Wednesday, November 29, 2006

November 28th - Heart of Africa

This week Steve chose Heart of Africa, a game we played back in September. This Phalanx Game by Andreas Steding is about trading in Africa and trying to expand your holdings by kicking out neutral traders and the other players in the areas that produce the most VPs. Each commodity, gold, ivory, diamonds, ivory and the empty areas are given a random value at the start of the game and tiles depicting them are placed on the board at random. There is then an auction for a pair of tiles that have a number of action points on them and a special action. If you win the auction you can use either the action points or the special action, or save the tile for later. You can then use it for fighting another player or use the special action but lose the action points. The first player to 50 VPs wins the game, the rules say 42 but we decided 50 was a good number.

Final Board Position

Last time we played it I didn't do very well, Steve won with a score of 54and I came a distant fourth on 34. I hoped I would do better this time. Steve explained that the tiles with no special action and zero action points were pretty worthless (only useful for fighting), so we implemented a house rule that if one turned up for auction we rolled a 6 sided die to determine how many action points it was worth, this made the tile a lot more attractive and useful.
We all managed to win a couple of auctions and our scores were all around the 15-20 mark when Richard made a mega move and scored a load of points and he moved up to 44/46 points I think, just short of victory. I managed to make a similar move myself which put me one point behind Richard.

Garry was the only player to get his big dobber on the board

Then Steve won an auction and during his turn he attacked one of my territories that had a trading post in it, I retreated because I thought I could win the next auction and the resources I hoped I would get from Steve might help me to struggle over the line. In the event in the next auction Richard bid 20 and I only had 17 so I had to chip in with 4VPs to win it. One of the tiles allowed me to exchange a neutral trader with one of my own and I captured a gold province with that, and combined with my other provinces and the tile I won off of Steve which scored 2 VPs for every controlled province, I scored 16 points which put me on 58 and victory!

Final Scores
Colin 58, Richard 47, Steve 40, Garry 39


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Richard Minson said...

As Colin said I got scored a large number of points (putting me on 44) on my final point scoring opportunity. Though actually I had slightly miscalculated and thought I would have more points (probably 49) by playing another point scoring tile - but my inattention to the rules meant I couldn't do this (only one point scoring tile per round is allowed!)

Incidentally I scored most of my points from the Africa tile (all areas worth +1 point) and the 'empty' Africa areas (I had 5 of these on my last turn) - this interestingly meant I was in areas no one else was interested in!

If I had been closer to 50 points on my final point scoring round a combination of Steve and Colin over subsequent over bidding by using their victory point would have put me over the winning line - but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

As regards Out of Africa as a whole I think I find it a slightly dry game which probably wouldn't be my choice - but all in all an interesting games evening.


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