[SR] MVGA Holliston 2007-11-29
- 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
RACE FOR THE GALAXY
(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.
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?)
PRINCES OF FLORENCE
(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.
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.