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EGG Head
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I had a fine opportunity to play a few games the other day with a seasoned crowd of PDX gamers. Since I was a bit limited on time I was allowed to choose the first game. I had fortuitously received my copy of the notorious #58 or Age of Scheme: Routes to Riches and being a fan of Wabash was eager to try this new offering from the house of Winsome. We started up a 5 player game with Chris, Doug, JD, Rita and myself. Went through the rules pretty quickly and if you have any familiarity with Winsome games, should have no problems with them.

I was first player. I won’t review the rules ad nauseaum as I’m sure someone else has posted about them already. In this game there is no bidding for stock shares, er uhm, I mean marriages, you simply purchase, oops, provide a nice dowry to add to the family treasury. There is a baseline cost which increases with each marriage in the family by adding the income value of the family at the time of the marriage. We all elected to pay a little over the base price to get some extra money to our new families’ treasures so we could buy track, whoops I mean expand our families. Everyone initially married into a different family (there are 6 available with 4 shares/marriages each). I bought Persia located in the middle of the board hoping to keep my track building, oh-I mean marriage expansions, options open. There was an initial first round of building except for me who took some extra spending money instead. I then took a second marriage with the Arabs. After the first family connection which resulted in a payout, everyone started trying to acquire more shares. Most people went for diversification but since I didn’t have much money left I took a second Arab share, uh, that is my cousin married into the Arab family as well.

Once the marriage expansions started, everyone had a lot of cash and the marriages were happening left and right-love was in the air. I was smart enough to sit to the right of Doug and was able to read his mind and steal his potential spouses from under his very nose. He was generally unhappy about this. I ended up with 2 Arabs and 1 each of 4 other families (no Byzant). JD ended up with 2 Byzant and 1 each of 3 other stock and Chris got 2 Sind with 1 each of 3 other stock I believe. Doug and Rita each ended with 4 single marriages (only having 2 of the same). After all the stock was gone Doug felt like the game was over for him since the 3 of us with 2 marriages in a family seemed to have a clear advantage. Family expansions took the last half of the game and I made a crucial error in running out of money for my family. Chris had some help in getting some connections and walked away with the win >550, I was second I think with >500 and JD came in third in the upper 400s I think.

Total time about an hour and a half including explanation. All in all I found this new entry into the Winsome-Wabash lexicon a fine game and am anxious to try out some new marriages. I am quite curious to see what the licensed version will be like. I wonder if the same theme will be kept. I can imagine all kinds of cool bits. I’m really curious as to where the luck will be added!

So I had about 3 hours left of gaming time and Ben and Matt were going to start up a game of After the Flood. A fitting symmetry to the day crossed my mind and I had been curious about this 3 player game although a little hesitant as I do not care for “wargames” or a lot of direct conflict (yeah, I like those solitaire games like PoF and RftG ). Chris offered to teach since we were all new to the games. A very nice and succinct explanation got us started on the first turn.

We really had no idea what we were doing and all kind of tried some different things the first turn. I built a city getting a worker in the tools box, Ben went for an Empire and Matt was doing a little of each. Ben took the 10 armies and I got the 8 leaving Matt with Sumer. After Ben started rampaging through the countryside I could see there was no getting around some conflict. After the first 3 turns it seemed Ben clearly had the upper hand having the city giving him extra armies and the city requiring an extra army to invade. Matt had gone for some early points controlling the city giving an extra VP for each army in Sumer. Ben’s armies started taking over and he gained control of the city giving the extra VP. A quick note about the combat. It’s inevitable and the process is relatively clean involving only a single roll of the dice. So there was no prolonging the agony-you have control and then you don’t-simple. Even though Matt was leading in VP at the time-he had lost out on resources, Ben seemed to clearly be the main threat. I was kind of hanging in the middle. Matt and I joined forces and started pecking away at Ben’s empire. He struggled mightily but the dice were not with him and he lost a lot of armies. This started his downward spiral.

The game had held my interest thus far but as we were getting to the final two turns I could feel myself getting a bit antsy for the resolution of the game. Now I do like the occasional long game and was expecting such from this one but still I got a bit squirrely towards the end.

I was able to top off 2 of my city temples getting some much needed extra points and in the last turn could have done a third but was unable to get the Lapis since Ben controlled it with his army. Ben had enough resources to do a second top but had no resources to place any workers and lost a lot of points here-it didn’t help that Matt and I were both systematically trying to take down his armies-relatively successfully. Matt scored big by placing all of his workers for VP on the board. The final score was relatively close I think 10 or 12 points separated us.

So all in all, an interesting game, with a lot going on and trying to plan for throughout the game, with tolerable combat. I would want to play again but it may be just a tad too long for my liking to see regular table time.

Thus ended my interesting afternoon with 2 of BGG’s more distinguished celebrities or at least, their game proxies, I have to say that their respective contributions to this fall’s game offerings have exceeded my expectations. I look forward to the next games!

Cross post to After the Flood
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Geeky McGeekface
United States
Manassas
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lorna wrote:
I won’t review the rules ad nauseaum as I’m sure someone else has posted about them already.

Nope. Not a word. In fact, if you'll check the postings here, you'll see there hasn't been a single review of this game. It's almost as if Mr. Bohrer has somehow imposed his will across the ether to the early players of this game to maintain the mystery surrounding it. (For example, it wasn't that long ago that I really wondered if it was all just an elaborate hoax.)

So if you can give a short synopsis of exactly what this game is about and how it's played, Lorna, it would be greatly appreciated. And you would indeed be the first!
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James Ludlow
United States
Saint Louis Park
Minnesota
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You have six families (companies) with four marriage certificates (shares) each. They expand physically on the board similar to Wabash or other games like it. When two families meet on the board, profits (dividends) get paid. All families get paid their income per share, with the connecting family getting a double payout. The families differ in their starting income, their build costs over certain terrain, their cube count, and their starting location.

There are no auctions.

The first person to buy into a family sets a baseline price for all future shares. After this, the minimum payment is that baseline plus their current income. You decide what you want to pay for the share (honoring the minimum) and dump that money into the family's treasury.

Anyone with a stake in a family is allowed to build routes and chew up that family's tresury however they see fit. Sometimes, it helps the family, and sometimes it's a scenic tour of some high priced wasteland.


Examples of decisions that you make:

* What price should I start this family at? This is very important, as it impacts how quickly you will [not] get others to buy into your family. You want some collusion, but family members are leeches not friends.

* Should I bury this family's treasury in the desert? Sometimes you want a family to prosper, even when you're a minor share holder. Sometimes you don't.

* Should I increase the income of this family? This involves building into cities, which are also the join-points for the families. Building into a city can be dangerous, because it could open up another family to make a connection and take the double payment. Or maybe this is advantageous to you, because you want that other family to trigger a double payment.

* Maybe I should just take $5 and pass my turn.

* Should I buy into this other family? See JC's many posts on the 4/0, 3/1, 2/2, 2/1/1 share splits.


Other points:

* In the opening, the price you decide on is clearly important. However, the midgame will feature most of the shares still available for a profit. Maybe we're undervaluing our opening shares and causing this -- I don't know. In the endgame, it's fairly easy to calculate the potential earnings of an available share, so it comes down mainly to track building and jockeying to have / not have another dividend paid.

* It's a quick game. We've been done in under 45 minutes each time. When you butcher your share prices like we seem to be doing, it's no biggie. Just play again.

* The rules are dead simple. One 10 minute read, and I was ready to teach it.

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John Bohrer
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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Larry Levy wrote:
It's almost as if Mr. Bohrer has somehow imposed his will across the ether to the early players of this game to maintain the mystery surrounding it.


Having produced and distributed the game widely, including to several other Northern Virginians, that is demonstrably not my will.

Larry Levy wrote:
(For example, it wasn't that long ago that I really wondered if it was all just an elaborate hoax.)


You shall have to look elsewhere for hoaxes and deceptions.

 
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EGG Head
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Thanks for answering James, sorry Larry didn't see this until James had already answered.
It's a good stock game, I need to play this and Wabash again to see where they fall in order of favorites for me.
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Geeky McGeekface
United States
Manassas
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Thanks, James. Very nice and informative synopsis. Definitely worth trying if I get the chance.
 
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Tim Synge
United Kingdom
Westbury-on-Trym
BRISTOL
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Go get 'em, Floyd.
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John Bohrer wrote:
widely, including to several other Northern Virginians


Wow! And people say that the British are insular.
 
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