Got… almost everyone together for another multiplayer day a couple weeks ago (car trouble kept us down to four out of a planned five). Me, Dave, Jason and Patch went for Dominant Species, another favorite of the group that we haven’t gotten to in a while. Random selection gave me the Insects, Dave the Birds, Jason the Reptiles, and Patch the Mammals.

Dave got off to a strong start, managing a fairly substantial lead in the first round, which somewhat surprisingly he maintained for the next couple of turns. I skipped Speciation the first round (other than my one freebie), which was a mistake that helped put me at the back of the pack, as I had one cube left on the board by the end of the round. I managed to recover from that naturally, but I was feeling a bit behind in more than just score. This wasn’t helped that I fouled up an early move by getting a new element with Adaptation, and then losing it the next turn on Regression.

After that, things went better for me, partially because of my high initiative, as I got the first scoring in the second round when Parasitism came up, and Patch had the second scoring that round, and Intelligence was available, so the two us took them to get new action tokens for ourselves but no one else. My initiative also let me score first the next round, and get Omnivore, so I had one more action than Patch, who had one more than Jason and Dave. But I was getting more and more worried about Jason, as he was doing fairly decent, and was keeping a large pool of species available.

Patch was also being trouble. He ended up being the main inhabitant of the tundra, and started racking up Survival points to start pulling away from the rest of us. Adaptation turned into something of a race for all of us, and he and I ended the game with full element slots, and Jason and Dave were one short of that (this has been unusual in my experience). In some ways I was being fairly successful, as grass was widely available, and the elements I’d adapted to were widely available as well. However, after doing well in Dominance at the start (thanks to all the grass), I ran into problems in the mid-game, mostly losing out to Patch. I recovered ground on that front for the last couple rounds (including final scoring), but still had a bunch of trouble, both with dominance, and just managing to be in good locations in general. I never felt like I was on top of things for the entire game, and largely trailed in VPs.

End of game. Me = Insects/green; Jason = Reptiles/black; Dave = Birds/yellow; Patch = Mammals/white.

The biggest surprise to me was people started getting past 100 VPs a couple turns from the end. I’m used to that happening as the game is ending, but we had some very high scoring this day. Patch maintained a lot of dominances at the end of the day for a grand total of 215 VPs. My large number of dominances got me out of the cellar for a total of 145, while Jason got up to 130 (mostly from strong regular VP plays), and Dave languished at 113 purely from being stuck at three dominances; he had been competitive most of the time before finally just coasting for the last turn.

This left us with a bit of spare time, so we broke out a quick game of Settlers of Catan to finish the day. Again, the first time it’s been out for a couple of years, and its only the second time Jason has played. Random placement caused the usual odd scattering of things, and none of the hills had good numbers. Being last, I made sure to grab access to two hills with my second placement. This worked early on, as I did get a number of bricks out of them, but my resources dried up in the late game. The big problem was ‘6’ came up a bunch in the late game, which got everyone lots of grain and/or lumber, except me. Conversely, ‘8’, where I was, hardly ever came up, and the robber was often on the one I was at when it did. So I ground to a halt as everyone else continued building up, and Patch eventually won that game as well by grabbing Largest Army to get to 10 VP.

Two wins for Patch, and a successful day of gaming. We were already putting together the next game day at the end of the day, but still need to figure out what we’re doing.