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Subject: First impressions rss

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Captain Nemo
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Featured game at the July meeting of Croydon on Board was a three-player game of VINCI. It was new to the players.

Player one got a good start just by taking the first counters on offer: militia and currency. These proved to be the basis of a sound VP-making empire and gave the other players a target. In due course they also produced high VP-making empires going over 20 points a turn. Unfortunately for player two his massive empire went into decline in the final stages of the game and having caught up fell 20 points behind the leaders. Player three having made steady progress actual got the lead for one turn but the collapse of his empire left him with thirteen points to find with the expansion of his next empire; he was just a few points short. Player one won on the nasis of taking what counters were offered and adding the VPs paid by the others to avoid them and get better ones.

Well produced game but the feeling was that [not surprisingly] SMALL WORLD does the same thing better. Also it is rather bland as although it is set in Europe the empires have no historical character. The game requires you to estimate the value of the individual counters that will give each empire its distinct characteristics and choose when to collapse an empire and start another within the terms of the game. Nothing wrong but perhaps just nothing to get too excited about; there are more interesting choices for games out there.
 
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I Am Sparcatus
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Danbury
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Vinci doesn't work as well with 3 as it does with 4-6, due to the fact that the board does not scale. This is one area where Small World had the advantage. Overall I think I prefer Vinci, but with 3 I'd probably not play it unless I was REALLY in the Empire-building mood and had nothing else available to scratch that itch.
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Mike Urban
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I think Small World improved the game play a bit, but the reason I still prefer Vinci is, perhaps surprisingly, its graphical blandness. The board is easy to read, the players' counters are visibly distinct, and it is easy to see where the other players' pieces are. In Small World, especially for empires in decline, it takes a bit of scrutiny to see just who is where, and I have seen players lose track of even their own counters more than once.

Sometimes, less is more.
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I Am Sparcatus
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Danbury
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Ostadan wrote:
I think Small World improved the game play a bit, but the reason I still prefer Vinci is, perhaps surprisingly, its graphical blandness. The board is easy to read, the players' counters are visibly distinct, and it is easy to see where the other players' pieces are. In Small World, especially for empires in decline, it takes a bit of scrutiny to see just who is where, and I have seen players lose track of even their own counters more than once.

Sometimes, less is more.


I played SW for the first time last weekend, and had the same remark. The owner said he thought the busy design was purposeful, to increase the chances you'd miss something and thus increase the chaos in the game. The only game I could compare it to in my experience was Wizard's Quest which had the same busy mapboard.
 
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Richard Young
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Small World does several things that help it in today's market. It scales very well to the number of players which VINCI does not. In VINCI, the more players the better. Small World is definitely more colorful, but that may be a matter of taste - I initially found it to be much more busy and cluttered than VINCI, but it's something I suppose you can get used to. And, it was designed to facilitate expansions which have been generally successful.

Small World has more personality than VINCI even though the actual game play is really pretty similar - except for one thing. Small World is a shorter game by virtue of the fixed turn track. This means you will be playing fewer empires (usually no more than three) and thus the choices you make (or are given) will count for a lot more. You have to really think hard about how deep you are willing to go to get a good race/power combo, and turn order at the beginning can often decide the whole game. But, it's over quickly and you can try again if you feel you were hosed in that regard.

So, I believe that VINCI is still the better game overall, but it doesn't surprise me that Small World has developed the larger following.

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