Sunday at our house and another impromptu gaming session, this one organised because Christina keeps missing the others .. David had to call off so we were left with four.
Michael arrived early in order to do his laundry, yes in addition to providing food and shelter we are now offering other services, I have to diversify if Grier is coming after my soup crown!
Before Christina arrived, Michael, Julia and I sat down to play "Cuba", The review of this game is on the Reviews Page, We made only one mistake - misjudging when the final round was - this prompted the best exchange of the game.
Ian "Oops that was the last round
Michael "Well if I had known that, I would have played completely differently"
Ian "Michael ..... You Won!
Michael ........ "Oh Yeah"
Christina arrived and we pulled out Princes of the Renaissance - none of us had played this but I had been moist with anticipation from reading the basic game details on the geek.
First of all, it is a Martin Wallace, which means elegance, simplicity and brain melting calculations.
Second, it has bidding ..... I love bidding!
Third, it is a war game - that means death and carnage
Fourth ... and this is the big one, it is all about deceit and screwage - it reminded me a lot of Junta and that made me very happy.
I will post a full game review later, however it is worth pointing out that the game started with me declaring an immediate and undying love for everything it had to offer, Christina confirmed that she had taken an immediate stance of absolute bewilderment at what was happening, Julia seemed non plussed and Michael ..... seemed like Michael.
By the second decade, Christina was starting to get very excited, mine had not subsided and Julia had declared that she "hated this game". This after she had started a war, been frozen out of the bidding to represent herself in her own war, seen her lose the cash bonus and watched as her favoured city had been defeated.
By a round or two later, having formed an official resource alliance with me, which essentially resulted in her borrowing money from me and me influence from her, her hatred began to subside.
BY this stage Michael had found himself aligned with myself in one influence, Christina in two and Julia in one, both Michael and Christina began targeting venice - my stronghold, this further enhanced the cross table divide and when Julia began investing in Venice, it was a clear case of US against THEM (and of course a less clear case of Us against Us)
By the final decade, Christina was out in front, massive influence in the leading city, Michael was fighting to close the gap on Christina, whilst Julia and I plotted the downfall of their major investments.
Going into, what turned out to be the last round, We were all pretty closely matched in terms of City Influence. Christina and I had significantly more victory wreathes than the others, whilst Michael and Julia were cash and influence chips rich. My final move was to declare War - Venice attacking Florence - Venice being my stronghold and Florence being Christina's. The bidding for the attack was fascinating, all players holding much stronger attack cards than defence (averaging 8 of the former to 4 of the latter) Michael did not want to attack and ducked out the bidding, Chritina followed and I, in what turned out to be a moment of stupidity, allowed Julia to take the honour of attack .
I had hoped I would win the defence position and the payment that would go with that, alas Michael outbid me. I immediately bribed Michaels largest army and he was decimated in battle. His city dropping 2 markers, mine gaining 2 markers and Julia gaining 7 gold and a victory wreath.
At this point Michael cursed his own insanity spotting that he possessed the right to veto a battle and had not done so ... as he was doing this Christina ended the game.
The game has multiple scoring and ours looked like this :
City Influence : Julia 32, Ian 29, Michael 26, Christina 21
Card VP's : Julia 5, Michael 6, Christina 6
Merchant VP's : Julia 4, Christina 3
Cash Bonus : Julia 6, Ian 3
Influence Bonus : Michael 4
Victory Wreathes : Julia 3, Ian 10, Michael 3, Christina 10
At this point it was my turn to curse, my decision to let Julia represent me in battle, cost me 1 victory wreathe (5 points) and 8 gold (3 points) and provided Julia 1 victory wreath (2 points) and 8 gold (3 points) This decision swinging 13 points to Julia from Me and costing me the whole darned thing. That said, Michael blew it to an even greater degree by not vetoing the war, although I think that he may have handed the game to Christrina if he had vetoed, at least that would have been a moral victory for the east end of the table.
It is worth pointing out that the game played at a frantic pace and we managed a full rules explanation, a second rules check and the full game in under 2.5 hours .... this is definitely my next wednesday night nomination .....an absolute belter
We then grabbed Thief of Baghdad as Christina had nominated it as her fourth game for the three game geeklist, we played, I shafted, Julia won.
Once again we finished off on Manhattan, once again I won - can none of you people offer up a challenge on this platform?
So the day belonged to Julia with 2 victories (PotR and ToB) and a 2nd place in Cuba a mere 1 point off winning. Who will be the next sunday king?