This week, my wife made plans with a friend for her and the kids, so I headed over to the Gamer's Inn for a bit of gaming. After waiting a little bit, we had a small crowd, so a few of us sat down and I grabbed Mykerinos for us. Joining me were Amelia Boli, Nathan Winchester and his fiance Niecy. I was the only person who had played before (which was no advantage at all, as I'm terrible at this game). After the first two rounds, I had a rainbow of patrons, which is not what I had hoped for. I was able to get a few people I wanted in the last two seasons/rounds, but Nathan had managed to get a large number of patron cards and he outscored me down the stretch to win by a point.
We had a few minutes to wait until other folks finished their games before we could start the main attraction of the night - Indonesia, so I pulled out Hive, which Nathan had asked about earlier. He had read the rules, but just needed to play it so it could gel. It was close and I managed to lock down his queen just before he could do the same to me.
As I said, Indonesia was the game of the night and we had 9 folks willing to play. We set up two games side by side and I covered the rules for everyone. At my board were Amelia, Matthew Frederick and Noah Antwiller. I took a rice company in Bali, then a southern shipping company. Noah took merges early in the game, and when he choose to merge the shipping of Matthew with my company, I outbid Matthew, which I believe to be the start of my downfall. Realistically, shipping as a strategy is viable only if the board has been setup in such a way to support it. Our first round did not have spice at all, and thus we immediately grew two cities to size two. Shipping works when you can eat half of someone's profits, not when you make 5 or 10 each time a company ships. At any rate, I ended up with a shipping company and a small hull. Nathan - as he did the last time we played - hung out and then scored a load of cash on rubber and won the Siap Faji company, which made it obvious he would win less than 2/3 of the way through the game. Amelia made an outstanding comeback, but Nathan held out for the win. Despite liking this game a lot, there are a couple of blemishes I'm starting to see. There is something of a runaway leader problem. If you allow any player to get way out in front, they are nearly impossible to pull back. AND, it takes a group effort to do so. No one player can really bash the leader. I've rated this an 8.5 and will probably drop it down to a flat 8. Its a good game, and I'll still play it, but the runaway leader issue makes the last hour of the game a bit tedious. If all the players can keep one player down, its a nice tense game all the way.