Gili, Hersh, Cliff, Eszter, Binyamin, Nadine
Fifth night of Chanukah. Gili and Eszter hosted while I was away, they played Louis XIV and Princes of Florence. I played It’s Alive!, Trivial Pursuit, Bridge and Scrabble with my family in California.
Eszter 77, Nadine 72, Hersh 71, Gili 69, Cliff 58
Five people had said they were coming. I spent 45 minutes sorting and setting up Hawaii, which my nieces and nephews had helped me punch out in California. Maybe quick once you know how, a puzzle board, more different pieces than Shipyard, so far the record holder, little huts – I realized after assembling them that the roofs need to match, of course all 5 were wrong. So I hadn’t finished reading the rules by the time people arrived, and we started working things out. Different people showed up than expected, and we were 6, Eszter and her son Binyamin were happy to be a team.
So we played and corrected rules as we went. We did pretty well, but different people missed different rules. And after one or two rounds we had a better idea of what we should have done strategically. The rules were very clear that you can’t mix types of purchasing resources, I was willing to play that you could, though there’s no good reason to change rules before playing at least once, we didn’t. We all assumed that the resources you receive each round increased as the game went on when it turned out to be the opposite. We used the wrong resource quantity card, the next one rather than the completed one, but were able to make up for it when we realized, and gave out the extra resources.
There are two main scoring systems – during and at the end of each round of 5, and end game for your village set-up. Round scoring is difficult and competitive, I gave up on it after getting the extra 6 points for being first one round. End game scoring is limited too, you can’t repeat buildings in a village, and most give you resource benefits rather than points. The spear scoring bonus card which gives points every time you get a relevant chip was strong and is why Eszter won. The fruit strategy is also strong due to synergy of gaining resources and getting bonus points for the cards; I had zero fruit. I did have the card that let me pay only one foot to travel, which was handy. Gili had the bonus for boats card, which explained why she got a third boat. Hersh did well with fruit and tikis. Cliff didn’t understand the end game scoring, he had arrived late. He won the most points bonus on at least one round.
The art and variability is very nice, and there is a good choice of strategies. We all liked it except Cliff, and look forward to playing it now that we understand how it works. Now that we know what the pieces are, and they’re in the 15 or so baggies that came with the game, the set up won’t be hard.
After playing, Cliff said he puts it in the same category as Shipyard, a game he doesn’t like, but he’s more of a wargamer than a Eurogamer. He asked why I bought it, I said I didn’t, I got it from my Secret Santa, along with Walnut Grove. It was on my wishlist as a 3 – I only had two 2’s, both filler games, which is what we need but makes me hard to shop for when my Secret Santa apparently wanted to get really nice games, which is appreciated.