Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11th Nov 2009 Session Report: The One Where I Cement My Appreciation Of Chicago Express

Had a good gaming turn-out today: Weilong, Mun, Ivan, Van and myself.

Ivan was the earliest so we started out with A Game of Thrones LCG while waiting for the other two to arrive. It was our first go at multiplayer so a little reviewing of the titles mechanic was due. This basically involves a choice of title per round by each player after plot cards are revealed and initiative resolved. Each title accords a benefit for the turn as well as determines potentially another title in which you oppose or support for the entirety of the round. You are restricted from challenging whoever you support and you gain a bonus power if you win a challenge against whoever you oppose. It's a nice added element to the game which helps balance the decks and prevent runaway leaders. Thematically, it fits the politicking of the books. However, it does add considerable time to gameplay since there is a tendency to gang up on the leader to pull him or her back.

As it turned out, we didn't manage to finish the game at the point when Weilong and Mun arrived. Nonetheless, it gave us a feel of the multiplayer mechanic. Van remained unimpressed and it looks like it will be increasingly difficult to get her to play again. Ivan was leading in the power department when we decided to move on to something else.

With 5, we opted for none other than Princes of Florence. Before we started, I also managed to teach Ivan Tichu and while waiting for Mun, the four of us played two hands. It ended 270-20 in Ivan and my advantage. Van and Weilong also had a short game of Battle Line while I was explaining the rules of PoF to Ivan.

Princes of Florence (Me 63, Ivan 51, Van 48, Mun 48, WL 38)

Ivan did surprisingly well considering it was only his first play at the game. I made a big boo-boo with my first prestige card, failing to get the builder I needed to fulfill the requirements. Somehow I assumed that just like Jesters, there would be a builder available for each round and waited till the last round to obtain it, hoping to nab it at a lower price. To my surprise, there were only 7 builders in the game, as opposed to 8 for Jesters. I opted desperately for a second prestige card at that point and managed to get the tied score for most works, but the damage was done. Thankfully, I obtained 2 Jesters in the mid-game at undervalued prices, which enabled me to still nab victory.

Glory to Rome (Van - forum victory, Me, Ivan, Mun)

Weilong had to leave early and Ivan was due to leave in about an hour so we opted for GtR. Ivan picked it up quickly despite the variety of building powers. Clearly, his experience with CCG/LCG typed games helped. I was a turn away from a potential victory but Van pipped me to it with a Forum victory thanks to her Gate which activates the powers of uncompleted Marble buildings.

Chicago Express (Van 83, Me 64, Mun 42)

After Ivan departed, I taught Mun Chicago Express before dinner. She was clearly impressed by the depth of the game despite the simplicity of the mechanics. I again won the first red share at $21. Van wised up to my strategy this time round and promptly auctioned the 2nd red share at a point when my finances paled to hers. She went further to buy up the 3rd share and I was rendered helpless as she clearly had the edge in terms of income and cash early in the game. As a minor shareholder, I diverted red's network away from Chicago and utilized it to block green which Van and Mun owned out of the game. Red was left with insufficient tracks to reach Chicago though it still provided a nice income each dividend phase. But the allowance to pull off such a move just took the game up another notch in my book. Blue managed to reach Chicago and I was the main beneficiary with 2 shares to Van and Mun's one. However, I was unable to claw back on Van's early lead and she promptly ended the game by auctioning off Wabash's 2nd share, leaving shares on red, blue and black all accounted for.

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