So we picked something lighter.
In the Shadow of the Emperor (4P)
Yet another influence game. Quick rules review and we were off. Nix got to be Emeperor, and spent the next three turns defending his seat by snarfing up as many of the Emperor election cards as possible. Church influence was strong as he held Trier, and the empire cities gave him leverage elsewhere. G was concentrating on hanging on to Mainz and buying a VP each turn (which she got to do 4 times). Of course, the requisite game of musical chairs was ongoing. The Frog got caught without a chair for a couple of turns, which weakened his standing. We finally broke Nix's strangehold by voting The Frog as emperor on the fourth turn, but serious damage had already been done. Nix finished the game by building out, I decided to take a couple more electorates, and the endgame was close.
The Frog: 14
In the Shadow of the Emperor is one of the more interesting area majority games, mainly due to the aging of the aristocrats and the entertaining gender selection of descendants. We don't feel that the emperor is especially overpowered, since there is not insignificant opportunity costs associated with hanging on to power. It may be musical chairs, but the ride is pretty damned good.
Okay, so that wasn't as light as was needed. Deej had arrived in the interim, and despite it being past midnight we wanted to get a 5P game in, so we broke out Traumfabrik (still with the modern tiles pasted on).
Dream Factory (5P)
I was running on fumes at this point. Still, I got to complete the first general entertainment film: Raiders of the Lost Ark with Nicole Kidman and Martin Scorsese at the helm ($180M at the box office). I thought I was in pretty good shape for some awards. Of course, since I was suffering from sleep deprivation I was unable to keep tabs on anyone else. That's pretty much fatal in T-Fab. The Frog, a master of this game even when half-asleep, not only completed the first comedy in the first season ($110M Galaxy Quest with Morgan Freeman), he also trumped me with an even better general entertainment offering - Gladiator with Russell Crowe, helmed by Peter Jackson, raking in $210M at the box office. He also completed a $140M drama - Saving Private Ryan with Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore and Harrison Ford. At the end of the game, The Frog's Dreamworks studio swept ALL the major awards. All of them. Except for the "it's so bad it's good" film which Nix took.
It's been a long time since I was able to complete four films in T-Fab. Despite that, my Paramount studios only grossed $580M, a distant second compared to the $1.15 billion that Dreamworks raked in.
'Twas a massacre.
Damn, I thought that this was good enough to challenge for the win.
Oh well. We called it a night while I was still capable of driving home. Next week, we plan to get Die Macher back to the table. My fingers will be crossed.