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[SR] MVGA Holliston 2004-01-01

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  • brosiuse
    MVGA meets Thursday nights at 7:00 in the Masonic Hall in Holliston, on Route 16 just east of the center of town. We welcome visitors. We ll even waive the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2004
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      MVGA meets Thursday nights at 7:00 in the
      Masonic Hall in Holliston, on Route 16 just
      east of the center of town.

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

      Roll call: Eric, Bill, Anton, Charlie,
      Rich, Jeff, Roland, Paul, Mike

      We had our second first-time visitor in
      less than a month. Roland read about MVGA
      on the Internet and decided to come. Of
      course, he didn't pay the $3.00. We also
      had Mike visiting from Virginia for the
      first time in a long while. This gave
      us 9 gamers, the largest attendance since
      August. Dave Bernazzani will be happy
      to hear that I have 3 pre-pays for UG7
      ready for him.

      ATTIKA (Eric, Bill, Anton, Charlie)

      Although January 1 was New Years Day, we
      had agreed at our previous session to meet.
      Most of us thought it would be more fun to
      play than to watch college bowl games all
      evening. We met an hour early because none
      of us had to work that day.

      Eric and Bill arrived promptly at 6:00 and
      chose Attika as the first game. We played
      two games of Attika in December and it
      works well for 2, 3 or 4. As it turned out,
      Anton and Charlie arrived as we were setting
      up, so there was a full complement. Only
      Eric had played before, so he explained the
      rules to the 3 new players. The object of
      the game is to place all 30 of your buildings
      on the board first (or, as a more dramatic
      but relatively unlikely option, to connect
      two shrines with an unbroken chain of your
      buildings.) Shrine connection serves more
      as a threat than as an actual way to win, but
      if you miscalculate, someone may be able
      to pull it off.

      This game began with a quick connection threat on the part of Bill,
      who played first and got about 5 buildings in a string across the
      map. Charlie drew his main city tile at the start, and this gave
      him the firepower he needed to block Bill, as his subsequent white
      tile draws were full of white city tiles and he was able to draw
      and place for free a few times. Eric played in the middle of the
      board and got hemmed in quickly, while Anton focused on one corner
      and had plenty of room, but no immediate connection threat.

      The initial rush of placements left us card-poor, so we paused to
      replenish our hands, placing buildings here and there as our
      settlements grew. We started to deplete stacks, giving us the right
      to place new game board tiles and opening up fresh connection threats.
      The extra room allowed Bill to make a fresh attempt at a connection
      win, and he came within 1 hex at his high water mark, needing only to
      draw his one remaining road from a set of about 10 tiles, but Charlie
      held him off and blocked the move for good. Normally a player who is
      forced to block as much as Charlie winds up wasting cards and falling
      behind, but Charlie used space and resources on the board well, and
      was well ahead of us at this point. We tried half-heartedly to stop
      him, but the best we could do was delay him for a turn or two before
      he placed his last building.

      Winner: Charlie (there are no second and third places, just a winner)

      Eric's rating: 7. It's obvious that luck and skill are both
      critical in this game; what's not clear yet is where one leaves
      off and the other begins. Charlie had some good luck, but he also
      had bad luck in having to stop Bill twice, and he won convincingly.
      This game took almost two hours; it moved more slowly than
      the two games we played in December.

      WYATT EARP (Rich, Jeff, Mike, Paul)

      While Attika was underway, the 7:00 shift arrived, with Rich and his
      son Jeff and Mike who was visiting from Virginia. We asked Mike
      whether it was his first time and he said he was here 16 or 17 years
      ago, so we took his $3.00. Wyatt Earp is a top filler for us, and
      this game proved to be close. Paul arrived after the first hand and
      joined in to fill out the table. Final scores: Mike $22K, Jeff $21K,
      Rich $19K, Paul incomplete.

      Eric's rating: 9. I played Wyatt Earp 29 times in 2003, more
      often than any other game.

      AMUN-RE (Charlie, Rich, Jeff, Mike, Paul)

      Both games ended at roughly the same time, so we had 9 gamers looking
      for two games. Rich suggested Amun-Re, one of his favorites, and 5
      of us sat down (the ideal number for Amun-Re.) After a rules review
      for the new players, the game started off, and it was a close one the
      whole way. Rich has had a lot of success with his "favorite of
      Amun-Re" strategy, but in this game he kept being outbid by small
      margins. You can win by bidding high or by bidding low, but it's
      hard to win by bidding high and getting meager gifts. The top three
      players finished in a pack; the other two did not divulge their
      scores. Charlie completed his sweep with two wins in two games for
      the evening. Final scores: Charlie 46, Rich 44, Mike 43,
      Jeff less, and Paul even less.

      Eric's rating: 6. This was an ideal night; Rich got to play
      Amun-Re and I didn't have to help!

      MAGNA GRECIA (Anton, Bill, Roland, Eric)

      Roland arrived in time for the second set of games, and after we all
      introduced ourselves, we chose Magna Grecia for the remaining 4
      players. Eric got this game as a Christmas gift and had read through
      the rules, but it was a first-time playing for all of us. The rules
      are quite straight-forward and logical, but it's almost
      impossible to get your head around them the first time you play.
      One key thing to remember is that the cost of a market is
      the number of hexes in the city or village plus the number
      of opponents' markets, while the value of a market is based on
      the number of things the city or village connects to. We played
      the 8-turn version (which is more like a supermarket sweep
      in that you try to grab as much as you can) rather than the
      longer 12-turn version that involves more head butting. The
      rules suggest 8-turn games for beginners.

      The first tile was poor for roads and cities but good for restocking.
      Bill, Anton and Roland started cities and began road networks, but
      Eric simply restocked 7 tiles (before even laying a tile.) On the
      second turn, he hooked onto Anton's city and struck out for the
      center of the board, which was ripe with possible connections.
      We kept asking questions as we played in an attempt to figure out
      what we were doing. Roland started a large city on one side of
      the board, while Bill speculated by placing a few markets in villages
      that looked like they'd develop into important hubs.

      Halfway through the game Eric was touted as the runaway leader given
      his central cities and temporary oracle dominance, but this was a
      bit of an illusion. Bill and Roland had some key markets in
      Eric's cities, and as Eric connected, he drove up the value of
      those markets. The game seemed to fly by, and in fact took
      a little under two hours. When we added up the final scores,
      the victory points and the tiebreaker were both even, so the result
      was a tie. Bill missed an oracle connection on Turn 8 that would
      have won it for him, and Roland ran out of roads and had no time
      to restock or he could have won as well. Final scores:
      Bill 40 with 1 extra tile, Eric 40 with 1 extra tile,
      Roland 38, Anton 34.

      Eric's rating: 8 at this point for a game that moved nicely, had
      a lot of interesting decisions and that was close at the end.
      Next time I'll have to watch more carefully to make sure my
      connections aren't helping my opponents (through their
      markets) more than they help me.

      PUERTO RICO (Bill, Anton, Eric, Roland)

      The other game was still going, so Bill suggested Puerto Rico, which
      he learned only recently and wanted to try again. We've played a
      few dozen times now at MVGA and we have a good feel for the game,
      though we are by no means sharks. Interestingly enough, Roland
      had played on BSW but the face-to-face version was new to him.
      He protested that his record was 0 for 13 lifetime, but that's not
      an unusual result for someone playing on BSW.

      Bill took Builder as Governor, building a free Small Indigo. Anton
      also built Small Indigo, Eric Small Market and Roland Construction
      Hut. Anton then snarfed a Quarry, making him the early favorite, and
      Eric mayored. There were several instances of loose Crafting in the
      early going, and Eric profited with several good Trades. Anton took
      the first Factory and Roland the second, leaving Eric to build Harbor
      and then Wharf from the proceeds of his Trades. By mid-game Anton was
      a money machine as the rest of us tried to ship around him, but quite
      a few large production buildings were bought and the resulting
      colonist shortage ended the game, leaving Anton with over 10
      doubloons in unspent cash compared with only a few coins for the
      others. This was a quick game of Puerto Rico and the scores were
      relatively low. Bill was cash poor but had 12 VPs before anyone
      else had 5, and Roland got moving just a little bit too late.

      Final scores:

      Ship Bldg Bonus Total
      ---- ---- ---- ----
      3 Eric 20 19 5 44
      1 Bill 23 15 38
      2 Anton 15 16 6 37
      4 Roland 11 14 25

      Eric's rating: 10. I played Puerto Rico 50 times in 2002-2003
      and I enjoyed my first playing in 2004 just as much.

      ATLANTIC STAR (Rich, Jeff, Mike)

      Paul and Charlie had to leave, but the other three decided on
      Atlantic Star as a closer. When you play with fewer players there
      are dummy players that fill in the gaps. I don't have the
      details, but Jeff proved he can hold his own with anyone.
      Final scores: Jeff 56, Rich 50, Mike 35. The players made
      sure to tell me that one of the dummy players scored 43,
      leaving Mike in fourth place in a 3-player game!

      Eric's rating: 7. My rating is 8 for Showmanager, the earlier
      of Atlantic Star with rules that are identical, but I don't like
      the theme of Atlantic Star nearly as much.

      Eric Brosius
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