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Sunday, June 05, 2005


Manifest Destiny-Part II

Got to play another game of Manifest Destiny. I am thinking that it is an alright game, but I doubt it has staying power. I would play again, but I doubt we will play again anytime soon. My main gaming buddy does not like it, he dismisses it as being too random (referring to the card draws). It is possible to draw a handful of Destiny cards and not be able to play them (only one Destiny card can be played each round). I think a couple players had trouble getting rid of Destiny cards in the 2 games I played, but I didn't see it as anything more than being unfamiliar with the game. With proper card management I think it should only rarely be an issue. Turn order is also based upon cardplay. Each card is numbered 1-64, the player who plays the card with the highest number chooses his spot in the next turn order first, second highest choose second, etc. Drawing lots of low cards could screw a guy, but each player has a one-time, once-per-game option of getting priority in the turn order. This helps mitigate potential screwings.

I have some opinions, but I don't feel comfortable enough with the game to write a review. Here are some thoughts.

I managed to win. I hadn't built a single city, nor gained a single breakthrough. I won with progressions. The game ended because the card deck was exhausted, not because I was even close to the 30 victory points needed for instant victory. I think I won with 17 victory points, but might be off by 1.

Barring extreme luck, I cannot see how anyone can even approach 30 VPs in the course of a 5 player game. There are exactly 30 VPs if you buy every progression, but buying all is unlikely. The victory point track goes all the way to 40. Maybe it is possible to score more points with fewer players. With fewer players there would be more points from breakthroughs to go around.

The games were close. In the second game I overtook the leader in the last turn of the game because I had enough cash to buy a couple high-dollar progressions on the last turn. Two of the three guys who had been trailing the whole game were also able to make a move at the end that brought their scores right up near the winner's.

The players who start in Virginia and Pennsylvania need to come to an understanding early in the game or they will be busy squabbling and lose the game. The Louisiana player can ally with either VA or PA to put the hurt on the unallied player. The Mexico player could be in a good position with no competition for land if the Louisiana player ignores him, and the Canadian player could have an easy time of it, if the Pennsylvania player doesn't keep him in check.

Your place in the turn order from round to round dictates your strategy and choices from round to round. It is difficult to follow a set strategy through the course of the game. It is a game that penalizes set strategies and rewards flexibility.

I would still like to play again to explore some strategy, but if I can't play again soon I won't lose any sleep over it.


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