I've been trying to start a tradition in my household of playing games during State of Origin. SoO is a rugby league match between Queensland and New South Wales played 3 times per year in winter. It's compulsory as a white Anglo-Saxon male to watch the game, but you really only need to know who won and what a cheat the referee was. So I figure I can play a game while it's on the TV with the sound down and still maintain my status as One Of The Guys.
For a few matches my game of choice has been St Petersburg, and the kid received some floggings last year and Scrabblette received one for the first match this year. However as I had a new copy of Tikal which was crying out to be played I decided to play that for this match. Scrabblette had played Torres before so she was familiar with action points, and all I had to do was explain the actions and the scoring and we were underway.
It became clear very soon that Scrabblette wasn't going to quickly make really bad mistakes like she had in St Petersburg, and when the first volcano came out (in the Bs) the score was 11-10 to me. As the game proceeded Scrabblette proved herself to be the master of excavating temples and I proved to be the master of drawing treasure tiles. To be fair though, when you draw a treasure tile you're committed to maybe 15 points of action to take them, and if you choose to do that you miss out on a lot of temple stuff.
Scrabblette was the first to place a new base camp so of course it was my job to make sure she'd put it in the wrong place. I placed a guard on top of one of the adjacent temples. Scrabblette recognised the wisdom of that move and excavated two temples to level 9 and played guards on them very soon afterwards. Ooh, yuk, 18 points per scoring I'll never see again. She also noticed the way I was trying to block off her camp and did similar things to mine. I have created her in mine own image and I don't like what I see. In the second scoring I again scored one more point than her and so led by 2 points.
For the third volcano the map is very spread out and you start putting out temples that your opponent can never get to. Scrabblette managed to play a shortcut to one of my temples from her camp and was able to flood one of my previously safe areas with her men. I was definitely under pressure! In fact, after the third scoring she leapt ahead to lead by about 8. She was playing well!
Finally after the third volcano the treasures were mostly gone and I was able to get a pile of men on the board. With some clever movement I took over a couple of her temples - she was spread quite thin. I also played a shortcut of my own and was able to get my fat guy into one of her formerly safe temples. I played the last tile and moved my guys to threaten some of her temples. She scored first and occupied as many temples as she could. She didn't spend any action points on defence though, and I was able to move my guys into some good temples to score them for me in turn. Along with 30 points for treasures I was able to score very well in the last round, and passed her to win by about 5 points.
What a good game! Scrabblette put up a very good fight but my experience at stealing wins (e.g. Mystery of the Abbey) stood me in good stead. I'll definitely have to get Mexica and Java and try those.
Oh yeah... we won the footie. I think it was 10-6. Some guys scored some tries. Or something. And the ref sucked.