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Session Report - Wednesday -2 May

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  • Richard Pardoe
    Lawrence and Dave arrived for games tonight. After a roundabout discussion of what to play (and what not to play), we decided to give Yspahan a try. Yspahan
    Message 1 of 409 , May 2, 2007
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      Lawrence and Dave arrived for games tonight. After a roundabout discussion
      of what to play (and what not to play), we decided to give Yspahan a try.

      Yspahan is one of the latest games that tries to marry multiple means of
      converting resources into victory points. Players can gain camels, gold, or
      goods. The camels and gold can be used to make buildings (granting special
      powers). The buildings themselves yield victory points as more are built.
      The goods can be used to occupy fixed areas (called souks) on the board.
      Larger areas that are harder to reach worth more points than smaller areas
      that are easy to reach. In addition, the points can be moved to a "caravan"
      again yielding points both for being early in the caravan or having goods
      "high" in the caravan. Finally, there are cards that grant certain powers
      or can be used as resource.

      The game will last 21 turns with scoring at the end of every 7th turn - so
      in thematic terms - the game lasts 3 weeks, with the scoring at week's end.
      The unique feature to this game is the unique resource generation method.
      Nine dice are rolled and the die sorted by pips (all the 1s gathered
      together, all the 2s, 3s, etc.) These die are then assigned to a "tower"
      board with 6 slots. The lowest pip goes in the lowest slot, the highest pip
      in the highest slot. The remaining dice are then stacked in ascending pip
      order from the lowest slot. As a result, the lower slots are more likely to
      generate resources then the higher slots. This makes the areas/resources
      for the higher slots harder to reach and more valuable.

      With the rules explanation done, we launched into our first game. Before
      the first scoring, Rich focused on gaining cards and building a couple of
      buildings. Lawrence focused on capturing territories, while Dave also
      captured territories and moved a few goods to the Caravan. At the end of
      the first week:

      Dave had 9 points from his territories (souks) and 4 from the caravan: 13
      Lawrence has 8 points in souks: 8
      Rich: 0 (hoping to have a strong foundation for the later rounds)

      In the second week, Rich started to gain territories and also move goods the
      Caravan. Lawrence continued to focus on souks (capturing 3). Dave
      continued in both souks and caravan points. Rich and Dave also continued to
      complete buildings and gaining the initial victory points for having at
      least 3 buildings completed. At the end of the second week:

      Dave: 10 points in souks and 6 from the caravan: 47
      Lawrence: 6+4+8 in souks and 2 from the caravan: 29
      Rich: 7 from souks and 8 from the caravan: 31

      The third week saw Dave move into the souks as well as gain goods in the
      highest line of the caravan. Rich managed to get into only a few souks but
      filled the caravan to trigger scoring as well as emptying it of goods. Dave
      and Rich also completed the last building gaining the full VPs from
      building. Lawrence played a bit of catch up with some souks and only a
      couple of buildings built. At the end of the third week (and the end of the
      game):

      Dave: 28 points in souks (helped by +2 bonus for each of them): 100
      Lawrence: 11 points in souks and 2 from the caravan: 46
      Rich: 3 in souks: 69

      So while Rich was able to gain points after the first round, to gain second
      place, Dave was the most consistent and balance builder and generator of
      victory points. Finally, as is our tradition, we missed a rule in our first
      playing. In this case - it was using the caravan for 4 players (3 rows of 4
      camels each). Our 3 player game should have used only 3 camels per row.
      This would have reduced the caravan points and likely emptied it sometime in
      the second week allowing for different scoring going into the last week.

      But the initial comments from Lawrence and Dave was that the game felt very
      abstract despite the thematic elements drawn on the game. Personally, I can
      see this game following an arc a bit like St. Petersburg. It will be
      interesting to play a few games to see how best to manage the resource
      stream. But once a working pattern is identified, the game will probably
      settle on the luck of the die roll (card draw in St. Petersburg) making is a
      bit more of a luck-fest than a skill-fest. There is a download one could
      get (play against AI players) that is probably good to learn the mechanics,
      but reports are already suggesting that the AI doesn't utilize the caravan
      point mechanism, so is easily beating that way.

      After Yspahan, we then opted for Wyatt Earp - the non-Mystery Rummy, Mystery
      Rummy game. As players can share in the rewards for capturing criminals,
      this is a rummy with some nice twists that also works very well with three
      players.

      The first round saw some modest sharing of rewards, but the key was
      Lawrence's sole capture of Butch Cassidy allowing Lawrence to take an early
      lead ($10,000 to Dave's $7,000 and Rich's $3,000). With money left on many
      outlaws, the next round was quite generous. Rich had a sole capture of Wes
      Hardin. Dave did the same with Billy the Kid and Bob Dalton. Lawrence
      captured Jesse with a nice carry-over from the first round. As a result,
      Dave and Lawrence were tied with $20,000 each while Rich continued to trail
      at $12,000.

      The final round saw Dave lead with 8 points against Butch Cassidy who had
      not been captured the previous round and was getting more reward money
      added. Rich joined in with a single wanted card and a Stagecoach robbery,
      but was still too far behind to share with Dave. Dave increased his lead
      with a Fastest Gun (11-3). Rich added another wanted (11-5) and a bank
      robbery (11-7) to finally pull into at least sharing the pot. As Lawrence
      had also played a Butch wanted, we both tried to put Dave's card into a
      "hideout" but either couldn't make the required shot or Dave countered with
      a Wyatt Earp card. The final nail in the coffen was Dave's use of a Most
      Wanted card to steal one of Rich's wanted cards for an 13-5 lead and sole
      capture of Butch (and $9,000). Rich had hoped to play Fastest Gun to remove
      Dave's resulting in a 6 point swing, but realized after the fact that he
      should have used Wyatt Earp to pull the card from the discard pile. Hope I
      remember that the next time I play the game...which isn't all that often.

      But with the last round conviningly won by Dave, it was a minor exercise to
      find the points:

      Dave: $34,000
      Lawr: $23,000
      Rich: $15,000

      And with that our evening of games came to an end. Until next week,

      Rich
    • Dave Wilson
      ... I ll be there. Dave
      Message 409 of 409 , Jun 3, 2008
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        --- In trivalleygamers@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Pardoe" <RPardoe@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Late and rushed to send this out...but games will be same time, same
        > place....

        I'll be there.

        Dave
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