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[SR] MVGA Holliston 2007-11-29

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  • brosiuse
    MVGA meets Thursday nights at 7pm in the Masonic Hall in Holliston, Massachusetts, on Route 16 just east of the town center. Turn north on Church Place (it s
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 16, 2007
      MVGA meets Thursday nights at 7pm in the
      Masonic Hall in Holliston, Massachusetts,
      on Route 16 just east of the town center.
      Turn north on Church Place (it's more a
      driveway than a street) to find parking.
      We'll be in the room at the back.

      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, Dan, Rich, Steve, Mike

      (Dan, Rich, Steve, Mike)

      Eric's schedule has been busy, so his
      attendance at MVGA has been sporadic this
      fall (and these session reports have been
      sporadic as well.) He was looking forward
      to the chance to play with the group, and
      he had a new game in his tub o' games---
      the long-awaited Race for the Galaxy. This
      game works well for 2, 3 or 4 players, so
      he started to teach the rules and we added
      new arrivals as they came in. We had a
      visitor this week, Mike. I'm not sure
      whether Mike has been to MVGA before, but
      he is not the same as either of the other
      Mikes I've written about in these SRs.

      With 5 players on hand and the game already taught, Eric opted to act as
      non-playing facilitator while the other 4 tried the game. Race for the
      Galaxy is a simultaneous play game that bears a significant resemblance to
      San Juan, a game whose development was intertwined with the development of
      Race for the Galaxy. Race for the Galaxy is a more complex game than San
      Juan, but it plays more quickly once you know it because of the simultaneous
      play feature; there's no waiting for a single player to choose a role, or
      to decide how to use a role once chosen.

      Because of the variety of cards, new players are sometimes puzzled as they
      try to decide between many options, so Race for the Galaxy comes with a set
      of pre-selected starting hands that assure each player a reasonable start.
      Just like San Juan players start with an Indigo Plantation already built,
      each Race for the Galaxy player starts with a Home World already built, though
      the five Home Worlds supplied with the game are different (and balanced, if
      you trust the work done by the playtesters.)

      In San Juan, you score points only for buildings, but in Race for the Galaxy
      you score points in two ways: either by playing cards to the table as worlds
      or developments, or by "consuming" goods in a way that resembles the shipping
      aspect of Puerto Rico. In this game, Steve and Rich placed a heavy focus on
      shipping while Dan and Mike went in other directions. Dan wound up behind the
      eight ball, scoring big neither for cards or for consumption, and he wound up
      in last place. Race for the Galaxy includes a diverse assortment of 6-cost
      developments (analogous to the 6-cost purple buildings in San Juan,) and each
      player built one, scoring from 4 to 8 VPs for them.

      Final scores:

      Rich 36 = 11 cards + 17 consumption + 8 (Free Trade Association)
      Steve 34 = 10 cards + 20 consumption + 4 (Mining League)
      Mike 29 = 18 cards + 6 consumption + 5 (Galactic Federation)
      Dan 26 = 11 cards + 9 consumption + 6 (Galactic Survey)

      Eric's rating: 10. I've actually played Race for the Galaxy about 30 times,
      most of them in pre-publication form. The art on the new cards is attractive,
      adding to the game, but the heart is the same---it's an addictive card flow
      game in which you have to keep adapting your plans to the cards you draw while
      avoiding the temptation to do a little of everything while accomplishing little.
      I'm ready to play it right now (it's snowing; maybe I can talk a family
      member into a game?)

      (Eric, Dan, Rich, Steve, Mike)

      There are a lot of good games for 5 players. We decided to try Princes of
      Florence, a top-rated game that Mike thinks he last played in pre-publication
      form (back in 1999 or 2000.) For a while the group was reluctant to play with
      Eric, who is thought to be the best Princes of Florence player in the group,
      but Eric has lost several games in a row and seems quite beatable now.

      We drew for seating position and Steve was chosen as first player, with Dan
      taking the coveted second seat. Jesters were expensive as usual, with Eric
      buying the first for 1000 florins and the price going up from there. Mike
      proved that he's no newbie at this game, bidding aggressively for Builders and
      running a full-fledged Building strategy, using three Builders to erect a lot
      of buildings for no cost.

      It was a closely fought game all the way. Mike could have used a few Bonus
      cards to grab Best Work, but despite the omission, he posted a respectable
      score considering the relatively high prices he was forced to pay for his

      Dan and Rich both bought Prestige Cards, and these proved to be the difference
      makers, as the two finished in first and second place. Dan edged Rich out by
      3 PP to take a well-earned win.

      Final scores: Dan 58, Rich 55, Eric 54, Mike 45, Steve 44.

      Eric's rating: 9. I really enjoy Princes of Florence, and I'm particularly
      pleased that our group has started to play it once again.

      (Eric, Dan, Rich)

      Mike and Steve had to leave at this point, but it was a little too early for
      the other 3 of us to leave. Eric suggested a little card game he recently
      purchased as a filler. R-Eco comes from Japanese designer Susumu Kawasaki,
      and it's a pleasant way to finish off a gaming session.

      In R-Eco, the players take on the roles of garbage collection companies,
      hauling four different types of waste to disposal facilities. The problem is
      that it's easy to find yourself stuck with more waste than you can hold.
      When this happens, you must engage in a bit of illegal dumping, cutting into
      your score and potentially allowing opponents to tout their own better-run

      In this game, Dan was the busiest garbage collector, but he appears to have
      cut corners, as he wound up dumping 4 cards illegally. Rich found it harder
      to fulfill contracts, and he also was forced to dump, though he only had to
      dump 2 cards. Eric was a paragon of civic virtue, delivering every waste
      card legally and earning a 4 VP bonus for being the Honorary Garbage Collector.
      Final scores:

      Eric 11 = 7 delivery - 0 illegal dumping + 4 HGC
      Dan 5 = 9 delivery - 4 illegal dumping
      Rich 3 = 5 delivery - 2 illegal dumping

      Eric's rating: 7. It's a tough job to design a good filler. You need some
      interesting decisions, but you can't afford a heavy rules load, since it's
      not worth learning a lot of rules for a short game. R-Eco delivers the goods.

      Eric Brosius
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