Zachary is a newcomer. His experience included HeroClix, Blood Bowl, and other American type games, as well as come Settlers. I think I didn't give him a great impression, as I whined a little more than I typically do over both games he played, even though I wasn't doing badly in either. Hopefully this won't dissuade him from returning.
DominionJon 33, Nadine 28, Gili 22, Zachary 22
Kingdoms: Chapel, Moat, Village, Bureaucrat, Feast, Moneylender, Smithy, Council Room, Laboratory, Envoy.
First play for Zachary. I used the chapel to destroy every copper and estate in my hand, carefully replacing them with silvers and a gold, and a village, laboratory, and finally a smithy. I thought I was doing well, and I was.
However, Nadine, who simply bought silvers and golds and an initial bureaucrat, still managed to draw two provinces before I could get my first, and then a third after I got my second. And with two other players also drawing provinces, the game looked like it would end before I caught up to her.
I miscounted and thought that she was one point ahead of me when the game ended. Actually, she only ended with 3 provinces, 2 duchys, and 4 estates. I had 5 provinces and a duchy.
Princes of FlorenceZachary 56, Jon 53+, David 53, Nadine 53, Gili 46
First play for Zachary. The rest of us hadn't played in a long time, which is why I suggested it. Five is a tough game. I make the following changes for five players: people pick only 1 out of 2 when buying a profession, and the last profession cannot be bought, but can be recruited.
Nadine's theory is to buy nothing at an auction for more than 200. Which would not be so bad, except that she somehow picked up two prestige cards and a recruiter for that price. I bought an early forest and then paid higher prices for my goods: 1100 for my first jester, 700 and 500 for recruiters, I got another jester later for cheap.
Gili bought two early builders; she also had a prestige card for the least spaces on her board, but Zachary also had two builders and out-built her.
MuDavid 209, Nadine, Jon, Gili
We played four hands of this, and David just missed beating all of our scores combined. Again, I suggested we play this because Nadine didn't really want to play Race for the Galaxy and Gili didn't really want to play Tichu.
Although I first reviewed the game as highly uncontrolled and random, and although I still feel that way about the play to some extent, I now think that there's a lot of room for exploring strategies in bidding and play. Each player concerned about his own score, and not just the partnership's, adds some intrigue. However, not having a dummy removes most, but not all, of the play strategy; still, there's some possibility for the occasional finesse or end-play.
I think I need to play this a dozen more times to get a better handle on it.