Thursday, August 12, 2004

Ford - American - Most Def... *

Cryptic and irrelevant titles aside, the choice of games went to Easy this week. He selected an Italian theme and we went with Princes of Florence, Traders of Genoa and Citadels, which though not set in Italy, is designed by an Italian. Complementing the theme was pizza for dinner, "Italiano" dorito chips and pizza-flavoured pringles. In the nice-idea at the time but ending up tasting like fishy spiderweb dust-in-our-mouths-category were "the desserts that shall not be named" but looks like an attempt to be icing sugar-coated bocconne but staler, drier and less appealing. They're called anginetti, and I hope to be acquainted someday with a much better version.

The opener was Princes of Florence. With five people, the game was a bit slower starting than most, with everyone eying various strategies for ensuring they had sufficient professions for endgame, which was frequently the complaint of our first few forays. Tili and Easy vied for polar opposite principality awards, with Tili creating a sprawling complex of parks, forests and buildings and Easy packing in the buildings like sardines, with a lone forest for relief.

In the end, Easy's new strategy of multiple builders + many buildings + two prestige cards won the day, but all of the other players were within 3-6 PP of the leader, so it was by no means a blow out.

I miscalculated on the final two turns, thinking I had one more action than I had. I must remember that buying action cards takes an action, as does completing a work and building. No doing all three in the same turn. Bad prince strategy. Bad!

Traders of Genoa was much quicker this time with a few rules clarifications from Easy, but trading was shrewder as people began to figure out the cost vs. profit margins of many actions. Easy carried the day with a respectable final bankroll of 590 Florins. Once again, a turn miscalculation left me holding a large order and all the goods to fill it in my hand at game end.

Two courtyard rolls accelerated game end by two turns, putting a crimp in the plans of most of us who were concentrating on large orders. Easy ducked under the wire to get his orders in.

Easy's early game strategy of multiple messager jobs and ownership of several key properties netted him a lot of floriny goodness, but the three rapid fire large job orders towards the end didn't hurt either. All my wheeling and dealing netted me 395 Florins, a unfilled large order and six goods laying unused in my warehouse. Unrealized earning potential is always a sad thing.

Everyone seemed to have learned their lessons about not overbidding on certain building actions and knowing their profit margins. This game wasn't as close as Princes of Florence had been, but it was fun nonetheless and we finished in an hour and a half, much shorter than the whined-about three hours that most complain of.

Rounding out the night at just after 10 was Citadels. With a few games under our belt of this game, strategy was much more in evidence. ?????, unfortunately, was a magnet for assasinations,
thievery and hocus pocus. Also a feature of this game was the frequently passed around hand (courtesy of the magician) which went from ????? to Kozure to Easy over the course of three turns. Easy grabbed the hat trick by completely destroying us with a final score of somewhere in the vicintity of 30 points, with the closest follow ons being ten points behind.

So, the night belonged to Easy, in more ways than one. Fun night, with much Simpsons quotation and confusion about speaking (see title).

* For posterity, the meaning of the title related to a discussion of the upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. We were discussing the fact that Zaphod was being played by an American. Shemp pointed out that "Ford was American - Most Def." I thought that Shemp meant that Ford was "most definitely" an American (partially right) while Hapi thought he was talking about the former President (not right at all). Evidently Easy didn't understand the relation of any of the three sentence fragments and had to ask for a full-on clarification, which only ended up confusing things, since I don't believe it is generally understood that Most Def is a legitimate name for an American rapper, quite apart from it's apparent similarity to valley-speak. Much hilarity ensued.


  1. I was amazed at how many games we played... it really speeds things up when you've got a few games under your belt. I tried the PoF Urban Intensification strategy as a an experiment to see whether it was possible to succeed using a strategy other than building works. In the beginning, I saw myself getting a few builders early and then getting as many prestige cards as possible, but reality set in and made things much more difficult... First, I needed to complete a few works just to keep cashflow and two, builders are simply too hot an item at the beginning of the game to get three quickly without blowing the bank. It worked out for me in the end, despite the pitfalls, but as Shemp pointed out "it's not likely to work again..." (or, as W. would put it "Fool me once, shame on... umm... If you fool me and I don't get it.... ummm, don't fool me twice, or ... ummm")

    As for Traders of Genoa, I can honestly that until last night I wasn't sure what I felt about it. Something wasn't quite right. With the clarifications, I thought the game worked much better and I really enjoyed it. I didn't however, win (as Kozure said). Shemp did, thanks to his collection of privilege cards (Shemp has frequently criticized himself for ignoring endgame points in Princes of Florence, but obviously he nailed it here). I came in second, due to a great string of messages and small orders I was able to deliver in the last two rounds (not large orders, sadly). I personally declare Hapi as the sneakiest manipulator, since he seemed on many occasions to get other players to take him exactly where he needed to go, or to accept his bid over another and then complete an order when no one suspected him of it.

    Lastly, citadels was a good way to end the night. All I can say is: Poor, poor hapi. He was a Contenda! First I destroyed his citadel, then I stole his money and then Kozure stole his hand. He also got assassinated a few times. He never had a chance...

  2. Oh, I must have misheard the final florin amounts. My mistake.

    No hat trick for you!

  3. Whew, I'm glad that the winner of ToG was cleared up before I got here - now that I've gotten the props I deserved, I'll be able to keep it civil.

    Actually, I think my thoughts on the games were covered, but I do need to add a little clarification: Mos Def is the actor/rapper.

    Rapping: Check out "Black on Both Sides", or and Black Star albums.

    He's quite good, at both arts - I feel good about him as Ford, although quite different from the TV version, obviously. Actually, thinking about it, I like that Ford and Zaphod are both being portrayed by Americans while the rest of the cast is British. A twist on the "British accents = evil character" seen in Star Wars and biblically-set films. Here Britsh accent = human, American accent = alien.

    Unless they will be using fake British accents, of course.