Recap: Verrater First Impressions, Multiverse Antics, and More
I don’t deny that I’m a non-reluctant member of the “cult of the new.” But for me, it isn’t really about whatever the most recent game is. I just love to play a game that I haven’t played before. It’s a new experience for me, and that’s what I like. So, this week, I got the chance to play Verrater and jumped on board. I also got in a play of Through the Ages and some Sentinels of the Multiverse.
Verrater. Verrater isn’t exactly a hidden loyalty game, but it does have a traitor mechanic. In our four player game, we started on two teams of two. A conflict is chosen between the two factions. Then, as in Citadels, everyone selects a role. Then everyone commits troops to the fight. The trick is, one of the available roles is the Verrater: the traitor. The traitor switches teams, so all of the cards he played actually count for the army of his new team.
The key to the game seems to be knowing when to switch sides. Whichever side wins gets points. But, only the single player with the most points wins. So if you stay on the same team, you’ll end up with the same points and you won’t be able to win. Similarly, if you leap onto the leader’s team, then any gain in points is a net zero because the leader will also gain the same points.
Verrater is a constant struggle to figure out what you think other players did and what you believe is in their best interest. Trying to figure out the potential traitor each round is a wonderful part of the game. Even after a full game, I was a bit mystified as to the proper tactics. That doesn’t happen often. The game has really stuck with me, though, and I’ve been going over it again in my mind ever since. I’ve got all sorts of new ideas about when a player should select the traitor and I’m itching to try them out.
Through the Ages. This marked my tenth play of TtA. Even with its roughly hour-per-player play time, the game provides an exciting and tense experience. We started our four player game a tad before 10 pm, When we finished – and the game felt like it went quickly – we looked at our watches and saw that it was 2 am. Where does the time go?
This time, I went with a library/theater strategy. I was able to build the Bascillica early on, which allowed me to double happy faces. That kept me from getting discontent workers. I needed that greatly. All through Age 1 I had the weakest military (I was focusing on food and ore production), and I bore the brunt of some nasty cards. I lost population, blue barrels, and even a building to event cards. Luckily, I was never targeted for attack by a player as that could have turned out badly.
With libraries and theaters, I was producing nine culture per turn. With the rest of my wonders, leaders, and other items, I was up to 21 culture per turn by game end. Only one other player challenged me, and it was the Colony King. Between the Colossus and his colony technology, the guy was able to nab up nearly every colony offered. He had five colonies into Age 2 and that’s when he grabbed James Cook as his leader. Cook gives two culture per turn for each colony. Boom, that increased his culture production by ten – twelve when he later acquired another colony.
My lead was shrinking quickly, and I was fighting to maintain a good culture per turn mark. When, thankfully, someone threw in the event Iconoclasm. It came up just as we entered Age 3. Iconoclasm kills all leaders from a previous age. Although it killed my Shakespeare (who was, at that time, giving me three culture per turn), it also killed Cook – knocking my chief rival down 12 culture per turn. My lead began to build again and my opponent never fully recovered.
In Age 3, as it became obvious that an opponent was building up his army for a big war, I did the only reasonable thing, I secure Ghandi as my leader. That made it near impossible for him to fight me, and I was able to secure victory unmolested by conflict.
Sentinels of the Multiverse. My in-laws were in from out of town, and my brother in-law could care less about board games. He’s a gamer, but he prefers DOTA and Warcraft to boardgames. However, I brought out Sentinels and we played a game. By the end, he was asking me where to buy his own copy. The Sentinels conversion grows.
We played as Legacy, Tachyon, Tempest, and Expatriette against Plague Rat and carried the day. The “Into the Stratosphere” card was fantastic in that situation. It allows a villain ongoing card to be placed back on top of the Villain deck. So we bounced one of the infection cards twice in a row. Not only did that stop the spread of infection (we placed it on the player going after Tempest), but it also ensured that Plague Rat didn’t pull one of his nastier cards. That respite gave us what we needed to achieve victory.
Then we added Ra in to the mix and fought the chairman. That was a lot closer, but still a victory for the heroes. We blew all of our best cards killing the Operative in just a few turns. We spent a little time trying to ensure that there were three underbosses in play. Just as we managed to control that, a Prison Break occurred, and suddenly every underboss was in play. We used Tempest’s and Expatriette’s abilities to target multiple bad guys to thin the criminal network. We used Tachyon and Ra as big hitters to go after the chairman. The Chairman fell, and Rook City was (a little) safer.