Nadine, Gili, Kate, Eszter
Gili+, Kate, Nadine
I showed them how to play while waiting for Eszter to get here on a cold rainy night. Kate took the bus with 13-month-old Chana Tova strapped on. Rules are slightly different with three players, and it’s easier overall. We were all slow, but I was slowest. No fighting. I got the game from my bgg Secret Santa for my kids, mainly Yona. Eszter’s kids also play, she said the version sold here has a wooden stick, mine is soft rubber. Yona thinks the newer versions have rubber because the wood was too harmful.
Kate 43, Gili 39, Nadine 39, Eszter 33
First play for Kate who did an excellent job. Eszter had bad cards and couldn’t pay back her loan; otherwise the game felt close, we didn’t know who was winning, and were all pretty close in boroughs and poverty points. I ended up with the least by one, so they all got to toss down to one or two. The game ended before anyone was ready, and it was hard to do anything constructive on the final turns. Overall, there are different things you can do and different ways to get points, and there is calculation in how best to use your cards. But there aren’t that many options, you need to place cards to get rid of them, and buy boroughs for points and to reduce poverty. (Rats are more picturesque than London’s black poverty cubes, that’s France for you.)
No one bought Undergrounds, Kate had the least piles, three, and the most points on played cards. Gili was lucky at the end that a card she needed was available. We all agree that the game is not interactive at all. Here and there you can bother someone, or everyone, but not much, and it’s not clear who is winning so that’s somewhat random. Because of the lack of interactivity there’s no feeling of suspense or build up, and you don’t really know when the game will end. As opposed to games like Puerto Rico where you not only can foresee the end but have some control over it. Well, there is control here too, the person whose turn it is can decide not to end the game as Eszter did, Gili didn’t have better options. It is good that everyone gets a last turn. We all want to play more and get better, but it will be getting better at playing independently.