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User Rating Comment Status
Ray Swan
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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10
Aug 2009*
1st played this around 2002 and 8 years later it still holds a top spot. Settlers, El Grande, and others have drifted by the wayside for me but I'm still eager to play this any chance I get.

I would almost consider this the perfect euro.

1. good player interaction
2. simple rules
3. very tactical
4. Plays in at around 1 hour.

If I had to cull my collection to under 20 games, this one would make the cut.

2010-11-12
Owned
richard glanzer
United States
forest hills
NY
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10
Nov 2012

Looking for new ZMAN edition

One of the best mechanisms I've ever seen in a game. The first person to drop out of the building becomes the canal builder. The other players can bribe him to influence placement of the canal, or the overseer can pay the bank, the maximum bid +1 for a canal space, and place the canal where he wants. It is a wonderful equalizer as the builder has power, even tho' he may not have the money to win the bidding. Mechanism is nasty and wonderfully frustrating.
2015-03-08
Owned
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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10
Jul 2007*
I really had to think long and hard about giving this a nine. But, here's the deal, it has every thing I like in it wrapped in a nice package. Mild negotiation, innovative Auction Mechanic, fun area control mechanism, evokes the theme, lots of interaction, and most of all there is a high but controllable screwage factor.
This game has a terrific sense of incorporating all the things I love in modern Eurogames in a new and insightful manner. Great Bidding system, wonderful area control mechanism, Fine sense of movement, nicely balanced turn order, and edgy negotiations that don't overwhelm the game. Plus, you can just be down right nasty. One of the most under-appreciated games I've played.
This one is going to find itself among my favorites.

UPDATE: After many plays this has well earned its ranking, in fact I've upgraded it to a 9.5. One of the best games made in my opinion. UPDATE: This bloom has never faded, it just gets better and better. I have to give it a 10.
2007-07-04*
Owned
Bryan Johnson
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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10
Feb 2012
An extremely challenging and interesting game with some nice features. I love how you can bribe the Canal Overseer to get the water flowing in the direction of your choice. This is a fun game of economics and irrigation.
2005-10-06*
Owned
Phillip Schwarzmann
Finland
Espoo
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10
Nov 2005*
So elegent and pure, lots of strategy/tactics packed into a small amount of time. A must have.
2005-11-15*
Owned
Matt Muller
United States
Holland
Michigan
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10
Dec 2005*
Game plays best with 5 players. I would rate it an 8 for fewer players
2005-12-11*
Owned
Mister Lookback
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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10
Jan 2006*
Excellent! Simple and very fun, yet deep and involving! Players compete to try and get the best location for their plantations and keep them irrigated. The auction and bribe mechanism is just brilliant and makes this game very fun, interactive and balances the dynamic quite nicely. There's always tough decisions to make and never enough money to make them, which makes for interesting and delightful game pay. Highly recommended!
2006-01-07*
Owned
geert van loo
Belgium
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10
Jun 2009*
Excellent game
2006-02-08*
Todd Walker
United States
Culver City
CA
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10
May 2006*
bought at going out of business sale for a steal. Haven't played.
2006-05-08*
Owned
Homo Ludens
Canada
St. Albert
Alberta
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10
Oct 2010
Best negotiation game EVER, but only with 4 or 5 players
2006-07-16*
Owned
Michael Medlin
United States
Montara
CA
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10
May 2009*
I love this game. The auctions are almost always exciting, with difficult choices given the bidding mechanic. The negotiations are intense with lots of ways to play it. One of my favorite 5 player games.
2006-10-17*
Owned
Karl Hanf
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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10
Apr 2011
Excellent! My favorite 5-player game; also excellent with 3 or 4. Some nice use, abuse, and extortion; oh yeah, and some temporary teamwork! Can feel "personal" (though not as much as backstabbing games like Diplomacy).
2012-06-10
Owned
Eddy Bee
United States
Marin County
California
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10
Dec 2006*
Wow! Everything just comes together perfectly in this game - lots of decisions to make, high degree of player interaction, and a theme that fits the game's mechanics. This is a fine example of modern game design excellence.
2006-12-18*
Owned
Brad Keck
United States
Utah
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10
Jan 2007*
I have played this game online and love it. The chance for screwing people over and backstabbing is delicious. I just got the actual game for Christmas, so I'm eager to try it f2f.
2007-01-11*
Owned
Guy Riessen
United States
Sebastopol
California
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10
Feb 2007*
Great game, at least with 5--we've got a sign-up sheet to play this one so it'll be quite some time before we play it with less than a full compliment! Curious I may even like this as welll as Power Grid with 5, I'll need a few more plays though to decide. Often crushingly difficult decision to make each round--more so than PG. Far more bluff and counterbluff and a bit more subtlety as well. A bit smoother tension graph (how tense the game is at any particular point in time).

This is SO much better than Power Grid, I shudder at the comparison I made.
2012-02-02
Owned
De Waey Joeri
Belgium
Oostende
West-Vlaanderen
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10
May 2007*
Very good game, good tactics. Very well balanced bluff, betting, ... game.
2007-05-05*
Want To Play
G Herrera
United States
Farmington
Minnesota
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10
May 2011
Thanks Santa 09
2009-12-10
Owned
Preordered
Matt Sears
United States
Adrian
Missouri
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10
Sep 2008*
I love this game, mostly because of the player interaction it creates. The bidding and canal overseeing and water stick placing all work together in such a fun package. Best farming game evar!
2007-11-11*
Owned
Kevin Shillinglaw
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
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10
Nov 2014
An awesome little area control/bidding game. Will play again!
2010-09-16
Owned
Curt Beougher
United States
Rockford
Ohio
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10
Jan 2014
This one is as close to perfect as I've ever seen. Great interaction, simple rules, and plenty of tough decisions. It's everything a board game should be -- fun, interesting, entertaining and challenging without melting your brain. Bravo!
2014-01-10
Owned
Mitchell C
Australia
Perth
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10
Jan 2014
The negotiation and bidding in this game is outstanding. For me it just clicks. Sure it is abstract and can be mathy. But the meta-game that is ALWAYS generated and the quick play time makes for a really enjoyable experience. One of my favourite games. TRY IT!
2015-04-09
Owned
Festival of Song Birds, Flaming Sudoku, Spirit of Christmas, and Cardboard Perfume Aficionado
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10
Aug 2013
Fun.
2013-07-04
Owned
It's okay, I'm
United States
Wisconsin
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9.8
May 2015
Weirdly overlooked Euro from the early 2000s.

Should be up there with the classics. It's rated well on BGG, but rarely mentioned these days. Certainly, it should be as well regarded as Goa, for example.

Low level of rules but a very high level of strategy, and constantly interesting decisions right throughout all the fazes of play.

Not really a negotiation game, though there are some negotiation elements. I don't know what to classify this as - it's just unique
2015-06-21
Owned
Paulo Santoro
Brazil
São Paulo
São Paulo
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9.6
Sep 2014
A very good game for 4 or, even better, 5 players. The auction system is very clever. A game that is original and yet simple and easy to learn. Played in 60 minutes - setup and set down are also fast.
2010-07-26
Owned
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Canada
Dartmouth
Nova Scotia
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9.5
May 2004*
A dual-bidding system that is quick and flexible to strategic needs makes Santiago a great, tense play.
2004-05-19*
Sven Baumer
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
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9.5
Jan 2012
terribly clever little game. Great fun, loads of interaction. Quick and simple.
2005-09-13*
Owned
Rebecca Parks
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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9.5
Aug 2006*
Santiago is fun, especially when I beat everyone else who is playing (ie my parents). I would totally play this again.
2006-08-17*
Owned
Simon Hunt
United States
Roseville
California
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9.5
Oct 2006*
[Z-Man Games Sept'05]

An excellent, well-thought out game. The bidding mechanism (highest to lowest for selection of plantation tiles; lowest (overseer) chooses where the canal is dug) is inspired. Rating based on several 5-player games.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
2006-10-31*
Owned
helo jetamy
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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9.5
Oct 2006*
Very good game, very fun game. Especially work very well with 5 and 4 players.
2006-10-27*
Pee di Moor
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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9.5
Mar 2011
Has become a favourite. Excellent quick game that keeps everybody busy the whole time. You need players that are willing to be 'mean' though.
2007-02-24*
Owned
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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9.5
Nov 2006*
5+ plays and still look forward to getting this to the table more often. Haven't experienced another game with this sort of bidding and bribery to get what you want. Thoroughly enjoyed the game and can't wait for more plays... There are several subtle decisions lurking beneath the simple surface -- when to pass/bid low to be the one to accept bribes, when to use your only guaranteed stream, whether to piggyback on another field or strike out on your own. Highly, highly recommended. If you've never played it with 5 yet, you haven't really seen what Santiago has to offer.
2006-11-18*
Owned
Brian Hamilton
United States
Asheboro
North Carolina
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9.5
Sep 2007*
amazing game with 5
2007-09-16*
Owned
Want To Play
Oliver Harrison
Canada
Kamloops
British Columbia
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9.5
Nov 2009*
After one play, I can say with confidence that this will come out a lot. Easy to play, a bit of a brain burner, and oh so nasty. What could be better for a group of stab your neighbor gamers?

Update: played many more times since. It's possibly gotten nastier with each play. This is one of the best games out there. Just buy it.
2008-01-21*
Owned
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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9.5
Nov 2010
Lots of negotiation in this one! Combined with the bidding, there's plenty of player interaction. I really like how you're trying to balance achieving your needs while not trying to help everyone else out too much, and that makes for some nice decisions. Perhaps it's been overplayed, but sadly, does not get to the table often enough.

UPDATE: Moving this up to a 9, because it is just such a delight to play, win or lose, due to the wonderful player interaction.

UPDATE: This is on the cusp of rising to a 10. I think one more good play will do it.
2008-06-15*
Owned
Canada
Gatineau
Quebec
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9.5
Nov 2008*
Irrigate and cultivate various crops to score the highest amount of money. The game is a mix of area control where players buy tiles at auction to increase the value of crops - but their ability to retain that value and control of the fields depends on irrigation. The most interesting mechanic here is that of the "canal overseer" - the player bidding lowest for the crop tiles plays last but decides where the next irrigation will be placed; his decision can be influenced via bribes from other players. Depending on the group, this "bribing" process brings about a good level of negotiation and interaction between the players. Rules are easy and the strategies are solid. Plays in less than 60 min, which is fantastic for a game with such strategic depth. Components are well produced. Great, fun game!
2008-08-26*
Owned
Michael Hovan
United States
Elkhart
Indiana
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9.5
Jan 2014
This is Puerto Rico and Amun-Re blurred together. Very interesting dynamics of turn order and bidding/bluffing. I like it a lot.
2009-12-30
Owned
Guido Van Horn
United States
Othello
Washington
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9.5
May 2013
Great game! I like the bidding and bribery. One of my all-time faves. I need to push this on more people.
2013-05-30
Owned
Toh Weibin
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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9.4
Jan 2011
Nice competitive game about spatial control and bidding.
2011-11-16
Owned
Christopher Watkins
United States
Amherst
Massachusetts
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9.4
Feb 2015
Amazing
2015-02-24
Owned
Ricardo Jorge Gomes
Portugal
Setubal
Grande Lisboa
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9.39
Feb 2015
Jogo simples mas de decisões profundas, no qual jogamos apenas 9 vezes e recolhemos os frutos daquilo que andámos a fazer durante as licitações... Uma grande surpresa, voltarei a jogá-lo sempre com grande satisfação!
2015-02-07
Owned
Deleted User 1
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9
Mar 2007*
This is the way games should be designed - an excellent game with very straightfoward mechanics but lots of interesting strategic twists.
2007-03-04*
Owned
Craig Viau
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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9
Mar 2004*
Excellent cuthroat game. There are two bidding rounds both of which can offer some tough decisions and opportunities to mess with your opponents. You also have to decide which tiles to take and where to place them. You can really put the squeeze on the canal builder when you know he wants to go one direction by placing a suggestion with a large sum of money on it in another direction. Thus forcing him to pay to go the way he wants.
2004-03-14*
Owned
Kevin Nunn
United States
Houston
Texas
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9
Apr 2004*
Excellent balance of strategy and negotiation.
2004-04-04*
Owned
Larry Winckles
Hungary
Budapest
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9
May 2004*
Lots of fun and interesting bidding mechanics! THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO LANGUAGE DEPENDENT COMPONENTS!
2004-05-15*
Owned
Philippe Beaudoin
Canada
Montréal
Québec
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9
Jul 2004*
An auction game plus negotiation plus tile placement. I'm in. The negotiation aspect of this game really adds to it, and meshes perfectly with the rest of the game. Can be a bit calculatory at the end, which may kill the game with the wrong group. Otherwise, when played "at feeling", it is great.
2004-07-09*
Owned
Michael Schwerdtfeger
United States
Redondo Beach
California
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9
Sep 2004*
A mean and nasty game. Not for the faint of heart.
2004-09-18*
Owned
Jasen Robillard
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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9
Jan 2008*
Very nice balance between auctions and bribing. Some nice tactical elements as well with both crop placements and canal digging. Some of the turn order tricks are also reminiscent of El Grande. A well-designed, simple and smooth game. I might try it next time with open negotiations.
2008-01-22*
Owned
Chapel
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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9
Jul 2007*


My "Best of 2003"
2007-07-20*
Owned
Matthew Arrington
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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9
Dec 2004*
Pretty easy rules set, somewhat quick play, and the deliciousness of bribery all make this a great game! Plays better with more players (pretty uninteresting with 3, actually).
2004-12-14*
Owned
Richard Bethany
United States
Roswell
Georgia
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9
Apr 2005*
I'm pretty terrible at this game, but that doesn't keep me from jumping right into a game anytime one starts up. The balance between allying with and hosing the other guy turns from instant to instant in this game. Why, oh why, do I always miss out on those 7-9 tile potato fields?!
2005-04-08*
Owned

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