I had another episode of impeccable timing this week, arriving right in the freaking middle of a number of games I’d love to have played. But finally, after browsing the shelves, taking some pictures of the gaming action, and getting totally jealous of all the play time, I was able to get in a game of our new Game of the Month!…
This was just me second play of Homesteaders, so I tried to focus on some of the same things I did in my first play, but maybe with a little more focus and forethought. Mostly, this meant trying to build railroads and get gold, which worked fairly well, but ultimately had a lot less payout than I’d hoped. I got distracted by the desire to build more buildings than I really needed, and probably should have taken a few more advances on the railroad development track to actually build more railroad and increase my income.
Alton ran away with it at the end, mostly through collecting gold and copper. He had built a few, choice buildings worth some decent VP, but then just kept converting stuff to gold in the last turn to score a ridiculous number of points and win the game.
Time: 47 minutes
Score: Alton 62, Norton 49, Keith 48
Ratings: Alton 9, Norton 8, Keith 8
I almost don’t feel qualified to give any sort of opinion about Homesteaders at all right now. There’s just so much potential between all of the different building combinations, and it’s so wide open due to all of the trading options, and I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. In some ways, with its limited turns and auction element, it seems like a more complex Peloponnes to me, which is a good thing.
I really need to play Peloponnes again soon, by the way…
The Speicherstadt [BGG]
From there, my little sub-group stayed together and pulled out The Speicherstadt. I feel like I was doing pretty well, and even scored a lot of end-game points, but the stupid fires just killed me! While I suffered a total -6 points from fires, Keith rode his +10 fire points to first place and victory.
Time: 47 minutes
Score: Keith 32, Norton 25, Alton 13
Ratings: Keith 8, Norton 8.5, Alton 7.5
While there’s not a lot of narrative to talk about from a game of The Speicherstadt, it always seems filled with tough and interesting choices all game long. I just love how, even when you have almost no money at all, you can still have a huge impact on the way the auction turns out by forcing other players to either spend more than they want or to commit more dudes to the auction in question. It really is a fantastic and elegant game that wrings everything it can out of a simple but brilliant mechanic (and is more proof that Stefan Feld is probably the hottest designer in the hobby right now).
Tribune: Primus Inter Pares [BGG]
It’s been a while since I’d played Tribune (my 2009 Game of the Year), so I was very happy for the 5 remaining of us at the end of the night to get in a game. In hopes of lengthening the game a little more than it tends to go with experienced players, we decided to use the Quod Erat Demonstratum scenario, which requires an obligatory Tribune to win. To make even longer, we even extended it from 3 to 4 victory conditions.
Well, it worked. Most all of us were picking up victory conditions pretty well, but with everyone fighting over the Tribune, it was almost impossible to get both factions you needed to convert a scroll to the Tribune. Chip managed to get both the Vestal Virgins and the Senators at one point, but he hadn’t picked up a Scroll yet, and then he lost the Virgins before the next turn when he would have been able to win.
Similarly, the final straw in the game came down to an auction for the chariot where I spent all my money but still came up 1 or 2 denarii short to Josh, who was able to therefore protect his Senators and then pick up the Virgins to get the Tribune, rather than me protecting my Virgins and grabbing the Senators to win.
Time: 84 minutes
Score: Josh 4, Alton 3, Chip 3, Norton 3, Keith 2
Ratings: Josh 9, Alton 10, Chip 9, Norton 9, Keith 7
Tribune definitely seems to lead the charge in the “Why don’t I play this more?” group of games. It’s so quick, interesting, and interactive; and I have never regretted playing a game of it. I do wish that they would make a small expansion with just alternate victory condition cards, though. The actual expansion was decent, but all of the victory cards in it involved the new elements it introduced, and I would like to have more that just related to the base game.
Other Games Played
Time: 60 minutes
Score: Sean 12, Shawn 8
Ratings: Sean 9, Shawn 9
Time: 75 minutes
Score: Keith 118, Charles 95, Chris 90, Sean 71, Alton 70, Shawn 68
Ratings: Keith 8, Charles 8.5, Chris 10, Sean 10, Alton 10, Shawn 10
Time: 45 minutes (for 2 games)
Score: Sean – 1 win, Shawn – 1 win
Ratings: Sean 9, Shawn 9
Time: 50 & 60 minutes
Game 1: Chris 23, Shawn 20, Sean 18, Charles* 17
Game 2: Chip 49, Josh* 35
Ratings: Chris 8, Shawn 8.5, Sean 8, Charles 8, Chip ?, Josh ?
Time: 63 minutes
Score: Chip* 117, Chris 101, Josh* 92
Ratings: Chip 7.5, Chris 8.5, Josh 8.5
Time: 19 minutes
Score: Keith 18, Charles* 24, Chris 30 (is this right? does it score from low to high?)
Ratings: Keith 7, Charles 7, Chris 7
I really wanted to get in a game of Eminent Domain, but maybe I’ll have better luck this week…
* First play for that Person