Epoch I Turn 2 (E1/T-2)
E1/T-2 Card Draw
Civilizations receive cards in turn order. The Hittites draw four, but one is the Must Play card: Atlantis Rises. A fourth card is immediately drawn to replace it, which is not another Must Play card. The Atlantis Rises card is now adjudicated.
In this case, a Black Tile is put in each of the Deep Sea Areas that previously only had Sea People Tiles. Because no competition (war) can occur in the two Deep Sea Areas, those Black Tiles will coexist with the Sea Peoples’ Tiles until another card allows removal of those Black Tiles.
This hinders the Sea Peoples because they only get VPs for multiples of four Sea Areas they exclusively occupy, which is good news for me. One Talent is also awarded by the card to Civilizations that are adjacent to the two deep Sea Areas: Egypt and The Sea Peoples each receive this reward.
The Sea Peoples draw four cards next. Uh Oh! Another Must Play Card is drawn, which is immediately replaced to preserve the Sea Peoples hand size: Saharan Raiders.
The Civilization with the fewest VPs plays the card and that won’t be my Egyptians who are leading in VP. This card is severely damaging to Egypt because it allows stacks of four Black Tiles to be placed in one Land Area on the Southern map edge and then four Black Tiles more in each adjacent Land Area to it.
The system places slavering hordes of Black Tiles first in Egypt and then in its adjacent Land Areas: Kush, Nile Delta and Libya. Four Black Tiles will remain in each Land Area until either they are removed by competition or one is lost at the end of the turn to reduce a surviving pile to the stacking limit of three.
Egypt is allowed only three cards for the first Epoch plus an additional card for every four cities they have (Egyptian only, not including their Client State cities). My adversaries have an advantage in terms of cards (8 to 3): A tough situation. I receive 3 Talents as tribute for Egypt’s Client State treasure cities.
E1/T-2 Growth Phase
Now we move to the Growth Phase, again resolved in player order.
The Hittites get their minimum of four Tiles. All their base Land Areas are built up to three each so they use all four Green Tiles, once again, against Al-Mina. The system is nothing but persistent is it not?
THE SEA PEOPLES:
The Sea Peoples get five Red Tiles this time. They have a presence in six Sea Areas, for which they get one Tile for every two, and they have trade with both the Hittites and Egyptians for another two Red Tiles. They place four in Tyre, a treasure city and thus their prime target, and one in the Libyan Sea. They could equally have put the four into the Nile Delta, but there are four Barbarian Black counters already there that the Egyptians must fend off and the Sea Peoples would rather the Black Tiles do their work for them (as per the cleverly designed intelligence Mark imbued into ACIS’ solitaire game system, a system which is efficiently malignant and challenging to play against).
Sad Egypt receives only its minimum of three Purple Tiles but also gets two additional Tiles as bonus for having presence in the Nile Valley with at least one city in Egypt. I also receive a Talent as my Civilization’s bonus to add to this turn’s 3 Talents of Client State tribute. Those Talents come in handy for preventing competition Tile loss since a Talent can be removed in lieu of a Tile.
The Egyptians bolster their Black Tile threatened three city Land Areas of Kush, Egypt and Nile Delta with one Tile each to achieve the maximum of four Purple Tiles. They then add one Blue Tile each to Al Mina and Tyre, which are both also under attack. Five Tiles do not seem much for the stress my Egypt is suffering… but the wisdom of choosing to go last in sequence, thanks to the Great Pyramid Wonder, is now apparent.
E1/T-2 Card Play
The Hittites play Volcanic Eruptions on Hamath, which eliminates two Black Tiles that were there from the game start, as well as one each from adjacent Al-Mina and Phoenicia. Remember, only one Tile can be deducted from a treasure city through individual card play and the final Tile can only be eliminated through competition. That’s small consolation for the number of cards Egypt’s enemies have.
The Sea Peoples inflict Blasphemy which removes a Blue Tile from Tyre, my Client State which they are so viciously attacking.
Egypt plays Nepotism on the four Green Tiles in Al Mina. Although the treasure city’s owner can lose only a single Tile per card play, that does not protect attacker(s). Two Green Tiles are removed.
Hittites play the Sea People, a card different from the Sea People Civilization. This Barbarian card places three Black Tiles in Phoenicia.
The Sea People play Sea Route to Britain. No one on this map is near the Atlantic or West map edge, so the only effect is to grant two Talents to the Sea People.
Egypt plays Bread and Circuses on the Hittites, which would normally cost them three VPs, one per city on the map. However, the Hittites elect to discard one of their cards and lose only 2 VPs. Keep in mind the ACIS’ Solitaire System is making decisions such as this.
The Hittites last card is Volcanic Ash. This card causes each Civilization to randomly lose a card from their hand or a Tile if no card is available. The Hittites, who have no cards remaining in their hand, remove a Tile from the Strait of Mina while the Sea Peoples lose a card: Obsidian Quarry. Egypt also loses a card: Improved Plow… which would have given me three Purple Tiles and a Talent: oh the pain! Volcanic Ash, a nasty card indeed, is per its instruction set aside. It can’t get reshuffled back into the draw deck until the next Epoch.
The Sea People pass as they have no cards that can be played at this time.
Egypt plays Coinage, which enables them to place two Blue Tiles in Phoenicia and one each in Al Mina and Tyre. This ends card play.
E1/T-2 Competition Phase
The Second Battle of Al Mina
The first battle in sequence is Al Mina where the Hittites add their Civilization’s one White Tile. No competition cards are played and Egypt chooses not using the Grand Temple for now. It will be used at Tyre. The competition rounds are resolved at Al Mina: Round One – the Hittites lose their White Tile, Egypt loses a Blue Tile. Round Two – The Hittites lose a Green Tile, but Egypt elects to remove a Talent instead of losing a Tile. Round Three – The Hittites lose their last Green Tiles leaving three Blue Tiles and a Gold treasure Tile intact. Al Mina has again repulsed the Hittite invaders!
The Battle of Phoenicia
Meanwhile, moving South to Phoenicia, there are three Black Tiles taking on my Client State’s four Blue Tiles. Black removes a Tile followed by the loss of a Blue Tile. This happens again. Then Black loses a Tile leaving two Blue Tiles with the Gold treasure. Phoenicia holds, but is a bit damaged.
The Battle of Tyre
South of Phoenicia is Tyre. Since this is a critical competition for a treasure city, I place the Purple Tile, which is immediately converted into a Blue Tile, from the Grand Temple along with a bonus White Tile. A Sea People Tile is eliminated through playing this Wonder card. They have three Red Tiles remaining.
The Sea Peoples, not without resources of their own, play a competition card: Iron Mine, which is a powerful card removing the White Tile put there by Egypt from the Great Temple, and adds two Red Tiles into the fray. Remember, over stacking during the competition phase is not limited to four Tiles. The Sea Peoples now have five Red Tiles in Tyre.
I’ll spare the reader the round by round description of this Tyre competition’s resolution. Suffice that the last Blue Tile dies leaving three Red Tiles remaining. Tyre falls! Its Gold Tile on the map is removed. The Sea Peoples get FOUR VPs and TWO Talents: one for the treasure city’s Gold Tile and a second for looting a Civilization’s city.
This is a heavy blow to Egypt. It loses one of its Client States. Furthermore, once a Blue city is lost, it cannot be rebuilt as Blue, nor can its treasure Tile be restored.
But there are more battles to resolve.
The Battles of the Nile Delta, Egypt, and Kush
In the Nile Delta is another treasure city. There are four Purple Tiles fighting four Black Tiles (from the Saharan Raiders card, remember?). The Egyptians use a Talent in lieu of losing a Tile and end the competition by wiping out the Saharan Raiders, at least in the Nile Delta with two Purple Tiles and the Gold treasure Tile intact.
The same result occurs in Egypt and Kush. The only remaining Saharan Raiders are the unopposed Black Tiles in Libya, which are reduced from four to three due to the stacking limit imposed at the END of the competition phase.
My three Land Areas constituting the Egyptian heartland are back to being solely Egyptian controlled… but oh the price, particularly in Talents to my now depleted treasury! Three cities are reduced to two Tile settlements.
E1/T-2 Victory Point Tabulation & Determine Turn 3 Play Sequence
The Hittites still have only three cities and lost 2VPs due to play of the Bread and Circuses card, so their running total falls to a mere 4VP.
Sea Peoples have three cities on the map for three VPs, exclusive control of four Sea Areas for one VP, and they receive 4VPs for taking Tyre: for a running total of 11VP.
Egypt has no cities of three purple Tiles each remaining, but still have their two Wonders for two VPs and two surviving Client State cities (Tyre is gone) for a running score of 12VP.
However, before proceeding further, there is a key step to resolve: to determine whether Epoch One will continue into a third turn. For in ACIS, at the end of the second and, if it occurs, third turn of an Epoch, there is a chance of its sudden death ending. At the end of turn 2, it’s a card with an “I.D.” number with a numeral “2” anywhere within it. But the selected card’s number does NOT contain a two, so the Epoch continues. The order of play will be Sea Peoples, Hittites, and Egypt.
Epoch 1, Turn 3 (E1/T-3)
E1/T-3 Card Draw
Sea Peoples draw four cards as do the Hittites. The Egyptians again receive three. None are Must Play cards. As I lead the game by a single Victory Point, the non-appearance of certain Must Play cards is a good thing, since there are still some potentially hurtful Must Play cards in the deck and I would not control their play as game VP leader.
I receive two Talents as tribute for Egypt’s surviving Client State treasure cities.
E1/T-3 Growth Phase
The Sea Peoples grow by five Tiles. They put four in the Nile Delta and one in the Gulf of Sidon. The Hittites get four and attack, once again, Al Mina.
Egypt again gets their minimum of three Purple Tiles and also earns one more for having at least one Tile in the three Land Areas of the Nile Valley. Alas, I have no city in the Valley and therefore lose a second Tile and Talent which otherwise would have been received. They allocate one to Phoenicia and one each to Kush, Egypt, and the Nile Delta. My three cities are now reconstituted!
E1/T-3 Card Play
Sea Peoples play Gods Demand Sacrifice on Egypt. Egypt loses a card, Warrior Queen, which is too bad as it would have helped during competition.
Hittites play Pirate Haven, placing two Black Tiles on Salamis (Cyprus) and 2 Black Tiles in the Levantine Sea.
Egypt plays Biblical Floods. This allows me to eliminate four Tiles among at least three adjacent Land Areas. Two Red Tiles in the Nile Delta are drowned plus one Black Tile in Libya and one Black Tile in Oa, which has been lurking there since the beginning of the game. But the Sea Peoples play Great Person: Healer, which saves one of the Red Tiles from drowning. It is returned to the Nile Delta.
The Sea People pass as they’re unable to play a card.
The Hittites launch Crusade by placing two Green Tiles in Hamath, a Land Area due south of Carchemesh. This ends the card phase.
E1/T-3 Competition Phase
The Third Battle of Al Mina
We start once again in Al Mina. The Hittites added their one White Tile into this battle. The Egyptians add their Great Temple Purple Tile, which is converted into another Blue Tile, and its White Tile while eliminating the Hittite’s White Tile.
After the Wonder card’s effect, it is four Green Tiles versus four Blue and one White Tile. In the first round of combat, both sides lose a Tile. The Egyptians lose a Talent rather than a Tile and the Hittites lose a Green Tile. Both then lose two more Tiles leaving two Blue Tiles remaining with the Gold treasure Tile intact. Al Mina holds out again: barely.
The Levantine Sea Naval Battle
In the Levantine Sea, the Blue Tile dies at the hands of two Black Pirate Tiles.
The Battle of The Nile Delta
For the Battle of the Nile Delta, the Sea Peoples play a competition card: Siege Engines. This card would usually immediately eliminate two Egyptian Tiles: but under this scenario’s special rules it is only one, before resolving the first round of competition. That potential loss of but a single Tile is something Egypt cannot afford. This vital Land Area must be protected and The Sea Peoples denied landing ashore; so I play Great Person – High Priest. This is a special “Negate” card, carefully hoarded for just such a moment from the game’s beginning.
It is a negate card which forces Siege Engines into the discard deck while adding a Talent to the Egyptian treasury (for the Priest’s “services rendered” I muse). Basically, three Red Tiles die leaving two Purple Tiles and the treasure hoard Gold Tile remaining in The Nile Delta.
E1/T-2 Victory Point Tabulation & Determine Turn 4 Play Sequence
Sea People earn three VPs for three cities and one VP for at least four Sea Areas they hold exclusively. Their running total is 15.
The Hittites have three cities to earn three more VPs for a running total of 7.
Egypt has two cities and two Wonders for a running total of 16. They also get two VPs for the two Client State Land Areas retaining Gold hoards; so that brings my total to 18. Egypt is still winning the game.
Why? In this scenario, Egypt’s two antagonists add their total victory points and divide that total by two (including the VP value of any Talents, which convert into VP at a rate of 3 Talents for 1VP). So strictly in terms of VP, I’m ahead by 7.
Again, no early end of the Epoch, although this time a card with a “2” or “3” in its I.D. number would have ended play, so we move on to turn 4 of Epoch I with player order: Sea People, Hittites, Egypt.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series to see the conclusion of Solitaire Play of The God-King of Egypt.