March 14, 2018

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Haim S, Haim G, Nadine S, Gili, Eszter, Lorenzo, Efrat

I actually can’t remember if Efrat has actually come before, but I think she did once. It’s also been a long time since either Haim G or Eszter graced us.

Parade

Lorenzo 9, Jon 12, Haim G 12, Nadine S —, Haim S —

I forgot to write the scores down, but something like that. First plays for Nadine S, Lorenzo, and Haim G.

Princes of Florence

Nadine S 57, Gili 53, Haim G 45, Lorenzo 43, Haim S 37

First plays for all but Gili, I think. Unsurprisingly, Nadine S won again, with two 24 WV works on the last round.

Clans of Caledonia

Nadine 136, Jon 131, Efrat 129, Eszter 118

First plays for Efrat and Eszter. With explanation, the game took around 3 hours. I realized by the middle of round 3 that I was doomed. The score above actually took me by surprise, and I expect it is because I made a mistake in an upgrade or counting points. I think I should have scored lowed. On the other hand, I was 3 deliveries ahead of everyone else, so the 40 points I was shy on the board and with goods I guess is nearly made up by the deliveries which are worth 12 to 20 points.

I had the extra delivery slot, Nadine S took the extra first settlement and 2 shipping upgrades, Efrat had the reduced cost on river deltas, and Nadine took the whiskey money. I only really made use of mine on the first and last rounds. Nadine made money hand over fist and easily dominated the board, but I guess somehow didn’t concentrate on deliveries enough. Efrat also had good board spread and Eszter wasn’t far behind. I didn’t bother fighting them for it, which saved me some effort. Nadine: I tried for more deliveries but wasn’t able to – partly because everyone else managed to select contracts before I did. And I was mainly producing whiskey, which I used for contracts so I couldn’t sell them for money.

I also spent extra money buying things, rather than investing in producing them, which made me perpetually cash shy. But I still came close.

Eszter miscalculated on the last round, which is why she is a little further behind (she couldn’t make her last delivery).

The game is definitely good, but it is rather fiddly, especially since money is tight and there are many options, so you keep forgetting which one you decided on and then need to take it back so you can have the money for what you really intended to do. Maybe a loan mechanic would help. But there are already a few too many mechanics (round bonuses, $1 when counters cross 5 points, and harbors come to mind). Frankly, one of the main mechanics doesn’t make sense to me: very fiddly and unthematic. Why give points for number of settlements in a group instead of number of hexes in the group? Hexes would seem to make more sense. You are still encouraged to spread out in order to get the neighboring production/market bonuses.

Ah well.

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