Sunday, February 08, 2009

Excess vs. Restraint (Glory to Rome x2, In the Year of the Dragon)

Kozure hates having to pick games when it's just three players. This was one of those nights (It was just me, Kozure and Shemp).

Glory to Rome

Shemp hadn't particularly enjoyed this when he was introduced to him in October, so I can't imagine he approached this session with much enthusiasm. Luckily, with a bit of experience under his belt the game's interaction appeared to "click" this time and I think he became a fan.

Our first game saw Shemp attempt to build the forum and face the same fate that befell Kozure when he tried that many moons ago... Kozure and I collectively froze the supply of merchants and patrons in the pool. Unfortunately, he appeared to be in the lead in points as well, so we were a little stymied on the best way to steal the victory. He had a viscious combination going (I don't recall it exactly, but I believe it had to do with using the power of the client he was placing into his clientelle, whch activate half a dozen cards as well). I completed a few quick buildings, hid a bit of treasure in the vault and then completed the catacombs to end the game. I had focussed on getting rubble and wood into the vault, gambling that I'd get easy majorities since no one else would bother. Not only did that not happen, the 1 value material meant my haul there was particularly low. I came in last, while Shemp actually did win.

We played again, though this time I fared much better. This time it was I who built the killer combos (though I nearly didn't get the chance... Kozure nearly ended the game early while he had the lead. I did something one round before he was going to do it that prevented it from happening, but I don't remember what). I had a building, the gate, which allowed my unfinished marble buildings to use their function. Marble buildings are amongst the most powerful, so this is quite an advantage! I then started 2 important marble buildings: One that made my merchant clients into wilds (Ludus Magna), one that allowed me to play multiple cards out of my hand to "follow" the lead role multiple times (Palace). I also had a completed concrete building (The storeroom) which allowed all my clients to act as labourers if I wanted.

So, essentially, I was sweeping all the materials in the pool and then using my three craftsmen and my two wilds (the merchants) to build lots of stuff. Heck, just having those two wilds and being able to "think" every turn and still act twice was incredibly powerful. Every time I play this gam, I'm tempted to say that a different card is too powerful, and this time I feel that way about the gate (incomplete marble buildings still give their power). I imagine that we are just scratching the surface with the crazy combos... I would expect that experienced players set up some pretty ridiculous chains of events.

Anyway, I won.

In the Year of the Dragon
We *almost* played a third game of Glory to Rome, but Kozure elected to play this instead (ok, I suggested it). I followed a path I typically avoid: building up my number of palaces and trying to hold on to a large number of workers. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get the food I needed in time on two occasions and it really hurt my chances. Still, I did okay with the rest and I was keeping pace on the military track (unlike last game). With Shemp and Kozure being equally aggressive in military and VPs, it was a very competitive game to the very end. In the final tally, Shemp's large roster of buddhas gave him the lead over my large clientele. He won.

As an aside, Shemp purchased a dragon tile in the eighth month. I mentioned that it would only give him four points, but he purchased it anyway. You'll never guess how many points he beat me by...



  1. Although, thinking about it later, the six yuan that the dragon tile cost me could have been exchanged for the same Four victory points in the endgame, so it was kind of a nonsensical move. The seventh month is really the last viable opportunity to buy the double privilege.

  2. I think the VPs are 1/3 yuan, so you were still ahead by 2 points the way you did it.