Tuesday, 16 October 2007

III Ages of Empires needed to write this review

Andy seems to have the knack of writing these reports. I however enjoyed posting when I was not at work but find it virtual impossible to get the time needed to update this Blog regularly. Never fear – due to the almost permanent holidays us teachers get I will posting more rapidly very soon.

Age of Empires III was christened on the first Tuesday this month and was new to all players. A six player marathon ensued and the game just finished in time for debate and exit. Published by tropical (the new Eagle games) it is a big box with loads of plastic pieces however no huge board just a regular big board which was nice and playable. Jimmy did the rules and it seemed like there were various routes to success. Most players developed a personal strategy through the game and there was plenty of conflict to keep the game interactive. Each player had a turn store of workers/settlers who they placed on the board in a designated area of there choice, one at a time. Each area gave a privilege sometimes to the first worker, sometimes to every worker and sometimes to the player with the most. These privileges varied from moving that worker to a colony overseas, being able to buy a power up, changing your turn order, receiving trade goods, starting a single battle, exploring to form a colony, wining a boat (helpful for set collection, money and possibly victory points) and gaining specialised workers.

There was a good euro game vibe from the selection process and initially various ideas and routes offered themselves for testing. A few snags developed along the way with the somewhat risky exploring function that crucified Jimmy at one stage and some of the conflicts could be so bloody as to set back any player involved a long time. Rewards were sometimes gained cheap and other times at great expense and folding early saved some players from absurd loses. Much debate was had over possible fixes to the explore problem but Sim very wisely encouraged us to play the game through before tweaking it. The game was scored in three stages each stage slightly shorter than the last and because of territory wrangling and victory points being on offer in various ways it was tough to truly predict the result till the very end.

Harry had strong goods and supplies with a stock of ships, Sim had a heavy colony presence and a huge fleet along with cash on the hip, Matt had been battered but had even handed resources. Stephen had a very strong militia in the colonies and the power to heavily influence regions, Jimmy had virtual no income and had a euro strong colony expedition and Luke had slightly fewer resources than Harry but had a stronger colony position though he lacked ships.

There were many factors throughout the game that shaped the outcome and it would be very difficult to pinpoint one as a turning point. However the decisions made in the final two or so rounds were noticeably going to effect final victory point status so these decisions were paramount. The final standings saw Stephen capture third Jimmy second and Luke win. I naturally loved the game and have started on the tweaks for our next session.

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