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[SR] MVGA Holliston 2006-08-24

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  • brosiuse
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29, 2006
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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:

      Eric, Rich, Anton, Bill

      SAN JUAN
      (Eric, Rich, Anton, Bill)

      Players were slow in arriving at the
      Masonic Hall this week, so it was a little
      after 7pm when we pulled San Juan out of
      the MVGA game locker for our first game of
      the evening. Bill arrived while we were
      setting up, so we found another Indigo
      plantation card for him and started right
      in. Bill was a little fuzzy at the start,
      claiming he hadn't played for a while, but
      the last time he played San Juan at MVGA
      he won the game, so we knew we couldn't
      overlook him.

      Early in the course of our experience with
      San Juan, Rich had mediocre results, but
      he's now won five of the last six games he
      has played at MVGA and we're wondering how
      to stop him! Rich was first Governor and
      began by building a Coffee Roaster, using
      all his cards. Coffee isn't a bad build
      for the first Governor, as it lets you
      craft in the second round after the more
      desirable roles have been taken. Eric
      followed with a Carpenter, Anton a Gold
      Mine and Bill a lowly Sugar Mill.

      Rich played an odd hybrid strategy, adding a Prefecture to his Coffee
      Mill, followed by a Market Hall and a series of monuments. Usually the
      monuments accompany a purple-building strategy, but Rich didn't build
      any of the big building strategy cards, making his money instead by
      selling lucrative batches using the trader. Eric did pursue the purple
      building strategy, augmenting the Carpenter with a Quarry, a Black Market
      and an Aqueduct (to fuel the Black Market.) He would have won going away
      if he could have drawn the City Hall, the Guild Hall or the Triumphal
      Arch, but the only 6 building he got was the Palace, which needs another
      6 building to make it effective.

      Anton hit twice early on using his Gold Mine and scooped up a Library,
      which he built as soon as he could. This allowed him to double the
      Builder and Prospector privileges for the rest of the game. Anton laid
      down two Coffee Roasters of his own to tag along with Rich's production
      actions. Bill took a while to get started, but eventually managed his
      own production strategy, powered by a timely Silver Mine. Bill had a lot
      of production buildings, but could not get a Guild Hall, settling instead
      for a relatively low-scoring City Hall. Rich and Eric failed to build any
      6 buildings, and Rich decided to stop looking for one, building a cheap
      12th structure to end the game while he was ahead.

      Final scores:

      Rich_ 27 = 27 for buildings
      Eric_ 25 = 25 for buildings
      Anton 25 = 15 for buildings + 10 for a Guild Hall
      Bill_ 20 = 15 for buildings + 5 for a City Hall

      Eric's rating: 8. Once you know the game, San Juan really zips along.
      It avoids some of the "perfect strategy" problems of Puerto Rico because
      you can only play the cards you draw.

      (Eric, Rich, Anton, Bill)

      During the early part of 2006, Caylus was out of print and Eric had the
      only copy among the MVGA regulars. Now that the second printing is out,
      more of us have purchased copies. Rich brought his copy of Caylus out to
      MVGA this week and was determined to play a game. The rest of us were
      willing to humor him; we had all played before, so we didn't have to take
      the time to teach the rules and we were soon underway.

      Many people believe the path to victory in Caylus runs down the building
      favor track, but Rich and Eric shunned this track completely. Rich used
      his favors almost entirely on the VP track. Eric took two shots at the
      money track (he was almost broke every turn) and spent the rest on the VP
      track. This led to an odd game in which the Lawyer and Architects were
      ignored (except at the end for VPs.) Early in the game Anton built the
      2-stone Quarry and Eric followed immediately with the Mason. This resulted
      in a perfect stone building engine which generated points for both of them
      almost every round. Eric managed to build two of the stone production
      buildings, and Bill built the other, and these buildings were in constant
      use. Rich built almost no buildings during the game, breaking the pattern
      only with a single late-game Alchemist.

      In some Caylus games, the Merchant's Guild is used to push the Provost back,
      knocking buildings out of production, but in this game we consistently saw
      one player or another place a worker near the bailiff and follow it up by
      taking the Merchant's Guild to protect the placement. As a result, the
      Bailiff waddled forward at a steady 2 spaces per turn, shortening the game
      and forcing us to move quickly if we wanted to build in the castle.

      We piled up some impressive cube piles, and suddenly there was a mad rush
      to build as we realized this might be the last round. Bill and Rich took
      the first two castle slots, and Anton took the third. Bill and Rich could
      build just one or two houses each, and Anton could build five. Eric jumped
      in with the ability to build four, and it was clear that if we all built,
      we'd end the game. Eric also seized first play for the following round,
      so he'd get the only castle builds if the game continued. Bill, Rich and
      Anton each built to his capacity, but Eric decided he couldn't win if he
      built all his houses, so he restricted himself to just one, planning to
      come back next time, and built a 6-VP stone building while he waited.

      On the following turn Eric filled up the castle and built a second 6-VP
      stone building (our first Architect.) This was just enough to win the game.
      Rich earned a nice stash of VPs on the favor track and sold two gold at the
      Jeweler for 9 VP, but Eric's steady earnings from his buildings were just
      enough to make up the difference. Anton and Bill also earned nicely from
      their buildings, but were not able to make their efforts on the building
      favor track pay rewards commensurate with the cost. Anton did complete one
      blue building (the Library) in the final turn to finish ahead of Bill, who
      could not complete a blue building, but the game demonstrated the fragile
      nature of the building-track strategy.

      Final scores: Eric 79, Rich 77, Anton 66, Bill 55.

      Eric's rating: 7. Caylus is a game of thinking, and it certainly is well
      constructed, but for some reason I don't enjoy it as much as some other
      games. For some reason, I prefer not to see all the "clockwork" in the
      games I play.

      We finished Caylus at about 10pm. At this point Anton, Bill and Eric all
      decided it was time to leave early, so we called it a night.

      Eric Brosius
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