|Notre Dame 90 mins|
When we first played this game some weeks back, I forgot a crucial rule that severely disadvantaged Matt, so it was good to give it another try with him. The game played much better as written, and the only disappointment was my own performance.
I made a good start in the first phase, scoring good points for Notre Dame, but got into a mess by running out of money and influence, which even playing right reduced my rate of scoring I think.
Steve suffered a lot from the plague, but adopted a policy of not letting it bother him too much, concentrating on making money initially and then points after a slow start. In retrospect I think he might have won if he hadn't adopted quite such a laissez faire attitude to the rats. An extra 2 VPs together with an extra influence on the board might have given him the win.
Matt went for moving the carriage a lot, collecting messages and collected VPs steadily with bonuses for the park, later in the game he upped the bonus to 2VP and I thought he was on for the win.
Mike got early points for a 2 way Notre Dame share with me and collected some points with the carriage, he also crucially was able to get all his influence on the board, allowing good points from certain personalities. He ended up the winner with what seems a respectable score for a first game.
There was some discussion afterwards about the characteristics of the game. The phrase multi-player solitaire was used, with Mike being the most vocal in the expression of this view. Although it is certainly true that there is limited interaction in this game, you can affect other people and in fact Mike was able to do this very effectively on the last turn by passing me such a load of tat that I scored no points at all from the cards I got to play that turn. Interaction is between a player and the 2 on either side, try to pass your left opponent what you think will be least important to him and try to predict what you are likely to get from your right opponent and plan accordingly (it is this aspect I suspect will take a few plays to get used to). There is also scope for interference in carriage moves. If you can pick up a message someone needs, it may then take them extra moves to reach another one (due to the colour set mechanic) causing them to abandon the idea or waste actions. Also there is Notre Dame, it is good to stop anyone getting sole occupation, but by the same token if everyone else is in there then the rewards diminish rapidly, particularly if you can't afford a big donation.
So all in all, I like this game.
After that we had time for a couple of chariot races.
|Ave Caesar 30 mins|
In the first race I started first and took an early lead, unfortunately as I came out of the final corner on the first lap I had got in the position of having 2 6's in hand which I couldn't play and the third card didn't get me into "the pits" allowing Steve (I think) to come and block the lane, forcing me to go round another lap. I eventually finished third.
First race result 1.Steve(6) 2. Mike(4) 3. Dave(3) 4. Matt(2)
The second race was just the opposite, I started third and fell behind immediately due to low cards, I think I only had 1 card above 4 in the first 1 1/3 laps. Mike and I pitted at the end of the first lap, with Matt in the lead from Steve, which he maintained until the end of lap 2 when he got stuck in the pits with 3 6's. Mike then passed blocking the lanes that he couldn't use a 6 allowing me to pass as well. All this of course blocked Steve who was stuck behind Matt. Mike led all the way round the last lap, but I caught up having now of course got the good cards I didn't have earlier and was able to pass on the final corner with a 6 card, when Mike couldn't make it across the line, as the only good cards he had were unusable 6's.
Second race result 1. Dave(6) 2.Mike(4) 3.Matt(3) 4.Steve(2)
Note I have given Steve second in the results above following the rule that he won more races, if this tie break is not applicable, please let me know and I will change it.
Until next week, I shall be there but due to disappearing the next day until the following Wednesday, I won't have time to write the report. Steve has volunteered to do the honours.