Saturday, April 12, 1997

Time Agent Game (4/12/1997)

Players: Allan, Joshua, Mike B., Mike C., Scott, Vishal

Three reasons this summary will bite: with a new game you have to explain the game and the action of that night; I can't remember any of the other player's character names; and I waited way to long to write this up. Bear with me. In Time Agent, players send agents into the past to change key events from history -- events that once hurt their race (or that once helped other races) -- and try to destroy time travel when history smiles more upon their race. For some players, it's tougher to find events that help your race (umm... the Buralti spring to mind), so those players should change what they can to hurt other races, whereas some players benefit from almost every alteration in history and simply look around for the changes that help them most.

During your turn, you can look into the past (up to three tiles per time machine), build new equipment, buy new squads and agents, or send agents and/or squads into the past where they can rotate tiles or alter events. Combat ensues when opposing squads/agents have opposing plans for the same hexagon. Most players opted to search before sending troops into the past, except for the richest player (Scott) who sent troops back to explore rather than waiting a turn and for the most economically challenged player (Allan) who didn't even have the cash to explore (SUCK!). After that first turn, all players started exploring the past, searching in accordance with the "cheat sheet" provided that tells you where your most important events are. Josh had to take away his own Victory Points to get cash (a cruel twist in the rules), and Allan built his empire from the ground up, exploring the less expensive tiles of the recent past and working his way back. The two Mikes tried with little success to bolster their empires (for every step forward, seemed one backward was right behind), and after a slow start, Vishal roamed the western part of the board unopposed for most of the game.

At this point, "blood" was spilled for the first time in our gaming sessions. Mike B. knocked over his wine glass, and as Malcom McDowell once said, "The vino was flowing," flowing all over Mike B.'s cheat sheet and character description. We surveyed the damage and all realized that this would be a much cooler (and cleaner) game if ACTUAL Time Travel was available. Also might've helped if loose fitting clothes were out of style. Mike C. dispensed his advice for all time: "When you're gaming with a new group, this is how NOT to get invited back."

Perhaps spurred by the sight of blood on the table, Allan roared to second place (all the while whining about other players' advantages -- deception at its finest), and the rest of the pack crept toward the Buralti (who start the game miles ahead), so Scott tried to end the game but was temporarily rebuffed by those pesky rules. Mike C. cost Allan and Vishal points just to play spoiler, and knowing the game might end the next turn, Joshua sold back his economic advantage for Victory Points. When Scott destroyed Time Travel, the Victory Points jumbled and juked, and in the end, Josh won with Allan a close second and all others crushed in defeat.

A word from our winner, Joshua

When playing the alienraceIplayed (sorry, can't remember what they're called) the VERY first thing you MUST do is reverse the invention of alienraceIplayed's philosophy. This does two things for you:

1. You get 15 more bucks per round.
2. Your victory points go down so you look weak and helpless (pretty much true).

Once this has been accomplished (by turn 2 at the latest) always buy one time machine per round since the only way to win the game is for the alienraceIplayed to know which turn the game is going to end and reverse all of the key events on that turn only. (Since you're going to lose that 15 extra bucks per round and have too many points to fain weakness.) Figure out who is going to stop time travel and "advise" them sufficiently such that you know/control when the game will end.

Scott's word to live by:
- Time Agent might be a keeper if the different character advantages don't get predictable
- For years now, "Guild counter in the salsa" was our worst disaster. Now that Mike B. has raised the bar, should we fear our next gaming session?

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