We played two rounds. I had low bombs both rounds, the others on one round.
Year of the Dragon
David 115 Nadine 114 Yonah 111
First play for Yonah. I stayed behind in turn order from the start. I had two double dragons, the others one. David got his books strategy going after mid-game, but it turned out to be just enough. He was uncontested in the lead by that time. He lost most of his people. I needed to have built one more time, but as David pointed out, I was lucky with the actions that were left. I only paid once for an action.
We decided that David hadn’t lapped me, until I remembered the contract bonus which he got. David and Yonah traveled earlier than I did, and much further, which helped them. I fulfilled 7 contracts, David 8, he took from the board in addition to his free ones.
Lior 10, Jon 10, Haim 1
First play for Lior and Haim. Haim kept losing his goods to theft.
OK, not as wrong as we thought – gondolas can go in either direction which is how we played, it’s not in the rulebook. I think we also may have gotten the scoring a bit wrong.
Haim just got this game and Ragusa, first play for all. Haim had watched a video, but read us the rulebook, which didn’t explain things very clearly. And it’s hard to see the tile actions, and the gondoliers kept falling out of the boats. It’s pick up and deliver which I usually don’t like, but that aspect seemed fine because there are other things going on, and the routes aren’t complicated, you go where you can.
Intrigue is bad and you keep getting it. At the end of the game, the person with the most Intrigue gets taken by the Inquisition, a theme element that I really don’t like. Haim had Intrigue of 3 in the last round, Eliezer had 6, he had a special ability to reduce it, and I had 8, the maximum. At the end you can reduce by paying coins and scrolls. If two players are tied, the last one in turn order loses; I was last in turn order. Instead of trying to fulfill my last contract which seemed unlikely, it gives money and points, I went to a tile to trade cubes directly for points, and focused on reducing Intrigue, managing to get it down to 1. Eliezer also got his below 3, and Haim ended up having the most. He was behind in points anyway so it didn’t cause him to lose. Game comments say you need to look at it as have zero Intrigue and the most points to win.
The game went slowly because we weren’t familiar with the tile actions, and needed to check rules. Eliezer started off really well by fulfilling a contract early, giving him money to travel. Haim and I should have used our bonus cards earlier, I used mine mid-game which helped, more than the 4 points for not using it would have. You can move one spot for free, so I slowly managed to fulfill contracts, and then get new ones. Haim took much longer to fulfill his first one. Contracts also give you ongoing bonuses. If you’re at 8 Intrigue you lose 2 points each time you’re supposed to go up, Eliezer and Haim lost more points that way than I did, which affected Haim more because he had fewer points.
The game seems tactical, though placing workers on the right tiles on a good route can help, I had a bridge in a good spot for me.
It will be interesting to play with the right rules, though then turns would be even longer, you could easily take 15 actions on a turn.
I don’t think it’s the same game as the Fleets of Venice prototype which I played at bgg.con in 2012, that also had cool gondolas.
Things we did wrong:
Taxes are on all contracts, we only paid for unfulfilled ones. We did realize that half-way through the game, but kept playing as we had been.
You take all the actions, in any order, on all tiles you pass by or end at where you have a worker, we played that you pick one action. This is a bgg comment: I don’t think the rulebook highlights well enough that your assistant gets to do the action it is on AND all those before it (if they choose to). The rule book says things like “choose from all the effects on the building”, which implies you pick one out of those available to you. Only the example at the bottom of that page, with small “and/or” on the segment 2 explanation really told us that we could do all actions. Even in PG’s rules video we didn’t think it was clear that you can do ALL the actions up to where your assistant is.Another comment: Exception: you cannot do that on the building your OTHER boat is at, instead you can swap cubes with the other boat there.
From the designer: The order of the operations is indeed in any order, I cannot find it in the rulebook now, but it’s already on my list of FAQs to improve into the rulebook.
We let Haim start and end at the same spot even though we were pretty sure you couldn’t; you can’t.
You only use 13 contracts including the starting ones, we used 13, but we may have excluded the starting ones, which makes the game longer.
We knew about the rule, but didn’t give victory points correctly with multiple boats in a location. We did do the Intrigue penalty.
Great to be back for an all vaxxed day after missing a full year of game days due to Corona. Thank you to Ken for coming from Ra’anana with a lot of new games, and teaching them.
Israel 115 Jon 110 Ken 77 (Nadine)
First play for all. This is how a worker placement game should be, where turn order does not eliminate critical actions. You feel like you have a lot of control over your actions and can basically plan, especially if you have money. There are a lot of possible actions, all of which you want, of course. Building pieces are similar to Scythe, with benefits as you place them. You get points from water management, by trying to build dams that help you and block others. I started playing but left after two rounds to join Gili and David. It was mainly because I was lazy, the game is hard, as a good game should be. I started with a short term goal instead of investing in the contracts that are needed, among other mistakes, and I’m not good at routes. The contract selection is uneven and luck dependent, having more available would mitigate that. An elegant and interesting game.
Victoria, Aryeh, David
Grand Austria Hotel
David 132 Gili 82 Aaron 63
First play for David and Aaron
Jon+, David, Aaron.
They played one round.
Heaven & Ale
Jon 88 Ken 50 Gili 36, Eliezer 38
Gili finally got to play. New to all except Jon. They all liked it but it was long with 4 players because rounds are added.
Lords of Waterdeep
Israel+, Ben, Avraham. Sounds like they played some things wrong at the start.
6 player draft, with semi-random matchups using new Theros Beyond Death booster packs.
Israel B 0-2 0wins Victoria UW 0-2 0wins Jon UW 2-1 4wins Dudu GR 2-1 4wins David GWB 2-1 4wins Nisan GB 2-1 4wins
H2h Nisan over Dudu Jon over Nisan David over Jon Dudu over David
4way die roll Jon 15, David 13, Dudu 12, Nisan 6 Only g3 of night was between 5&6
We had played before and reviewed the rules, but still played wrong – we never got rid of tiles which would have changed the game. David was doing really well, then I managed to increase my point track at the expense of my income track, but my personal bonus was Lowest Income. I had to go back 2 or 3 steps per turn. David’s was least money, which he didn’t get because I ended with no money. I didn’t realize that I had pay with negative income, when I took a tile and mentioned that I didn’t realize that, David noticed that I couldn’t buy the tile because I hadn’t paid last turn, I was able to do something else. It’s an elegant game.
Lior 15 Jon close, Nisan
Nisan: 7pts, I took the card that would’ve given Jon a top-deck-win.
Israel 104, Lior 88, Nadine 74, David 72
First play for all. Israel and Lior did very well, in round scorings as well as with other points. Israel was very civic minded, he often used a row that gave each of us two cards and a worm. David was very strong with the water row and card synergies, and he got a lot of cards out. I got the first round bonus, but then no others, and I had the least cards out. I thought the last round bonus was number of cards with eggs rather than eggs on that type of card, but in any case I didn’t have enough eggs.
A really nice game, I had heard a lot about it, and it’s justified. There is luck, but it can be mitigated, and there are multiple strategies.
Update: Turns out that we played a few things wrong: you’re not supposed to activate cards when you play a bird card, but we did; you can pay any two food tokens for any one food, we didn’t know about this; and you replace all face up cards on the tray at the end of each round, we didn’t.
Nadine F 27 Gili 24 Ken 19 Nadine 14
We played with 2 out of 3 expansions: Orange Cards and Area Bonus.
How a worker placement game should not be. Certain actions are critical without straightforward mitigations. You need to plant, harvest, produce wine, and fulfill contracts. Each spot has two spaces, you have one special worker for the round who can go third. It’s frustrating to get blocked on basic actions. OK, it’s not totally a worker placement game because of the card management. You can collect a lot of cards to get alternative actions, with limitations on when you can play them, also competitive, and a hand limit. So you do have action options, knowing the game and expansions helps but it feels complicated.
Ken knew the game and played well, but it wasn’t enough. Nadine F did really well, especially as she didn’t understand some things even though they were mentioned – that you need to convert grapes rather than blend wines, and that you can play two stars at once. When she was close to 25 which ends the game, she traded money and cards for points which got her there. I didn’t realize that contracts don’t need to be the exact number, Gili had asked but I missed it. I tossed a lot of cards at first due to the hand limit, but should have kept some of those. The turn order mechanic is interesting, you pick your position, with later turn order having more rewards, but the the same person goes first in all seasons of that round.
Oded 16 46 62 He had a coffee monopoly, an early wharf, and a harbor. No big buildings.
Eli 20 18 14 52 First time playing. He had 4 quarries, University, Hospice, Construction Hut, Hacienda, two big buildings.
Lior 18 25 8 51 First time playing, he had tobacco, and guild hall.
Nadine 18 33 51 I had factory and wharf, and harbor near the end when I couldn’t afford a big building, and tobacco. No big buildings.
Jon 22 19 9 50 Jon had manned tobacco by the second round, and factory. I shipped tobacco so that he couldn’t trade; he got me back later by producing – I got one good and no money, and had nothing to ship or trade. He had two big buildings.
Five-player PR is hard, and different with new players, but really good for a five-player game.
First play for David, a hard game to get the first time. We didn’t realize that Gili hasn’t played yet and really wants to, she came after they started.
Nadine 143 Gili 134 Aaron 106
Aaron only played once a long time ago. I got an extra turn because I started. Gili didn’t know a few rules, she would have gotten more points for building if she had realized she could go through blank spots. She got around 27 points for card bonuses. I mostly did 9 tiles and early military. Aaron focused on military because his first bonus was 2 points per military, but he didn’t do enough other things.
Sushi Go Party
Aaron 60 Nadine 45 Gili 34
I didn’t notice the minus on one card so I lost 4 points, but otherwise was way ahead first round. Aaron had most desserts, I had least. Gili and I both played Maki the same turn, twice.