Loofish Ramblings

My thoughts and ponderings on games and gaming, including lunch time sessions, couple and family gaming and thoughts on the games that are catching my eye.
 Thumb up

Working Lunch: Trading Around the Baltic

United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Today's game is Hansa. It has been a while since we played this: 2009 for 3 of us and 2005 for J! So a light refresh of the rules is needed, with emphasis on the tricky parts like "one action per city".

For those unfamiliar, on each turn, you spend money to move the ship around various cities on the Baltic, where you can acquire goods and establish markets. The goods are used both for establishing markets (each barrel puts one market into the city) and for scoring points (cashing in sets of goods of the same color at the cost of one market). You can do as much as you like as long as you have funds (each movement costs a coin) and with the restriction that you can only do one thing in each city stop. Additionally, at the beginning of a turn you can pay a coin to replenish the goods in the cities - the end of the game is triggered when the last stack of goods is tapped. Money and action management are key - if you have market dominance in a city, someone acquiring a good pays you rather than the bank and you can take the good for free (paying yourself) as well. Scoring comes from the goods (one per chit and once they are cashed in, 1 for each barrel on them too) and from city presence (2 per city you have a market, a bonus 2 if you are alone there).

All of us establish a first market, Rick takes his opportunity to cash in a first shipment - incidentally costing both J and I a blue good. Tom also pursues some early delivery, whereas J and I put more markets around the place. Their initial lead begins to recede and both of us make some tasty deliveries in multiple colors. Rick begins to pursue markets more diligently and indeed is able to put all of them into play at one point. Tom continues to keep his market presence short (losing markets in a city on 2 occasions), going for short term gains. The board fills up and Rick triggers the end of the game. One last round and we make our last deliveries. J and I both claim a monopoly in one city (making them worth extra points) and 3 of us have 5 or 6 cities; poor Tom managed only 3. The game would go to the tie-breaker: most markets on the board, which I take by a whisker.

Rick: 21 goods + 12 markets = 33 points
Me: 27 goods + 14 markets = 41 points (with 10 markets)
J: 29 goods + 12 markets = 41 points (with 8 markets)
Tom: 24 goods + 6 markets = 30 points

My (hazy) memory of this game is such that the 2 player game is the best as it limits the chaos of what happens when it is not your turn. You can be royally screwed when it comes to your turn or you can get lucky and be in prime position. Part of the game is judging where to stop the boat so the next player does not get a free ride. However, perhaps my memory was indeed hazy as that did not seem to be such an issue today - occasionally someone would be stuck with the boat far from anything useful, but it seemed fairly indiscriminate and we each refilled the cities' goods (indicating a turn where you have few options if you don't do that). The game ticked along at a decent pace - it pushed the limits of the hour though and there are turns where you have some down time while all the possibilities of movement are considered. Folks with highly AP prone friends beware.

One aspect of a game that deteriorates with more players is that the game becomes much more tactical as the value of having a "strategy" breaks down. But Hansa does not seem to suffer that as much as I expected - the player who played most tactically (Tom) came last. I was well behind at one point early on, but that time establishing board presence gave me more options and allowed me to catch up and overtake. So clearly my pre-game reservations were unjustified. Well, perhaps, as I can still foresee games where good play may not be so rewarded, but it is short and engrossing enough that I'll look to see it again before another 2-6 years have gone by.
Twitter Facebook
Subscribe sub options Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:54 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.