1st May - Mundus Novus, Botswana, Cronberg

I couldn't make it this evening so Matt has sent his normal high quality record of events:

Three players this evening. Lance got to Steve's early in order to decide what to play and set up. Instead Lance and Steve discussed the merits of a number of games and decided on nothing. Steve has suggested I bring Mundus Novus and Lance seemed happy to give it go.

I explained the rules whilst Steve got the coffee on. I took the precaution of explaining the trade matrix twice and we got through the rules with no real problems, Lance asked a couple of questions about the trade matrix, then Steve ran through the trade matrix again, and we were good to play. Lance had a flying start and despite stumbling through the trade matrix (he had in under control by turn 5) soon had a good number of development cards in front of him. I, on the other hand, couldn't find three matching cards until about turn 4 by which time Lance and Steve both had impressive fleets of ships. I tried to stuff them over by perpetually burning their warehouses to the ground and setting pirates on Steve, but Lance romped it.

Lance 82
Matt 43
Steve 37

Botswana was next up, another of mine. Lance looked rather perplexed by the plastic animals and the opening rules summary. I mentioned mid-way through it was a Knizia design and the penny dropped: this might look like a fluffy game but it's in fact a fiendish stealth-gateway mind-screw game with plastic animals. I plotted an initial pro-zebra plan but I was unaware that Steve had concocted a lion-based strategy that I think it essentially broken. Steve took lions, crashed the rhino market and cackled mercilessly whilst his stock in large carnivores continued to increase. Lance started off not wanting to play any of his cards, a situation that led to a catastrophic collapse in elephant futures around turn 7.

Steve's 19 point lion lead into round 2 was looking unassailable but I was resolved to peg him back. Unfortunately a planned united front against him between myself and Lance broke down when Lance let him have a second lion. victory in that round, in which elephants were roundly ignored and treated with suspicion, followed shortly afterwards.

The final round saw me taking an early lion and grabbing two more. Steve hedged his bets whilst Lance's high-risk 'all-elephant-all-the-time' gambit saw him pull back some points. Final scores:

Steve: 82
Lance: 71
Matt: 67

Lions are simply ridiculous in this game. I'm going to switch them out for kangeroos the next time we play for reasons of balance.

Thread about this on the geek

Then Steve brought out Cronberg. Cronberg is a very 'Steve' game. Players place either a rhombus with positive or negative scores on it, or a wooden dobber at the intersection of rhombus spaces, which scores a number of points equal to the points on the corners of the rhomboids at that intersection. Which sounds fine, if it were not for the fact that the game was made by by deranged eastern Europeans who revel in futility and depression. Half of the rhomboids have negative values and some of the spaces, if left uncovered, double the positive or negative score of the remaining points of the intersection.

The score track goes backwards to -15.

Knowing that you have a guy trapped that will score -18 you at the end of the game is a dispiriting experience. A one stage, with whole swathes of the board rendered barren wastelands of negative scoring, the best use of a positive tile was deemed to be block out potentially playable spaces. Playing a dobber to score +1 was seen as a generally good move.

Steve: 30
Matt: 17
Lance: 14

1 comment:

mattgreen said...

Please feel free to join in the fun on the Botswana board: