Yeehaw, today I met Aldie and Derk.
Today seemed kind of short. Something about the way the day was blocked.
I woke up at about 7:30, which is great considering my jet-lag and that we changed the time last night to add more fuel to the problem. I spent an hour or two looking at my email and cleaning up the kitchen and dining room from shabbat while my friends were still asleep or out swimming.
I had arranged to meet Anye and Chris in Half Priced Books at 2:00 pm. I was told that another player was scheduled to arrive at 5:00 for a game of Die Macher, and that we would play other things until then. So I packed up my trusty game prototype.
At 10:30 I got a ride to HPB, since it was somewhere that I wanted to go anyway. It is nice and big, and nicely priced, so I spent until 2:00 looking at used CDs and books.
At 2:00, Eran arrived. He was someone who had contacted me previously, and it turns out was the player scheduled to arrive later. We played two games of my prototype while waiting, and Eran seemed to like it. Chris and Anye arrived soon thereafter, followed by Jared, making five for our Die Macher game. I had only played the game through to the second round twice before, and Anye had only played about two thirds of the way. The others had played a few times at least. So we did some quick rule reviews and started.
As the cards were dealt out, Jared announced that he had lost the game and had no chance. I quickly learned that this was his style of commentary. He is sharp and a good player; somehow most agreements with or near him tended to end up to his advantage. Chris started the game with a very strong advantage in the first province which is a decisive advantage. Still, the game proceeded and ended up being a good battle.
Eran ended the first round with 28 on the national scoreboard, when no one else had more than 11. He was only overcome by the fifth round.
In most games of DM, after a player wins the bid for choosing who goes first, he chooses to go last, or sometimes choosing to go first. The exception to this is when he wants to go as late as possible, but still wants to form coalitions with the first player before the player to his left can do so. This happened in our third turn.
Another unusual turn of events: Jared's platform exactly matched the national one on the 4th round.
Somewhere around turn 2, Derk and Aldie showed up to get games out of Anye's car. Actually, they kind of look alike, which should not be too surprising, although they do have their distinctive voices. Since they were hanging out waiting for us to finish a round (or something), I got them to play my game prototype with each other. While they both liked it, calling it Knizia-like, they didn't immediately ask to play it again. I think they imagined it will be more enjoyable with more players, rather then 2. Eran liked it with 2. Can't please everyone. They suggested that I send it to ... shoot. I forgot the name of the design contest. Aldie? What was the name again?
I had the same problem with Die Macher that I sometimes face when playing a new and deep game. The whole game is very murky. It's not that I don't know what the rules are, it's that I really can't see the implications of my decisions more than a few minutes after my moves. So I can't tell if I'm doing the right or wrong thing, and I can't tell who is winning or losing, even towards the end of the game, unless there are gross discrepancies. Something like the first times I played Dvonn or Puerto Rico.
Turns out that I did ok, second place.
Eran: Mandates 28 + Media 60 + Membership 58 + Bonus 10 + Votes 10 = 264
Chris: Mandates 188 + Media 35 + Membership 56 + Bonus 6 + Votes 47 = 332
Jared: Mandates 145 + Media 47 + Membership 52 + Votes 45 = 289
Yehuda: Mandates 159 + Media 47 + Membership 39 + Votes 70 = 315
Anye: Mandates 152 + Media 35 + Membership 41 + Votes 35 = 263
Having finally played a complete game of Die Macher, I can say that it's a nice game, but I can't really see that I would want to play it too often. It takes just so darn long. It feels like I wasted a lot of the day (no, not wasted. I enjoyed myself and the company. More like, it felt a little like 80% gaming, 20% work), which I don't think I would have felt playing three smaller games instead. Also, while it suffers the "Goa" problem of highly impacting swings of luck which cancel out lots of strategic play, it doesn't seem to suffer it quite as badly as Goa does. What bothers me more is the huge impact each element has on the final results. Your luck depends on others not being able to change these results when they need to, and the huge impact so many trivial events have on the scoring makes the game a constant fight against sliding into oblivion. I'm not sure if I'm enamored with the results, although it could simply be because the game is so long.
To summarize - it feels like juggling fifteen balls for 5 hours. Your arms get tired.
Chris gave me a ride home. When I got home, he called me and said that Jared had called him and told him that someone asked him as he was leaving the store if any of us had left a jacket and Jared had said no. But I had; I left the spanking new jacket that I had bought last Thursday. I called Half Priced Books and asked them to search the store and their lost and found, but no one had turned it in. Probably, the guy who asked Jared if any of us had left a jacket decided to keep it. Maybe it will still turn up, but I don't have much hope. *sigh*