Weekend 6th/7th October 2001
RME: Richard Egan; RIP: Richard Perry; me/I: John Cudmore; Byll: Bill O'Neill

Terra Nova is our ongoing attempt to create our own 'big' board wargame. Based on a game called 'Conquestador', originally SPI, then Avalon Hill, now OOP. It has mutated beyond all recognition to include Pearl beds, Cod Banks, a strange combat system and a cool monarch system to name just a few.

New features included in version 2.5 were a more individualistic monarch system with varying modifiers for treasury and initiative rolls, mines with increasing production as time goes on (mirroring increased technology), leaders have been tweaked esp. the Merchant (Dutch), pioneers removed, plantations added instead of piles of slave counters.

I think we were all suffering from having a cobbled together rules set as we lost the 5.4 files, so a lost mule trains and moving pearl beds were a problem. But personally I slipped back into the rules quite easily, though an index would be useful and having RME to gee us along when we could have spent some time navel gazing speeded things up.

Game progress could easily be described as steady for me. From my initial base on the big islands in the Caribbean I was able to expand midgame along the northern coast of South America for a slight loss in revenue. RIP had a colony in the Panama area in order to exploit the pearl fisheries that was a worry, while a rules mix up meant both he and I ended up in different areas WE thought were the Fisheries! RIP was unwilling to provoke a confrontation and played defensively through the game( building settlements inland in North America and giving up the struggle for the hearts of the heathens in an attempt to conserve resources), worried that his massive early game lead with a host of discovery points (well, we did keep reminding him which may have been a little unfair). Byll's strike into the midwest/Mississippi was plagued by blight and he was not helped by being distracted by colonising the extreme west of Brasil. With very little pressure on my holdings from the south, the Amazon Basin forming a natural barrier between me and RME we settled down to exploit the 'treasure cities'. HA! The game was typified by the rapid (1-2 turns) depletion of Cuzco and Tenochtitlan, normally big earners and left me struggling for money, but not as bad as RIP and Byll who suffered several turns of blight and poor Byll's treasury hitting single figures! When you get to that stage you either learn to manage you assets or go under, and Byll played an excellent mid-game culminating in a sucessful circumnavigation of the New World and a respectable end treasury!

RIP recovered well helped by the Cod Banks, but more blight affecting RME sporadically reduced his income so we didn't get left too far behind in the money stakes. But neither Byll or RIP were in a position to expand into new areas by the endgame without friction, and my ability to join my far flung areas, from Southern California to Guinea, into a dutch empire allowed me to create 'Vice-royalties' worth a steady income in victory points, and a blight free Caribbean which I think allowed me to snatch victory from RME's solid performance.

I was quite surprised we managed to play so quickly, drawing on reserves of stamina playing until 1am, which belied our ages. I would echo RIP's request to get another game as soon as possible.