So everyone knows that after a promising start at "in the year of the dragon" some four years ago, I developed a case of the yips worse than David's famous Steam Yips of 2012. I spent all of 2010, 2011 and 2012 not registering a single win, my mid game collapse was legendary, renowned as being a fireworks whore, I was the player everyone wanted in a 5 player game, as it meant I was one less person to worry about.
Something changed in late 2012 and suddenly I was competing, I wasn't playing brilliantly by any manner or means but i was doing okay, I wasn't hemorrhaging workers and my houses had pretty reasonable foundations. Suddenly I actually started winning the odd game - a famous three player victory against my nemesis Hynes healed some of those old wounds, but still something was lacking. I hadn't yet played the perfect game .... well until Sunday that is!
Having warmed ourselves up with a thoroughly intense game of Steam - congratulations to Andy for his victory therein, I suggested we round off with a game of YotD. Adam had never played before but we gave him a good briefing and lubed his arse up proper. Mark and Andy were eyeing each other up, both sensing the presence of their biggest threat. Michael looked slightly bemused and unsure of himself but as this is Michael's stock guise, I hadn't guessed that it might all be a ploy.
Anyway - the random draw for starting player began and to my horror I was first. Now it was a strange looking board from March it went like this. Fireworks, Helmet, Tax, Helmet, Tax, Fireworks, Sickness, Rice, Sickness, Rice - thanks to Mark Hall for this glorious set up. I stuttered, the obvious Helmet, Fireworks was there but it didn't feel right, if i went budha helmet, i would open myself to a budha firework ass fucking, so did i do the obvious build, money - play from the back? After much debate, I plumped for the highly unlikely and improbably Money, Rice option - 7 on the initiative track and likely last place. Mark was next straight out with FW/Bud and Andy replied with H/B - so it was the die was cast, this pair were going to fight it out from the front. Adam played relatively safe and chose a reasonable FW/M and Michael threw the absolute curve ball of Scholar/Money.
The game started as you would expect, Mark and Andy fighting for build and fireworks, occassionally grabbing initiative, Adam strolled through the middle taking safe options for free, Michael and I stock piled cash and where possible I grabbed in advance those things I might need at game end - Rice and Healers.
By the end of the second recruiting round, Michael had already burnt his scholar and a wild recruiting more scholars, meaning that every time he was able to take that choice for action he would score 7-10 points. Tragically scholar kept arriving unpaired, meaning each round he could grab some points.
By the half way stage, Andy and Mark were still fighting, Mark on 2 x 3 storey builds, Andy on 3 x 2, both 90% full, both scoring well, I was - as usual at the back but building up a head of steam, thanks to my 4 buildings, geisha and 2 point charm. Michael was a walking disaster, starving employees, collapsing buildings, no tax, no helmets, the surrounding territories looked like a warn zone, with the burning corpses of his failed enterprise for everyone to see. He may have been killing them left right and centre but its only fair to say the people able to survive inside his university - well christ they were getting a dmaned good education.
So we enter the closing stages, Michaels final Tax and Rice requirements, kill 4 employees, destroy 2 buildings and leave him with 1 single building and one highly educated super brain melon. Andy was looking okay - sitting about 10 points ahead of me and 4 or so ahead of Mark with 4 buildings and 7 employees, a small buddha - a nice tidy end game. Mark was slightly worse off but with a better buddha configuration meant that it would be tight between them, Adam had played very well for a virgin and was going to end the game on something like 85 points.
However if I say so myself, my town was a thing of glory. Every building standing all but one employee recruited and still alive, 2 double buddhas - it really was perfection and so from last place I began my slow descent towards inevitable glory. First the employees, 13 employees thats 26 points, jumping me over Adam, then Mark, then one buddha, thats 6 points, bye Andy, another buddha thats another 6 points - hello 100 here I come and two final points for spare rice ..... I look up ready to accept the acclaim of my fellow players, having played as they say an utter blinder but wait, why was Michael smiling, why was he gleaning the handshakes and approval, hang on - is that Michael on 103 points? Mister - one building, no rice, no money, harbinger of doom, death to all who set foot in his town, mister never seen a firework in his life, doesnt need an army, bringer of famine and pestilence, did he honestly score over 75 points with his fucking scholars? yes he bloody well did.
I play the best game Ive ever played and science boy chooses to abandon everything but one action and claims victory over a table of 5 and people say Puerto Rico has an easy route to victory.
Well I guess its well done Michael, clearly education is the key to success!