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Session report: January 28

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  • Dave Wilson
    We started out with five of us at the table. Well, only four of us were of= gaming age, and Jeff needed to keep track of Max for a bit, so we wound up being
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2004
      We started out with five of us at the table. Well, only four of us were of=
      gaming age,
      and Jeff needed to keep track of Max for a bit, so we wound up being only t=
      hree. We
      started by voting for the game of the evening, using a method Dave found on=
      the net.
      The nominees were New England, Settlers of the Stone Age, Puerto Rico, and =
      Trias. In
      very close voting (16-15), Settlers of the Stone Age won out. But Jeff was=
      still
      indisposed for a bit, so Sterling, Richard, and Dave decided to play some S=
      ticheln
      until Jeff became free.

      Sticheln is an unusual trick-taking card game. Each hand players declare a=
      misery
      color – a suit whose cards they want to avoid taking. Then the hand is pla=
      yed as
      usual: one person leads to the trick and the rest a card to it. The twist=
      is that the
      first card led identifies the "lead color" for that trick, and all other co=
      lors are
      considered trump for that trick. Also, there is no requirement to follow s=
      uit – you can
      play any card at any time. You can imagine the kind of disruption to the d=
      ynamics
      this causes.

      As it turned out, we only played one hand before Jeff became available once=
      again.
      This first and only hand was interesting in that out of five colors, Dave a=
      nd Sterling
      each declared blue as their misery color. This meant that Richard could ta=
      ke tricks
      using blue cards to hinder the other two from taking them. It was a learni=
      ng game
      for Richard, and he missed an opportunity to pile significant negative poin=
      ts onto
      Sterling. Sterling, on the other hand, had no problem doing it to Richard. =
      Dave was
      busy just trying to avoid points, and wasn't able to be as nasty as he gene=
      rally likes
      to be in this game :-) . At the end of the hand, Sterling finished up wit=
      h 10 points,
      Dave had 6, and Richard had 4.

      With Max in good, non-gaming hands, Jeff joined us, and we stopped playing =
      Sticheln
      and started our game of Settlers of the Stone Age. It uses familiar Settle=
      rs gameplay
      and places it in Africa, using it to play out mankind's growth and expansio=
      n across
      the world. The resources are different (meat, hide, bone, flint), and the =
      buildables are
      different (campsites and explorers, rather than roads, settlements and citi=
      es), but the
      basics are there.

      We used the basic setup, which put the four colors in predetermined places.=
      Richard
      was the first to found a campsite outside of Africa, with Jeff and Sterling=
      quickly
      following. Dave was a little slower out the gate, but eventually joined in=
      . Richard had
      a pretty quick start, with many progress advancements. This enabled him to=
      collect
      two quick exploration counters, which earned him the Exploration victory po=
      ints (2 in
      all), which though it is treated as, say Longest Road in base Settlers, he =
      was never to
      lose.

      Africa gradually succumbed to desertification, rendering the campsites rema=
      ining
      there less and less useful. The first few desert spaces destroyed hexes wh=
      ere Dave
      generated much of his resources, which caused him to slow even further. Ev=
      entually
      some 8 hexes turned into desert, and most campsites had been moved out of A=
      frica
      by the end of the game.

      Sterling was the first to leave Eurasia and reach the Americas across the B=
      ering land
      bridge. Richard, was the first to camp there, though Sterling soon did as =
      well
      (followed by a sabertooth). Dave was the first into Australia, but Sterlin=
      g soon
      followed that, and by establishing campsites in all for locales earned the =
      Expansion
      card, which gave him 2 victory points. Note: We misplayed a rule in this =
      game.
      According to the rules, page 7: "The second player of each type receives o=
      ne victory
      point: You may take any one of the tribe counters on the board and place i=
      t in front
      of you." We omitted that rule completely, which wound up omitting a race=
      for that
      second place, as Richard was in three but needed Australia, while Dave was =
      in three
      but needed the Americas. Oh well, next time.

      Early on Jeff attained maximum advancement in food progress. This allowed =
      his
      explorers to travel long distances, but he wasn't sufficiently advanced in =
      clothing to
      cross the Bering land bridge into the Americas, nor in construction to trav=
      el to
      Australia. Dave and Richard each attained maximum advancement in one of th=
      ose
      two areas. This earned a victory point to the first player to do so in eac=
      h area.

      But as it turned out, Sterling's expansion gave him a good lead, and his th=
      ree
      Australian camps provided the last victory points needed to emerge victorio=
      us, with
      10 VPs. Richard finished with 8, Dave with 6, and Jeff with 5.
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