Wednesday, 23 December 2009

gaming in photos

12 Dec 2009. Through the Ages. This was a game that Michelle should have won. She has had a very long losing streak in Through the Ages, and yet she still likes to play. We both thought she was finally going to win a game. I was happy for her. Then when the final four events were revealed, the strongest military event played by her gave me 10pts. She had miscalculated and had forgotten to boost up her military. She was the last to take a turn and could have done it. I remember I was only 1 strength ahead of her, and knowing that she could have easily boosted her strength on the last turn of the game, I gave up trying to be the strongest military, even though I had guessed she probably had played that event card. The score was 314 vs 308.

This was my civilisation. As usual, we didn't spend much effort on military. That air force card was only there for scoring for science related wonders / events. In this game I fell behind in science for most of the mid game and struggled quite badly. Notice I have few Age III technology cards.

I did have the Michael combo (Michaelangelo + Hanging Gardens + St Peter's Basilica), which gave me good points in mid game, but towards the end game Michelle caught up easily with her better overall science and infrastructure. I rarely build the Transcontinental Railroad wonder, but now I find it quite useful. It definitely helps a lot when your stone production is not ideal. The 5-strength is significant too, because my games with Michelle are always low military games.

Michelle's civilisation. She likes Aristotle a lot. Look at the many Age III tech cards she had. She had strong science is this game. In the past she often lost out because she didn't build any Age III wonder. She is correcting this now.

The other part of Michelle's civilisation.

12 Dec 2009. Wasabi. I still enjoy this game once in a while, despite the luck. I guess playing it as a 2-player game reduces the luck factor a little. On the following day we went for Japanese food.

Near the end of the game, when the board was about to fill up. I had completed my 5-ingredient recipe, which contained the squid (at the centre of the board). Completing your 5-ingredient recipe is always quite tense. It's tough to do. You need to try to hide your intention, and also hope that your opponents don't accidentally spoil your plan.

12 Dec 2009. Race for the Galaxy (with both expansions). This was Michelle's winning tableau. What a beautifully executed novelty goods (blue) strategy. She had Free Trade Association early, and had planned for this strategy early. Having Improved Logistics (settle twice) and Smuggling World (-1 discount to settle novelty goods worlds) allowed her to settle two such 1-cost worlds in the last round. She really had the stars aligned. She scored 51pts.

13 Dec 2009. Through the Ages again. My civilisation. I happened to have some theatres and libraries, so I took Shakespeare as my leader when he appeared. It wasn't much, just 6pts per turn, but it was worthwhile. Unfortunately, Michelle had planted the Iconoclasm event, and when it came out, Shakespeare had, ahem, an early termination of his employment contract. Using Iconoclasm to kill my leaders is one of the most satisfying things for Michelle. She has been doing it quite frequently. I think this is almost as good as winning the game to her. She gets a big kick out of it.

I had many colonies, because I played the Cartography card early, which gave me a bonus in colonisation. Michelle was unlucky with her card draws. She prefers peaceful games, but she kept drawing aggression and tactics cards, which she seldom uses. I always had just enough to beat her in conquering a new territory. These colonies helped me a lot. I gained so many extra blue and yellow tokens. Yellow tokens were especially useful because they help reduce both pressure for food production and pressure for maintaining happiness.

In this game I was able to build two Age III wonders!

Michelle's civilisation. She had good science from her labs, and when combined with Game Designer, they gave her good culture production. Her food and stone production were better than mine. I struggled with those most of the game, until late in the game. If it weren't for my colonies, I probably would have done much worse.

Michelle had Aristotle again. The Ocean Liner Service is one of her favourite wonders.

Game board at end of game. I managed to make sure I was ahead in all 3 aspects (I was white) - military strength, culture production and science production - so that if related events came up I would do fine. None of the events that eventually came up were related though.

13 Dec 2009. It has been a while since I last played Age of Empires III. I still quite like it, although I think I have never played it with 4 or more, which I think it would be best at. This was a 2-player game, and I still enjoyed it.

My buildings point to a very obvious strategy. From the start I had decided to send as many people as I could to the New World, to gain lots of points from area majority. Three of these four buildings help me towards this goal.

We tended to like to collect trade goods. In this round all spaces were occupied.

Michelle had very many people to place every round - 8 as opposed to the regular 5. In this particular round she had 9 because she had used a worker to obtain an extra merchant the previous round.

My two (green) missionaries pleading to the soldier to be nice. In the end Michelle never started any war.

14 Dec 2009. This was one very tough game of Pandemic with the Virulent Strain variant from the On the Brink expansion. This was the end of the game when we had managed to cure all 4 diseases. Many cities were on the verge of outbreaks, many would have caused chain reactions. We were also running out of cards (i.e. running out of time).

This was why the game was so tough. The first Epidemic forced us to draw many more infection cards than normal. Every turn that we drew at least one blue infection card, which was the virulent strain in this game, we had to draw an extra infection card. The 3rd Epidemic was bad too. Cleared cities were infected immediately with two cubes instead of one. We had cured the blue disease early, and had intended to eradicate it once and for all. But soon we realised it was going to be hopeless. Thankfully we managed to cure the other 3 diseases in time before time ran out. Making good use of our character powers (Epidemiologist and Troubleshooter) helped a lot.


Wan Kong Yew said...

My wife and I really enjoyed Through the Ages when Han played it with us and we kept talking about playing it again but never got around to it. I think I'd want to buy this game eventually, one of rare few out of so many I've played at CarcaSean that I'd like to own.

Hiew Chok Sien said...

It's probably pretty obvious my wife and I like Through the Ages a lot too. I think I have too many photos of it at my blog. Our default games to go to are TtA for long games, Agricola for medium length ones, and Race for the Galaxy for short games.

One annoying thing about TtA is how FRED keep making mistakes. I'm not sure about the latest printing, but it seems when old mistakes are fixed, new ones appear. I have requested for the fix pack and they tell me they have sent it but I never received it. Thankfully none of the mistakes in my version (1st FRED edition) were showstoppers. I have given up trying to get the fix pack now.

Jonathan Wheeler said...

yea my kids and I like to watch scenes from Outbreak then play Pandemic. Is that weird? Wait, don't answer that.