This week's gaming bunch was made up of Jo, Marcus, Van and myself. Van had been on a semi-hiatus from gaming but was surprisingly open to play provided we kept games with space-related theme or CCG-typed gameplay off the table. I was happy to oblige since we didn't have the right crowd for either BSG or AGoT LCG.
We started with Hansa Teutonica. I had an opportunity to tear off the shrink wrap on my personal copy since Marcus didn't bring his. It was a close game with me nabbing victory from Marcus by a single point.
My admiration for the game grows with each play. If this keeps up, I'll have to raise my geek rating for the game from a 9 to a 10. The multiple routes to victory coupled with the reasonable game time makes this a winner in every regard. It has been awhile since a game kept me thinking about possibilities for improved play after the session, especially when I won the game! I have explored a few alternate strategies in my few plays so far, but there seems so many others out there which I'm looking forward to have a hand at. For example, the max I have upgraded my chain multiplier so far is 2 but I can't help but wonder if a strategy largely focused on building a network of offices while maximizing the chain multiplier is viable.
Next up was Vasco Da Gama, another recent Essen release. It was between this or a first attempt at La Citta. I'm always game to try something new but Van needed a break, which she managed to get while Marcus explained the rules to Jo. I was absolutely demolished on my first play of this game but did much better this time round, ceding the game to Marcus by 3 VPs.
The turn order mechanic is undeniably an interesting one. It allows you to jostle for position with your opponents depending on your risk appetite and your wealth. Being overly optimistic, I paid the price on my very first turn, having to forgo an action due to the lack of money to pay for its use. However, I noticed that apart from the first few placements where this happens, the remaining placements simply follow turn order which takes the fizz out of this mechanic in some way. Still a game that I don't mind playing but see no need to own.
We ended the session off with Glory to Rome (what else?). Nice to know that I've gotten over 30 plays off this baby, and especially sweeter that it's current OOP (sorry to rub it in for those of you still awaiting your copy). There have been comments that the luck of the draw plays a significant role in determining the winner. I still beg to differ although this was game where I really didn't have much to work with while Marcus and Van built a slew of powerful buildings. Marcus had the Wall, Bridge and Colosseum. I built the Palisade early but didn't get a sniff of the other Wall so it was painful as you might imagine. My only hope was a Forum victory with both the Bar and the Aqueduct but unfortunately, the rapid pace at which the deck thinned and having my clients fed to the lions turn after turn meant that I was powerless to nab a surprise victory. Nonetheless, it's always cool to see a combo of effects from supposedly "broken" cards and definitely part of the charm of the game. Jo still surprisingly didn't take to the game after his second game. I say "surprisingly" because he's one of the few that has really taken to AGoT and both games seem to share this trait of combo-ing card effects. Then again, he wasn't all that enthralled by Dominion either. Marcus took the win over Van thanks to his bulging stockpile nicely scored by his Wall.