Laurie is back from summer vacation. Sara also joined us, but opted to "join Abe's team" when we had six, and she had to take care of the baby anyway. Before settling on Age of Empires III, I set up a game of Guardians of Graxia, but we didn't get to play it (I wasn't about to try it with 5 or 6 players).
Age of Empires IIIAbraham/Sara 94, Jon 91, Ellis 64, Peleg 59, Laurie 55
First plays for Laurie, Peleg, and Ellis, and second or third for Abraham and Sara. I chose this because it supports five players well and has a wee bit of combat in it. I know that Ellis and Peleg are war game fans, but I don't have many games with these elements; I'd be happy to try them on Antike. Laurie was a little nervous because it didn't look like something she would like, however.
Turned out to be a success, even with Laurie, I think. Peleg saw soldiers in his pieces and dedicated the rest of his game toward acquiring them and using them to shoot people. He did some damage, though sometimes he just shot them for the fun of it. He also had some money coming in from his soldiers discovering.
The "take $20" building didn't some out until round 2 (and I would have thrown it back to ensure that it didn't come out in round 1), and Laurie was the only one who could buy buildings in round 2. She also got the "free discovery" in round 2, making me thing that she had a decent lead at this point. However, she tried an failed to make several discoveries, often by a single person. Other people then stole those discoveries from her. This set her back.
Ellis had decent money coming in from a building in age 2 ($10 a round). I'm not sure where he went wrong, but a) he didn't seem to build up anything in particular, and b) Peleg kept shooting his guys (when he wasn't shooting mine).
That leaves me and Abe. I started unusually for me by concentrating on commodities instead of discoveries and buildings. It slowed me down for some time. Only when I got a few extra specialists and was able to take some merchant ships did I begin to pull ahead (in income, anyway). Together with placement and buildings, I was getting one of each specialist a round.
As usual, I took a number of second place victories in the New World, a position that slipped under the other players' radar, apparently. After my income was secure, I went back to concentrating on discoveries and some final buildings. The trouble was that though I at least succeeded in my discoveries, they were all low valued discoveries of 4 or 5 points.
Meanwhile, Abraham was doing as many discoveries as I was (even more) and his were all 6 or 7 points. He also ended with a lot of money. He had 61 final scoring points in discoveries, cash, and buildings, which was impressive. I came rather close to that by adding my income. However, would I have picked his cards, and he mine, the final result would have been reversed.
Or maybe not ... it's possible that if I had picked his cards that I might have failed one of the discoveries, since I generally send n-1 guys. Ok, so maybe it wasn't entirely luck.