My wife and I played 51st State Master Set by Ignacy Trzewiczek from Portal Games today. Getting it to the table was a bit of a problem for me. You see, Cortnie has 5 levels of when it comes to new games (as I expect most people do).
- SUPER EXCITED plays soon as it arrives. (Ticket to Ride, Tsuro)
- Interested (Elysium)
- Neutral (My Village)
- Disinterested, but will still play if pushed (Battlestar Galactica, Cosmic Encounter)
- Refuse to play (Epic Spells Wars of the Battle Wizards Duel at Mt Skullzfyre)
51st State was somewhere in between disinterested, and refusal to play. It was the art on the box, which I adore, that turned her off of the game. She agreed to play at 10:30 this morning so I set it up. Then she suddenly had all these chores she had to do before she could play. After dishes, taking care of the animals, knitting, decorating a cake, and napping, I was able to actually start playing around 3:00 pm.
Thanks again to Rodney from Watch it Played, I was able to learn the game while away from my rule book. For a detailed How to Play, click [here]. As always, I highly recommend reading through the rule book, even with a great ‘how to play’ video. When Cortnie finally sat down to play I ran through the rules with her. She had enough of an understanding to go on so we started off.
I had the first player marker, and built a production location that gave me a grey contact every turn. Cortnie traded a fuel token for three blue contacts. By the end of the round she had a couple of locations and 3 deals. On the second turn she had three times more resources than I did, and I wasn’t getting fuel for deals, or productions cards to play.
By the third turn, Cortnie had a full blown engine, churning out a little of all four resources, plenty of workers, and a few contacts, including a multicolored contact. My outlook was bleak. My only hope was that she did not have a victory point engine yet. I had the cards to get 12+ points a turn, but didn’t have the resources for the actions.
I slowly started getting a better position limiting the points I was earning so she didn’t dash for the end. Then near the end of a turn, just before I passed, I was able to get my first red contacts of the game. And I razed a location. One of Cortnie’s locations. Read that story in the Day 4 – 51st State Supplemental post.
The following turn, drafted a church, and drew a church, which would net me four VP’s. I could see Cortnie preparing for a counter attack, while Cortnie saw my sprint for 25 points. There was no way I could win the long game. I had to finish this on this turn or lose the game. When Cortnie noticed this, she pivoted and matched me point for point instead of razing my buildings. I was able to spend my last resource to achieve 25 points. Cortnie had 21 after finishing her actions and passing. We were nearly even in locations but I managed to pull ahead three more points.
If Cortnie hadn’t changed course, and just destroyed my unused VP action locations before I used them, she would have defeated me with a wide margin. Although this is only day four, 51st State is by far my favorite game I’ve played in this event. Surprisingly enough, this and Ghost Stories are tied for Cortnie’s favorite. I love it when she goes into a game expecting to hate it, in this case it was the theme and art that didn’t pull her in. I comes the debate to tell her about Imperial Settlers or not. She’s seen the cover art and loves it, but doesn’t know its a re-theme of this game. (Shhh!)
A note about components: they are fantastic. The level of component quality that is expected by the community always gets more strict. 51st State does not disappoint. Fantastic, immersive art, high quality wooden resource components, great punch-board quality that doesn’t tear when you punch them. Expect to hear more about this game in my week one recap.