January 20, 2016

Participants: Jon, Nadine, David, Gili, Alan, Francis

I began the evening teaching David and Gili – and reminding Nadine – how to play La Isla. Then Alan came, and we had to move to a five player game. We played through one round of La Isla first to get the idea. Then we put it away and set up El Capitain for five players. After explaining El Capitan to everyone, Francis came. So we split into two groups.

El Capitan

Jon 224, David 219, Alan 211

Scores approximate, but that’s the gist: a close game. It didn’t start that way: after the first payout, I had 11 while David and Alan had around 30 or more. By the end of the second payout, I had 71 while David and Alan had 74 and 75 respectively (again, something like that).

I tried to build up diverse cities and second place in many cities, but it didn’t pay out much. Only my tower (I was the only one who had built one by the end of the first phase) kept me out of the poorhouse. Alan beat me to 9 cities by one round, while David underestimated the benefits of doing so; at the second payout, both Alan and I earned the complete 60 for all nine cities, while David only got 20 for his 6 cities. He kept pace by having good payouts in the two big cities, as well as a full tower.

Alan was the one who finished each round, and that was all the more impressive since he finished the second round after accidentally taking one his warehouses from the supply (which should only have been available to him in the third round). As a result, in the last round he only had five warehouses, which made the round shorter.

It’s not a thematic game, and a lot of its mechanic derives from “too hard to calculate everything”, which is not a brilliant mechanic, but it’s still not a bad game. Just not in league with the best games. I think both David and Alan would play it again.

Notre Dame

Nadine 73, Gili 64, Francis 42

First play for Francis, and apparently he liked it. They inadvertently played with the Alea treasure chest expansion cards that I had left in the box; these were new to them.  Nadine writes: I won by the 9 points that I got in the last round. I was lucky that I was able to also get a card to get a cube, that prevented Gili and Francis the turn before. I was in ND twice alone, Francis once. Gili got the extra point thing first turn. The expansion cards surprised us because we didn’t know Jon had gotten them; they decrease  the ability to plan which is good for new players.

Nefarious

Nadine 22, Jon 21, Gili 20, Alan, Francis

First play for Francis, and I reminded Alan about some of the rules. In the second to last round, I didn’t play Invent, but I should have because my minions earned me enough money. I would have won that round. That round Nadine drew a card (giving her only one card in her hand). In the last round, both Nadine and I (and Gili) invented; Nadine was only able to play the card because her minions earned her exactly the right amount of money. So she was able to play a card that was exactly the right amount of points to beat my card.

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