Simon DeSmet
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Navegador and Colonial are games which first glance look similar. They have a similar theme, renessiance through to imperial era exploration, colonisation and trading across the globe. They both have a sizeable ye olde map of a large portion of the globe, they both have wooden bits, and they are both Euro games of one sort or another.

But they are very different games. In this review my primary goal is to show you the difference, so you can be more informed when i come to parting with your pretty pennies. I will also be quite blunt about my opinions so if your easily offended by someone critising your favourate game don't read on.

What i wont be doing in this game is giving a detailed rule summary.

WARNING - THERE ARE SOME MILD SPOLIERS IN THIS ARTICLE. I WILL COMPARE THE STRATEGIC THINKING OF BOTH GAMES.


Raw stats and summary;

Navegador
I got this in the dice tower secret santa (thanks again santa and sorry if your offended by the fact i traded it off). I've played it at least 6 times (i dont keep a precise count). costs about £30-45 in the UK. Takes 5 players, play time in my experience can be quite variable.
Each player plays a renessiance noble competeing to explore the game and gain presitge. On your turn you use this circular track called a rondle to select an action. The actions you can select are things like move your ships, buy colonies (only where you have ships on the globe), buy more workers, buy more ships, buy buildings, take the goods your colonies / factories have churned out to the market etc. You can also select a prestige option that gets you a token with a number on it. (factories, shipyards, colonies etc) to gain points. They prestiege tolkens are really the key to the game. The game ends when everything is explored, or all the buildings have been bought. You then get points for all the stuff you've got. The prestige tolkens then multiply some of your stuff for more points. So for example you might have bought 5 factories - worth 2 points each normally (i think), so 10 points. But if you have a factory prestiege tolken worth 1, each factory is now worth 3 points, if you have 4 factory prestiege tolkens, well you can do the maths.

Colonial
I bought it on release at £60, so it is more pricy, have played similarly about 6 times. I feel i've played both games enough to review them, and give the ins and outs, but i cant give you the masters wisdom on them.

In colonial you are a european power, you use cards to order your actions. The actions you can choose are things like, explore a region (this involves rolling a dice to beat a number on the board), if you succeed in exploring, you get the foundation of a colony, you can
by putting down a one of your tolkens on good in that territory, putting more tolkens on your territories / goods, putting tolkens on other peoples goods and stealing them, bring goods to market, trading goods out he market, inciting rebellions, moving your self up various tracks using a few different cards (tracks like diplomacy, seafaring tech, economic power etc), or declaring war. The game ends when someone gets 10 victory points. YOu mostly get points from exploring and developing colonies.

The essence

In raw essence Navegador is a typical what i call mechanics euro. It has low player interaction, and low random factors, you build a economic system and make it efficient to earn points. Its a game of similar breeding to puerto rico, or glen more, or many other of these types of euros. Colonial on the other hand has a different essence, its a conflict based euro as well as a race. In my view it is far more ambitious game, but also a less tight game. For some people who know what they do and don't like ive already said all you need to know.



Strategy and Mechanics;

Both games use an action selection system. Navegador uses the rondle. This is a roundtrack that you move round. I stops you from repeating the same action repeatadly. Colonial gives you 6 cards, there are two actions on each card. Each turn you select 4 of these cards and lay them down. YOu then go round the table and each flip a card and resolve the action. What do these achieve? Well they both require you to plan ahead, but colonial more so that navegador. With your four cards in colonial you are limiting your self to 4 actions out of a possible 12 on all the cards per turn, you are also predetermining the order you are going to do things before you see what everyone else is doing. This means the order you pick can totally screw your turn. If some one empties the market of trade goods before you, your trade card might be useless, there are two actions on each card, so you could use the other action but that too might be useless. The rondle in navegador is much more adaptable. It does do a very good job of keeping the game moving (good for analysis paralysis players), and it is easy to see your opponents options on a given turn. This is a key difference here. Colonial has hidden information so you have to read the players intentions more, navegador puts everything in the game on display for all to see, making strategy easier to calculate. On the rondle your always pressed with a decision between getting round the rondle quickly and doing all the things you want to do. You need to race round to beat other players to certain actions (presitege and build in particular). IN colonial you are instead faced with picking one action from two on each card. Meaning you can both explore and improve your position on the diplomacy track (defending your from being attack via open war). These decisions can be cutting. Personnaly one point here to colonial for me, it creates more interesting decisions and more player interaction.


Navegador is about being efficient and finding a niche in the market. to make the most points out of the prestiege multipliers. Its about watching the other players an maximising your points whilst minimising theirs, its about getting around that rondle as efficiently as possible, its about calculation. Navegador for me can feel like a very presciptive game interms of strategy, my strategy is partly determined by the other players choices (not bad of its self) but this ultimatly doesnt leave me with many good choices. The best option often seems rather obvious.
In colonial you get your points either from exploring fast, or by building up colonies. the latter also gets you cash, which is important for defending your self from getting trashed by the othe players and keeping the points you get. As such colonial does have a hunt the leader tendancy, but this is what the game is about, and it's thematic of the era. If navegador is strategically presciptive, colonial is less so, but more dependant on your opponents. The amount of conflict vs race to vps in the game will be determined by the nature of your opponents.

YOu could try for example to up your self on the seafaring track (helps exploration by adding a number to your die role) and then exploring as madly as possible (you can still only explore once per turn), and race to ten vps that way. But the other players will see this, and try to cut you back, either by fighting you in war, which they have a good chance of winning if you have spread your self thinly across the globe with exploration, or insight a rebellion in your home country, both trashing your resources and taking vps from you. There is definitly the option for player conflict in colonial. Open warfare is very costly for both parties, i suspect you would only use to stop someone winning, or out of personal vendetta. Which raises an important strength and weakness of colonial and the euro game model as a whole. Most euros like navegador keep messing with each other to a minimum, so everyone can be happy. The upside of this is you wont get bullying, you can gang up on each other in colonial (depends on your game group really, mine are quite even handed). The downside is it reduced player empowerment. I sometimes feel mechanics euros are like being screwed by a lawyer. You know your getting screwed, but you don't have the resources to do anything about it, and it sucks. In games like colonial, even if your probably arn't going to win you can go and mash up that fool. Navegador is a game for folks that like to hide behind the brief case of the law, Colonial brings out down to the playground for a good scrap. Another point here to colonial for me, but i expect many will have the opposite view.

Dice - colonial has dice, navegador does not. The dice in colonial are used in three major ways; firstly exploration, and this is probably the most significant, secondly wars, here you fight a war in several different areas, navies, colonies, wealth etc. IN each area you throw special dice(these dice have two marked sides on a d6 giving a 2in6 chance of a hit) equal to the amount of stuff you have and remove stuff with each hit. You can go through the game with out ever fighting a war. And thirdly you can put privateers (priates) amoungst your opponents trade fleet and attack em using the special dice. Again this is a very uncompulsory part of the game and isnt that strategically impotant more often than not. Can the dice screw you over in this game? In my experience the best player will win, but the dice, particularly in the early game exploration can put you at a disadvantage.

Its worth saying you could modify colonial to be a pure euro. You could take the dice (assume you always role a 4 on exploration) and just have the seafaring track. You could either take out wars altogether or take the dice out them and simply just compare the totals of stuff and loose 20% each. You could take out all the player conflict and be left with a race to 10 vps game. It wouldnt be as good as navegador in this state but with play testing it could be workable and balanced. But its the lack of perfect knowledge that stops the game being pure calculation and efficiency and makes the game a matter of judgement and calculated risk.

Cooperation; In navegador, in my view there isnt any good reason to work with any of the other players, or talk to them beyond general socialisation. In colonial the trading mechanics allow you to trade other peoples goods to the market for both your benefit, this combined with the conflict encourages allianced and cooperative action.

Thematics

I wouldn't say either game has a pasted on theme. Historically exploration and colonisation of the world has very unpredictable and quite savage phenomenon. I think colonial captures this better. IN navegador when you explore, you loose one ship, so you always explore with atleast two. No chance is involved, you always loose one ship, just like that historical maxim where you always loose one ship. In Colonial a dice decides your fate, more thematic i think, not because dice equals theme but because a highly random phenomon is treated as random. In navegadors defence the colonies you find are random in terms of their value, this is the only random factor in the game. Im not an expert on portugese history so i can't say whether the various nobles involved ever acted above or bellow the law enguaged in piracy etc, but in navegador it appears they are all honest. In colonial turmoil is rife and immorality is rife. One point colonial


Accessibility; Navegador is a more accessible game, and a better family game. Its rules are easier to grasp, the board has all the important info laid out well. Colonial isnt a very complex game, but there is more going on that in navegador. One point Navegador


Components;

both games have two of the most beautiful boards in the boardgame world. Navegador has cool wooden meeples, particularly the ships. Colonial has wooden tolkens and card tolkens. It uses the set of wooden tolkens simultaniously for fleets, treasury, resource control, most things in the game really. This is a smart idea, but the wooden meeples look better. Its a draw here between the two as the colonial board is probably a bit nicer.


Game time; Navegador should be quicker than colonial, but not always so, it can drag with indecisive players, ive had one game last 4 hours, but 2 hours is more typical. Colonial is 2-3 hours usually, slightly longer. One point navegador if shortness is desirable.

Rules - Colonials rules are more flabby than navegador, it has 12 actions as apposed to navegadors (cant remember exactly how many there are) 7?. Theres also fewer ins and outs in the navegador rules.

other issues - the only other problem i'll note with navegador is going to market;totting up how much cash your going to get for your goods, can really slow the game down, particularly for players with poorer mental arithmetic. The maths isnt hard, but you have to hold alot of numbers in your head. If playing the game with kids, just bring a pencil and paper it will be good practice for them. But if your drunk, this probably isnt the best game to choose.


Conclusion

Navegador - more accessible, quicker, tighter rules. Less strategic depth, less ambitious, low player interaction, but despite my constant critisim, still a good game if you like euros, on par with puerto rico.

Colonial - less accessible, longer, flabby rools, middle wieght strategic depth, hidden information player interaction etc, quite ambitious, after 6 games i think it doesnt fully meet its ambition but has a good crack at it. Potential for both good player interaction fun, and very bad with a vindictive group. More expensive.
edit// Involves Dice roles - could be a negative or a pro, dice roles can be significant in the exploration part of the game, which can be painfully thematic.

I case you hadn't noticed i prefer colonial. Hence why i traded of navegador.

Some of you might be thinking i should have posted this view under colonials page. Well navegador is a more popular game so the review might be more useful here, also being antagonistic, it might spark more debate.
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Tom Stearns
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Love Colonial. I play with a pretty aggressive group and we have lots of conflict (war, rebellion, privateers) as well as across the table diplomacy. People who don't like being ganged up on when they are on the brink of winning will not like this game. We had one guy play with us that liked to be left alone, and when he wasn't, would hold vendetta for rest of game even to his own detriment. His post game comment was "this game doesn't reward good play." What ever that means. Needless to say he didn't win. The game rewards balance and diplomacy. You cannot just go all out in one area. We learned wuickly the importance of a strong navy, which makes since in a exploration and colonizing game. I have played Nevegador and felt "meh" about it. I would play it again but I haven't added it to my collection. Colonial I would buy if it wasn't so freaking expensive.
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Mycroft Stout
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Navegador is a fine game. Imho, Colonial is a more interesting game to play. And I agree, for me it's the player interaction that makes the difference.

Nice review!
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David Jones
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DukeofChutney wrote:
Most euros like navegador keep messing with each other to a minimum, so everyone can be happy. The upside of this is you wont get bullying, you can gang up on each other in colonial (depends on your game group really, mine are quite even handed). The downside is it reduced player empowerment. I sometimes feel mechanics euros are like being screwed by a lawyer. You know your getting screwed, but you don't have the resources to do anything about it, and it sucks. In games like colonial, even if your probably arn't going to win you can go and mash up that fool. Navegador is a game for folks that like to hide behind the brief case of the law, Colonial brings out down to the playground for a good scrap.


You REALLY need to try playing Imperial then. Same designer, also uses a rondel, but the game is a bit of a mix between a war game and an investment game. Its not easy to explain in only a few sentences. Anyway, Imperial is actually precursor to Navegador, but significantly more complex. If you're looking for a "good scrap," Imperial can beat you down pretty hard and somehow have you begging for more. Looking at the ratings in your profile, I think its more suited to your preferences.

Quote:
Cooperation; In navegador, in my view there isnt any good reason to work with any of the other players


I have to guess based on this comment that you either haven't played enough games with four or five players. If done correctly, two players can set things up so that they feed each other when going into the marketplace, so you can end up with some alliances. I will concede though that this isn't quite the same as "ganging up on the leader" and it doesn't totally lock out the other players. The point is, there is a bit more depth to the game that you haven't uncovered, but I will admit that it isn't enough depth to bridge the kind of gap you are looking at.

In the end, I think what will turn me off from Colonial is the dice. I already get the feel that a game can be won/lost early if die rolls favor or hurt a player during the colonization step. However, despite some of the comments in your review, this does not mean that eurogamers are adverse to hidden information. For example, the action selection in Colonial sounds a lot like the action selection used in Dungeon Lords, yet DL is rather highly rated game. Many people I play with find the bluffing/calculation involved in action selection to be invigorating. Nearly any successful strategy in Navegador of requires good market timing and lot of games can turn into competitions to see either how long you can hold or if you can beat a player with the same resources as you when the prices are good. I can easily see where Nav could become a more interesting game if some of your actions had to be chosen in advance.
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Al Johnson
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A group of 5 (or maybe 6) of us played Colonial at BGG CON and were VERY disappointed. We all agreed that it would almost turn into a game of diplomacy where we would all attack the leader since the game ended with the first player reaching so many point (believe it was 10). As a result, whenever someone got a couple points ahead of everyone else he would be attacked or people would not cooperate with him. We didn't even finish the game because we could all see this happening.

It would have been better if the game were just played for a set number of rounds. In fact, if that were the case it may be a very good game. However, with the game ending at a set number of points, it just didn't work with the group I played with.

We all agreed the game had promise but we also all agreed that we'd never play again with the rules as written.
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Tom Stearns
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Navegador » Forums » Reviews
Re: Navegador Vs Colonial Europes Empires Overseas; Or why i traded off my copy of Navegador
That's interesting Al because I played at BGG Con also. We had two 6-player games and one 4 player game. They were all 3 great fun. In our games the gang up on the leader didn't start until someone was at 8 vp's. The gang up tactic didn't stop us from completing all 3 games in a timely manner. The first game was a 4 hour game because we were learning. After one play we all felt comfortable with the rules and mechanics. Strategy though continued to be explored. The other two games finished within 3 hours. As I said previously though, our group was a pretty aggressive one.
 
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UA Darthmaul
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Conclusion should involve luck of dice rolls. A reason I would never even try Colonial.
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Simon DeSmet
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good point, i'll edit it.


Also to the above posters; I am aware that you can feed each other in navegador, but in my experience this can happen through opportunism as much as actual alliances.

I havent played imperial yet, but i am aware of it, and expect that i would like it more than navegador.

 
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Steve Duff
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Al Johnson wrote:
A group of 5 (or maybe 6) of us played Colonial at BGG CON and were VERY disappointed. We all agreed that it would almost turn into a game of diplomacy where we would all attack the leader since the game ended with the first player reaching so many point (believe it was 10). As a result, whenever someone got a couple points ahead of everyone else he would be attacked or people would not cooperate with him.


Blech, that's precisely why we detested Alien Frontiers. Awful game with the exact same result, there's a rotating leader board as each current leader gets repeatedly bashed until someone new becomes the leader, then that guy becomes the new bashee. The winner is the person who talks the others into not attacking him, or gets lucky and the others don't get the right things to attack him when he's the leader.
 
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Matt N

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I appreciate the thought and analysis you put into your review, but I'd really appreciate it if you'd copy your review into Word and just run a grammar and spelling check. Particularly for a long review, it would be much easier to grasp your points, and I think it would also help you to get more people reading the review all the way through.
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Kerry Harrison
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gohrns wrote:
Love Colonial. I play with a pretty aggressive group and we have lots of conflict (war, rebellion, privateers) as well as across the table diplomacy. People who don't like being ganged up on when they are on the brink of winning will not like this game. We had one guy play with us that liked to be left alone, and when he wasn't, would hold vendetta for rest of game even to his own detriment. His post game comment was "this game doesn't reward good play." What ever that means. Needless to say he didn't win. The game rewards balance and diplomacy. You cannot just go all out in one area. We learned wuickly the importance of a strong navy, which makes since in a exploration and colonizing game. I have played Nevegador and felt "meh" about it. I would play it again but I haven't added it to my collection. Colonial I would buy if it wasn't so freaking expensive.


Tom, who has Colonial in the Houston area?
 
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Tom Stearns
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Played this at BGG Con with a group that I regularly play with when I am in Ft Worth. I don;t know of anyone with it here, but it could be.

Rereading my post I can see where it sounds like we play it all the time.
 
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Maaike Fest
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Stunna wrote:
I appreciate the thought and analysis you put into your review, but I'd really appreciate it if you'd copy your review into Word and just run a grammar and spelling check. Particularly for a long review, it would be much easier to grasp your points, and I think it would also help you to get more people reading the review all the way through.


Yes!

And, prestiege tolken? Rondle?
 
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Clyde W
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Linksypoo: Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas
 
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