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With two people new to the game, we decided to use the set of cards initially suggested in the rules.
Myself and Andy were talking about the game on the way over, and were pretty sure that Tel would leap on the "play a card to play a card to play a card" combos. He has a bit of a reputation for this in Magic. To our utter lack of surprise, this is exactly what happened. I'd tried that in our first game and did alright but was a bit behind the pace. So this time I tried to minimise action cards and concentrate on building up high value cash cards instead. I'm not entirely sure what Andy and Steve were doing, but they did seem to be using mines to get cash and militia to mess with everybodys hands. Perhaps they will add a comment and enlighten us all.
Whatever we were all doing, it turned out to be a tight game with victory going to the person who grabbed the last six point province. This turned out to be Andy, and propelled him from last place to victory. That province had been sitting on the table taunting us for a couple of rounds as we all failed to come up with the necessary eight cash to claim it. It's good that the game was so tight, but it's a shame that it ultimately came down to whoever got lucky - or stopped being unlucky - with their cards.
After three games my opinion seems to be firming up as good game, but not as good as the hype would have you think. For me, four players is at least one too many. With the limited amount if interaction between players, and not much to think about between turns, I think the fewer players the better. I can see it being excellent with just two players, just like the original deck building which I mentioned earlier.
Comment by Andy
Actually I think that we were all going for money, but myself/Steve did use the military strategy to hold people up. I also realised late in the game that one of the cheaper cards was in fact very powerful in the end game and so was the first to pick that up. This suggests to me that there are some unexplored strategies out there and to date we have only played two of the suggested set-ups.
I doubt if the number of players it makes too much difference, but an interesting two player variant would be to allow the two players to select the starting position (each choosing alternately).
Comment by Tel
My initial impressions of this one is "what is all the hype about". I thought the game was ok, but nothing too special. I understand that there are lots of different cards to give variety, but towards the end of the game I thought the whole process was starting to get a tad tedious. The last 2 or 3 rounds were all about who would be "lucky" enough to draw 8 cash to buy a province card. I do understand that the early rounds of the game are all about building the right sort of deck to make this more likely, but at the end of the game my overriding thought was one of "was that it". Another case of the game not matching hopes/expectations caused by the hype. That said I'll be more then happy to give it more table time after all I did rate a solid 7, just not the 9 I was hoping for, and it is possible that I need a few more plays for the subtleties to break through my thick skull.