This was the first time I won by ending the game by building the Catacombs. I racked up an easy lead with my Scriptorium (completes any building with one marble) by completing a series of influential marble and stone buildings. Marcus and Van were struggling to keep up and being clearly in the lead, I decided to end the game since the Catacombs was in hand. This was fortunate too since I failed to notice that Marcus was attempting a Forum victory. The scores ended 11, 7, 6 in my favour with Van and Marcus battling for second place.
With the speedy game, we decided to proceed with a second round. I was progressing well again with the Gate (activates powers of uncompleted marble buildings) completed and a series of marble building powers activated including the Temple (+4 max hand) and the Scriptorium (again!). Unfortunately, Marcus had a good game going too.
Van and I had little experience with the Colosseum in play and I was always under the false impression that the value of the card only laid in allowing the owner to 'steal' other players' clients when the Legionary role was played. What I didn't realized was that the obtained client doesn't go into the stockpile as other cards acquired via the Legionary but rather straight into the vault.
When I realized what was going on, Marcus had already built a lead in terms of stashed gold from various materials sold in the vault. Van and I had none since the Merchant role hadn't been played and with the 3 bonus points awarded for the majority of each material stashed, we were faced with a significant deficit.
I was clearly ahead in building influence but trailed nonetheless. At one point, I had up to 5 Craftman clients but ran out of marble and stone sites to build on. I also failed to make up the deficit via the vault due to Marcus obtaining a rare Merchant client on the first turn.
The game dragged on as Van and I tried in vain to make up ground while Marcus attempted to end the game by utilizing the last in-town site. Interestingly, he never got his hands on the wood building required and finally only ended the game by exhausting the deck. He ended up with the highest score I had ever witnessed with 60 while I and Van took the rear with 46 and 36 respectively.
Marcus was keen to try Princes of Florence but I suggested otherwise due to the limited number of players. I rate the game very highly but it is really only worth playing with 4-5. Hopefully, I will be able to get this newly traded game to the table soon.
In the end, we decided to introduce Marcus to Stone Age. Despite being his first play, he caught on quickly and the dice rolls were especially kind to him. However, his failure to anticipate the end of the game as well as Van and myself left him with a substantial number of valuable resources unused at the end of the game. I thought my game was well diversified, racking up points on the building front as well as accumulating a majority of the civilization cards. Unfortunately, Van pipped me at the end by a mere 7 points, with a score of 257. If only I had that one extra wood to purchase the final 12 point building. Alas, it was not to be...
This demonstrates that while dice rolls tend to average out over the course of the game, there are instances when the last roll decides between victory and defeat. Nonetheless, it is still a game I fancy despite its lack of depth compared to other worker placement games. I find it a good stepping stone for introducing casual gamers to heavier games.