Anthony SimonsUnited Kingdom
Royal Wootton Bassett
Perhaps I worry too much; perhaps it's just not as big a deal as I am making it out to be; but I cannot help but feel rather dejected when a game I particularly like for its variety of approaches seems to buckle under the strain of one particular strategy.
I recently acquired a copy of Navegador, last year's rondel-based offering from the inimitable Mac Gerdts via Eggertspiele. I think it's a fantastic game; it does for me what I wanted Endeavor to do, and it's a great strategic experience. But one player in our group is starting to clock up consistent wins through a church-building strategy.
By the time the rest of us realise what she's doing, it's usually too late to easily prevent it, so on we go pursuing other approaches. Maybe I have missed something; Alexfrog's excellent strategy article would seem to point towards a couple of options, but the best I could come up with was trying to force the game end by exploration to reduce the church-builder's chances of putting their engine into overdrive (and forcing game end through building). The closest success I have had is a gap of eight points.
One hopes this is just a touch of initial panic on my part, and that the approach proves to be about as guaranteed as the corn strategy in Puerto Rico. I remember how folk first thought this was almost insurmountable, until they discovered the various choking points that could be used to quickly undermine it.
Still, regardless of whether or not it is a problem, I am rather concerned about the church-building strategy. If it truly cannot be beaten (even with some difficulty), then it would seem my first impressions of Navegador are wrong; the game is less about Portuguese exploration and more about - well - building churches. That bothers me; to the extent that I might as well be packing up the game at turn six, when one player has built their second church.
Of course, I'm not going to give up on the potential strategies just like that; for example, to date there has not been much rondel skipping. The probable reason is that it costs a ship for each extra space in this game; and ships are a valuable commodity for progression. There's only one thing for it; I am going to have to play this game much more. Yes, I think I'm gripped by it; compelled to find a way past the church-building. I must be missing something...