Wednesday, 2 September 2009

gaming in photos

23 Aug 2009. Race for the Galaxy with Gathering Storm expansion. This was early in the game. I had played Drop Ships, and had both Galactic Imperium and Imperium Lords in my hand. The military path was in no doubt.

My tableau at game end. 53pts. I had four 6-cost dev cards, and all three of the military ones. I had many gene (green) and alien (yellow) windfall military worlds, which means I kept trading and gaining lots of cards.

Guess what... Michelle beat me. She had 55pts. He start world was Doomed World, which she had discarded but I put it here half hidden. She had 5 of the 6 objectives!

29 Aug 2009. Through the Ages. Michelle and I had just completed Age III of a 2-player game. She was only 4 points ahead of me before resolving the last four events.

I was exactly 10 points ahead of her (in a ~250pt game) after the 4 events were resolved. 3 were in my favour. This was a close game. I had been trailing her the whole game.

My leaders, wonders, colonies and special techs. I find that I quite like the Hanging Gardens, which allow me to forgo an early temple or two. In this game, I think the key for my win was the two Age III wonders that I managed to build. Michelle didn't have any Age III wonders.

My civilisation. I had focused on my stone production and science throughout most of the game.

Michelle's wonders, special techs, leaders and colonies. I just realised she had so many extra blue and yellow tokens. James Cook is upside down because he had "early retirement" due to the Iconoclasm event that I had planted into the event deck. Good thing that I drew the Iconoclasm card, else Cook would have spent many more turns generating 8 points for Michelle.

Michelle's civilisation. I just realised that we both like labs and theatres.

Lord of the Rings with Battlefields expansion. Han and I managed to win this once, and that was the only time I managed to beat this game (this is a cooperative game where the players play against the game system). Michelle and I have tried many times, but never even got close to winning. This time we tried each controlling 2 hobbits, but we failed yet again. I don't know what we did wrong. Yet I don't want to read strategy articles on BoardGameGeek. I want to figure this out ourselves. It's starting to get rather frustrating though.

We tried twice over that weekend, both times with 4 hobbits. The first time we lost when at Shelob's Lair, i.e. we didn't even reach the last scenario board. On the second attempt we did reach Mordor, but we were nowhere close to destroying the Ring. We played at easy difficulty, i.e. Sauron starts at 15. Are other people finding Battlefields hard? Harder than Friends and Foes? How does the difficulty vary with different numbers of players?

30 Aug 2009. Elasund, a cousin of The Settlers of Catan, based on a novel which was in turn based on the original award-winning Settlers of Catan. I like Elasund. It has many similarities to Settlers of Catan, and yet is so different. The complexity is about the same, maybe slightly more, because of how permits work. I hadn't played for quite some time and was rusty. Despite the rules lookups, I enjoyed revisiting this game.

Race for the Galaxy with Gathering Storm expansion. I took this photo because this was the first time SETI (the 6-cost dev) gave me this many points - 12pts. But I'm sure there are others who have scored even more. I did have pretty lucky card draws in this game. I did not actually build the Alien Tech Institute (horizontally placed on top). I held the card in my hand at game end. I didn't have enough cards or turns to build it. It would have scored me 8pts.

On 31 Aug 2009, Michelle and I played the 2-player variant of Automobile again, and I learned something new from my loss. I realised that sometimes it's good to make losses in business, as long as you make sure your opponent loses more. In this game, Michelle produced cars very recklessly. Since she produced before I did, by the time it was my turn to produce, I was conservative and did not dare to produce many, because I doubted there was enough demand for that many cars.

In Round 3 of the game, both of us managed to sell most of our cars anyway. Michelle only failed to sell one car. In fact, there was still a little unfulfilled demand for some of the price ranges. In Round 4, Michelle failed to sell six cars. Throughout the whole game, I sold all cars that I produced. Yet I still lost the game by about $400, even though Michelle wasted a lot of money due to unsold cars. So I learned about destructive production. Don't let your opponent have an easy time selling cars. Take some risk of not selling cars, as long as you can get your opponent to fail to sell even more cars. It's a cutthroat business world.

3 comments:

Notso said...

I played Race For The Galaxy for the first time this past Saturday. We had all the expansions in play.

I thought it was interesting. We played two rounds, and I learned a lot. However, I noticed this is not a light game. I think it would take me a few more play-throughs to get the hang of it. I didn't mind the learning curve too much. I did find the military strategy to be easier as a beginner. This was because I could just focus on the victory points on the cards themselves. The second round, I tried producing and consuming, and I found it hard because
1) I had to keep track of my turn succession better because I needed to produce one turn and then consume later to get my victory points (instead of just playing down cards with big victory point values like I did with the military)
2) I had to consider both victory point chips that I need to collect as well as the victory points on the cards themselves.

I am not sure I like the fact that there are chips and cards that rack up victory points. My initial impression is that it would be better if it were one or the other. It got a little confusing trying to keep track of what would be better for me: collection more chips with Card A or getting more on-card victory points with Card B.

Obviously, I need to play it more, but at least the good sign is that I would play it some more; I liked it enough that I want to try it again and figure out if I can better understand that strategy.

So, so far, I would say it is a good game.

Not sure I could introduce it to my in-laws that sometimes play boardgames with me, though. It might be too much, and too many emblems, and etc. for them.

Notso said...

I should say we played to games, not two rounds btw.

Hiew Chok Sien said...

Welcome to the world of Race for the Galaxy. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do. This is my most played game at 300+ plays.

It's a bit ambitious to start off with all expansions. :-) I think the designer recommends at most adding just the 1st expansion.

There are many strategies. The military strategy is simple to grasp. Setting up a Double Consume engine is another strategy. There is a trading strategy. There are strategies surrounding the 4 types of goods. There's a development strategy. You need to watch your opponents. Sometimes speed itself is a strategy, if your opponents are slowly building up a powerful Consume engine. Quite often I find I use a mix of strategies. It depends on what you draw. If you play with the objective tiles that come with the expansions, sometimes the objective tiles themselves can be a strategy too.

I don't think this is a game for non-gamers. The iconography will probably scare them off. I myself think the iconography is great. I'm not sure why so many people complain about it.