Monday, April 06, 2009

Three player games

So, heard you played some three player games Friday night? Yeah. Amelia Boli and Nathan Winchester stopped by. Cool. What'd you play? Well, we started with End of the Triumvirate, which is a game none of us had played before. Its a three-player only game, so it seemed to be appropriate. Um, the box says 2 or 3... Yeah, but I can't see where two player would be interesting - its definitely a three player game (and possibly my new favorite with three). Basically, three players are fighting for control in the ancient Roman Mediterranean. Players can win through political dominance, military control, or by demonstrating proficiency in both on a skill track. The neat thing going on here is that when you are attacked and you lose, you get benefits. The first loss makes it so that the next attacker has an even great chance at you inflicting casualties. If you take a second (or third) consecutive loss, you actually gain skill on the proficiency tracks (thus pushing you closer to victory). There is no good way to protect "your" territories, so things shift around a lot (though not in a chaotic manner). It felt well balanced and was interesting and relatively short. Amelia had a lot of cash and used it to buy influence in the political arena. Nathan kicked butt all over the map with his armies. Taking beatings in both areas, I decided to focus on pushing up my proficiencies. At the end, Amelia attacked me after Nathan had, and I was able to then grab the last proficiency steps I needed to win the game. Because of the odd number of players, this game probably hasn't gotten much attention, but it is a really fun game for three.
Ok, then what'd you play? I know you didn't just play one game. That's true. Next, I un-shrinked a game that has been away from the table too long - Torres. I had to review the rules since it'd been so long, but it all came right back to me. I got slightly lucky - got my elevator card at just the right time and shot up near the top of Nathan's giant tower and that helped push me to the win in what was a pretty close game. Charles: 257, Nathan:235 , Amelia: 241 Hmmm, why in the world has this game sat in the shrink so long? I blame Jerry. He likes this, so nobody will play it for fear they'll have to play with him. I'm going to bring it along on occasion I think. I'll be happy to pull it out when I don't have to play with him.
Then what? Then what what? Then what did you play? Don't be stupid. I've obviously loaded a picture of the Rumis box, so why are you asking? And who are you anyway? Duh, I'm just your inner monologue. And duh! I'm asking because I was trying to transition you to your next game. Ok, but you can't come up with a better transition that "what next"? Don't try and blame me buddy! You are the one writing this whole thing. Why don't you stop having a fake argument with yourself and get on with the session report? Uh, yeah. So next we played Rumis, which Amelia had been wanting to get to the table for a little while. Amelia seems to enjoy abstracts (which apparently just aren't Matthew's thing - which funnily enough, The Fonz would argue that all Euros are abstract - but I digress). So we randomly selected the Chullpa board, which is the rectangle tower shape. Amelia felt abused at the start and I miscounted the height of the tower, pushing me right out of the game as Nathan covered me up. However, Nathan and I topping one another let Amelia pick the rest of the board apart for the easy win. Amelia: 10, Nathan: 6, Charles: 2.
Hahahaha - you only scored two points! Yeah, well I won the first two games and the last game of the night too, so shut it! Ah, so there is at least one more game to report on? Yeah, the closer of the night. A three player session wouldn't feel right if we didn't get to play San Marco (though again, End of the Triumvirate may have taken its place as my favorite three player). But, that's like apples and oranges - yes they are three player games, but the mechanics are not the same at all. Yeah, its true - San Marco delivers that delicious tension in splitting the cards and trying to tempt the other players to take the stack you don't want. This is a wonderful exercise in trying to understand how the other players are evaluating the board. There is nothing more fun that having a person agonize over splitting the cards and then in a second, taking a stack that you see as very valuable that they didn't think you'd ever take. And there is nothing worse than watching everyone "stick" you with the crap pile that you were sure that you wouldn't get. But enough on why I like this game - Amelia and Nathan hadn't played before, but the rules are pretty simple. This is the first time I saw all the bridges getting used in a game, though the Doge didn't move around much. He sort of sat to one side and stayed there. My first couple of attempts to banish were weak, but I did manage a good one near the end and some good swaps let me score a good amount for the win. Charles: 110, Nathan: 92, Amelia: 88.

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