July 22, 2015

Participants: Gili, Nir, Jon, Nisan, Yaacov, Eszter, Nadine, Aaron, Natan

Gili hosted in preparation for the three weeks I will be away and to show off her new apt. Over the time I was in Ra’anana, several people have been amassing game collections, including Gili and Eszter. Aaron will be in India for a few weeks, but he and Aaron and some of the others appear to be new regulars, for which I’m happy.

Macao

Jon 88, Nadine 67, Natan 62, Aaron 60

First play for Natan, second or third for Aaron. Natan took a commanding lead with activated cards, which made us think he was winning around mid-game. Something stalled for him, however. The payments for points were often hovering at too high a cost and he wasn’t getting much in the way of shipping, city, or game end points. Aaron had some good synergy with red cubes and money, and a good performance in the city, but otherwise not much else to say and two dumped cards.

Nadine ended the game with a massive 30 point shipping run, but lost 12 points to unactivated cards. She was in first place on the wall for the last half of the game, except for the two rounds I needed to be first and was. She also had a good city presence.

I lagged behind for much of the game, but I was acquiring the goods I needed plus two bonuses for shipping: 1 double for all rice and 1 “plus 1” for all delivered tiles. We were not sure if that meant that I acquired 23 or 26 points for my rice delivery. I had not much to say in the city, but I bought points on most of the later rounds and I had 21 game ending points in cards.

We played with my luck equalizer where each round you can spend 1 coin to adjust 1 die +/-1. It definitely helped some, but it’s nowhere near enough. One negative effect of the change is that – maybe – less people bought points than they might have, since many coins went to adjusting the dice. On the other hand, they would have had less activated cards and hence less points, anyway. But the change is simply not enough. The game mechanics – the market, the price of the cards, etc – are all fairly balanced, and there is simply no simple way to change the dice mechanic without breaking it. The game might benefit if the next round’s four cards are all face up – thus allowing you to know what the next round’s market will be and what cubes you might want to aim for this round – but given all of the calculations you already have to do, it would add even more calculations to the game. The sad fact is that the game has too much luck and there is not much to do about it. You simply have to enjoy it for what it is or not get upset when the black die rolls 1s and 2s for 8 rounds in a row.

Princes Of Florence

Gili 63, Nisan 53, Yaacov 45, Eszter 40, Nir 33

First play for some of them, I don’t know what happened.

Thanks to Gili for hosting, and for everyone for coming.

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