SR: 27th June 2008 – Tribune, Mission: Red Planet

We got to play Tribune tonight, designed by Karl Heinz Schmiel and published by Fantasy Flight Games. However, it turned out to be a much shorter experience than we expected.

We opted for the medium length five player game which involved achieving three victory conditions with a compulsory Tribune. On the first turn, my cards pointed me towards the Senator faction but a Vestal Virgin leader on the first regional building looked too tempting so I also set another worker up for a second Vestal V card. Mark G had placed a worker to takeover the V.V. faction so I decided to bide my time for turn 2. Having successfully taken over the Senators, my path was clear and I (over)bid to ensure I got the chariot to protect the Senators and concentrated on the two available V.V. cards that turned up in the second round. This meant that I was able to gain both a Tribune and Favour of the Gods and ended the second turn just 1 ducat short of the 30 needed for my third victory condition. It was, by that stage, obvious that I could easily win on the next turn as nobody else looked to be able to get to three victory conditions so we stopped the game there.

Although I was pleased my plans fell into place so well, we were all disappointed the game was over so quickly and ratings suffered as a result. I think playing without a compulsory tribune would make the game more wide open and, as there are other variants included in the game that don’t require a Tribune, we’ll just have to try one of those next time. That said, I thought the mechanics were really good and I hope we play again soon – maybe with fewer than five players.

We then opted for a game of Mission: Red Planet which all of us other than Guy had played before. That said, we all seemed to have forgotten the rules so it took a while to refresh our memories. The first round saw two of Steve’s guys get lost in space and so he spent most of the rest of the game pointing out how far behind he was, although I’m sure he knew none of us believed him. Guy scored really well in the first two rounds of scoring but then got picked on a bit so faded in the final scoring and had one of his potential bonuses sabotaged by my final turn removing one of his guys from a vital sector of Mars. Nige looked to be finishing strongly by controlling both a ‘2’ and ‘3’ value region and he managed to score both his bonuses as did Mark G. However, Steve was raking in points in lots of regions and critically got the bonus for most ice points, adding 9 to his score and taking the win by 3 points.

M:RP remains a really fun game although it is pretty chaotic – a typical Bruno Faidutti trait. Guy liked it as well although he probably trimmed a point off his rating for having been picked on at the end.