Home > board game design, playtesting, session report > Protospiel preparations, part III: playing Lemuria

Protospiel preparations, part III: playing Lemuria

After a couple weeks of hard work, I’m just about ready for Protospiel: I’ve got all three games assembled, the rules have all been printed, and pretty much everything is set. The one thing I had yet to do was play Lemuria again, just to jack it all back into my head. The last thing I wanted was to have to look up some rule as I was trying to explain the game.

It’s not that it’s so very complicated, it’s just that I hadn’t actually played the game in quite a while. I wanted to play it with more than just two, so I called up my friend C and we made it a threesome.

I had forgotten how much fun the game is. There’s a lot going on, but the rules are really fairly straightforward. There’s one or two things that might be counter-intuitive the first couple turns, but after that it’s pretty much smooth sailing.

The basic idea is that you’re trying to build the biggest network by the end of the game (when someone plays their last trading post). Since trading posts cost money, however, you have to deliver various goods to cities that need them if you want to be able to continue to build.

We played two games, and both were quite close. I set the first board up myself, explaining the game as I went (C had never played before). I talked about the price of building, the role of the builders, the flow of a single turn, how the points are awarded at game end, everything. The board I set up didn’t have any holes, and I used less than the regular number of blockers to decrease competition for routes a little. It was a fairly fast game. I went out but lost to S since she had two more cities in her network and three “Campaign Contribution” cards worth a total of 18 points. The final score was 88 to 83. C didn’t get the different pieces of his network hooked up in time and came in a distant third.

C set up the second board himself, introducing two holes into it. As this tends to create more competition anyway, I advised him to keep the number of blockers at a reasonable level. S got off to a fast start, but both C and I used various action cards to dog her builders and, as a result, she was trailing by a couple trading posts after the first few turns. S is yellow in the following picture, I’m red, and C is blue:

C and I played neck and neck for the rest of the game and finished quite close. I might’ve won if I had played things differently, but I opted for points instead of cash in one of my final draws and ended up just a couple dollars short in my final turn. C went out first and beat me by two points: 93 to 91. S had 79.

Here’s a picture of the game just a couple turns before the end:

All in all it was lots of fun, I enjoyed the game, and I was grateful for a chance to teach the game before Protospiel. I also really enjoyed the pizza. :-)

  1. July 2, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I’ve never heard of Protospiel before, but I hope it goes well for you! Good luck!

  2. July 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you. The conference was lots of fun, I met a bunch of cool people, the playtesting was intense, the quality of feedback was amazing, and it was inspiring to see so many cool games in one place. It was also exhausting — 16 hours of gaming, three days in a row. I can’t wait to go back. :-)

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