismantle my holdings. Perhaps if they
      > concentrated a bit more on Larry and J.C. their lead might not have
      > been so great.

      Yup!

      > I had a great time playing this and look forward to many more plays.

      Absolutely! I'd love to play El Grande more over the upcoming weeks.

      And then there's Liberte, Santa Fe Rails, Clippers, Wongar,
      Metropolis, Lowenherz/Domaine, Quandaray...

      > I know that folks are going to start pushing to play the expansions
      > with it, but I'd still like to play a few more core games before
      > moving on.

      Agreed. I see no need to move on just yet. Explore the base game
      first.

      --
      J C Lawrence
      ---------(*) Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.
      claw@... He lived as a devil, eh?
      http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/ Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.
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