Yesterday we played the first game of the much-expected Antiquity. Teaching the rules was fairly straightforward, but I didn’t stress quite enough that Cart Shops were needed to build inns and cities, too, because I think everybody but me fumbled with that at some point.
The game progressed slowly. It took four hours, before Robert and Olli H. finally managed to reach their winning conditions (San Christofori) at the same turn, so it went down to tie-breaker, which is the amount of unpolluted land in their zones of control. Olli H. hadn’t built inns, which was what Robert had been doing a lot lately, so Robert won with a huge margin.
Meanwhile, Olli M. was struggling somewhat. He had run out of wood at one point, but was still doing ok. I was building cities for the dead, it seems: I counted my graves in the end and reached 69 graves in my three cities. But hey, what can you do — the famine level was up in 18 or so, I had maximum storage capacity of four, little space to farm in and thus I collected about 10 graves each turn (and then couple from pollution, too!) — a hospital doesn’t do much at that point, believe me.
My situation was totally hopeless and it sure left us wondering. Of course the San Christofori guys can survive the famine. They have loads of food in their cathedrals. Robert did the math at one point, trying to decide whether to take San Christofori or San Nicolo. He counted that he needed approximately the same amount of resources to achieve either, but with S. Christofori he could keep the resources to feed his people with, while with S. Nicolo he would have to spend them.
Perhaps we were just very slow. We did hit the top of the famine level and had a famine level of 19, before we started building some fountains. Maybe we should’ve built many more fountains a lot earlier? The rules say nothing about what happens when the famine level reaches 18 which is where the indicator track ends. Perhaps it’s not supposed to get that high, because when the famine level is that high, you can do nothing but fight to get food in a very anxious and highly-polluted environment, unless you have a cathedral full of food.
Anyway, I enjoyed the process even though the result wasn’t much to my liking. Maybe next time it’ll go better for me. I sure know now expansion is vital, building inns so you have a wider sphere of influence and more resources to use. It’s better to go far and keep lands close to you (and only you) unused.
I also got to try Shadows over Camelot. It’s a gorgeous game! The co-operative mechanism is more interesting than in Knizia’s Lord of the Rings, I think. Each player must do something evil (draw a bad card, typically) and something heroic (further a Quest) every turn. One of the players may be a traitor, who plots for the Camelot’s downfall.
It’s all quite fun, even though the game seemed awfully hard. Each turn something bad happens, but the heroic action may be wasted for drawing cards or moving from place to place… I think it’ll take some practise to actually win the game. I don’t know what happened in our game. My valiant Sir Percival fought for the Holy Grail, but died (I had to leave early) while on the Quest. I was no traitor and before I died, I managed to get rid of my resources pretty well for the Camelot’s good. I hope we prevailed.
I’d certainly like to play the game again. Maybe the rules would be less fuzzy, too, because we had some issues with them… I think that might be poor preparations from our rules teachers, but the rulebooks seemed a bit confusing.