Saturday, October 11, 2008

The peasants are NOT happy (Glory to Rome, Shogun)

Bharmer ended his long WAGS absence by inviting us to his boss' place while he was house sitting. Unfortunately, Kozure strangely felt that a lecture by "some guy" (Umberto Eco) was a more worthwhile use of his time than gaming. Clearly, he's lost it.
JayWowzer almost attended as well. However, I told him we were playing Glory to Rome again and then he didn't come. Hmmm.

Glory to Rome

Shemp revealed to the group that somehow, through his various absences, he has managed to:

a) Play Race to the Galaxy only once
b) Never play San Juan
c) Never play Glory to Rome

I was kind of startled by that information. Funny how that can happen.

I was determined not to let the vault bonuses elude me this game. Unfortunately, every one else felt the same. I built the building that let me take the merchant card from the deck instead of the pool, and figured this would work well if I could get a couple of merchants as clients. I then tried all game to do that, and failed miserably. Luch sat to my right, and he would scoop every merchant card from the pool before it would get to my turn (he was collecting stone and merchants). I wasn't doing badly, but it was far from a well oiled machine.

Luch built the forum, which gives an instant win if the player gets one of each client. Kozure tried this once before, but we blocked the pipeline by not allowing any merchants into the pool. Unfortunately, Luch had wisely picked up all the tricky clients before building the forum. All he needed was a laborer and a craftsman, and there was about eight of each in the pool already. We were powerless to stop him.

(well, Bharmer could have completed the Catacombs to end the game, though I don't think it would have given him the win so there wasn't much point).

Another fun session, and another that felt completely different from the others we've played. The variability of the game is impressive.


We tried an advanced setup system along with the advanced board this time. While I like the way the advanced board makes the borders to the different regions less defined, the new setup routine felt like a step backwards. We were drawing two province cards and picking one, with the additional option of drawing a face down card if neither face up choice was any good. Honestly, with just two cards to pick from the setup was a crapshoot. I think at least three cards should be used for this system to yield anything much more coherent than a standard RISK setup.

In the west, Luch and I were at odds from the start. Meanwhile, Shemp and Bharmer coexisted somewhat more peacefully in the east. We were having rather significant battles pretty early on, and many were resulting in ties. In Shogun, when players tie, both players lose the region... a big blow to all involved. The odds are against ties happening. Then again, the odds are against most of the combat results for the evening.

Love or hate the cube tower, it does make things unpredictable. Also, the green peasant cubes add further uncertainty. It felt like the peasants were on a rampage, however. Odds meant very little. You could dump 8 cubes of your colour against 2 peasant cubes, and still lose the fight. The peasants were not happy.

I placed a large number of buildings early, and got a good lead to show for it at the end of the first year. Unfortunately, I went broke doing it, and never really managed to get out of that hole. I started losing important territories to Luch, and played much of the second year with only 6-7 territories (amazing how difficult it is to plan your actions when you don't have enough territory cards to pick them with!). I did win, but it was by a single point. A single extra round and I probably would have been left in the dust, considering how badly I was bleeding. Glad it didn't happen.

Is there an option to play three years in Shogun? I'm curious how that would change the game

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