February 25th, 2016: Let’s Start a War

Crew Members: Martin, Zevvy, David

Martin had us over to play Nations. I though that since Martin and I knew how to play already, and David would pick it up quickly, it wouldn’t take too long. We were there for over six hours…and it was awesome. We also added some expansion content.

Nations

Zevvy – Korea: 41, David – America: 39, Martin – Mali, 32

There were very few military options in the first age, so I led in military and wars while Martin and David competed in books and we all began developing our empires. Martin appointed Sun Tzu as his leader, giving him two turns in a row each round. I built Solomon’s Temple which gave me a point at the end of every age as long as I don’t lose a war, which I managed to make use of throughout the whole game. David had a lot of stability which protected him from the wars and some bad events.

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The dynasty cards made a huge difference, allowing me to put resources into storage and recover from bad events. I built a synagogue because I felt I had to, but I never used it…and almost built over it with a mosque. For a while I was the only one with colonies, but David got some in the third age and Martin picked up some powerful colonies near the end of the game. The last few rounds saw a huge arms race, with Martin building enough submarines to max out his military. David’s Democratic Republic caused havoc with our dynasties and got him a lot of books. In the last round I managed to build the Statue of Liberty and pick up Florence Nightingale, who protected me from losing several points by not being able to feed any of my workers.

The final tally was very close, and any number of small changes would have allowed America to come out on top. Until next time, all hail the Korean Warlord!

We did take a break for an hour in the middle, but it’s still a long game, even if you know what you’re doing. Lot’s of fun though.

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December 15th, 2015: When Nations Collide

Crew Members: Zevvy, Martin, Roman

After a few weeks hiatus, the crew is back in action. Though we did meet to play some ‘vidja games’, nothing beats old cardboard and plastic. Martin was finally able to make it, bringing Swedish cookies, a Swedish game, and his good old Swedish self.

Nations

Zevvy – Egypt: 47, Martin – Greece: 44, Roman – China: 37

Martin taught us the game, which is mostly a worker placement game but with some interesting twists. Every round there are events which are easy to forget, but which have quite potent effects. As the game progresses, the cards get more powerful, but the upkeep costs go up. Despite this, one need not worry about getting left behind, as there are many areas in which to specialize and the focus of your empire can be changed quite quickly.

As Egypt, I had no military to start, but quickly picked up an elephant. Combined with my pyramids, my early upkeep costs were quite high, and I was short on resources. Roman quickly pulled ahead in books, and Martin began developing wonders and better resource production. I wasted some gold and turns on advisors which I either lost or which gave me no benefit. I did build the Sphinx early, which ended up being very helpful as I built more wonders later in the game.

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Roman stayed ahead in books, and I mostly ignored them. With more players, having the most books can be worth many more points. In general, I had the most military and went first often, which occasionally was very helpful. This allowed me to get some powerful colonies, combined with the Big Ben wonder, netting a lot of points in the end. Martin built many wonders as well, and ended up hoarding a ton of resources. Roman was hit by a few nasty events, limiting his ability to upgrade his production somewhat.

Though I started with low books and stability, in the end I had very high levels of both. After final production I had 45 books, but actually had the least military, even at 24. I also managed to overtax my population thanks to Suleiman the Magnificent, which gave me the most population for the Statue of Liberty wonder.

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After the final tally, it was very close. In fact, the difference was 3 points, which is how much I got from my starting Pyramid wonder. Unfortunately for Roman, the Chinese would have to wait several centuries before their empire would ascend over their rivals…

This one game took us 4 hours to learn and play to the end. Martin described it as a ‘medium complexity’ worker placement game, and I agree. I think we’ll need to plan an all-day games day if we hope to play one of his ‘high complexity’ games.