4th May - One of my all-time favourite games, so I was glad to be playing another of them (Caylus M C) whilst missing out on this one. Glancing over at the game, I seem to remember that it lasted quite a long time, it's amazing the variation in game length we've seen for this one, sometimes it's a comfortable 40-45 minutes. I think Donald won, hopefully someone will give the scores!
The sheer variety of tempo and available strategies this game offers is amazing. Not played this with 3 for a while (but played as usual with the variant which removes one less card from the starting line-up, which was the 'pie factory') and it was a completely different challenge to the last few, with very little castle visiting in the early rounds (I think we threw at least 6 tokens) and everybody stinging or getting stung a couple of times by Provost bribery, whereas in many 4 player games here there's virtually no bribery effects. Steve H took an advantage in mid-game from owning a couple of well-used resource generators and couldn't be caught, I was 2nd and Andy S was 3rd.
I really like the vicious auction mechanism in this game, and had put down my continuous lack of success at the game to general incompetence, but I'm not so sure that I didn't get badly stung with the luck factor this time. We all bought artisans early on, I bought a green cube one then carefully picked up contracts which didn't feature green, which looks a sensible policy. Result? No green cubes until Ship No. 6, and I'm completely screwed for cash again. Andy's artisan for brown was working double shifts early on, and he never looked back, I was so down on contracts due to cashflow that even though Steve picked up -10 VP for the fires he still beat me for 2nd place. I still like the game though.
Putting aside some minor production issues with non-square dice, I thought this was a nice dice management game, somewhat in the vein of Kingsburg but with more depth (I like Kingsburg, so you can see where this is going). Placement of dice in some locations is equivalent to worker placement, in others it's like a "take-that" mechanism, in others, area control. Simple mechanisms with a lot of interaction and a lot going on. For all that, it's reasonably light and I would recommend that people play the normal game. The long game (which we played, because that's what gamers do, right?) really slows down toward the end. Two hours for a dice game? Time to move on. Up until the end, I was really having fun, but it started to drag - not least because I thought I was placing my last colony about three times .
A really solid dice game in its short version.
Donald Paul Steve Pe Dave F
I don't know the scores, but I think that was the finishing order.
I think Rosliston exhaustion had set in as only Dave D, Steve H and I turned up (Dave F would've been there if he could, I'm sure, but permission was not forthcoming from Dragon Control).
We, however, are hardcore!
Hence, Saint Petersburg, which is a game I really enjoy.
I started really weakly, with the other two generating lots of cash, which is not the position you want to be in at the start of this game. Somehow, I managed to pull it back - I think it was the combination of cash-rich nobles and a blue card (I forget which) that gave me cash per noble, but this only really kicked in later in the game. Dave went for a diverse nobles strategy, whereas Steve H just went for a route that made him as much cash as possible (which was a ton) so he could keep buying cards. I think his only mistakes were that he had the building that gives 4 roubles or 4VP, or any combination, and he kept taking cash when he didn't need it. If he'd taken the VP, he'd have won. The thing that won it for me was that he didn't take the University with its 9VP, when he had the money. I had exactly 25 roubles and snapped it up. It won me the game.