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It had been over a year since I had played Hansa so I decided to review the rules by setting up a solo practice game before playing with Charlie. I wanted to explore a couple of strategies before a real play of the game and as well as be familiar enough with the game to explain the rules. I began by setting up a three player game. I had White focus on selling goods early in the game, Purple on getting all markets out as quickly as possible, and Yellow a middle of the road approach by just taking whatever opportunities presented themselves.
It took about an hour to go through the solo game. At the end of the game Purple and Yellow came out close with 42 and 46 victory points respectively but White was woefully behind with 28. The outcome was logical considering one must have the markets on the board and distributed widely in order to be able to sell goods. Having the markets out also increases the chances of having a majority of markets in a city in order to get goods for free.
When I was explaining the rules to Charlie, based on the solo practice game, I recommended he try to get markets out quickly and well scattered across the board. There was only one rule that bothered him. It was not intuitive for him to have to discard one good if I sold goods of the same color he had. In our first two person game the situation never did come up to have to discard goods for that reason.
After placing our markets, I took the first turn. It wasn’t long before the sequence of the turn was fairly automatic for both of us. Since it was a learning game for Charlie we both pointed out moves that might be more advantageous for each other. The final score was Charlie-53 and Sandy-58.
Including explanation of the rules, set up and play of the game, it took about an hour. I believe one reason it played so quickly was because of the solo practice game I had played before the actual game. I am looking forward to playing again more competitively while the rules are still fresh on our minds.
I explain the good discarded as a consequence of a flooded market (the demand was met for that color so it will expire before anyone is willing to buy it again). It does seem a bit fiddly at first, but the rule stresses the need to get your goods sold first when you know another vendor is trying to unload the same goods.
Note: I am not disputing that Hansa is often seen as very abstracted from the theme, just adding a thought of how I view the rule to make it more thematic and easier to digest for those new to the game.
I haven’t played Hansa in years…this session is making me think of dusting it off again. Thank you for writing it.