SOG SR: 11/14 in Westford
- We had eight people in attendance at SOG this Monday: Lowell, Andrew,
Mike, Evan, Don, Chris, Jeff M. and myself.
We started off with a six player game of 6 Nimmt! while waiting for
the rest of the folks (Jeff and Chris) to trickle in. (Actually, I
think they may have started something else before I got downstairs,
but since I don't remember someone else will have to furnish that
The game went a fairly short four (three?) rounds, due to Lowell and
Evan taking massive points. I managed to do very well for the first
few rounds, going into the last round with a top score of 4. However,
Don and Andrew were both doing well also, and my final round went
badly, giving Don the win.
At this point, everyone had arrived and we broke up into two groups of
four. Lowell, Jeff, Mike and Don decided to play Louis XIV, while
Chris, Andrew, Evan and I played Tahuantinsuyu. This was the second
time playing it for most of us, but the last playing was well over a
year ago, so it did take some time to get familiar with the rules
again...unfortunately, a little too much time, as we played several
At its heart, this is a connection game -- you are building roads by
drawing on the map board, and then trying to build cities, temples,
terraces and garrisons at locations attached to your road network.
There are other points to be had, but the vast majority of victory
points will come from the end-of-turn scoring for connections to
The game has a few random elements -- the first is the placement of
region markers, one per region in the game. The variance on these is
not too bad, but certainly it's nicer to find some markers near your
start point that generate lots of labor rather than those that earn
you VPs. The second random element is the Sun cards, which are played
on two players at a time, in a fashion designed to act as a catch-up
However, we made a huge mistake in the assignment of turn order,
assigning 1st position to the player at the front of the scoring
track, when it should be the player at the back of the scoring track.
This, as you may expect, had spectacularly bad results for the folks
in front, as for some reason they were always last to place their Sun
cards, and usually ended up getting the bad stuff instead of being
able to play it on others. I noticed that I had screwed this up (mea
culpa, mea maxima culpa) farly late in the game, and we agreed that it
would be best if we switched to doing it correctly. It may have been
a coincidence, but at that point the people in last started to pull
towards the front of the track, and the final scores ended up much
closer than you would have expected from the midgame position.
That wasn't the only mistake we made, but the other errors were
largely attributable to some issues with the graphics of the game.
So, a big asterisk by this play in any case.
Chris and Evan headed north early, while Andrew attempted to follow
but was cut off by Chris. So Andrew and I were racing south, sharing
a lot of connections. Everyone got to play the pilgrimage game a few
times, although Andrew and I were lucky enough to get the Great
Pilgrimage going, worth quite a lot of points, especially when you can
activate it three times. Chris expanded his network very very well,
ending the game connected to almost every city and other structure on
the board. This was sufficient to give him the win over me by a
single point. (175 to 174, I believe)
We all did enjoy it in spite of the screwed up play, and we have vowed
to play it again soon.
(It also helped, I think, that I had the plexiglass in place, making
drawing the lines clearer.)
The other group had finished Louis XIV, and Don and Lowell headed
home. Mike and Jeff played a game of Starship Catan while waiting for
us to finish.
When we finished, they were close to the end, so we played a quick
game of For Sale, which Chris won by a wide margin.
Andrew then headed home, and we cast about for a good five player game
to end the night with and hit upon Sticheln.
Another game that I did extremely well in until the final round. Not
entirely fair -- I did OK even in the last round, but Mike was able to
parlay his position near the back of the pack into
near-invulnerability, as people several times declined to drop any
misery cards on him when he was taking a trick. This gave Mike a
23-point round for a final score of 41, just edging my score of 40 by
a point. Evan was close behind with 38, Jeff with 35, and
Chris...well, Chris was elsewhere.
That was all for the night as people packed up and headed home.