Wednesday, May 20, 2009

19th May 2009 Session Report: The One Where We Had Our First Go at Through The Ages

Despite missing the white counters for Through The Ages, I decided to have a go at it with Van and Mun by substituting the batteries in Galaxy Trucker for them. I initially hoped to try at least the Advanced game but it was clear after 5 minutes of rules explanation that it was not going to work because 1. they looked clearly overwhelmed, and 2. I myself was struggling since it was the first time I was attempting to teach the game (of course worsen by the fact that I've never tried it either). Thus, I decided for us to have a go at the Simple game instead despite forum comments that while useful up for picking up the mechanics, it was a bad reflection of the actual game.

Based on Van and Mun's comments after the game, I could clearly see why. There were so many aspects missing that the game came across a strictly multi-player solitaire experience. We felt like we were choosing cards at random since we weren't familiar with them and had no grasp of any significant strategy. It seemed that I might have trouble getting them to try it in future though I encouraged them that it would be premature to give up on the game without having tried it as it was meant to be played (aka the Full game). I suspect however that we would probably have to use the Advanced game as a stepping board to the Full game since the Simple game has only introduced the basic mechanics. Nonetheless, I wonder at the back of my mind whether the additional mechanics would successfully extinguish the multi-player solitaire feel of the game which even I myself experienced.

We moved on to our old favourite, Glory to Rome in hope of salvaging the night. It didn't disappoint, at least for me, with me taking the solitary game with 37 to Van's 24 and Mun's 12. I acquired excellent cards right from the start, and while it took some time, eventually completed my Temple (+4 hand), Colosseum (in addition when playing legionary, feed opponents' clients to Vault) and Wall (immune to legionary and 1VP for every 2 materials in stockpile at game end). They served as quite a combo and I didn't even need my uncompleted Sewer (add own order cards to stockpile after each turn) which would further enhance my Wall strategy. Van had a chance to win the game before my Colosseum was utilized, but she failed to end the game despite her influence advantage. Once I was able to play a legionary with the Colosseum, I acquired an unassailable advantage with me adding a number of different materials to the Vault from Mun's clientele. While Van managed to immune herself to the Legionary in time, she was unable to catch up with me in terms of Vault accumulation, and I reaped 9 bonus points from having the majority in 3 materials. Coupled with the massive number of points acquired thanks to my stockpiling through playing consecutive legionaries, I never relinquished the lead once I overtook Van.

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