This was to be our third game, as we met last Thursday at Roll for the Soul, and didn't blog it. Then, both Martin's West and my East collapsed at the end of the second decade - a circumstance which means East wins. I can't say that one felt like a worthy victory, as I was fairly bladdered by the end. But a win it was. 2-0 to me.
Tonight we were both better prepared; not only was I not drunk I'd even read the rules and the excellent design notes!
We began a cagey game of tit-for-tat, and ended the first decade in half an hour, with both sides having built up very little economy or living standards. As we played out the consequences, Martin started to get nervous: he'd unwisely built up living standards in a single province and ignored the West Berliners. This they found unconscionable, and soon all of West Germany was a cauldron of mass protest. Meaning I won again. 3-0 to the East.
|Final game state -|
you can't see the West Berlin uprising from this angle...
We'd barely played for half an hour, so we reset the map and went again. This time we played to the end of the third decade, and it was a very different game again. From the mid sixties on, West Germany flourished, whilst the East was a barren wasteland of under-developed economy, propped up by pomp and prestige with a fair amount of help from the Stasi. This combined with a good deal of Socialist doctrine kept the people quiet, if not exactly happy. In retrospect, had I not raised the living standards at all I might have been better off; as it was, the East collapsed into insolvency a the close of the third decade, with absolutely no economy and no Western Currency to bolster it.
The fact that I'd neglected to sign the Warsaw Pact or build the wall may not have helped - I've never built the wall, but this was the first game in which I didn't build any factories in Poland or Russia to help boost my economy, and I think that may have been an issue.
Needless to say Martin was delighted to finally win, and has suggested we switch sides soon; it's probably sensible, though I'm only gradually getting to grips with the Eastern strategy, I'm not at all sure I'm ready for that challenge. It's a very absorbing, very unique game though; great to get some repeat plays in - four in two weeks!
We then played a couple of games of Khmer. Martin won the first but I at least took a round off him. I won the second, after thinking very hard before each play. A very clever little game; so simple and elegant. And gorgeous to boot.
Now to find out what was happening chez Sam . . . JB