Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bilkis' sacks of sand (Roma 2: Arena, Macao, 7 Wonders + Leaders expansion x2)

Roma 2: Arena

When I purchased Roma, I actually thought I was purchasing Roma 2: Arena. I remembered reading that one had text instead of icons, and that the same one had more paths to victory, but I didn't know which was which. When I saw Roma at j&j cards in Waterloo, I looked at the back and saw that the cards were text based, not icons, and purchased it. Unfortunately, the picture on the back of the box is of the German version, which uses text, but the north American version of Roma 1 uses icons. I purchased the wrong one. Anyway, figuring it couldn't matter that much, I opened it and we played it anyway. As it turns out, me and Shemp liked it quite a bit. Sure, many games are lopsided and the only likely path to victory is having Forums, but it was quick and enjoyable. Shemp decided to purchase Roma 2, figuring that at the very least we could try the variant where the decks from both games are pitted against each other. This week, we got a chance to fruit out (the base game, not pitting the decks against each other). It's good. There are definitely more paths to victory, and the game seems less fragile (less games will end because they couldn't get their engine going before they went broke), but the tradeoff seems to be a significantly longer game. I'd say I did like it better than Roma 1, but not by a wide margin.

Shemp won the game by emptying the vp pile, scoring one "phantom point" (I.e. The vp pile was exhausted, but the bank owed him one more vp). The phantom point broke the tie, making the game 19 to 18. Well played.


I was in the mood to play Macao again, just to see if Shemp's streak is truly over. In short, it is. The game was very close, between me and Kozure, though. A miscalculation left Shemp 1 cube short of scoring big,leaving him behind. Between me andKozure, it came down to the bonus end game points, and I had more.

About 4 rounds in, I activated the artisan. This card allows you to activate one card per turn without spending the cubes (as long as you have the necessary cubes in your supply). Between that card and the various mistressesthatgaveme a free cube in their co our every turn, I was flush with goods cubes. I either played very poorly or Kozure played extremely well, because I should have killed the other two with that combo so early in the game.

7 Wonders: Leaders expansion

We capped of the evening with 2 sessions of 7 Wonders with the Leaders expansion. It's a simple expansion that introduces a new deck of cards representing famous leaders throughout history. There is a pre game draft to deal each player 4 leader cards and before each age players choose which leader, if any, players want to pay to put in play.

The end result is not terribly different from the base game. The leaders allow a little more long term strategy, which is nice, that's pretty much it. Shemp commented that the downside to having these leaders is that it predetermines a strategy for you and reduces the interaction as players concentrate on their cards instead of blocking opponents.

The art continues to be very nice, and the game remains a very fun and fluid despite the additions. I'll probably keep playing with the addition in future sessions but I'm sure I won't really miss it if I play someone else's copy.

I won the first game using a combination military and science victory (as Rome, led by Ceasar, the guy from 300 and Alexandre the Great). Kozure won the second with a more focussed military strategy that apparently also involved burying all the brick in order to prevent others from building.

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