Tag Archive | glory to rome

May 18, 2011

Participants: Jon, David K, Nadine, Zachary, Eliezer

I lost my notes, again. I picked up David and brought him home with me. While waiting for others to show up, David created a pile of Magic card for us to draft from later in the evening.

Glory to Rome

Nadine 15, Eliezer 15, David 10, Zachary 9, Jon 9

First game for Zachary, second game for David and Eliezer. I started with a simple brown building and then began a Catacombs, on the theory that a partially built Catacombs would give me the flexibility to end the game when I wanted and protect me from Forums. It didn’t work for me, and I didn’t complete any other building by the end of the game (which ended with David’s Catacombs). I lost out on the utility that other buildings could have supplied in the meantime.

I’m not sure that the strategy was entirely bad; I may have been unlucky. By the way, my other six points came from a single stashed purple card and the bonus for most purple cards.

Nadine built an early killer combo: two brown clients, the building that doubles her client abilities, and the building that increases her hand size to 9. Each round she drew back up to 9 cards, and on each brown action she started AND completed two or three buildings.

All her points were in buildings.

Eliezer built the second most amount of buildings, and also had six points from a stashed blue card and the blue bonus. David was almost as far behind as I was, and he completed Catacombs to put us out of our misery.

Sticheln

Eliezer, Zachary, Nadine

Zach didn’t have much more time, so Eliezer taught Nadine and him a round of this game. Meanwhile, David and I drafted our Magic decks.

Year of the Dragon

Nadine 100something, David around 20 points behind, Eliezer, Jon

First play for Eliezer. I went in to this game not a fan of the game, and I ended even less of a fan; I’ll be dropping it a point on my ranking. It’s not that I don’t see that there is strategy to work out, which David and Nadine have worked out better than I have. It’s that the entire thing bores me. I don’t really know why. It’s just not compelling. Notre Dame, to which this game has been compared but is a less punishing game, doesn’t bother me as much, and compels me slightly more (slightly).

David took a commanding early lead on the turn order track and stayed there the entire game, though I cam close enough to worry him occasionally. He took strong books, earning 9 points a pop during the last few rounds. However, he eventually lost all of his guys on the last round. Nadine built out to four or five huts, took a first round double dragon, and an early princess. She kept six guys and nine buddha points.

I managed to keep eight guys in four huts and a fourth round single dragon and a sixth round princess. No buddhas.

Magic: The Gathering

Jon++, David+

This was the second time in a row that I’ve beaten David. He won the first game handily and I was sure that my deck wasn’t going to do much, even though it didn’t look too bad: black with splashes of red and white, 15 creatures, creature kill cards, and the flagbearer enchantment. The latter is a pretty unassuming card that worked wonders when I brought it out, just like it did the last time I played with it. The enchantment redirects any targeted spell or ability cast by the opponent onto the enchanted creature.

I won the second game with some selective creature kill, followed by a standoff and a Last Ditch Effort, and the third after a long battle, followed by sacrificing some Clerics (shapeshifters, actually) each netting 2 loss of life to him and 2 gain for me.

March 16, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, David K, Binyamin

Quiet night with lots of play.

Boggle

Jon, Nadine, Gili

We played three games while waiting for others to arrive. I played only five letter words, but I also noted four letter words, mostly so I could cancel them out against Nadine. Nadine played four letter words, while Gili, a native Hebrew speaker, played three letter (and the occasional two letter) words. No one really kept score, anyway.

Glory to Rome

Binyamin+, Jon, Gili, David K, Nadine

First play for David. We played that you could not have more than four buildings in progress at any one time. While we were wary about how Forum would play, since we thought we knew a few ways to counter it, we decided to give it one more try. Binyamin ended the game with a Forum victory; I was a few moments away from ending the game with Catacombs. If I had done so, I would have won, followed closely by Gili.

Binyamin thinks, and I agree, that the trouble with Forum is not that it’s unbalanced, which it isn’t. It’s that it makes the game less fun. It’s just not a fun experience to do well and play well, working toward something, and then not have the game even judged on that criteria. It would be different if Forum’s exceptional win criteria weren’t so easy to fulfill. I generally don’t like mechanics that end a game at someone’s will; this is much worse. I think that we’re going to have to change Forum to something like “end the game and gain +3 points” or something.

Magic: The Gathering

Jon++, David

It’s a rare day when I beat David at Magic. I felt like I drafted all over the place, but I ended up with WG with a U splash. David played BG. One of David’s black cards was Eastern Paladin (tap to kill a G creature), and most of my good creatures were G, which is why I diversified to W and U. Lucky for me, David never pulled out his paladin.

In the first game, David thunmped me down to 7, but I brought out blockers, and then a flyer and a pinger. The latter two worked him down for a while. He tried to kill one of my good creatures, but I was saved by a card I had never used before and wasn’t entirely sure how to use: Standard Bearer, which I had innocently thrown on a Bears early on.

In the second game, I brought out an early Bears followed by a +3/+3 enchantment, and he resigned three rounds later.

Tribune

Binyamin+, Nadine, Gili

All I know is that Binyamin won and the game went fairly quickly.

Bridge

Jon/David, Binyamin/Nadine

We played a few hands. David and Nadine don’t play often, but we still had fun.

March 09, 2011

Participants: Mace, Gili, Jon

Game night at Mace’s house, since mine was being painted and Nadine had other plans. I bought two games, and those are the games that we played. Once again, I didn’t take notes.

Glory to Rome

Jon 21, Mace, Gili

The game took only an hour. Three players, so less sites, and this was our second play. Mace was hoping to do another Forum victory, but the rapid decline of sites, the lack of any supporting cards to quickly add to his Clients, and my stealing his Forum card scuttled that plan.

I saw the dwindling site supply and so I did an early Vault which was very lucrative for me; we didn’t use Vault in the last game and so the other two weren’t planning for it, I think. After I did mine, however, they started to catch up with Vault, so I ended the game by building the last four sites.

Shipyard

Jon 110ish, Mace 105ish, Gili 90ish

First play for Mace, second for Gili and me. I explained the game better this time, and Mace appeared to be up to speed already at the beginning of the game.

Once again, the game reminded me strongly of Le Havre, with all of its little bits overflowing the board, the constant trading of this for that, and the essential feeling of “you versus the board” rather than “you versus the other players”. An Ameritrasher’s nightmare. While the game has you intensely focused, it – as do other games that are Ameritasher’s nightmares – seems to lack a little something in the way of soul. Too many cards, numbers, and bits to match, not enough “play”.

I’s still happy to play it, but I feel like I could read a magazine while doing so, which is the same way I feel about Caylus (actually, I liked Caylus less).

I produced a number of ships to match my required missions, but I needed propellers, and a) barely any of the ships had propellers and b) Mace and Gili took the workers who lets you add an extra propeller to any ship. Without that worker, and without ships that let you add propellers, you’re pretty much sunk as far as producing ships with much value: they’ll have little speed and little points for their trial run. At the end of the game, I looked at the remaining sterns and saw that 8 out of 10 had propeller space. I won anyway because I took the two ships that had the propeller space, and because I focused on my other missions.

Mace also did well with his missions, but poorly with his ships. Gili had a 29 point ship, but that was one of only two ships that she launched. After the first two laps, I planned out the rest of my turns; Mace tried to do the same, but Gili stole the one action he needed on the last round, preventing him from taking a smokestack and at least 10 extra points for his ship.

March 02, 2011

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, Mace, Binyamin

Once again I’m doing this without notes. Bleah.

Fairy Tale

Gili 51, Jon 45, Nadine 36

Scores approximate. I tried a combination strategy only to discover on the first round that Gili, sitting in front of me in the passing order, was using the same strategy. I’m always scared to try the once that need specific cards from a smaller pool (such as 4, or even 1), because, with three players, it just seems unlikely that those cards are actually going to turn up. So I passed them all, and of course they did show up; luckily, no one else tried for them, either.

The baseline seems to be 3 points a card. So when you can score more, you should do it. The 6/1 cards (flip, unflip) are marginally better than 3 points a card, and even better when you have ones to flip down when you must. The game is actually kind of interesting. I think I need to play it more often.

Glory to Rome

Mace +, Jon, Binyamin, Nadine, Gili

First play for all of us, and we all liked the game. However, like Tigris and Euphrates, some of the basic mechanics, while seemingly simple for some of us, caused a lot of confusion again and again for others. I’m not sure why that happens, but sometimes a particular rule is just hard for an otherwise smart person to wrap his or her head around. I think I can teach the game better next time.

GtR looks like shlock, and the “box” that the game comes in is less then shlock. But the game is really good, deep, and satisfying. The game is just a card game, but each card has five different uses: a)cas a role; b) as an extra action for a role whenever anyone plays the role; c) as a resource for building a building; d) as a building that gives you a bonus power when it is completed; or e) simply to tuck away for vp’s at the end of the game. once you get the hang of it, the cards make sense; however, they initially are very confusing, as the bonus power is foremost on the card and it isn’t active unless the card is played as a building and the building completed.

On your turn you play a card as a role (a), and anyone else with the same role card can play it to also do the role (or can pick a card or cards, instead). So, like Puerto Rico, you benefit everyone else by what you choose to do, hopefully benefiting yourself more through the timing or the available resources to select first. On everyone else’s turn, you can play the same role card as they played or pick cards; in addition, everyone, the player whose turn it is and any other player, gets to play the role additional times for each “patron” they have previously played (b).

The roles allow you to take patrons (b), take resources (c), play buildings (d) or add resources or cards to buildings (c/d), steal other players’ resources (c), or convert resources to victory points (c/e). You pretty much have to complete at least one decent building during the game, because, in addition to the points and special power you get from the building, your capacity for patrons and victory point cards increases according to the building’s points.

Owing to the building powers, the game is wild and fun, with your strategy determined by the cards you have at any one time. But you can always choose to draw back up to a full hand (so you can dump or play cards pretty freely), and there are always a lot of options.

The one negative … which I’m not sure is a negative … is that a few buildings can end the game with instant victory for a player, or simply end the game early. I’m not a big fan of that mechanic. I understand that this allows even a “losing” player the chance to win the game, but it makes all the other game play that occurred feel like a waste. In our game, mace won by completing a Forum, and the game ended like that. There are a number of possible responses to this move, but you MUST take them and prepare for them, which disrupts the game flow severely. On the other hand, this was our first game, so the idea of the “game flow” that I got from playing it once may have been illusory. We’ll see.

In the Shadow of the Emperor

Jon, Nadine, Binyamin, Mace

I taught this to Binyamin and Mace and refreshed all of our memories at the same time. It took a long time to explain, and a long time to get through the first two rounds, at which point Binyamin had to call it quits. The game suffered in comparison to Glory to Rome which we had played just before; it’s actually a decent game, but not nearly as exciting.