Had another group game back on the 18th, this time for Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea, the last four-player game that hasn’t hit the table since the break. Mark brought his set over, and me, Jason, and Dave sat down to realize how little we remembered.

This time random draws gave me the Celts, and my first experience with the western side of the board. Mark was at the opposite end in Egypt, while Jason got Troy, and Dave got Carthage.

I deliberately shorted myself of anything but settlements for the first couple turns, giving me a nicely accelerated growth for the second half of Epoch I, and my VPs started catching up as I could maintain good growth and a number of cities.

Epoch II went very fast (one turn) thanks to an event to end the epoch early (second time we’d seen it, but it doesn’t go off in the first Epoch), and I was still working to expand out to the limits of the token mix. Dave had done well with much the same strategy, spreading out across most of North Africa, and then into Sicily and southern Iberia. I eventually colonized Corsica and Sardinia, which helped keep me in contact with Dave, after my fishers in the Med were wiped out multiple times.

Mark had gone straight up the Levant coast, and got early contact with Troy. This turned into a long-running fight in the east as Jason pushed to the Levant, and then Mark pushed back into Anatolia. The entire second half of the game saw escalating struggles over the region that sapped a lot of energy. At the same time, Mark took exception to Carthage expanding to and past Libya, and that turned into another constant struggle for the end of the game.

Two constant active “fronts” took Mark’s low VP position and left it trailing ever further behind, and the struggles continued as he gave up on catching up, and acted as problems for Troy and Carthage, while I could only be grateful he was far away from me. I started putting pressure on Dave myself, wrecking cities in Sicily, and giving him some of the bigger disasters as I saw the number of cities he was building with growing alarm. He was in contention for high points for most of the game, and did almost all of it through city VPs (he built a wonder very late, though we were all fairly light on them).

I ended up with the lead at the end of the game, largely thanks to to not having a lot of interference in the last couple turns. The big calamities seem to have run dry during Epoch IV. As you can see, I’d been run out of the north edge by barbarians, and hadn’t bothered to clear most of them out, as I had other areas to expand to instead. Final scores:

Rindis/Gaul = 51
Jason/Troy = 45
Dave/Carthage = 42
Mark/Egypt = 30

Once we got the rules straightened out, play was very smooth, and went well, other than pauses for shuffling (including Hand of God coming up four times a row…). Everyone had a good time, and it probably won’t be too long until ACIS comes up again.