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Subject: The Annotated Game (Part 2) rss

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Marshall P.
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Wichita
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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TIGRIS & EUPHRATES: THE ANNOTATED GAME (PART 2)



For Part 1 see: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/170187

I think the good Professor has to be feeling some pressure with the stackable Koert constructing his monolithic kingdom, designed to topple over and crush any nearby unprotected kingdom. And they're all LETTING him!

But if Koert doesn't get some black soon, it'll all be for naught.

Koert's only got one disaster tile left, so I don't see him impeding Melissa's skinny empire. Siow Hwee and Robert are both so far away from her, and Koert's clearly focused on Robert. Will no one stop the Skunk?!

She's got to grab that black/green monument next turn. Koert's trader is too entrenched for Melissa to attack with her 4 red tiles to take over that monument. Not that she'd try anyway - why would she? Ain't no one crampin' her style.

Siow Hwee's doing financially well though. Could be he's just playing coy, deflecting attention like he dodges the paparazzi. This game is his to lose right now.

Now that we've covered the bases, let's see some BLOOD! I've got my squeegee ready and the towels have been washed. Only four treasures left - someone's gotta make the first move. And it's not gonna be Koert, not this turn.


Koert (Goat)
Action #1: King to G8
Action #2: Settlement to G7




We're running out of real-estate in this ancient fertile landscape. Coming soon: BLOODBATH. (After we take a brief break for more monument building, of course. Polite construction-happy mumble grumbles...)

Yeah, I'm afraid you're right Greg. We're going to see another Monument before we see a conflict. The conflict will probably come on Koert's next turn.

There's not much for Robert to do here besides play a couple of market tiles. As long as he plays them such that they can't be disconnected it'll be fine. Let's move along.


ROUND #8

Robert (Lion)
Action #1: Market to J3
Action #2: Market to J2




Marshall's a bit omniscient these days. We're stepping up his meds.

Looks like Melissa will play a settlement tile, and probably create a black/green monument since she is weak in green points, and doesn't have any market tiles with which to get them at present. This will leave her vulnerable to an external Trader attack, but she is probably far enough away from the action to the south for that to matter for a while.

But what will she do for her second action? If she places a temple tile to setup for a monument next turn, she will leave one of those prized, double-temple supported spots open, which will leave her ripe for an internal conflict. She may think that she has enough red tiles to prevent that though.


Jeremy, you're right about her being safe for awhile. I think for her second action she will put her Farmer into her kingdom. Probably on I10. The reason is to create a red-blue monument next turn and have two monuments! She'll be temporarily vulnerable to a disaster on B5, and an enemy leader on A2 taking over her monument, but this move would make little sense especially since all other Kings and Traders are on the board right now so I think she'll be safe.

The only other possibility is to try to take out Siow Hwee's Farmer in an internal, but this doesn't look inviting either since it leaves a double temple spot with which she can be counter attacked.

So this will be another pedestrian monument building turn but hang on, the fireworks are coming at the end of this round I believe. And after all they hype we've given Koert he's going to be the one getting the short end of the stick. We'll have a lot to talk about when it gets to his turn.


Melissa (Urn)
Action #1: Farm to C4
Action #2: Settlement to A4




So she chose to establish a redundant path to her Monument. I don't think she was at much risk but still always a good idea. Now I have to question whether I had it right all along that her plan was to build two monuments. If not, then her only plan can be to get after some external conflicts. The thing is the board is going to be radically different on her next turn and something may very well present itself.

If Siow Hwee didn't go for an internal conflict last time it's doubtful he will this time. Since he's down a Temple in his hand he'd have to soften up his target with a disaster first, and that's a loss of tempo. Siow Hwee is actually in a rather efficient position without his Priest on the board. He can collect red points via his King, it's not often that you can do that for a long duration, but while it lasts it saves him one tempo.

I think probably he'll play a couple of farms to firm up the connection of his Farmer to the monument but really several things are possible. I think overall he will just be happy to play any old tile that doesn't bring him closer to one of the other kingdoms.


Siow Hwee (Bow)
Action #1: Temple to B15
Action #2: Settlement to B14




Koert's actually in a spot here. He can't get to Robert's kingdom and do much damage. Robert's leaders are facing Koert, and it'll take him both moves to get there. He can unseat Robert's king, but that doesn't connect him to the red/black monument. I see Koert probably extending his reach this turn, and then going for something next turn.

Which makes me sad.

(The oracle predicts: Settlements to two of these three spots: H8, J11, or G7.)


Siow Hwee's move is interesting. He's created a semi-stable situation between himself and Melissa. Melissa's going to have to address that on her next turn. We'll save that discussion for when we get there.

I'm going to disagree with Greg on Koert's next move. I think he goes for the conflict. Here's what he's looking at: a three tile advantage in black and blue and a two tile advantage in green. Now, in case you didn't know there are more red tiles in the draw than any other color, and there's more blue than green or black (which are equal). Therefore, attacking with a two tile advantage in red is NEVER a good idea, you will lose far too often. A three tile advantage in red is acceptable. In blue, a two tile advantage is uncomfortable, and you shouldn't do it unless you have to. But in green and black it's quite reasonable to attack with only a two tile advantage. You will win more than you lose.

So in three colors Koert is facing favorable odds, and the fourth color can be avoided. Aggression pays in this game, and I would almost always attack under this situation. Unfortunately for Koert, he won't win in green, though he doesn't know that. And by not winning in green he may be forced to fight in red which he will also lose. By losing in those two colors he'll connect Robert to the red-green monument, and give him the treasure on G9. So this is one case where aggression will be fairly devastating to Koert, though knowing what he knows, I think he can't be faulted for going for it.

The only thing causing an itch in the back of Koert's mind, and something that may cause him to not attack, is the logistics of actually connecting the kingdoms. Because he needs his farm tile for the blue conflict he can't connect via H6, which leaves K7. Connecting at K7 means Koert can't avoid the green conflict even if he wins the other two. And the second question he faces is still which tile to connect with? He's not going to want to use the markets or settlements for the same reason as the farm. That only leaves his single temple to be the connector. It's got to be a little uncomfortable using a temple for this purpose because if he should somehow lose in green he's only strengthened Roberts Trader (for internals) and Priest (for externals).

Now, assuming Koert goes ahead with using the temple to connect, he also has to decide what tile to play on K8. He could use a market because that protects his Priest from a green loss and won't give Robert the monument or treasure (because that market would be removed when Koert losses in green). Or he could use a settlement. Under normal circumstances I would use the settlement no question. The reason is that Koert has plenty of green points, and by using the settlement he assures himself of at least one black point (which he desperately needs,) and probably two. He doesn't need the green point however.

This is an agonizing decision. Whether or not to attack? What tile to use on K8? The decisions Koert makes here will have a huge impact on the course of the game. This is what it's all about. What would you do? (for the record I would play settlement K8 - temple K7, it's the worst thing he could do right now, and he would loss horribly, but it's also got the biggest potential payoff, and I would be optimistic on winning all three conflicts.)


Koert (Goat)
Action #1: Temple to F8
Action #2: Settlement to F7




That's fighting moves, Koert.

But the glorious empire of the Urn is not afraid of your puny goats. Better you should crush those upstart lions before they move in on your wealth and riches.


Me!? Fighting moves!? If there is one gentleman around ... I am only trying to build up some strength for a glory-or-death battle with the kingdom of the Bow.

By moving anywhere but towards him??? Do you fear the wrath of Latria?

Mmmh, too obvious apparently. Yes, I fear Latria, but I will try to move closer in due time.

On the other hand, taking in account the monuments of Grinningpik and possibly you in account, we might have to work together.


That seems fair. You take GP, I take Latria?


ROUND #9

So Greg had it right, and Koert decided to play it safe and open up a front with Melissa. Although it worked out best for him I don't know how he laid off of that conflict, I would have gone for it.

The lack of conflicts in this game has two effects. First, we're in Round 9 and there are still 59% of the tiles left in the draw. That is a huge number considering that over 80% of all T&E games end in round 13 or 14. Unless it's ended by treasure (which it very well may be) this game will run VERY long. Combined with the number of monuments it may take 10 plus points to win.

Secondly players have not been burning tiles. That means Melissa hasn't drawn the green she needs, Koert hasn't drawn enough temples, and Robert hasn't drawn the farms. When you don't draw many tiles the chances of a skewed draw go way up. If you burn more tiles you can double the number of tiles you see in a game and you'll be more likely to get the tiles you need. This is one of the main ways to combat the luck of the draw in the game.

There's not much for Robert to do here except play more markets. If he builds another monument we may have to check for collusion between him and Koert.


Robert (Lion)
Action #1: Market to K3
Action #2: Market to K2




I don't get it. Did Koert save Robert's life once? Pull him from a burning building or something? Because otherwise why would Robert be helping him so much. Unless Melissa knocks off Koert this round Robert will be kissing his Farmer, King, and Trader goodbye. Koert is going to be hard to stop now, he's well on his way to putting this one in the bag.

Melissa is in somewhat of a tight spot. She's semi-stable with two other kingdoms, and has a structural weakness on B8 where her kingdom may be cut in half. She cannot ignore that vulnerability, her only choice is to address it or go on the offensive to preempt it from being exploited. Her offensive options are not pleasing however. Even if she could attack Siow Hwee (which she can't because she lacks a farm to play on B13) the best she could achieve would be to defeat his King, but this would leave her kingdom vulnerable to a devastating counter attack wherein Siow Hwee would defeat her Trader next turn, and appropriate the eastern half of her kingdom.

Attacking Koert on E7 or F6 is more palatable because she can defeat both his King and his Priest, and thus remove everything on F7:G8. Koert would have no immediate response. Even though we know she'd win this conflict she doesn't know it, and she would be going in with only an apparent two tile advantage in black. While two tiles in black is enough to justify starting an external conflict, it's still on the risky side especially when the stakes are this high (essentially losing a big conflict at this stage puts you out of the game).

For that reason I think her best move is to reinforce her own kingdom such that it can't be so easily torn asunder. I recommend temple to C8 - settlement to C9. In this way, everything is still connected even if she loses in green, and none of her adversaries particularly want to confront her in black, so it may ward off attacks altogether.


Melissa (Urn)
Action #1: Temple to A2
Action #2: Temple to A1




So all 6 monuments are on the board by Round 9, and there are still 55% of the tiles left. In hundreds of games I've never seen one unfold quite like this, which is the cool thing about T&E. Barring a treasure ending we're heading for a long, high-scoring game.

It's a little curious to that Melissa built a blue Monument without her Farmer on the board, you don't often see that. But since all the other Farmers are on the board I guess its unlikely that one will be dropping in on her kingdom. Still, it was a move that didn't address the weaknesses in her kingdom.

Siow Hwee is now in a position where he must attack, farm to B13, temple to B12. The reason he has to do this is because he's staring down the barrel of a 3-2 deficit in black to Melissa and he has no black in his hand. He doesn't know how many she has and he doesn't know she can't cross the river, but he does know that a loss in black would be devastating to his kingdom. It's true that he could come right back and win in green if he wanted to but still, he doesn't want to lose his King and all his black support, and open up two double temple spots from which he can be attacked by internal conflicts.

If Siow Hwee goes on the attack he'll knock out Melissa's Trader and market on B8, thus capturing all of the tiles east of that for his own kingdom. Now, if Melissa wanted to she could reclaim those tiles with a disaster, but she won't be able to safely get her Trader back on the board that way and it's green points she desperately needs, so Siow Hwee could just get away with it.

I'm sure he is nervous because if he were to lose the green conflict his kingdom would be ravaged even worse than in a loss of black. As always in this game there is risk in action and in inaction. So far everyone has errored on the side of inaction, but that simply cannot go on. One of them is going to have to take a stand and act like they want to win the game. I guarantee that Koert isn't going to pussyfoot around any longer, so if Siow Hwee wants to have any chance he needs to get moving here and take advantage of the opening Melissa has left. I think anything less than an attack on Melissa this turn is criminally negligent.

Well, I take that back. With four Temple tiles in hand an internal conflict always has to be on the table. To be thorough let's look at Siow Hwee's options in this area. His King and Farmer or attached to a monument and his Trader is in a strong green kingdom so there's no sense in moving them. That leaves his Priest as the potential usurper. Each opposing kingdom has a red monument so from that perspective they are all attractive except for Robert's because he is so clearly vulnerable to Koert's kingdom. Melissa's kingdom is no stronger in red and is also in range of Koert, but since he is clearly headed southwest it's safer for now.

In examining Melissa's and Koert's kingdoms there are no attractive options for inserting a Priest. Koert's would require a disaster tile to soften the support of his Priest and Melissa's would probably require a move to B6 if the internal were successful. All yucky options so we're back to the external conflict. Let's go Siow Hwee, play like you want it!


Melissa, meet your doom.

urgh.


Latria (Bow)
Action #1: Farm to B13
Action #2: Temple to B12



IT HAS BEGUN!

Sorry, I was taking a nap during the Monument Build-a-thon, but once Melissa and Robert built those second monuments, they weakened their kingdoms so much that they became too ripe to ignore.

I hope Melissa enjoyed her time alone, because she'll have company from here on out.

Koert is going to put the same beat down on Robert's kingdom - unless he jumps on the remains of Melissa's. NOW it's going to get cookin'.

Likewise, Marshall, I don't think I've ever seen a game with all six monuments on the board. Craziness.

Cover your children with tarps because it's gonna get icky in here!


So 9 rounds in and we finally have our first conflict. About 6 rounds to late if you ask me. I predict we're about to have our second conflict too. Koert is going to have his pick of kingdoms to plunder.

Siow Hwee (Attacker) wins Trader external conflict vs. melissa (Defender) 4 vs. 1



Koert could attack Melissa or Robert, but Robert is the more tempting target because more points can be had there. I predict Koert will play Settlement to K8, Market to K7. He may be worried about winning in blue in which case he'll resolve black first. Then, depending on how daring he is (and I hope he dares) he'll take on the blue conflict. Finally, finishing up with green and leaving Robert with a shell of a kingdom. In this way Koert will burn all six of his tiles, and give himself a chance of drawing the temples he may need in case some of these defeated leaders try for an internal conflict in his kingdom.

Robert will burn three of his tiles, and keep the three reds. If he gets lucky and draws more red then he can get his revenge on Koert.


Koert (Goat)
Action #1: Settlement to K8
Action #2: Market to K7



Koert (Attacker) wins Trader external conflict vs. Robert (Defender) 5 vs. 2



scores not captured

Gosh, Koert is such a cautious player. It is scary.

You are next for the wrath of Koert, Latria. Tremble in your shoes.

Well, I don't like taking risks. It is still a bit too early for that. Although the game might finish a lot faster than I would like.

Melissa, do not struggle anymore, I will be gentle. I will try to end the game fast. Gimme a chance to win Koert. If we bicker too much, neither of us have a chance. I will share the victory with you.

Nice try, Latria. No cookies for you though. I will hurl defiance at you even when I have no empire left at all.


ROUND #10

Robert (Lion)
Action #1: Disaster to K8
Action #2: Disaster to G7




Ouch ... that hurt, GP! I have more disasters in my kingdom than some of the colors :-(.

nothing ventured, nothing gained...


Having had his Trader driven out by the oppresive onslaught of the Steamroller, Robert invokes the awesome power of [INSERT DIETY HERE] to smite Koert's settlements. Now if Koert tries to external the Professor, he's going to be a bit shorter on black. It still might be worth his while though.

But first!

We turn our attentions back to the escalating Melissa/Siow Hwee cagematch. With Siow Hwee's vicious red and black proboscis extended metaphorically toward the Skunk's peaceable hideyhole, I can see Melissa slappin' some destruction on there with a vengence. I think she brings her trader back into play to at least get a green, and then truncates the Movie Star's ability to have his way.


So that was very conservatively played by Koert. I think that counts as a misstep considering all three battles were his to win (three tile advantages,) and the two he skipped (blue and black) were the ones he needed most. I can forgive skipping the blue battle because a three tile advantage in that color is not as significant as in black, and because a loss would separate his monument, but skipping black is playing too conservative.

Now Robert has responded with two disaster tiles in one turn. Another first that I've never seen before! Robert is forced into this situation by the untenable position he's left himself. Using disaster tiles to prevent someone from attacking your kingdom is certainly a legitimate use, but using two at once, and not even cutting off every attack route, is questionable. He may have been better off yielding to the obvious fact that he's going to lose his leaders from the board, and save the disaster tiles for getting them back on. Disasters can be extremely useful in that regard.

Since Koert has drawn two Farms the I8, I7 corridor is a viable attack route, and all those disasters were for naught. Robert is still going to lose his leaders (probably,) and now he's going to have a hard time getting them back onto the board. He's in the lead right now, but I think the next few turns will see the other players pass his score.

So now it is Melissa's turn, and she's dealing with a truncated kingdom of her own. The first impulse has got to be disaster to B13 and Trader to B8 but she should resist this. It really leaves her no better off than before. Siow Hwee will simply attack her in green again and seize half her kingdom. She makes no progress with that move.

A better idea is to make us of the double temple A12 space that Siow Hwee inadvertently created (it's hard to forsee these things when attacking and he had no choice but to use a Temple anyway). The move I actually recommend is a little bit risky and unorthodox, but I like risky moves, if they work they can really pay off. In this case it's not going to work, but Melissa doesn't know that. Were I in her place I would probably move my King to A12 and only play three of my Temples in the conflict. If I won that then I would bring my Trader to the newly vacated E13, and I'd have another three tile advantage. Usually a three tile advantage in red is enough to win, and this plan would neatly seize Siow Hwee's kingdom out from under him. Unfortunately, Siow Hwee has three temples so the first attack would fail, in which case Melissa would try again with the King and use her final two temples for a nearly assured victory.

I don't think she'll follow this plan. I hope she makes use of A12 though, either with King or Trader. Let's watch


Melissa (Urn)
Action #1: Trader to J11
melissa(Urn) Attacker wins internal conflict vs. Defender Koert(Goat)
Action #2: Farmer to D6




Not super pleased with that move from Melissa (and I'm sure Koert isn't pleased either). She might get away with it though because Siow Hwee has a couple of choices, and it's not clear that he'll come after Melissa again. Let's work through it.

If Siow Hwee wants to attack Melissa the way to do it is to put his Priest on A12 then ] connect the kingdoms at B8 (ideally with a temple). He would chose to contest black first thus removing Melissa's King, then he would fight in red removing her Priest, and the temple on B7. This would net Siow Hwee two badly needed red points, and would decimate Melissa. The resulting kingdoms would be semi-stable (separated by two tiles) so Melissa wouldn't have much of a comeback. She may be able to replace her King on B6, then start a Blue conflict with Siow Hwee, thus capturing a lot of her kingdom back, but that is not a long term defensible position. Siow Hwee will keep kicking her off, or will use a disaster.

Another way for him to get two red points is to insert his Priest into G10, and start an internal conflict with Koert. A three temple spot is so rare and tempting that it's hard to pass up. The only problem with this move is what does he do about Melissa? Their kingdoms are unstable. She can cut him with a disaster on B12 then play a settlement on B8 and all of a sudden it is Siow Hwee who is in a precarious position.

I would prefer to see him take the first option and wipe out Melissa.


Siow Hwee (Bow)
Action #1: Priest to A12
Action #2: Settlement to B8


Siow Hwee (Attacker) wins King external conflict vs. melissa (Defender) 5 vs. 0
Siow Hwee (Attacker) wins Priest external conflict vs. melissa (Defender) 8 vs. 2



I am such a wuss.

and, ow.


Take that! And That!

and, ow, again


...and Melissa gets skunked. All of Siow Hwee's fans are posting on their blogs now, assuring the world of his impending victory. Koert, with his lack of treasures, just isn't going to be able to make up enough ground to beat the Movie Star.

The fireworks are hardly over though. Many disaster tiles have yet to be played. Will there be more smiting to come? Will these masters throw the proverbial towel IN, or will they roll them into whips for which to smack on the backsides of their adversaries?


wow, Siow Hwee is setup very nice to take this game. He is in a nice spot. I do not see how any of the others can make a comeback. Koert missed a few nice possibilities to conflict w/ Robert. I think he would have been able to win those early conflicts, and been in a good position to fight Siow Hwee, but he just doesn't have that now.

I agree with you guys, Siow Hwee is in an excellent position now (although Melissa does have a better response than I thought at first,) and Koert is being killed by his lack of treasure.

Koert's question is should he try to get his Trader back on the board? On the one hand towards the end of the game when you are strong in one color (like Koert is in green) it's quite alright to leave that leader off of the board and concentrate on other areas.

On the other hand whatever Koert does he's got to plug that three temple spot on G10 because it has the potential to be used against him should he knock any of Robert's leaders off of the board.

So his two options seem to be to reintroduce his Trader on G10, even though he doesn't need the red or green points, and take the risk of losing the conflict (which we are able to know he would win,) or play a settlement to G10. The answer depends entirely on whether he thinks he can get a treasure with his Trader or not. I think he can so I would recommend playing Trader to G10, Farm to I8.

The Farm to I8 play may seem counter to advice I've given in the past because it creates an unstable situation between Koert and Robert. But in this instance, with Robert having shot his load of disaster tiles, there is really nothing Robert can do to turn it to his advantage. He is really at Koert's mercy at this point. Next turn, regardless of what Robert does, and barring any more interference from the other players, Koert will be able to attack Robert's kingdom, win all three colors, and thanks to the unstable situation have another play left over to claim the treasure on J6.

If Koert gets conservative, either by using a disaster on K11, or by swapping tiles to get more red, then he will miss the opportunity to get the treasure next turn. Koert has already been conservative once, he has a three tile advantage going into an internal conflict with Melissa, and I've said in the past that is enough.


Koert (Goat)
Action #1: Disaster to B13
Action #2: King to A10




Latria, you had to be stopped somehow.

Koert went for an outside the box move to get his King into a powerful position, hoping to set up a big score in the coming turns. But was it a good move?

Well, from the other players' perspectives it's a real God send for Robert, but Siow Hwee and Melissa aren't so pleased I'm sure. For Koert it's probably not a horrible move because right now it's hard for me to see a situation in the next round where Melissa or Siow Hwee will want to use a disaster tile on his King. Koert is falling behind in points though so he's going to have to make a big move in both black and blue soon. He's reasonably set up to do that, but my gut feeling is that it's going to be hard to get major points in both. We'll just have to see.

I think the main effect of this move is to shift the momentum in the game from Siow Hwee to Robert. Despite what I consider some missteps on Robert's part he's never really been severely punished for them. Until last round he's had all four leaders sitting on monuments for longer than the other players. And now with Koert's latest move the pressure is off of him to a great extend. Robert can use the triple temple spot on G10 to get his Trader into a very satisfactory position. He should burn four tiles this turn which will give him the chance of drawing some farm tiles that he needs. If he gets those he'll be in great shape.

I predict Trader to G10 then Market to G8


ROUND #11

Robert (Lion)
Action #1: Trader to H1
Action #2: Settlement to K6




I'm a little bit confused by Robert's last move. If you're going to bring your Trader back onto the board why not do it at G10 where you'll be in a stronger Kingdom, attached to a monument, and where you'll do some damage to one of your opponents? As long as no one is punishing him for these gentle moves I guess it doesn't matter, he's still in contention for the win.

As I've thought about it more I've come to the conclusion that Koert's move to A10 wasn't as bad for Melissa as I first thought. She's lost some leaders but luckily the two colors she need the most, blue and green, are still on the board. She can forget about her King, with 10 points in black she doesn't need to get him back on the board, and she can wait with her Priest for a better opportunity.

If I were her I think I would play market to G10 to plug that three temple spot, and then a farm to either A5 or D4. In this way she would get two points in blue and green, and raise her total score to 7 putting her in the lead. From there she would just play a tactical game, waiting to see what develops, and what she can exploit on a turn by turn basis.


Melissa (Urn)
Action #1: Market to G10
Action #2: Farm to A5




It's like Marshall's playing a solitare game with human puppets.

He he, I guess I called that one.

This move that Siow Hwee is facing is the toughest in the game I think. I've spend a lot of time thinking about it, and I can't come up with anything that feels right. Often in T&E games there comes such a point where nothing particularly presents itself. When I'm not faced with a compelling move I like to use my turn to try to set myself up for a big score later. In this case I don't even see how Siow Hwee can do that.

The first issue he's facing is whether or not to do anything about the black threat from Koert's king. On the one hand he doesn't really need to do anything because he probably has enough black points, and can stand to have his King off the board for awhile should he lose a conflict. He would hate to give Koert the black points, but if he can find something else compelling he might be able to justify it. I just don't see anything though. Several internal conflicts are possible but they leave holes in his kingdom.

So here's the only suggestion I have, it's not great but it saves his King for another turn. First he can move his Priest, either to B6 or G8 (I would choose G8). Then he can play a disaster tile on B11. It's kind of weird because the temptation, if you're going to play a disaster, is to play it on A11 and send Koert's King home. But in this case that wouldn't stop Koert from attacking in black, since on his turn he could play his King back to C12 then attack at D12. So the key isn't to remove Koert's King but to separate him by more than two tiles. Moving the Priest is the first part, and the disaster on B11 is the second part. After that Koert's King is still on the board, but can't reach Siow Hwee's kingdom next turn. It may give Siow Hwee a chance to draw the black he needs to defend (another reason to go for an internal conflict with his Priest).

So that's my suggestion, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what Siow Hwee comes up with.


Siow Hwee (Bow)
Action #1: Trader to G8
Latria(Bow) Attacker wins internal conflict vs. Defender melissa(Urn)
Action #2: Temple to B7




Koert, the winning player is Grinningpik. And you are the only one that can stop him.

actually, Latria, if you really believed that then you could have stopped him.

Yes, Latria, I think you might indeed be right. But as Melissa has hinted, you could have torpedoed (is this actually a word?) three of his colors with your two disaster tiles. Although it is too late for that now. Reminds me, ... always look out for the silent player!

In any case, how could I stop GP? I have not much to gain from an external conflict. Instead, I would be giving points to you. Something I learned in this game: always try to gain points for yourself ;-).


I will contribute a disaster tile to anybody who contributes a first.

Koert, you need a blue, I8 please.


Nice try ;-). I wouldn't object if you placed a blue tile at I8, but I prefer A13 for the moment.


Siow Hwee is so damn smooth. You can see him workin' his mojo on the other players, trying to convince them that Robert's the threat. His displacement of Melissa's trader right there vaulted him into the lead, and he probably knows it.

The only one who's really out of it is Koert, who will have to do what he can to keep the game going. But he's too far behind to be able to catch up. He can make optimal plays from here on out, but the Steamroller's just plum outta gas.

It's hard to shoot down a Movie Star, but that's what they gotta do. Now that his trader is in a happy place, he can work towards connecting up and grabbing a trasure. Will no one stop him? Can he be stopped? Is he unstopppable?


Yeah, Siow Hwee is smooth. I don't think he's fooling anybody right now. Though to give him the benefit of the doubt he may be overestimating Robert's score. It certainly feels like Robert has been flying under the radar racking up points, but in truth he hasn't won any conflicts, and he's lost tempo several times by playing disaster tiles and leaders without the benefit of an internal conflict.

Being only weak in Blue Robert does have the chance of pulling off a comeback it should be noted.

Even though it wasn't exactly what I recommended I do like Siow Hwee's latest move. He's basically saying to himself "I have enough black points, if that becomes my limiting color then I'll have 11 points and that should be enough" and he's right. It's a calculation common towards the end of the game, and Siow Hwee is making a push for the finish line by being as efficient as he can, and not losing any tempo. The only down side is the black points he's about to give up to Koert, but as Greg noted Koert has fallen too far behind, especially for not having any treasures. Koert will get three black points plus one blue point this turn for taking out Siow Hwee then he'll look to get some blue from Robert's kingdom, it'll help his score quite a bit, but it looks like it's too late for him. The game slipped away when he didn't press his advantage against Robert, and cut off the external conflict prematurely.

Siow Hwee's excellent blocking move has also cut off Melissa from reestablishing any leaders on the C6 temple. So if she wants to get them back on the board she's going to have to use a disaster, which will cost her tempo, or place them into Siow Hwee's husk of a kingdom where they won't be connected to a monument. So really the game is come down to Siow Hwee and Robert with Siow Hwee having the definite advantage despite the fact that he's going to lose his king this round.


Koert (Goat)
Action #1: Farm to A13
Action #2: Market to A14


Koert (Attacker) wins King external conflict vs. Siow Hwee (Defender) 6 vs. 2)



Now, you are just asking for it.

Yeah, yeah, I am shaking already

Stop holding me back Melissa, let me at him.


Danger Will Robinson! Something I didn't notice until I saw the board after the conflict is that Melissa will be able to drop her Priest into Siow Hwee's old kingdom then start an external conflict at A15 or B14 and knock out Siow Hwee's Priest. So the sailing for Siow Hwee is not quite as smooth as we've been portraying it.

Likely Robert is enjoying his last turn with all his leaders on the board (though I've said that before). I foresee him playing a farm and a temple. He could use his strength in red to launch an internal conflict somewhere, but I don't see a tempting spot. He'll just eke out points as he can and pray that the other players continue to ignore him (which they won't, this time I PROMISE they won't).


ROUND #12

Robert (Lion)
Action #1: Farm to G1
Action #2: Settlement to J7




That's a pretty good play by Robert. He's keeping his score competitive, and will be right there in the end if the other players let up for a second.

Now for Melissa. I only see one legitimate choice for her and that's to place her Priest, probably to E13, and then initiate an external conflict to remove Siow Hwee's priest and score three red points.

For Siow Hwee this is just part of the chaos of a four player game. Most of this developed between his turns, and was really difficult to foresee. He's looking to get that third treasure though so I still think he has an edge in this game.


Melissa (Urn)
Action #1: Trader to J11
Siow Hwee(Bow) Defender wins internal conflict vs. Attacker melissa(Urn)
Action #2: Farm to D4




yuck.

urgh.

it was worth a try...


That was not a pretty turn. I don't know that I've ever seen a situation so desperate that starting an internal conflict with only a one tile advantage is a good idea. If Melissa wanted to get her Trader into that position, which is not a bad move, she should have swapped out all of her non-red tiles first, and hoped to draw at least one more red and preferably two.

The move I suggested, placing her Priest and starting a red external conflict, would have netted her three red points and one blue point. Red is not her weakest color, but there are probably at least two more turns left so I think it was safe to boost her red score when the opportunity was there.

The move she attempted when done properly (i.e. with a tile swap before the conflict) worth three points, one red, one green, and one blue. This distribution of points is more useful but carries much more risk also. These are the tough decisions that make the game worth playing.

Siow Hwee has an interesting turn coming up. The thing he'd most like to do is to start an external conflict with Robert's Trader. If he won (and if Koert won in blue) that would get him a third treasure, and connect his Trader to a second green monument. That's worth an awful lot. Unfortunately for him, he can't start that conflict without giving a blue point to Koert. If he could be certain that Koert would start the conflict on his turn I think Siow Hwee'd wait but he's got to be dying to start it himself because I doubt he trusts Koert to do it.

If he doesn't start the big war then what does he do? Not much it turns out. Maybe play a market to F6 and then a temple somewhere by his Priest. Siow Hwee has been the most savvy player so far, let's see what he does.


Koert, if I destroy H2, would you contribute to I3? I need your word on this.

I'm not too hot on that idea Lat!

K doesn't have any disasters left, it's all you!


Damn, you are right!!!

Yep, all my disasters have already been wasted. It would have been tempting, although I doubt I would have given my word. I think it is between you two (GP & L) for the victory and it wouldn't feel right to side with either of you. Therefore, I am simply trying to gain as much for myself. You might try to convince Melissa ... she might gain from it when GP is stopped.

Just don't throw me in the briar patch! I don't have any reds!


Siow Hwee (Bow)
Action #1: Disaster to H2
Action #2: Disaster to I3




Koert, for the sake of both of us, (but mainly yourself), please connect B6. I have made the sacrifice so that you can win already.

Sorry Latria, that connection is indeed important, but first I need to secure something for the longer term.

Koert, there IS no longer term in this game


This game is full of firsts for me. This is the second time we've seen a double disaster turn which is something I'd never seen before. I think this will turn out to be an ok move for Siow Hwee mainly because it hurts Koert as much as Robert (Koert really really wanted those three blue points that would have come from the external conflict he was about to start). Because it hurts two players it's a decent move.

Using the disaster tiles is usually a double edged sword, it's a loss of tempo for the person playing the disaster, and usually only hurts one of the other players, potentially even benefiting the others. I usually save my disasters for when I need help in getting my leaders back on the board, or when somebody leaves me with an unstable kingdom that I can cut in half. Occasionally, they're used to delay somebody whose kingdom is encroaching towards mine if I have a monument to protect.

So I think I would have preferred if Siow Hwee had started the conflict, but it's a close call, we'll see how it plays out.

Ok, it's Koert's turn and he needs blue points. If he had the tiles for it I'd suggest that he play something to C7 then move his Farmer to B6 for the internal against Melissa, he'd have the requisite three tile advantage. He doesn't have anything to go on to C7 however.

If he's feeling especially daring he can try to start an external conflict against Melissa's Farmer by playing temple to F6, temple to E6. He'd only have a two tile advantage, which is exactly borderline for blue. It's a very aggressive and risky move. It's a game decider for Koert one way or the other. Does he want to risk everything on two blue tiles? Probably not.

In lieu of these bold moves it looks like he can just play farm to I12, farm to I13. This gives him six points overall, and leaves the leaders of his two weakest colors (blue and black) in very strong positions. Ready to claim monuments or evict any leader foolish enough to set up shop next door.


Koert (Goat)
Action #1: Trader to E13
Action #2: Temple to B14




Koert's decided to go for a treasure which I don't know that I agree with because that will allow the game to end sooner, and he needs the game to continue so that he can get a big payoff in blue and black. Even if he manages to get that treasure then Siow Hwee will happily give him a blue point in order to end the game by claiming the next treasure.

Robert has the much valued and rare hand of six temples. I think if I were him my goal would be to use those temples to get two of my leaders on the board if possible. In order to do that I think I would first place my Farmer on I16 and play three temples in support of that conflict against Siow Hwee. If I lost I would merely try it again, and be sure of winning that time.

But if I won I would either play Priest to H15 or Trader to H15 supported by three temples, either seems to be a good move. The Trader is probably more desirable but the Priest is a guaranteed win since I would know Siow Hwee doesn't have three temples.

Robert is still very much in the game because the disaster tiles last round, while they evicted three of his leaders, didn't give anybody else substantial points so as long as he can get his leaders back with tempo (i.e via an internal conflict) he's hardly lost any ground at all.


ROUND #13

Robert (Lion)
Action #1: Temple to K5
Action #2: Farmer to K4




Looks like everybody is desparate for some blue.

when is someone going to end the game & put me out of my misery?

Why would you want the game to end? I am still having fun!

lol I'm sure you are But the longer it goes on, the worse my position becomes.


Oh my is Robert conflict adverse or what? I can't imagine needing to get leaders on the board with all kinds of prime spots connected to monuments, and with six red tiles in hand and NOT starting an internal conflict. The loss of tempo there is staggering. Now he's going to lose his Farmer again.

Speaking of internal conflicts Melissa would LOVE to have some of Robert's temples right about now. She also has three leaders off the board who need to find new homes. There really are no great options here. It looks like the best she can do is to start the blue external conflict against Siow Hwee's Farmer by playing a settlement to B6 then, once that conflict is won, drop her Priest onto H15 or I16 to set up for the external conflict against Siow Hwee's Priest next round. She'll burn three tiles that way, and earn three blue points. She'll be in a position to earn red next time, and then she just has to wait for some opportunity to present itself in green. Not a great plan but it's all she's got now.


Melissa (Urn)
Action #1: Disaster to B10
Action #2: Trader to B6




I would have liked to have seen Melissa set herself up to be the attacker rather than the attackee but I think she'll be ok for awhile because Koert would rather have blue points than green. Maybe she can use that last disaster of hers to good effect next round.

I see four possible moves for Siow Hwee.

1) He could play a Market to H8 then swap out the rest of his tiles to get rid of those useless farms. Net: 2 green, 1 blue points

2) He could play a market to H8 then play his King to C7, that gets his King on a monument and gives him a one tile advantage over Koret's King. Net: 2 green, 1 blue, 1 black points

3) He could play a market to F6, temple to E6. He would win the green conflict and pick up a treasure (assuming Koert lost in blue which is a good assumption given that he would be the attacker, and he's down two tiles). He probably suspects that Melissa doesn't need the blue points given how long her Farmer has been on the board. Net: 3 green, 1 blue, 1 treasure.

4) He could play farm to I8, Farm to I7. He would be giving Koert three blue points, which he has to know that Koert needs because his Farmer has been on H9 all game not attached to a blue monument, and there's only three Farm tiles played. Net: 2 green, 1 blue, 1 treasure

Ok, I saw a fifth move. Swap out all tiles but that red and hope to draw at least 1 more red (good chances that he would) then place King I16 to start an internal with Koert's king. Net (if all goes well): 1red, 1green, 1 blue, 1 black.

I actually like option 5 because it gets rid of all those worthless tiles in his hand, stands a decent shot at success, and gives him a very good distribution of points. It leaves his leaders in decent position too. And it accelerates the end of the game.

Let's see what he does.


Siow Hwee (Bow)
Action #1: King to C7
Action #2: Market to F6




A perfectly acceptable move by Siow Hwee.

Koert will attack Robert's Farmer via an external conflict. Even at the risk of giving Siow Hwee the treasure, he simply needs the blue points, and this is the best way.


The likelyhood that I will be collecting those treasures I claimed way back when we started the game, is becoming rather slim :-(.

Koert (Goat)
Action #1: Farm to I8
Action #2: Farm to I7
Koert (Attacker) wins Farmer external conflict vs. grinningpik (Defender) 6 vs. 1




Well that conflict went as expected, and was quite a boost to Koert. Unfortunately, without treasures I don't think he'll be able to make the push into contention.

We now have only three treasures left on the board. Even though that last treasure is going to be hard for anybody to collect I still think we're headed for a treasure ending. There are still an absurd amount of tiles left for Round 14 of a four player game. By the end of round 14 98% of all four player T&E games have ended. It's a testament to the pacifism of this game that we could go two or three more rounds as long as the treasure isn't collected.

Robert's move is actually rather obvious, and he's going to be forced into initiating a conflict this time. Since the game could end with Siow Hwee's next turn Robert simply MUST increase his blue points. This means getting his Farmer onto the board, and attached to a monument. There is no point in challenging Siow Hwee's Farmer because that kingdom is so weak in blue, he would certainly lose any external battle that developed. And there are no open temple's in Melissa's kingdom, so that leaves only Koert to challenge.

He should place his Farmer on K4 and attack with all of his temples. Then when Koet's Farmer is ousted from H8 he should play his settlement there to plug that spot, and to burn another tile. He wants to draw as many tiles as possible to maximize his farms and temples.

Will Robert have what it takes to do what needs to be done?


ROUND #14

Robert (Lion)
Action #1: Farmer to K4
Robert(Lion) Attacker wins internal conflict vs. Defender Koert(Goat)
Action #2: Settlement to H9




That's a lot of reds, GP!

had to make sure...

Dammit, GP just got another red.

It wasn't my intention to loose that conflict :-(.

It's good to know where all the reds went, this game


Alright, called another one!

What in the world is Melissa going to do? It's a pretty hopeless situation for her right now. She has to realize that this is likely her last turn because Siow Hwee will almost certainly claim the treasure on C6 on his turn. So she might consider trying to prevent him from doing that but what does that buy her? Not much because right now all the other players are scoring more per turn than she is. Without a dramatic turn of events extending the game will only cause her to fall further behind. Maybe she should just try to get as many points as she can thus maximizing her finish position even if she can't win.

So in order to maximize her score she needs red or green. She's got one green coming as long as she leaves her Trader on the monument. About the only thing left to do then is to swap out all six of her tiles and hope to draw a market. If she does then she can play it and up her total score to nine points. That's probably the best she can do. If there's a better option I just don't see it.


Melissa (Urn)
Action #1: Disaster to A13
Action #2: King to A15




This should be the last turn of the game since Siow Hwee can claim the final treasure no matter what happens. As a general rule I always try to end the game when I can. Even if I'm not in first because chances are if I can end the game then someone else can too, and I won't get another turn. Plus, there is a significant benefit to ending the game on your turn in that you maximize the number of turns you get relative to the other players. If you are the Lion and you end the game then you get one more turn than the other players and that is huge. If you're the goat then you guarantee nobody gets more turns than you. If the end of the game is under your control, it's rarely wrong to go for it.

If Siow Hwee wants to end the game then he should start an external conflict on E6. He has a 4 to 0 advantage over Melissa in green BUT HE SHOULDN'T ADD HIS MARKET IN SUPPORT. He's got to think ahead in case Melissa loses the blue conflict to Koert (which we know she will) because if she does Siow Hwee needs another tile to connect to the treasure (because Melissa's Farmer will be gone).

After the green conflict is resolved in Siow Hwee's favor the blue conflict can begin. Koert will be the attacker. If he loses that's it, the treasure will be claimed. But if he wins Siow Hwee will have to play on D6 to start another conflict. In this new conflict he will lose his King to Robert, but the treasure will be claimed, and the game will end.

That's giving away a lot of points (6 blue to either Koert or Melissa, and 3 black to Robert) but Siow Hwee will still come out on top, especially with the fourth treasure. Let's see if he's thought through it enough to claim the win right here.


Siow Hwee (Bow)
Action #1: Temple to C3
Action #2: Priest to C2




I'm really shocked that Siow Hwee didn't end the game right there. I think that has to count as his first major mistake even though I'm sure he's still going to win. But whenever you have a chance to end the game on top it's a mistake not too.

So the game goes on into round 15 now. Very rare to make it into this round, only about 2 games in 100 will go to round 15.

Koert has very little to do here. He needs blue points, but has absolutely no way of getting his Farmer on the board, or of playing farms with his King. No disasters and no temples leaves him no options. When you're out of options then swap tiles and hope for the best. Koert should consider keeping his one temple and swapping the rest. If he gets two more temples he can think about using them to get his Farmer on the board.


I agree Marshall, it is strange that Siow Hwee let the game go another round. Perhaps he has misjudged the points that the others have and wanted to get another round of Temple scoring?

Koert could get his Farmer onto the I16 spot, but he doesn't know that. It would be a risky move to attempt with only 1 temple in hand. He could also get his King on the same spot too.

I think the game will end next round with Siow Hwee being the winner. I just don't see anyway for the others to make a come back this late into the game.


Koert (Goat)
Action #1: Farmer to J11
Robert(Lion) Defender wins internal conflict vs. Attacker Koert(Goat)
Action #2: Market to E12


No scores captured

ROUND #15

Robert (Lion)
Action #1: Farm to H7
Action #2: Market to E6



Melissa, you got to win the blue!

Never fear, Latria

if mel wins, then Latria claims treasure=end of game. Everybody ready for that?

and if I lose, someone places one more piece = end of game. Doesn't make much difference at this point, I think.

Well - unless Koert loses.That would also isolate a treasure, I think.


At last, I am also getting involved in this final clash! In any case, win or loose, Latria will claim the last treasure. Hope I can deny him those badly needed red points (which I don't need).

I have no red. All I have are sickening blues.

The game is ending for sure. Can anybody predict the winner? Melissa semms to have made an impressive comeback at the end.


I also have a lot of blues. If only I could have used them!

I guess it is between Latria and GP. I think Melissa is lacking in green. You are poor in red, but the treasures will compensate for this. I don't know GP's weak color (probably blue, although he got some of those points by the end).


I'm lacking in everything, Koert. Well, in the game, anyway Actually I have ended up with less red than green, due to having been unable to get my red leader onto the board for a while.

Melissa, I wouldn't dare suggesting otherwise ;-). Red is actually my strongest color (more than my two weakest colors together!), although I haven't recieved that many red tiles but my red leader has never been attacked and got me an aweful lot of points via the monument.

Blue is my weakest, has been most of the game. When I got double disastered that really hurt. The move before i contemplated adding ared to guard against that. Drat!


Robert (Attacker) wins King external conflict vs. Siow Hwee (Defender) 7 vs. 2
Siow Hwee (Defender) wins Trader external conflict vs. melissa (Attacker) 0 vs. 6
melissa (Defender) wins Farmer external conflict vs. Robert (Attacker) 7 vs. 7
Koert (Defender) wins Priest external conflict vs. Siow Hwee (Attacker) 2 vs. 4



FINAL SCORES
#1 – 12/13/13/14 Siow Hwee
#2 – 10/10/12/19 Robert
#3 – 8/8/11/17 Melissa
#4 – 8/8/10/14 Koert

Congratulations, Siow Hwee is the winner!

Well done, Latria! Good game, guys.

I knew if I don't strike with the double disaster fast enough, it would be too late to stop you once you add a red. The sacrifice is worth it.

Good game all!

Thank you Melissa for winning that crucial blue battle. Thank you everybody for the game.

Congrats to Latria! It was a fun game. I enjoyed playing with you all.


I would just like to say, congratulations to Siow Hwee on the win. He played a solid game. I think the key was that he attacked when he needed to attack and didn’t hesitate. T&E rewards aggression (when it doesn’t punish it that is,) and Siow Hwee was the most aggressive player. I’m sure his table talk didn’t hurt either!

And now we have a post game question for each of our players. What do you consider to be the turning point in the game for you? Is there anything you want to say or explain?


[i]I was hopelessly outclassed from the beginning, and was actually pretty pleased that the gap in final scores was not considerably greater than it was.

I think the big mistake I made mid-game was in not fighting to get my red leader back on the board -- I'm sure I had some red tiles somewhere there.

Early on, I should not have stretched myself out to get that single treasure. I would have been better off concentrating on the top left corner of the board and making sure I didn't leave myself exposed.


I think the turning point is when Koert attacked me with black. So I am forced to get off my butt and join in the action.

I just want to say that this was the first time I played in a game where all the monuments were built. It made calculations impossible. I was constantly thinking "how long has his/her leader been there?". So the strategy became making sure that everybody has an Archilles' heel.


[COLOR=#CC6600]With some hindsight (but lacking the exact details), I would consider for me three crucial moments in the game:

1) My starting position. I knew this wasn't the best place, but it looked like an interesting choice. Being in the middle has its advantages and disadvantages. It might probably have been better to avoid the middle and to have started in
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Marshall P.
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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With some hindsight (but lacking the exact details), I would consider for me three crucial moments in the game:

1) My starting position. I knew this wasn't the best place, but it looked like an interesting choice. Being in the middle has its advantages and disadvantages. It might probably have been better to avoid the middle and to have started in the south east. This might have given me at least one treasure, which I lacked badly in the end, as I had to keep blue and black in balance. On the other hand, I don't think I would change this if we would start over.

2) The moment GP blocked the access to his kingdom with the two disasters was for me a turning point. It made it a lot more difficult to link the two together. I definitely would have tried this earlier, if it could have been done more easily and to my advantage.

3) The one thing I should have done differently, is the first external conflict with GP. I probably should have extended the conflict to some of the other colors. Without doubt, this will become clear in the post-game analysis.

As a closing remark, I know I made some unconventional moves (e.g. bringing my black leader very late in the game), but overall I don't think I made that many mistakes/errors of judgement and I don't think I would change a lot if I played this one again (except for point three above). As the game evolved, I knew halfway in the game (although I thought at that moment the game would end pretty soon) that I had no chance of winning, but I still thought that I could avoid last place. Alas, it was not to be ...

Now that I am rereading this post, I noticed that almost all of my comments are referring to the first half of the game. Maybe I let the game slip away too soon. Perhaps you guys have some alternative options I should have explored in the second half of the game.

Regards,

Koert


I think the big turning point was the trashing of my kingdom. The double disasters and the ensuing removal of all save one of my leaders put me back bigg time. It was just catchup for me after that. I also think Koert really messed with my plans early when he trashed my site for a monument and swiped a treasure to boot. It was a great game all around mainly for the chatter during the game. Most T&E here people will not say anything and everyone seems ok with that, hey c'mon it is supposed to be a boardgame with people talking. Anyways it was also really great because I think all of us thought carefully about our moves. I know that I checked in on the game all the time to watch other players unlike most other games I play here.[/i]

And with that we wrap up this edition of “The Annotated Game.” I would like to thank the players for taking part and being patient as the game took several months to play. Thanks to Greg and Jeremy for their commentary and technical assistance (especially Jeremy in capturing all of the dialog and screen shots.)

My hope is that this project sheds a little insight into T&E strategy, and makes the game more accessible for casual players.

Until next time…


THE END…
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Melissa
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Marshall, thank YOU for putting this together. It is a great read and it was a blast to play, too.
 
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Larry Baxter
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Wow!! What a remarkably interesting, educational, fascinating post! Thanks so much to Marshall for all that hard work, and to the players for sharing their game. I've only played T&E once but definitely can't wait to play it again. Seeing the thoughts behind the moves and other options gives great insight for the game. Thanks!!
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Taj Mahal, anyone? (I didn't drive all the way down here to play Keltis. I mean, really.)
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Awesome session report of my 2nd favorite board game! Thank for sharing that session with us.
 
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Niels Langager Ellegaard
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Wow, good stuff. I want more session reports like this on boardgamegeek.

A small comment. It would be easier to read if you also added the players sign (bow,goat,lion or pot) to their comments.
 
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Marshall P.
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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Thanks for all of the positive feedback. As I said on the other thread I think it takes a bit of effort for the reader to follow the game. You really have to study the board and tiles to make sense of the comments that follow (sometimes going back to boards from several turns ago)

If you do that though, I think there's some good strategy advice in there. Especially the part about "stability". It's such a crucial concept that it informs almost every move of the game, but all the time I see players who obviously don't give it much thought. A little bit of thought towards stability will improve your game dramatically.

mustcontainnumbers1 wrote:
A small comment. It would be easier to read if you also added the players sign (bow,goat,lion or pot) to their comments.


Thanks for the comment. If I ever do this again (and that's a big if) I'll incorporate this advice. I think it's too late to go back and add it now. I'm kind of burnt out on editing this thing.
 
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Marshall P.
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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The way we captured this game was that Jeremy (jmilum) set up an offsite forum that automatically queried the game every hour or so. And if it detected that a move had been made it captured a screenshot of the board. It also automatically captured the players' chat. This was a great tool that simplified the process tremendously.

When a player made a move he or she would email us their new tiles and their current score. We'd add that information to the forum and add our comments. When we were done commenting we'd give the all clear for the next person to move, and so on. All in all, it took over two months to play the game in this fasion.

All this happened in the beginning of 2006. I sat on all the data for over a year because it was just too daunting a task to edit it into a presentable format. At first I had envisioned a PDF file with fancy graphics and a border, a real professional document. But that just made it even harder to start work on it.

The thing that kicked it into gear again was when Aldie instituted user galleries. I realized then I could just put the screenshots in my user gallery, and link to them from a normal session report. Not as fancy perhaps, but at least the effort bar was lowered enough that I felt like I could get started on it.

So here it is for what it's worth. I would actually like to do a live action version of this. You know, with cameras and microphones and everything (perhaps at BGG.con) but that is technically beyond my ability. If anyone knows how do do somthing like that let me know.
 
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Brett Ritter
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Thanks much! I love the comments that actually teach elements of the game - I played once with others that also hadn't played before, and we couldn't find why this was so popular. (And didn't feel like playing 30 games to figure it out).

I only wish this was a more "typical" game so I could understand what to expect and why.
 
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Alan Schmitt
France
Grenoble
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Tiny bug report: in round 14 (Lion), the actions are not the correct ones (they are the one from round 13 (Goat)).
 
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Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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brab wrote:
Tiny bug report: in round 14 (Lion), the actions are not the correct ones (they are the one from round 13 (Goat)).


Fixed, thanks.
 
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Eric Freeman
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Richboro
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Wow....all I can say...this is truly a masterwork from everyone involved in the effort, but particularly Marshall. I think it is right up there with articles like the Large Warehouse of Puerto Rico Knowledge as a groundbreaking work on strategy on the geek.

Using game situations to describe the various options was brilliant and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the terms like semi-stable and unstable start becoming terminology of the game. I found myself agreeing with much Marshall had to say, but never thought about putting into words or how to do it.

Certainly a must read for anyone who is curious about the complexities of this (now nearly classic) game.

Truly a great effort,

Eric
 
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Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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SwiftOne wrote:

I only wish this was a more "typical" game so I could understand what to expect and why.


A typical game has a much more chaotic middle. Typically the first few 3 to 6 turns of the game are pretty strategic as you decide where to begin, build your kingdom (you have to give strategic thought to where and how to build it), decide about building monuments, and consider stability as you approach other kingdoms.

Once the external conflicts start the game typcially becomes very tactical. At lot which can't be forseen or mitigated can happen between your turns, and you may find the board state changes radically making planning difficult. In this phase you're often best off simply making the move that delivers the most points. There are some strategic considerations (You will often need to get leaders back on the board and you will have to decide between a strong position or immediate points) but overall tactics are probably more important.

Then, in the endgame, the strategy returns. You should be looking out 2 to 3 turns for the end of the game and begin maximizing your weakest (or two weakest) colors at this point. Here you can make and execute two or three turn plans to maximise that color.
 
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Kevin Li
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Illinois
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A couple of typos (I think):

1. Round #11, Robert action #1. Text in bold says Trader to H11, but screenshot shows H1.

2. Round #12, Siow Hwee action #1. Text in bold says Disaster to H12, but should be H2.
 
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Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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klide wrote:
A couple of typos (I think):

1. Round #11, Robert action #1. Text in bold says Trader to H11, but screenshot shows H1.

2. Round #12, Siow Hwee action #1. Text in bold says Disaster to H12, but should be H2.


Fixed. Thanks Kevin. I got a bit impatient towards the end and got careless.
 
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Kevin Li
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mdp4828 wrote:

Fixed. Thanks Kevin. I got a bit impatient towards the end and got careless.


With a session report this huge, I'm impressed that it got done at all, and that there weren't more errors.
 
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SH W
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
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A couple of comments

1. In Round 12 (Bow), it is said that the Bow could start an external conflict with Lion's trader. That was not done because an external conflict between Lion and Goat in Farmer will be inevitable. And since they are both weak in Blue, Bow will not be doing either of them that favor.

2. In Round 14 (Bow), Bow did not end the game for the same reason. Bow and Lion is nearest to winning, and Bow cannot run the risk of Lion winning big in Blue which is his weakest color.
mdp4828 in the commentary before Bow's move wrote:
After the green conflict is resolved in Siow Hwee's favor the blue conflict can begin. Koert will be the attacker. If he loses that's it, the treasure will be claimed. But if he wins Siow Hwee will have to play on D6 to start another conflict. In this new conflict he will lose his King to Robert, but the treasure will be claimed, and the game will end.

That's giving away a lot of points (6 blue to either Koert or Melissa, and 3 black to Robert) but Siow Hwee will still come out on top, especially with the fourth treasure. Let's see if he's thought through it enough to claim the win right here.

The conflict in Blue is between Robert (Lion) and Melissa, not Koert and Melissa. That was an unnecessary risk.
 
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SH W
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I am rereading this thread, and I am thinking to myself that the reason that so many of the players are so conservative is because they had just completed the tournament. I guess the feeling of being burnt from a wrongly taken step still remained. In short, the higher the level of competition, the more cautious you become.
 
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Doug Mazur

Pacifica
California
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I've wanted to pick up T&E for a long time but never have, in part because I have heard from some, that even after you read the rules you still won't "understand" how to play the game. I would also most likely be playing with others who also are not familiar with the game and no mentors to guide us. So I delayed until I finally decided to get the game. I have not played it yet, but read through the rules and now the entire session report. While I admit to getting lost a few times in the strategy, I am sure I will come back to the post again and again in the future. Thanks to all who made it possible, consider the project, mission accomplished!! You have indeed made the game more accessible to the new player, and I am grateful to you all. I look foward to joining the ranks of those who admire and love this game.
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Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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Glad you enjoyed it Doug. I admit to getting lost in the strategy as I read through it sometimes too. laugh
 
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