Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This is a "Hot" scene, with... "Heat"... and ... "Chemistry" (Maharaja, Taj Mahal, Yspahan) 8237

Games set in the Middle-East, played in a very hot apartment.


We've played Maharaja many times. My opinion on the game has swayed, but one thing that has remained constant is that Bharmer always wins. He is always very much in control, always a few steps ahead. I was determined to make this evening the exception...

Out of the gate, I had the lowest character so I went first (we dealt these randomly... more on that later). I of course went to the next scoring area and secured a majority by claiming the center palace. With money in hand, I proceeded to the next scoring area (though I also accelerated the return of the first scoring area by advancing the character track). As the game went on, I was awash with money and doing very well. On my final turn, I placed two palaces and ended the game with a comfortable lead.

Here's the thing: this game got me thinking, and I'm pretty sure that the player who goes first in the first turn usually wins. The money earned in the easy majority on the first scoring round makes the rest of the game significantly easier. Unless we are collectively doing something wrong, it seems very difficult to catch up once you've fallen behind. I'm not sure why it's taken so long for me to notice it, but it seems rather mandatory to bid for starting order in the future! There's probably a way to take a loss on the fist round and secure a majority on the next scoring, but all it takes is a single person messing with the track to kill that strategy. Anyway, I had fun but I suspect that those who weren't in the running didn't enjoy it much.

Taj Mahal

We played our first four player of this wonderful game. Not much to tell, but I has a great time as always. Easily one of my favorite games (funny, too, because this is one I normally win but Luch beat me by a point). Kozure, who vowed to make this the "time he played Taj Mahal and didn't suck at it" was doing quite well for the majority of the game, but fell back in the last few rounds. Oh well!


We finished off with a three player of Yspahan. In my second outing, I tried to go for cards rather than the camel track. I was monumentally lucky by pulling the exact card I wanted the first time I drew (I gathered lots of gold and then immediately drew the card that lets you build a building ignoring the cost of the camels). I built the one that gives me a bonus cube every time I placed in a disctrict. Wow, that's a powerful ability to have from the beginning! That, combined with a very lucky die roll for 4 souks in the most expensive disctrict on the last round combined to give me a decisive win. It's actually a little boring when exceptional good luck gives you a win over your opponents, but it's a short game and it's too early to tell whether this sort of thing happens often. I still like it.

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