Sunday, 27 March 2011

boardgaming in photos

26 Feb 2011. Metropolys. It was good to bring it out again after such a long time. I've always found Metropolys to be quite unique and interesting. I taught Allen and Afif to play.

Metropolys has bidding and also a spatial element. You want to construct your buildings at certain locations to score points. Some locations give points, some give penalties. Each player has some secret objectives. You also get points for having the tallest buildings in each of the regions.

How the bidding works, and how to strategise around it, can be a little difficult to grasp at first, but once you see it in action, it'll be much easier to understand.

19 Mar 2011. Han, Allen and I played Sid Meier's Civilization again. This time Han was the Russians, Allen the Romans, and I was the Chinese. Han had a poor starting location. His armies could not explore because of the surrounding seas. He needed two rounds to get enough Trade to research the tech (Navigation?) that allowed his armies to cross water. And only in the 3rd round he could move out.

I decided to try going for a cultural victory. I got myself libraries early, and then upgraded them to universities. This was my capital. The Chinese capital starts with walls. I just realised that I didn't build any wonders throughout this game. Wonders would have been very helpful towards a cultural victory. I got myself some nice great people, which were bonuses awarded by the culture track progress. They gave me Trade which was important to keep my science progressing, and also Culture itself.

Han (yellow, Russians) and Allen (blue, Romans) were racing to conquer this hostile little village.

By now I (Mao Tze Dong) had progressed into the Level II part of the culture track. Allen (the handsome Julius Caesar) also had some cultural progress due to Rome's special ability - a free advance every time they build a city or wonder, or conquer a city or village. Han (the beautiful Catherine the Great) was a barbarian with no culture whatsoever.

In the early game I did well in science progress and in culture progress. I already had 6 universities by mid game. Naturally, doing well meant wearing a big red target. Both Han and Allen sent their armies over, even though I had declared myself to be a peaceful democracy (cannot attack cities). I negotiated with Allen a short truce. Two turns of truce was better than none. As Han's army approached, I used culture cards to kill them or push them back. I drew a reasonable number of defensive culture cards. However I couldn't stop Han from stealing my techs. That was the Russian's special ability. He could send an army into my city, sacrifice it, and learn a tech that I had. Notice that all 6 of my armies (flags) were off the board. I had launched a preemptive strike against Han. I had superior numbers and had the attacker advantage, but I couldn't beat his more advanced troops. It was a painful loss.

I was only 4 steps away from cultural victory. In the late game I gave up on science, and spent most of my Trade on advancing on the culture track. Quite often I devoted both or even all three of my cities to culture. I didn't want to progress in science further, because Han would be able to steal my techs, and that would help him to go for the science victory. He was very close to science victory. If he had not forgotten to use one of his tech abilities to gain Coins, he would have won a science victory. He didn't collect many Coins, which slowed him a little.

At this point in the game, I calculated to see whether I could advance four steps on the culture track within this round. I was just slightly short! If I had enough, I could win this round. Allen was planning a military victory by attacking my capital, but a cultural victory would end the game during the city actions phase, before the army movement phase. However, Allen's troops were not very well positioned. He needed this round to group his armies together, and then next round to strike at Beijing. That would be too late, because I would have achieved a cultural victory next round before he could attack. So this round he had to launch a different type of attack.

Two lone armies would attack my two smaller cities, not expecting to conquer them, just hoping to whittle down my units. Then two armies would attack Beijing. I didn't have many units, so this was worth a shot for him. Thankfully the Chinese special ability was they could take back one killed unit after every battle. So I didn't lose as many units as Allen had hoped, and since Beijing was walled (also a Chinese special bonus), the planned assault eventually failed. I won a cultural victory, very much helped by the blessings of my ancestors.

Han, Allen and I have now played 4 games of Sid Meier's Civilization. It has become our Game of the Month. This was unplanned. Our previous GOTM was Le Havre which we played 3 times. The next one was supposed to have been War of the Ring but we never got around to it. In these 4 games of Sid Meier's Civilization, coincidentally we have seen all 4 different victory conditions.


Cecrow said...

So that's what happened to War of the Ring; I was waiting for those. ;)

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Heh heh... sorry about War of the Ring. And I need to say sorry to Han to who has been keen to play it.

leajardinel said...

Board games have been popular in nearly every known civilization. Many civilizations were playing board games before they developed any form of written language.