Tag Archive | shipyard

Four games played in the time it takes some of us to play one

Josh, Elisheva, Sara, Roy, Daria, Erik, Gili, Jon, Cliff, Nadine

OK, three and a half. We had to go to two tables. Daria is a friend of Roy’s, Cliff is mostly a wargamer who is raising his own game group so he doesn’t come often.

We sorted and dealt David and Goliath, but stopped when more people showed up.

Revolution

Elisheva 176, Roy 160, Daria, 57, Josh 53, Sara 44

They picked this because it was five-player, I switched to Shipyard so Josh could teach and play it.

Puerto Rico

Josh 60, Daria 47, Roy 35

From partially listening to Josh’s explanation, Jon and I got the impression that we would teach and play differently than he did with new players; Daria and Roy are new to Eurogames.

Tribune

Elisheva, Sara, Erik

When Erik arrived, Sara and Elisheva left the Puerto Rico explanation to teach this to Erik. They had to stop before finishing the game because Elisheva had to leave suddenly.

Berserker Halflings in the Dungeons of Dragons

Josh 9, Erik 27, second round Josh 37, Erik 13

Josh taught this card game that he brought, he comes equipped with a bag of games.

Shipyard

Jon 109, Cliff 70, Gili 67, Nadine 57

This game took longer than all the other games together. The explanation took a while, and we had to look up rules even though we’ve played before. It’s long with 4 players, and the bonus cards work differently, you lose two after two rounds. I thought I was doing worse than I was, the three of us ended up pretty close. Cliff would have had 63 but we let him switch bonus cards for the logical one because it was his first play. Gili did well with her bonuses and ship points. Jon spent time thinking everything out, and we could see it was paying off so we knew he was going to win. He had great bonus cards with good synergy, the 4 points for navigation cards, he had five, and the zillion points for lots of ships; in addition to playing his bonuses well he says he also had luck in addition. Cliff said the game grew on him, it’s fiddly but also challenging.

 

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Revolutionary Professional

Gili, Josh, Sara, Elisheva, Eszter, Eitan, Emily, Nadine

We told Josh about our meetings when we ran into him at Bigor and gave him a ride back, he was in Emily and Eitan’s RPG group, and is a demonstrator for Steve Jackson games.

Instead of starting with a filler while waiting, Josh taught Revolution. They had begun playing by the time the others arrived and I started explaining Shipyard; between the explanation and playing that took us all evening. I’ve been moving books around to make space for games; if more people show up we’ll need another table.

Revolution

Elisheva+, Gili, Josh, Sara

A Steve Jackson game with a board that reminded us of Clue.

Tribune

Elisheva+, Gili, Josh, Sara

They finished Tribune as we were getting to the end of Shipyard. Gili taught the game, first play for everyone else, they played with victory conditions which included a mandatory tribune. Elisheva and Gili both finished in the same round, the tie breaker scores were 26 for Elisheva and 24 for Gili. They liked the game.

R-Eco

Sara+, Gili, Josh, Elisheva

First play for Josh, they played with random chips.

Shipyard

Emily 66*, Eitan 62, Eszter 60, Nadine 52

I taught this, first play for the others. It takes a while to explain everything so that they understand before the game starts, and it takes time to set up. I wasn’t doing well from the beginning, I didn’t concentrate enough and didn’t play strategically. I did explain pretty well though, and gave Eszter good advice, so she took things I wanted right before I could, like the card for not needing a propeller. The contract cards drive strategy and help players focus. I sailed 4 ships for my cards, everyone else sailed two. The game is more challenging with 4 than 2, it’s harder to get the actions you want, or be in position to get what you need.

*Emily didn’t hear or remember that you couldn’t pay to move on the train rondel; towards the end of the game she moved one to sell 3 coals at 4, and we didn’t notice. We couldn’t undo the action because she wouldn’t have gone there if she had known. I had gotten a two coal card in anticipation, though I don’t know if I would have been able to go there at the right time. But she played very well, and most likely legally otherwise, so we’re giving her the win.

A close game of Die Werft

Shipyard

Nadine 65, Kate 61

We met Tuesday instead of Wednesday due to Yom Hashoah, so fewer people came, and at the last minute Gili couldn’t come as planned. Kate didn’t bring some new Jewish-themed games that Moshe got to review because they were relatively long and luck-based.

We played Shipyard which was a good review for me. I had to figure out the game in order to teach it; this is one of those games where I let other people run everything. So now I understand how the train rondel works, how to calculate ship points, and the two-player turn rondel which is different, each player has two placements. There are other variations for two-players, spread out all over the rules, and we had to clarify some using the German version.

Kate did very well. She had synergy with employees and a bonus card for cranes, I had it for sails and smokestacks. But she miscalculated the length of the game and the number of ships she’s be able to sail, so she kept one wrong bonus card. The card she tossed would have given her an additional 3 points. I was short one turn, I needed a sail for a 4th 6 point bonus that I didn’t get. So after all our efforts the game turned out very close.

It’s not bad with two players, but not as fun, though the turns go fast. There’s less movement on the rondels, and with the things to take. I didn’t find it in the directions but I took half the middle #I ship cards out so that we’d get to the #IIs, though there’s not much difference.

 

 

June 01, 2011

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, David K

Quiet night.

Saikoro

Jon+, Gili

Gili is not into abstracts, but she agreed to try this quick game. I vaguely recall that when I first got the game, I could shake the dice while they were in the box; I see that this is not possible, so my memory must be faulty. This inability detracts from the ease of setting up the game.

Otherwise, it’s a very nice, quick, and pretty abstract game.

San Juan

Gili 36, Jon 33, Nadine 24

We had some trouble coming up with a filler game to play until Gili finally suggested this. I played several buildings to help my production and trading, and a Smithy. I had all 12 buildings built, two of them large buildings, and a Chapel going, too. But, in the end, Gili got a mid-game Guild Hall and that was that.

Time to a) change Guild Hall or b) disallow multiples of production buildings. It’s simply too unbalancing. This happens in nearly every game.

Homesteaders

Gili 58, Jon 56, Nadine 51, David 50

Gili suggested this and I never turn this game down, as it’s my favorite game (or thereabouts, anyway). It’s enjoyable the first few times, and gets better as you learn all the possibilities. I can see that I’ll want some variant buildings maybe a few dozen more plays down the line; but we have a long way to go before that happens.

I thought I started out ok. I managed a good balance of trade chips. But I realized on turn five that I was severely lacking in trade goods: no gold, cows, or copper. Thus, I wasn’t able to take Church on round 5 or 6 like I generally aim for. Instead, Gili was the one with the early gold mine, and David swiped the other one. Gili saw me going for Church on round 7 and easily stole it from me.

I finally acquired good resources (a cow machine) and money as we neared the end, but not with enough sway to get the two Railroad Stations; David took those, though he paid a lot of resources to do so (bidding 16 in round 10, plus the coast of the three buildings). He didn’t have enough in the way of other VPs and he lost a lot paying off his final debts.

Just like San Juan, Gili had fewer buildings than I did but beat me by a few points. Nadine passed a few too many times, taking the 3 points on the railroad track at least twice.

Shipyard

Jon 83, Nadine 78, David 53

First play for David. I thought I could teach this quickly and we could play it fairly quickly (only 25 actions for each player, after all). I taught it quickly. And it didn’t appear to bog down at any point. But it took longer than I anticipated, around 2 hours. David had to leave before the last two turns were taken, so we played his turns for him.

We also played the missions correctly for the first time. In previous games we simply kept all of our missions, having missed the little note where it says to discard one of each color after the first and second passes.

I chose the 6 points per ship with smokestack, sail, and propeller over the 4 points per used water tile. The latter can be nice, but there’s no way to get multiple water tiles in a single action. My other mission was 3/10/17 points for 6 piece ships. I ended with 35 points from my missions, far more than David’s 22 and Nadine’s 18 or so.

My three boats scores 15, 15, and 18. Nadine’s one big boat scored 30 (10 speed, and landing on a 10 space flag, plus assorted other scoring features, and another scored pretty well, too. David concentrated on his missions, which included double smokestacks and number of ships, but missed out on some other scoring possibilities on the way. One of his boats only scored two points.

David adds: I had actually given up on winning quite a bit earlier. My strategy had been based on my bonus cards. I think if I had known how to play better it might even have been viable, but for a newbie it was WAY too ambitious as it required me to sail 6 ships. When I realized (fairly early) that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish that I took your advice on setting a lower goal for the game.

Nadine adds: I had 15 bonus from having everything [every type of item] and 8 or 10 from blue and yellow cards, more than 18 [this works out to 23 or 25]. It’s hard to work on two bonuses at once, and we used to play with six.

March 30, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Binyamin

Light game night, long game.

R-Eco

Nadine 24, Jon 5, Gili 5

Or thereabouts. Nadine just killed us. I ended with 15 positive points, but I had had to dump 10 cards. Gili hadn’t dumped at all. Nadine had dumped 3 cards.

Shipyard

Binyamin 124, Jon 98, Gili 98, Nadine 94

First play for Binyamin. Both he and Nadine took fairly long turns, especially at the beginning. Binyamin was particularly concerned with squeezing every last drop out of all six of his mission cards; can’t say it wasn’t worthwhile for him. However, the game took 3.5 hours (including explanation, which wasn’t all that long).

Binyamin really likes this type of fiddly game. I like some fiddly games, and I like this one, when it doesn’t take too long. The key factor in a fiddly game that makes it fun is if there is always something worthwhile to do. If the fiddliness is accompanied by a sense of helplessness and frustration for lack of progress, it can be dull. Also, if the fiddliness is simply imposed to make what should be straightforward into something complex and obscure, just to make it complex and obscure, it can be grating. The latter is how Nadine feels about the game.

I compare the game to Le Havre, but Binyamin liked it better then Le Havre and better even than Agricola.

I pulled nearly entirely useless blue missions; just useful enough to make me waste my time trying to eke 8 points out of them, when I would have been better off concentrating on nearly anything else. My green missions – number of ships, number of ship tiles, number of 5 tile ships – gave me 50 points, which was about average for everyone, except Binyamin who managed to get 72 points out of his missions. I built my fourth 5 tile ship on the last turn; it was only worth 2 points on its own, but boosted my missions nicely.

To play the game correctly, you really need to count your actions, which I’m generally doing around the time that I have 8 actions left.

March 09, 2011

Participants: Mace, Gili, Jon

Game night at Mace’s house, since mine was being painted and Nadine had other plans. I bought two games, and those are the games that we played. Once again, I didn’t take notes.

Glory to Rome

Jon 21, Mace, Gili

The game took only an hour. Three players, so less sites, and this was our second play. Mace was hoping to do another Forum victory, but the rapid decline of sites, the lack of any supporting cards to quickly add to his Clients, and my stealing his Forum card scuttled that plan.

I saw the dwindling site supply and so I did an early Vault which was very lucrative for me; we didn’t use Vault in the last game and so the other two weren’t planning for it, I think. After I did mine, however, they started to catch up with Vault, so I ended the game by building the last four sites.

Shipyard

Jon 110ish, Mace 105ish, Gili 90ish

First play for Mace, second for Gili and me. I explained the game better this time, and Mace appeared to be up to speed already at the beginning of the game.

Once again, the game reminded me strongly of Le Havre, with all of its little bits overflowing the board, the constant trading of this for that, and the essential feeling of “you versus the board” rather than “you versus the other players”. An Ameritrasher’s nightmare. While the game has you intensely focused, it – as do other games that are Ameritasher’s nightmares – seems to lack a little something in the way of soul. Too many cards, numbers, and bits to match, not enough “play”.

I’s still happy to play it, but I feel like I could read a magazine while doing so, which is the same way I feel about Caylus (actually, I liked Caylus less).

I produced a number of ships to match my required missions, but I needed propellers, and a) barely any of the ships had propellers and b) Mace and Gili took the workers who lets you add an extra propeller to any ship. Without that worker, and without ships that let you add propellers, you’re pretty much sunk as far as producing ships with much value: they’ll have little speed and little points for their trial run. At the end of the game, I looked at the remaining sterns and saw that 8 out of 10 had propeller space. I won anyway because I took the two ships that had the propeller space, and because I focused on my other missions.

Mace also did well with his missions, but poorly with his ships. Gili had a 29 point ship, but that was one of only two ships that she launched. After the first two laps, I planned out the rest of my turns; Mace tried to do the same, but Gili stole the one action he needed on the last round, preventing him from taking a smokestack and at least 10 extra points for his ship.

Feb 16, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Mace, David K, Avi K

David returned after a long absence, and brought his son Avi.

Nile

Mace, Gili, Nadine, Jon/Avi

Mace wanted to play this for the filler game. He started off quite well. I gave up my position to Avi when he came, because he likes the game more than I do, though I think the game may grow on me if I play it several more times. I don’t know what the results were, if any.

Carson City

David 60something, Mace 40something, Avi

First plays for David and Avi, Mace taught them. I don’t know much else about the game, but I think they all enjoyed it.

Shipyard

Gili 110something, Nadine 90something, Jon 80something

This is what happens when I don’t write scores down. First play for all of us, we learned some of the rules and all of the strategy as we played.

At first the game seemed interminably long and complex, as Euros tend to do. Just setting up the game took an hour; and, like Le Havre, the game pieces are not easily stacked on the board and tend to make a complete mess, unless you invest in some kind of cup holder system for the parts.

“Like Le Havre” is also the feel we had for the great number of pieces and turn methodology in the game. Unfortunately, Le Havre is just on the other side of the border that Agricola just manages to just stay within: a great sprawling complex game which is fun, but only if all the players are experienced and able to take their turns in a timely manner. And yet difficult to get that experience and hard to take one’s turns in a timely manner.

The game is a series of rondels and queues, around eight of them. The main one is the action rondel. On your turn, you move the action marker that you used last time to the front of the queue and then you take any available free action, except the one you used last time. If you take an action not used often (i.e. further back in the queue) you get some money, though not much.

The actions are either a) move a marker around one of the rondels and take one of the items now marked (or pay to move the marker more spaces), or b) take one of the items in one of the queues (for free if at the front of the queue, or pay a little extra for items later in the queue).

When you complete a “ship”, you gain points for various items on your ship and how well those items match other items on your waterways. At the end of the game, you gain points for items you have acquired during the game in from hidden missions, most of which must be on ships that you’ve completed.

There. That’s probably the quickest explanation ever for this complex a game.

Nadine, as usual, found it dry at the beginning; she tends to judge games harshly if the tactics and strategy are not more accessible, espeically if they have a lot of pieces. I think she began to soften a bit as the game came to a close, mostly because she beat me. Gili managed a triumphant first ship of 24 points, and then some great end scoring to boot.

I look forward to playing again, but I’m not sure how often it will make it to the table.