Tuesday, 3 April 2012

"With Tales of Countless Cures"

We began with a nice large group game...
Diamant (thanks Stephanie)
Twere sure to be an excusion of much danger and adventure as the seven intrepid miners descended into the mines to see what diamonds and rubies they could source.
Soren ran from the mine with his five rubies clutched in his fingers, sadly these were the few he would ever see.
James, alas, suffered grievous wounds and lay a broken body with not a sparkle to his name.
Jon and Alex were just and lucky enough. Jon did attempt to gain advantage by throwing a scorpion in Stephanie’s face, but to no avail and they and Neil left with 9 and 8 respectively
The true Battle was between Stephanie and Philip as with an uncommon knack of cut and running before disasters, one would leave with 30 and one with 37. In true fashion, due to a momentary brain lapse, it was Stephanie who just once ran early and would emerge unscathed, the joyous victor.
Stephanie 37, Philip 40 Neil 9, Jon 8, Alex 8, Soren 5, James 0
We then broke up, with one table marrying dexterity and science fiction...

Ascending Empires (thanks James)
So, with one group splitting off to try Caylus Magna Carta the rest of us travelled to the other end of the cosmos for some ascending empires. Jon, Neil, a slightly reluctant Steph and myself.

After an almost correct rules run through (thanks Jon for the post-game correction... you can always rely on Jon to double check the rules for any game that he didn't win... we got going. Early stages in this game are slow while people pick up the rules. I think that after the first game this stage should really only take 10 minutes while empires spread out to take their initial planets, but generally takes 30 minutes for new players. Perhaps the suggestion to start new players with several pre colonised planets might speed this up?

Anyhow early stages passed relatively uneventfully although both Jon and Neil managed to miss some initial flicks to neighbouring planets which set them back a move.

Surprisingly though (or not surprisingly really given her past play) Steph was the first to attack (or in her words colonise) a planet in someone else’s quadrant... interestingly first she careered into one of Neil's planets before moving on to one of Jon's... and immediately fortified the pace to put anyone off from interfering... So much for a friendly return to Isleworth. This focused the middle game around this planet as Jon launched a few starships to make his opinion known while Neil managed to achieve 3 level tech in Orange to launch a battle cruiser an dstarted to take out any starships that were in the vicinity... luckily his over enthusiastic flicking meant he often missed out on his targets...

This was quite good for me as I could just build in my area without much hassle...

VP tokens started to get used up at a regular rate at this stage of the game, with Neil holding several due to space battle victories. Steph didn't have any, but it didn't seem to concern her.

So with 10 left the end game started up. I noticed a gap in Steph's defences and launched an attack on an unguarded planet deep in her empire, while Jon decided to go for some of Neil's less defended planets... and within a few rounds of this the VP ran out by myself completing a 2nd level tech for 2VP and mining for another 2vp, and Jon taking over another of Neils planets...

So the final scores...
Neil 14 vp from the game and 10 bonus = 14
James 9 vp and 17 = 26
Jon 7 vp and 18 = 25
Steph 0 vp and 18 = 18

Close ! But I managed to sneak by a whisker. Probably if we'd run a few more rounds Jon would've taken over as he was causing havoc against Neil, while Steph was doing her best to push back my attack... looks like the game ended just in time for me

Next time... maybe a more advanced starting position for new players, a correct designation of cities and science lab pieces... but I think we all had fun with the game... (possibly with the exception of Steph... El Grande for her next time I think... it has a castillo!)
This was followed up by a nice co-operative...
40 minutes left until 11pm – enough time to save the world? Definitely! Jon, James, Neil and Steph decided to join forces to rid the world of terrifying diseases – choosing to do so at the ‘medium’ difficulty level.
Unfortunately, none of them were the Medic, so cube-removal was rather slow, but Neil’s ability to cure a disease with only 4 cards meant that he became our designated ‘curer’.
The initial disease-distribution left us with some problems around Istanbul, and also in Asia, but some swift card-shifting meant that Neil was well-set to cure both the blue and black diseases within a couple of turns. By this time though, numerous red disease cubes were appearing in Asia, so the boys all decided to drop into this area to try to sort things out. Steph had to drop out at this point (apparently, the last bus doesn’t wait for passengers who are trying to save mankind from destruction), but we were now down to the finale. We were 2 outbreaks from failure, but only 2 turns from victory, as both James and Jon could cure the remaining 2 diseases in their next turns. And then it happened – Chennai sparked a double outbreak, as did Ho Chi Minh City. It was all over in a flash, and everyone was dead. Oh well – better luck next time!
This game always seems to come down to a tense finale- lots of fun…..
Jon; James; Neil; Steph – all lost
P.S “With Tales of Countless Cures” is a quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado.

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