Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Tuesday 3rd August - Maharaja

As Natalie and Neil couldn’t make it this week we suspended the rota and played the two new games that Steve brought along. First up was Maharaja, I think all of us were eagerly anticipating playing this one. First time anyone had played and the participants were: Steve, Garry, Richard and Colin.
After reading through the rules which took nearly half an hour we was ready for the off. Richard was the starting player and after choosing our starting jobs and placing our first four houses we started picking our two actions on the action disk. A quick word about the jobs, I diligently wrote down what each player chose at the start but as the jobs changed hands nearly every turn I don’t think that made much difference. Here they are for reference anyway. Steve 2 Richard 4 Garry 5 Colin 6. Here is a quick description of what the jobs do. 1. Mogul: moves first and breaks ties, 2. Trader: player gets 1 gold. 3. Sadhu: Outer palaces are worth 2 instead of 1. 4. Wandering Monk: Travel costs are paid by the bank for the player. 5. Builder: Builds or moves an additional house for free. 6. Artisan: Pays only 9 for palaces. Not knowing what initial strategy to pursue I made a crucial blunder by not getting in the first city to be scored which left me low on cash for the early part of the game. As each player takes their two actions in the order of the lowest number on the action card first, by the time you get your two actions the whole board position could have changed quite a lot. Also trying to plan which cities are likely to be scored next is a bit of a lottery as the position of the governor on the track can change rapidly.
Garry got the Sadhu (outer palaces worth 2) early and got a lot of cash from it. This is a powerful job and with it only being number 3 doubly so. Game lasted about 1 hour 40 minutes and seemed to go quite quickly. There is a lot to think about in this game and the strategies will take a couple of plays to emerge fully I think.

Final Scores
Steve 5 palaces + 9 gold, *Richard 5 palaces + 5 gold, Garry 7 palaces, Colin 4 palaces (*starting player)

Game Rating (0-10)
Colin 7.5

Richard had to head off after Maharaja so we decided to squeeze in a quick game of Fish Eats Fish, another Renier Knizia confection.
Each player has a set of plastic fish which move about a board with a grid pattern on it. When two fish are next to each other a fight ensues. Players each have an identical set of cards and plays one card to enhance the fishes score in the battle. There are also octupii?, which nullify the fight, and a shark which is an automatic win. Unless the other player plays the shark too of course. Anyway a nice filler for 25-30 minutes. Garry run away with this one too. His hungry fish gobbling up all the others on the board.

Final Scores
Steve 0, *Garry 14, Colin 9 (*starting player)

Game Rating (0-10)
Colin 6

Another double win for Garry, he puts it down to the two pots of coffee he has before playing!!


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