Terra Mystica, the board game that this somewhat unsavoury title lends itself to, was again brought to the fore under heavy influence from myself and the promise that it won't be long until it is returned to it's owner (Sam). There hadn't been a clamour for its return however we felt that we owned it another chance after all the time that had been invested it so far.
James selected the Auren race which strangely didn't have a special ability, although did have a powerful stronghold ability being able to move twice up any cult track per round. I chose the Swarmlings. These guys get a lot of starting resources and income but everything is that little more expensive. Their special ability (Which I have just realised I didn't take advantage of) was extra workers on a completion of a town. Paul stuck with Nomads and their extra starting settlement and terraforming stronghold as he did last game.
The way that the round tiles came out meant that it was going to be tough to score additional points although the round bonus tiles meant that money wouldn't be a problem this game. To try and get with the intended flavour of the game we all placed our initial settlements in close proximity to each other, but then spent the rest of the game spreading out in opposite directions. To us, the feature of the game where you gain power from your neighbour as they build or upgrade, seems a little tacked on. Early in the game it is difficult to get your power moving round so that you can use it so having this available helps. However to use the power you have to lose victory points, something which none of us where particularly happy to do. Unless there is some compelling reason to do so that, we are missing, the cost of this function seems too high.
Pretty quickly each player adapted into a strategy, with James climbing the cult track, Paul building an expanding empire and me scratching my head and realising all my swamps were surrounded with hard to terraform areas!
The game does not play quick. There are lots of angles to consider and it still does become a bit mathsy, if that is a word. I even remarked at one point that my favourite part of the game was where we collected our income at the start of each round. The final scoring actually came out closer than it was expected with Paul winning the big points for territory and James cleaning up with the cults.
James - 95
Chris - 91
Paul - 77
We finished at 10.30 so not enough time to squeeze in anything else. Paul stated that he enjoyed it more now that he had got to grips with the rules but we all felt that it's still a game we would all play again but probably not suggest. A bit like how Taj Mahal gets treated I suppose.