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The Princes of Machu Picchu» Forums » Sessions

Subject: [SR] (5p) Why does the VP track go to 100? rss

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Phil Alberg
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Cumberland
Rhode Island
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Princes of Machu Picchu: Phil, Mark, Gary, Anthony, Ken

Five of us braved the high peaks of the Andes to rescue priests and virgins (mostly the latter) from the clutches of the evil, wicked, naughty Spanish conquistadors. This was the first time any of us played this game, and as is often the case with first time plays there were a couple of rules missed that probably changed the nature of the game.

Game Summary
Each player is an Incan prince who is trying to fulfill divine direction gained from continually reaching the summit of the holy mountain. In game terms, a victory point card, which indicates which commodities yield victory points, is obtained whenever a player's scout token ascends the 20 steps along the Incan Trail. The scout generally moves as the result of sacrifices made at temples. Each player courts priests and virgins, who carry out these sacrifices, by spending the prescribed combination of commodities. The commodities are corn, llamas, pottery, coco leaves, and fabric (which looks an awful lot like a souvineer T-shirt). These commodities are obtained by moving one's prince token to different locations within the city of Machu Picchu. Incan workers may also be obtained and placed so as to increase resource production. It's one big Incan engine! The prince token may also be moved to one of four temples, to places where Incan workers may be hired, to places where priests and virgins may be obtained, to the Sun clock (where an Incan worker is sacrificed for commodities and movement along the Incan trail), or to the central market. If a player stands still and takes no action, s/he takes a moon tile, which provides some commodity or Incan trail benefit. Once three moon tiles are collectively taken, one last round is conducted, and then night time falls and items are restocked.

The game ends either after all priests and virgins are obtained or all victory point cards are taken, or after the ninth day, in which case the Spanish discover Machu Picchu. Players each get 1pt per item listed on their victory point cards, so it pays to specialize. If the Spanish conquer Machu Picchu, then the player(s) with the most gold on their cards get to triple their point total, while those with the second most gold get to double their points.

Session Recap
Each player starts with one unit of each of the five commodities. Each player should also have started with one victory point card. This was the first rule that we missed. The initial victory point card probably would have given each player some direction as to which locations to pursue. Instead we bumbled about for the first couple of days until someone scaled the mountain and acquired cards.

Ken was deemed the start player, as he had travelled the farthest north (thanks Start Player!). He placed an Incan Worker (IW) in the llama farma. Gary placed an IW in the coco leaves, Mark placed in the pottery shed, I placed in the corn field, and Anthony placed in the T-shirt factory. Ken then placed his prince in the llama farma, and paid a corn to take a second llama. While llamas are needed as sacrifices in the temples and to move the prince more than one space in the city, we all thought that Ken's affinity for these beasts was, well, unnatural. Gary followed suit by placing his prince in the coco jungle, Mark did likewise in the pot house, and then I broke the norm by spending most of my resources on a Condor Priest. While this put me behind the other players in establishing IWs in other areas, it subsequently helped greatly in pushing my scout up the Incan Trail. Anthony spent resources as well, obtaining an IW for the corn field.

We quickly learned that corn is very important in this game, as it is the currency used to induce all other IWs to produce commodities. The next day there was a run on placing IWs in the corn field. I was the first to ascend the Incan Trail, so I drew three cards and kept one (a corn and llama card). This gave me direction, so I spent the next couple of days building up my IW presence in the corn field and in the llama farma, all the while visiting the Condor temple and advancing my scout. Others soon saw the wisdom of gaining priests. But the virgins were not taken for awhile, no doubt due to the high maintenance of providing much more clothing to garner their services.

To the dismay of Gary, Ken was the first person to obtain a virgin. At this point all of the priests had been taken (Gary and I split the Condor priests, while Mark had 3 Puma priests to Anthony's 2). While we acquired several victory point cards, we neglected another rule that allows you to combine the three drawn cards with the rest of your cards, and then discard any two to the bottom of the deck. In this way it is much easier to obtain some specialization of VP items. That is, if one could keep all three drawn cards that contain corn and discard two previously held cards that do not contain corn, then one could place more IWs in the corn field and yield a better multiplicative VP total.

Our game ended when we obtained the last two virgins on the ninth day. Although I had no more than two commodities pictured on any cards, I managed to place all of my Incan Workers in the corresponding areas to max out my score. I also had one more card than most players, and thereby took the victory. Final scores were something like: 19, 14, 13, 12, 3.

Phil Mark Gary Anthony Ken
VP: 19 14 13 12 3
Cards: 4 3 3 3 1
Priests/Virgins: 3 4 4 2 2

Both the engine building aspects and the setting appeal to me. I am anxious to try this game again. Mark and Gary weren't as excited about the game as I was, so this has all the earmarks of becoming another PHIL game.
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Tokelau
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I like this game too but I suck at it in my group. I always struggle to climb that temple and get cards and usually end with 4 while others have 6 or 7 in their hands, which really gives them the advantage when the spanish come.
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John Brier
United States
Aventura
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It's good that the Spanish didn't discover Machu Picchu on your first game: the Spanish victory condition can really vex new players and turn them off to the game. The truth is that the risk of Spanish scoring to a great extent IS the game, is what drives it and gives it tension. I find this game simply delightful, and a challenge to play well.
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Tokelau
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The game is pretty well balanced between a spansish victory and mayan victory. Seems to always be close.
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Gary Libby
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Middletown
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Spielfreak wrote:
Final scores were something like: 19, 14, 13, 12, 3.
[c]


We played for over 3 hours and for a game with a 100 point scoring track this seemed damned anti-climatic. I am willing to try this again, but not for a long while.
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D E
United States
San Francisco
California
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crazyyog wrote:
Spielfreak wrote:
Final scores were something like: 19, 14, 13, 12, 3.
[c]


We played for over 3 hours and for a game with a 100 point scoring track this seemed damned anti-climatic. :what: I am willing to try this again, but not for a long while.


Try a 2 player game. Honestly the game shouldn't take 3 hours, regardless of the number of players. In a two player game it's even more of a race up the mountain, in my last game the scores were 70 and 62, before the gold was factored in (I intentionally ended the game before my opponent could buy the last virgin). I think the sacrifice card split was something like 12/11.
 
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Andrew DiGregorio
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West Babylon
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i have played this once now and my game group had the same question of the VP track...

although in our game we had a spanish victory and since i had the most gold, i finished with about 40 pts..
 
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