Thursday, October 26, 2006

Game Night at the Condo

Inkognito: This was the first play of this game for all of us. After 15 minutes of assembly (there's 16 figures each with two halves, a base, a hat, and a mask) and 10 minutes of rules explanation, we started our tenuous task. The goal of this game is to deduce who of the other three players is your partner, secretly exchange your respective halves of your secret mission, and complete it before the other team does the same.

On top of the deduction part of the game is a spatial aspect. In order to question each other, players must navigate the roads and canals of Venice. Each player has control of four like-colored pawns (tall, short, skinny, fat), but only one of them is actually the player. Once your mission is known, it must be completed using the proper pawn(s) of the players described by the mission. For example, if you (Agent X) are the tall pawn and the mission is "move agent X to space 2", then you must move your tall pawn to space 2.

After 6-8 rounds, I was only able to make one deduction: Mike was either Col. Bubble (skinny) or Lord Fiddlebottom (fat). Either way, since I was Mme. Zsa Zsa, Mike was not my partner. At this point I was wondering how many queries would be necessary to make a complete deduction of the roles. Two rounds later, Mike and Sheri were acting strange, but they also didn't seem to be helping each other out as much I thought they might if they were known partners.

In my next query, I was able to deduce that Bean was Agent X, my partner. But I didn't know her appearance yet. Since I had a second query this turn, I asked her. She handed me her mission card! So she had figured things out in the same turn. A furtive glance at my mission card yielded our mission: Land any piece on the Ambassador. Piece of cake.

Mike's turn next. He shook the eerie Harbinger. Black black red! He grabbed the Ambassador. Plonk! Plonk! He and Sheri laid their hands on the table in triumph. It turns out Sheri's first query of Mike was for identity. Mike's reply matched Sheri's identity and her appearance, so she knew the only other card--his identity--was the true one. It turns out, Mike was also her partner. What a stroke of luck! On Mike's next query of her, she handed him her mission. From round 2 onward, all they were doing was trying to complete their mission: move the ambassador to location 8. Bean and I had been moving the Ambassador so much, we were confounding their plans. In the end to was one turn to little.

We all really enjoyed the game.

The End of the Triumvirate: I had only played this once before. I needed to do a lot of rules consulting in order to teach it. I got a few minor things wrong, but we corrected things as we played.

Mike (Caesar) won the first election. Everything else was about even. Sheri (Crassus) won the second election. At this point I (Pompeius) started to get worried. I was slightly behind on the competence track. Mike had all 8 of his cubes in the bag.

As we neared the middle of the third year, my opponents realized that I could win (competence) on my next move. I hadn't seen this at all, but since it was a learning game, we were being nice and pointing out all sorts of tactical options. Mike's only option was to attack my source of income to prevent my using 3 actions, which he did easily.

On my turn, we noticed that Sheri could win (Forum: 1 Election + 6 citizens) on her turn. Now it was my turn to thwart her. As I was planning how I was going to grab enough legions to be able to attack Crassus directly (resulting in loss of competence), Sheri noticed that I could attack Mike, take his gold, and still pay for enough actions for a competence win.

All I needed to do was take 2 legions from Rome... Wait a minute! There's only one legion cube left! In this game, the resources are limited to those in the box. So I settled for taking a chance rather than a sure thing. I took a gold, placed a legion on Sicily, and brought 8 legions to Egypt. Caesar had himself and 4 legions.

At this point in the game, the battle bag contained 8 red, 3 blue, and 1 black cube. I reached into the bag for 3 cubes. If I draw red-red-red or red-red-black, then I lose the battle and Sheri wins the game. I drew blue-blue-black! I placed my 2 remaining legions on Egypt, replace the governor, grab Caesar's gold, move back to Macedonia, and pay 6 gold to increase my competences to VII on both military and political tracks. Victory!

Another hit.

Inkognito image by juan-agustin
End of the Triumvirates image by Stas


At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent summary! Thanks for the games Jim!

- Mike


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