Had Mark, Patch, and Jason over again for gaming yesterday. This time it was Conquest of Paradise, a kind of simple civ-game set in Polynesia.

While we’d read the rules ahead of time, that was about it for preparation. So, none of us really knew what to expect and there was a certain amount of fumbling around. The four-player game has the two two-player positions next to each other and the third and fourth in slightly isolated positions but with weaker islands.

Mark had Hiva, the island furthest out, and also had the bad luck to draw a lot of open ocean while exploring, so he had a hard time getting anywhere in the rest of the game. I had Raiatea (the third player position), and did decently well. As we entered the mid-game, my victory points (which had been lagging because of the weaker home island) suddenly leapt from right above Mark, to just behind Jason and Patch.

Jason, with Tonga, was definitely the major threat most of the game. He got better tile draws than Patch (Samoa), and so tended to have an edge on victory points. Then, when most of the map was explored and the fighting started, he managed to take Patch’s home island early on, and kept it for the rest of the game.

I ended up fighting a three-front war, and slowly loosing territory. The nature of combat is very random, and I just couldn’t make some attacks work that looked pretty easy. On the other hand, I did have one where almost every roll was a ‘6’ which wiped out the opposing forces (as opposed to merely letting them retreat and come back later).

We took a lot longer than the box time would indicate; some of that was just figuring out what was going on, and I think some of it was that the “known world” west of Samoa and Tonga wasn’t exploited at all until very late in the game, lowering the pool of available victory points so that 22 took a bit of effort. Also, we figure we left buying the culture cards until later than we should have.

At any rate, Patch nearly pulled together a win with 21 points one turn. This meant that he got pounded the next turn, and Jason was a threat to win instead. Sadly, I couldn’t really afford to do much, since I was feeling weak and didn’t want to leave myself undefended either. Mark couldn’t reach him, and Patch’s attack failed, so Jason won with 26 points, Mark had 20 1/2, I had 20, and Patch had… 12 (part of his territory was detached from the main area and didn’t count for points).

A fun time for everyone, and a game we’ll be getting back to soon. The plan for next time is to give Soldier Kings another go.