Friday, June 19, 2009

Give me the Black Karachi (Taj Mahal, Pandemic x2)

It was my turn to pick once more, so I selected an old and new favorite... Taj Mahal and Pandemic.

Taj Mahal

Sessions of this game don't lend themselves very well to description, so I won't bother. Suffice it to say that I pulled ahead of the pack about halfway through the game and ended up with a huge lead by the time it was over. Not a very exciting game, though at least Kozure and Shemp were neck and neck for 2nd place (they ended the game tied). I still really enjoy this one, despite the anticlimactic session. I've found in the past that this is best with 4, so maybe that was part of the problem.

Kozure mentioned that he felt the "pacing" was very important in order to do well in Taj Mahal. I absolutely agree.

1) Don't spend too many cards to get your second character chit if several other players are on the verge of getting that same chit. You'll spend your cards and lose the character ability next round as the others claim it.
2) Keep an eye on the connections you need on the board (for chains) and the goods available for winning the upcoming provinces. If the thing you really want is coming up in the next province, don't fight too hard in the current one.
3) If your priority is to place on the board to set up connections, it often pays to lead with a double noble card and then pull out early. You might get more stuff by staying in longer, but the space you need is probably taken. Alternatively, fight for the king.
4) Keep an eye on the suits other players have in front of them. If you avoid what has been played, you will be allowing the other players to get what they want, but if you cancel out another player's entire set you are encouraging them to fight back (in other words, if you cancel one of two things another player is going for, there is a chance they will pull out with what they have. If you cancel all the leads they had, they will surely play more cards in order to avoid coming away with nothing. Problem is, that other card they play might come in conflict with a suit you are going for)
*Edit* 5) It's easy to forget that the goal is to collect VPs, not nobles. Collecting nobles for their own sake will get you nowhere, and you will find yourself getting a single VP per round far too often. Make sure that you keep your goals focussed on collecting sets of goods or creating chains on the board, and seeing how the nobles can help you get there.


An expansion should be coming out soon for Pandemic, so I wanted to get a few games in of the basic set. I was worried that Shemp would reverse his positive rating on the game after playing it again (not because it's a bad game, but because Shemp typically dislikes cooperative games. Luckily, he came away from two back to back games still liking it, and I have to admit I feel the same.

I feel at three we did a great job of cooperating our abilities and cards. Rules I had not seen played often where being used frequently, such as the trading mechanics. We won both games on the regular difficulty, first as the Medic/ Scientist/ Dispatcher and second as the Medic/ Ops Expert/ Dispatcher. In the session there was only one outbreak all game, but in the second the last turn yielded a number of outbreaks which threatened the game. I think we are now ready to try the expert level of difficulty... and/or the expansion!

1 comment:

  1. Nice tips. I played Taj recently as well (first time in two years) and I forgot some of the intricacies of pacing that you mentioned. I didn't do so well.