Saturday, November 24, 2007

Game Night...And Day

Friday night was an unexpected game night...and then some.

Thanks to Brian Leet, Mary Ann now loves La Citta. I have developed a new-found interest in it as well.

Our previous game made it painfully clear that citizens form the largest share of your victory points. Each in our own way, we both decided to go all out for population. I had built both of my extra castles by turn 3, Mary Ann by turn 4.

La Citta is one of those games where you can be a victim of your own success. Every turn you need to be able to feed your population or bad things happen. Having 4 cities means that you normally gain 4 citizens each turn. This is in addition to any placed with markets and any gained through migration.

If you are doing too well, you could conceivably gain 6-10 or even more citizens in a single turn. The most food you can hope to add by building a farm is 5, with 3 or 4 being much more common in later turns. What this means is that if you decide to build 4 castles, you have to start focusing on food in a big way. We both found ourselves building farms everywhere, taking Rich Harvest cards, and sadly hoping we'd lose citizens to the opponent's cities.

In the end, I was the only one who couldn't feed all my people (turns 5 and 6). This cost me 3 citizens on turn 5 (and a lost action) and 5 victory points on turn 6. Even with that, I won 35 to 28. Even though the German version is easily playable, I am considering buying the new English version and selling my German copy.

After La Citta, it was already 10:00pm, but Mary Ann suggested that I teach her Arkham Horror. She'd seen me playing it, and thought it looked fun. I concealed my excitement and told her we could stop at any time if she wasn't enjoying herself.

I could not imagine a game going worse. Our two characters--I forget who they were now--had little cash and no weapons. On the very first turn we got Terrible Experiment that put 5 extra monsters in play. Every turn we had to add a new monster. If the pile reached 8, the Terror Level would be set to 10. The worst part was that most of the monsters in the pile we had no chance of defeating.

So we tried to get some items that we could fight with. The gates started popping up all over, and more unkillable monsters moved to block the entrances and exits from critical locations. It was frustrating as an evil dimension. I kept trying to explain how this wasn't how it normally went in the hopes of salvaging any shred of interest she might have in playing.

Three hours later, 1:00am and around turn 12, my character died outright when we were only 2 Doom Tokens away from waking the Ancient One. I looked up in defeat and started to explain what happens in this situation. Mary Ann said, "Now I know how the game works. Let's start over." I replied, "...," and quickly started resetting the board before she figured out what time it was.

Our second game was the best game I've played to date. I was Jenny, and Mary Ann was Dexter. We both had some good items. The Mythos Phase draws were more "normal" and the monsters were nicely mixed.

At 3:15am, Dexter emerged from a gate, Elder Sign in hand, but with only 1 Sanity and 1 Stamina. He decided to seal the gate regardless, giving his life. We left the board overnight, and would setup a new investigator for Mary Ann in the morning. She drew Michael, another tough one.

The entire game, we only managed to find a single Elder Sign, but we still had 5 gates sealed before the Doom Track filled. I was in the Other World going for number 6, but I failed some check and was Lost in Time and Space.

Unfortunately, Yig Curses all characters when he awakens. We had failed to plan for this event by acquiring Blesses. We needed to make 20 cursed successes (rolling 6's) to defeat him. Jenny had 9 dice each time, and Michael had 10. Jenny could only fail Yig's Sneak Check 3 times before being devoured, and Michael only 2.

On the 4th round, Michael gave his last hit to Yig and went under. On the 5th round, with Yig still at 14 life, Jenny, using all 5 of her remaining Clue Tokens, failed to pass a Sneak -3 Check and fell as well.

This was the first game I've played where I felt I had some control over events and where I felt we might actually win if things went well. But, in the end, you really don't mind losing.

Missed rule: if a gate has +1 difficulty to close, you don't roll 1 less die, you need 1 extra success. So a -3 gate to R'lyeh does not become a -4 gate; it becomes a -3[2] gate.

La Citta image by dipdragon


At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In regards to your game of La Citta, I can't help but think that if one of you had "defected" and went for the good cards (taking Rich Harvest is a sign that you are doing badly) and focused on stealing citizens (destroying opposing buildings in the process), and creating fewer, but larger cities, that person would have handily won.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger ekted said...

Of course. We are both still learning the strategies and to correctly react to each other's actions. I'll be more reluctant to build my 4th castle next time unless I simply keep it at its non-market maximum of 5 citizens.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Brian said...

I agree with Dan 100%. I'm also tickled that I get credit for giving this classic some legs for you guys. It really is worth the time to dive into the strategies. I mostly look to extra cities to compensate for when I can't steal citizens, or to get access to a good source of food.


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