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[SR] MVGA Holliston 2007-05-31

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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 , Jun 4, 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. Look for us in
      the room at the back of the hall.

      We welcome visitors. The Masons generously
      stopped charging us for the space, so there
      is no longer a $3.00 fee for anyone!

      Roll call:
      Eric, Steve, Rich, Paul H., Dan, Anton

      (Eric, Steve, Rich, Dan)

      We had a solid turnout this week. Anton and
      Paul had scheduled a tabletop baseball series
      between their league-leading teams. The rest
      of us started off with Notre Dame, a new "big
      box" Alea game from Stefan Feld. Notre Dame
      is now out in the Rio Grande edition as well
      as in Germany, but the copy we used is the
      one Rich won as a prize back in April. It's
      the third time we've played the game at MVGA.

      Steve was new to the game, so we explained it
      to him before we began. I find it relatively
      easy to teach, as you have no more than three
      choices at any one time (with the exception
      of how to apply the effect of some of the
      bribes,) but it takes practice to play the
      game well.

      It was an interesting game. Although it was his first game, Steve shot out
      to an early lead, driving his carriage around the board to pick up several
      of the 4 VP tokens (passing up tokens that provide a cube or a coin, but
      fewer VP.) Dan got two cubes into the park very early, but he had to move
      them to the hospital in Turn 3 to curb a menacing rat infestation. Rich
      and Eric played more deliberately, gaining fewer early VP but building more

      It's hard to know what to do with the Notre Dame cards, especially early in
      the game. They offer a lot of VP, especially if an opponent or two chooses
      not to donate, but at the cost of a valuable action and an equally valuable
      coin. In the first part of the game, Dan decided not to donate, but each
      of the other players paid his respects.

      Score after 3 turns: Steve 14, Dan 10, Eric 7, Rich 7

      During the second set of turns, Eric got two workers into the park for the
      bonus, which he retained for the rest of the game. Steve ran into several
      forms of trouble, suffering from a rat plague in one turn (costing him VPs
      and a cube) and running out of cash in another (so that he could not make a
      bribe.) Only Steve and Eric donated this time, yielding 5 VP for Steve and
      6 VP for Eric with his park presence. Dan hit the cube region hard, taking
      every single blue cube out of the supply and ready for use. Eric made his
      big move during the middle part of the game, whizzing out to a nice lead.

      Score after 6 turns: Eric 33, Dan 25, Rich 24, Steve 21

      Dan came back strongly during the final rounds. Once again he eschewed the
      cathedral, and though this cost him some VPs, it did allow him to take full
      advantage of bribery to pile up big scores (he earned 9 or 10 VP at the
      end of two of the three rounds.) Dan augmented this scoring with bonuses
      for the park, which he once again stocked with two cubes. Rich piled up
      several cubes and his trusted friend in the VP section of his board and also
      made a cathedral trip, but it wasn't enough to keep up with Dan or make up
      ground on Eric. Steve tried to fight back into the game, but the damage he
      had suffered during the middle of the game was too much to overcome, though
      he did (with Eric) donate to the building of the cathedral three times over
      the course of the game.

      Final scores: Eric 60, Dan 55, Rich 51, Steve 34.

      Eric's rating: 8. Notre Dame is not only an '8', but a solid '8'. I enjoy
      it every time I play it, and I wish Mac users like me could play it on BSW.
      In this game, Eric visited Notre Dame with a donation three times while Dan
      didn't visit at all, yet we finished within 5 VP of each other. The balance
      between different strategies seems good, though the "wild card" space is one
      I only use in case of emergency (for example, if I need a coin to make a
      bribe and don't have the coin card or the trusted friend card.)

      SAN JUAN
      (Eric, Steve, Rich, Dan)

      The APBA baseball series was still underway, so we chose a short game for our
      next undertaking. We've played San Juan 30 times at MVGA, and all four of us
      know the game and can play quickly. Rich started us off by building a Quarry.
      Eric built a Gold Mine. He immediately followed with the Prospector and was
      delighted when it paid off in its first use. Dan built a Prefecture and
      started milking the Councillor for all it was worth. Steve tried Tobacco
      and the Craftsman/Trader route.

      It wasn't long before Rich and Steve built Libraries. The Library is a very
      strong card in the 2-player game, but it comes in handy with 3 or 4 as well.
      Rich and Steve were building and Prospecting for excellent value, and Dan got
      Coffee and Sugar up and running, as well as a Gold Mine of his own. Both Eric
      and Dan struck gold three times in the game. There was a lot of competition
      for the 6-cost buildings. Dan built both Guild Hall and City Hall, while Rich
      built the Guild Hall and Triumphal Arch. Rich also built a Chapel, under
      which he buried 4 cards for VP, including several other 6-cost buildings.

      Final scores:

      Dan_ 33 = 17 + 6 (City Hall) + 10 (Guild Hall)
      Rich 31 = 17 + 4 (Chapel) + 4 (Triumphal Arch) + 6 (Guild Hall)
      Eric 30 = 24 + 6 (Palace)
      Steve 23 = 16 + 7 (City Hall)

      Eric's rating: 8. I'm looking forward eagerly to Race for the Galaxy, but
      meanwhile I'm happy to play San Juan.

      (Eric, Rich, Dan)

      Anton and Paul were still finishing up the last game of their tabletop
      baseball series, so we chose an even shorter game while we waited. Steve
      decided to take a break, so the other 3 played Liar's Dice. I'm not sure the
      baseball managers appreciated the sound of all those dice being shaken and
      slammed down on the table, but at least it was only 15 dice, not the 30 we
      use when we play with 6 players.

      It was a game with relatively little drama. Dan lost one die, then two more.
      Dan then called Eric's bid and lost a die for Rich as well as himself when
      Eric's bid proved to be exactly right. Dan completed his quick exit with
      another failed bid, leaving Rich with 4 dice to go up against Eric's 5. It
      didn't take long for Rich to drop to a single die (Eric demonstrated great
      skill in rolling stars in this game.) When you're up 4 or 5 dice to 1 in
      Liar's Dice, it usually pays to tell the truth. Eric started by losing one
      die to Rich, who rolled just the right number, but closed him out by telling
      the truth in the next round, winning with 4 dice remaining.

      Winner: Eric

      Eric's rating: 7. Liar's Dice isn't complicated, but it combines luck and
      skill and accommodates almost any number of players.

      (Eric, Steve, Rich, Paul H., Dan, Anton)

      The baseball series was now over, giving us time for a short 6-player game.
      Union Pacific is often our choice under these circumstances. It wasn't much
      of a game. Dan got 4 UP shares down early, scoring 10 VP all by himself when
      the rest of us waited one round to long to play our shares. Eric stole the
      green line from Paul to take second place.

      At the second scoring, Dan scored big again, this time with uncontested
      control of the light blue line (his initial blue share held up all game as the
      others of that color were buried in the bottom of the deck.) Rich had 4 UP
      shares in his hand still unplayed---the genius of this game is the way it
      lures you into not playing shares that are, by any measure, essential to play.
      Before the third scoring, Dan played four green shares to steal the green line
      from Eric (who had stolen it from Paul earlier) and win by a huge margin.

      Final scores: Dan 96, Eric 75, Steve 65, Rich 57, Anton 49, Paul 48.

      Eric's rating: 8. Union Pacific is well balanced. It rewards careful
      planning, discipline and low cunning. It will take 6 players with ease and
      finishes in a manageable amount of time.

      Eric Brosius
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