Weekend Gaming: German Traders!

A bunch of the guys were out of town this last weekend, so on Saturday it was just Joe, Kevin, Gina and I playing games.  I had requested that Kevin bring over his copy of Hansa Teutonica, since I had heard good things but hadn’t played it.  Turns out that nobody had played it, and the pieces hadn’t even been punched out.

After learning the rules, we got the game started.  The game itself deals with using a set of five different actions to place merchants and traders onto routes between German cities.  You can block the other players and displace them to make things more difficult.  As you complete routes, you’ll either take control of offices in the cities or gain upgrades to the basic abilities from certain cities.  The game is won by scoring points.  The points are interesting, as the majority of them are gained after the game is over.  During the game itself, the only ways to gain points are to control a city connected to a route when the route is completed, or to place a person in each city between two specific cities on the board.  After the game end is reached, players gain more points for having their abilities fully upgraded, controlling cities on the board and for having a large number of cities linked together.

In the first game we played, I was able to connect a bunch of cities together in the northern part of the board.  While I didn’t have much upgraded on my board, I was still able to get enough going to complete those routes.  Kevin and I were both hitting the bonus tiles hard, and he had managed to grab both ends of a nice route and monopolize that route for a few turns before anyone intervened.  At the end of the game, he and I both had a big stack of bonuses, but I was able to pull away due to the linked cities.

Since the game didn’t take too long, we decided to play another.  In the second game, I was focusing heavily on upgrading my abilities.  By the end of the game, I was able to upgrade all of my abilities fully except for one.  I was also focusing on one of the special cities on the board that gave big end game points for upgrading the privilege ability.  When the game ended, I didn’t have a single city under my control and I had zero points.  Even so, I scored 34 points from bonuses, which put me in third place.  Gina had managed to complete the route across the board, so she scored a bunch of points for that, but she wasn’t able to upgrade the ability that gives more points for connected cities, so she ended up in third.  Kevin ended up winning because of a ton of points due to controlling offices on some of the most used routes, and then a bunch more at the end for controlling those cities.

We finished up the night with a game of Through the Desert.  I was able to connect to all of the oases with my caravans, and I was able to score the longest in white and pink.  I did have to compete with Gina for the pink one, though.  Joe managed to seal off a huge area on the right side of the board, which scored him 25 points plus the watering holes.  That ended up being the difference maker in the game, as I can up one point short of Joe.

Overall, it was a fun night, and we got to play a new game and a game we hadn’t played in a while.  I got my copy of Power Grid: The First Sparks on Sunday, so I’m looking forward to playing that this coming weekend.  Until next time, happy gaming.

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