The Auren's Power: Throwing the Game on the Final Turn

A serious situation came to light on Saturday night: Neil owned Terra Mystica...unpunched.

Clearly, this could not be allowed to stand.

Steve took the reins and did his usual excellent job at explaining the rules. Probably too good in retrospect. Neil had the Halflings, I was next up and choose the Auren over the Witches because I hadn't played them before, Steve picked Mermaids over Swarmlings (he doesn't like being strapped for cash) whilst Paul went with The Chaos Magicians because the Giants are a nightmare to play well.

The Auren, then, do nothing. 

Steve: "Do they get cheaper building costs...?" 
Me: "It doesn't look like it."

We sketched out Neil's strategy with him, as he had drawn start player, which amounted to little more than: spades = good. He seemed to need no more guidance than that and his diminutive 
furry-footed heathens spent the game merrily digging up the Eastern land section and ignoring all religion

My game plan was to get my stronghold out on turn one, then keep taking the 4vps for the stronghold tile whilst climbing up the cult tracks quickly to get the bonuses (something that I have never really played for consciously as a game plan before). I was handed a gift from Steve at the end of the second turn that helped me massively in getting a Sanctuary built on turn three for 5vps and a further 8vps when I passed. 

Steve seemed to have trouble spending resources. I also stuffed him (not, I hasten to add just to stuff him...heaven was just too good an opportunity for me to miss) when he built a bridge to a forest hex, didn't build on it that turn, then didn't build on it in the following turn either. He passed, I built a bridge, and nabbed it. Thoughtfully, his bridge reduced the cost of my upgrade to a trading post. It was brutal and it cost him dearly. He fought back on the cult tracks but never really recovered his building plan.

Paul ploughed a lonely furrow on the northern continent. Expanded slowly and got a lot of oval gift tiles. And that's about it. A peaceful existence, if an expensive one. Having never played the Chaos Magicians I can't really offer any more comment. I would like to, though. I think that a game in which you 'go it alone' and ignore the power pots would be a different way to play.

So, it comes down to the last turn. Neil's romping along the vp track but knows he is going to pegged back by cult scoring. I am going last. I went last a lot as Steve (on my left) passed early most turns. I'm trying desperately to link up my two towns but need either:
  • a priest to get to 4 shipping
  • three red cult pips to get 3 power
  • two workers
...and those are exactly the actions Steve, Paul and then Neil took. Flustered, I took the spade action, but still needed to terraform the hex in question twice more. If I got more power then it might work. It didn't- and the four power I spent on that spade action ended up costing me the game. I lost by 1vp with two gold unused- had I cashed in the four power for gold, that would have been a 1vp win.


To be fair had Steve not built that bridge I don't think I would have been in the running at all, so I should probably count my blessings. A close game at the end and a good reminder of how hard it is to play without mistakes

Neil 109, Matt 108, Paul 88, Steve 74

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