51st State – The Rematch!

Note: You should read my previous posts on 51st before this one.

Just more than a week ago, Cortnie and I played Ignacy Trzewiczek’s 51st State for the first time. We both loved it, but I incurred the wrath of the Cortnie for destroying one of her buildings, then not using the resources I acquired for razing it. We finally were able to play it again a few days ago, and Cortnie was out for blood!

She took the Merchant Guild again and I New York, same as last time. I started mostly the same strategy I used in our first game. I built as many locations as fast as I could, then started using actions to get victory points. Cortnie didn’t care about winning this game; she cared about seeing me suffer. This is good, I like to see this come out in her. I know she’s having fun when she starts a little trash talk. Not caring about winning was important though, because she didn’t. It wasn’t even close. I was however harassed and annoyed the whole game, so probably a success for her.

The second game however, this is the game that I want to let you know about. I tried a different faction: Appalachian Federation. This faction played completely different than New York did. It took me a few turns to figure things out, and Cortnie was turning on the heat. She had close to 15 deals just as I was getting my production engine in place. She very quickly started sprinting to 25 Victory Points. I spent every resource I had for short term VP gains, and barely kept her lead from exceeding five points. The next turn, I got extremely lucky and was able to draft two Church’s, which, if played, would net me 4 points.

Knowing this was probably the last turn, I planned very carefully. Every single resource had to count. Every turn got more tense. Every turn Cortnie earned victory points. She crossed the 25 point mark and kept going. She passed her turn after reaching 29 points. I only had 20, but I could still act. I razed a couple of buildings for two points. 22. I used some fuel and a worker for two points. 24. I built my Church s. 28 points. The game was over.

Cortnie started celebrating. She was perfectly reasonable. There was no bragging, but you could see the blissful relief. She had wanted to win so bad, when she was so close, and the intensity was so high, seeing her token higher than mine was instantly a weight off her shoulders. After a minute of celebratory relief she noticed me looking guilty. She stopped and asked “What?” with a mix of fear and aggression.

I didn’t know what to do. We hadn’t scored the locations yet — it wasn’t over. I clearly had more locations than her. She had focused on deals. I didn’t want to tell her. I wanted her to enjoy a well fought game. But if I didn’t tell her, next time we played, she’d remember this — then she would be MAD!

I told her. We counted her buildings – 08. She was 09 points ahead of me. We counted my buildings. My stomach sank. 12 buildings. I won. I had never wanted to lose more. I had stolen her victory right out from under her. She wasn’t angry. Frustrated, yes. Calculating in her delayed vengeance, almost certainly. I’m still undefeated, but I feel like the longer this streak goes on, the more likely I am to wake up as she’s beating me with a bag of oranges.

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