Whoops, that last one got away from me somehow.
Mike, JD, and Alex came over for our regular Tuesday gaming, and we put Endeavor and two games of Dominion on the table. Guess it's good that I'm too far away for Dave, who hates Dominion. At least we played quickly, two games in an hour!
Endeavor was a hit at the recent Sunriver Retreat, and Mike was keen to give it another try. This time I held off on building stuff for a couple of turns, which I'm not sure helped me much. I went for culture early, which meant population I wasn't using, but then found myself behind on the payment part of the game. By game end, I had more actions than I had population to drive them. It did not help that every time I got enough cities in Europe to go for the 4 and 5 point cards, Alex thwarted me (except for one time, where I managed to get the 4 card for 5 Glory points). I also managed to score my very first Governor card!
However, Alex had a huge number of board points, with something like 21 points in that area alone (I was second with twelve). He ended up a good ten points ahead of both Mike and I, who tied for second with 52 points, with JD just behind us in the high 40s. Funny, as I'd identified JD as the leader with a couple of turns to go.
All of us agreed that this is a very good game with a lot of interesting choices, no luck other than the chit distribution on the board, and who goes first. One of my favorite Euros of 2009, no question. It's a great balance of tactics and strategy, and I highly recommend it.
'Splainin' and play took close to two hours (plus the obligatory "what do you want to play" metagame), so we had an hour to kill and I asked for Dominion as I'd missed out on every game played in my general area since Mike's birthday party in Forest Grove. We started out with the Secrets preset deck from Dominion: Intrigue, which is incredibly harsh - JD won with 11 points. The setup has a lot of cards that force your opponent's cards into the trash, and we must have had 40 cards there by game end. Wacky, and entertaining to a point.
For the second game, we decided that everyone got to pick a card type and replaced it with a random card type from the original game, leaving six decks from Intrigue. We got rid of the Saboteur, Pawn, Swindler, and Ironworks, and added in the Witch, the Moat (which cancelled *one* Witch play by Alex the entire game), the Council Room, and the Smithy. The result was an interesting mix that on two occasions netted me something like 12-15 card hands. Play the Shanty Town to get two extra actions, play a Council Room to get four more cards, play a Tribute to maybe get more actions, then play the Smithy for another three cards (and maybe get two more from Tribute), then a couple more actions. Crazy. I also learned that it is good to have Tribute cards if your opponent to your left has Harems, which Alex kindly drew for me repeatedly. As a result, I had an extremely efficient deck, with only eight action cards, not a single gold, but enough good fortune to score 27 points even with five curse cards (I managed to get rid of one, but had to dump an Estate as the rest were buying a Province). Maybe the most interesting mix of cards I'd every seen. The other two cards were the Trading House and the Steward.
I know that Dominion is one of those games that is made or broken by the combination of cards on the table, but when it's good it's a huge amount of fun and this was a very good combination, and worth trying out. I also like the "Vote The Deck Off The Island" variant Alex introduced us to - I could see playing this repeatedly using this technique to change up the game. Maybe worth considering for a tournament at Gamestorm...
Thanks to all who came out. We had a great time, and I'm looking forward to playing at Mike's next week.