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Subject: What am I doing wrong with this game? rss

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Justus
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I've played this game twice, once a year ago and once just recently. People I respect and enjoy playing with, like this game a lot. And clearly it is a well crafted game.

And for some reason I'm finding it mindnumbingly unfun.

My low numeric BGG rating of this game is merely because I rate games solely due to "desire to play" with no thought on "objective quality". But it sure seems like a good well balanced game, and I'm hoping for something to click, so I thought I'd throw it up for discussion before deciding to not playing it ever again.

I feel part of it may be because I find the card draws - both for colonies and for expedition cards in the hand - quite unsettling. And maybe its just a lack of experience of know what works, though the last game was pretty close, however the other two more experienced players both felt that they did not do well (I was 39, they were 42 and 43). Maybe its auctioning for actions. I like auctions, but I don't like cascading actions. It could also be the classic problem with auction games, where its hard to gauge value the first few times you play. And also there are so many things going on. Maybe I dislike this game like I dislike agricola, that feeling of crushing scarcity is not fun for me. Or maybe its the seeming lack of player interaction -- aside from depriving your opponents of things they want. Maybe I dislike tech trees in my game.

I don't know. I was thinking maybe someone who didn't love the game at first sight can give me some insight as to why I might like this game later. Or maybe someone that hates the game may give me encouragement to not worry about disliking the game. Or hell, if you've always loved the game and have something to elaborate beyond what you've written in the comment section, I'd love to hear it. I feel that I should like this game, but I don't see how.
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Jay Sachs
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aaarg_ink wrote:
Maybe I dislike this game like I dislike agricola, that feeling of crushing scarcity is not fun for me.


I don't see Goa has being about scarcity. You need to make choices, sure, you can't do everything. But there's not the punishment (other than perhaps losing) that there is in Agricola.

Quote:
Or maybe its the seeming lack of player interaction -- aside from depriving your opponents of things they want.


Or making them pay you handsomely for what they do want.


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Maybe I dislike tech trees in my game.


Impossible. Everyone loves tech trees.
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Peter Mumford
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I mainly love the zero-sum auction. Thats the whole point of the game right there, and I don't think I'll ever tire of it. If the auction doesn't do it for you, the game is probably not your thing.
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Drew
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I enjoy the game, but it did take a few plays for us to grok it. The zero-sum aspect of the auctions really causes angst for us. It's probably the sort of game that works best with people who've played before. When everyone is familiar with the system, the tension in the auctions increases.
 
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Justus
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When you say zero sum you mean that if you win the auction you pay the opposing player? I guess I didn't get that feeling as much because there was always the threat the guy who put it up would just pay the bank instead.

Maybe it was the once around format that made the auction less interesting to me as an inexperienced player. I did not enjoy having to guess what the right value of the tiles with very little context. However, I can totally see how it is the right format for this game once you get experienced.

BTW I just recalculated my score and I had 41 points. Honestly the fact that the game ended 43-42-41 does NOT make me any more interested in it. The fact that you go through two hours of thinking to end up with a score so close makes me wonder if the game is overly balanced. I would have preferred seeing the experience of the other two players be rewarded more heavily. That said, they did complain about their own subpar play and I felt that I was being fairly efficient relative to my inexperience.
 
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Alex Bove
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aaarg_ink wrote:
Maybe it was the once around format that made the auction less interesting to me as an inexperienced player. I did not enjoy having to guess what the right value of the tiles with very little context. However, I can totally see how it is the right format for this game once you get experienced.


The Goa auction is not about the "correct" valuation of tiles. There are too many variables for a tile to have a "correct" value. You need to consider:

1) Who is auctioning the tile? Would he/she be likely to buy it him/herself if you bid low? If he/she buys the tile, you would then be in the best position to win the next tile auctioned. Is that something you want more than the one you're bidding for now?

2) What is your position in the auction? If you're bidding last, you're in the most powerful position in terms of buying the tile, but the price has essentially already been set. If you're bidding first, you will likely not win the tile but can influence its price greatly.

3) How much money will you have left if you win the tile? When will you be getting more money? It's much worse to go broke early in the auction than late.

4) Who won the flag? That will determine your selling/bidding position for the next round. This is hugely important as it is extremely unwise to go broke if you are to the right of the player with next round's flag but not that bad to be broke if you have the flag or will be selling your tile first next round.

5) How much money has been taken out of or brought into the game? The economy of Goa tends to suffer from inflation, since it's usually very bad to buy one's own tiles (or take money out of the game at all), but there are many ways to bring money into the game. So a double nutmeg tile that was worth 8 in Round 1 might be worth 12-14 by Round 4. The exact same 2-Action tile in Phase B will probably sell for twice as much as it did in Phase A (This is not only due to inflation, of course, but also to the fact that late-game actions are worth more than early-game actions).

6) How valuable would this tile be to the person who wins it (if you decide to pass)? Sometimes you need to overbid for a tile because allowing another player to get it would improve his/her position too much, thus losing you the game. Similarly, if you bid before a player you know really needs a tile, you may wish to force him/her to pay a hefty price for it. Be careful with this last idea, though. Remember that the auctioneer stands to gain all that money, so "forcing" someone to overpay may just be enriching another player unnecessarily.

These (and other) considerations should not only affect how you bid on tiles but how you decide which tiles to put up for auction in the first place. Many Goa beginners make the mistake of auctioning tiles they intend to buy rather than tiles they expect to sell. Your goal as auctioneer is to sell your tile for the most money possible. The auction is one of your only chances to generate income without using an action. So don't ask yourself which tile is intrinsically more valuable. Ask yourself what other players need, or at least what the "wealthy" players need. If you can auction something two (or all three) of your opponents really want, you should be able to cash in no matter which tile you sell.

Bidding a ducat (or two) more or less than the "correct" value for a tile probably won't hurt you in the long run. Sometimes you need a tile so badly that it's worth going broke to buy it. And sometimes you have to accept a low-ball bid because buying the tile yourself is even worse (remember that buying a tile for 5 ducats actually costs you 9: the 5 you pay plus the 4 you lost by not selling the tile). Make the most of each auction opportunity, and understand that your strategy will change from auction to auction, and your play will improve.
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Peter Mumford
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aaarg_ink wrote:
When you say zero sum you mean that if you win the auction you pay the opposing player? I guess I didn't get that feeling as much because there was always the threat the guy who put it up would just pay the bank instead.

Maybe it was the once around format that made the auction less interesting to me as an inexperienced player.

By zero sum I mean there is a fixed amount of money in the game, and it just goes sloshing from player to player. In Goa you want to try to make your money off your opponents whenever possible. The exceptions to the zero sum situation are when a player taxes, or buys his own chit from the bank, which add or remove money from the game, respectively. Both these moves are sometimes useful, but are more often sub-optimal choices.

As for the once-around, I love that rule!

[edit] Alex's suggestions above are very good. Pay particular attention to the value of the flag..
 
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Alex Bove
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By the way, anyone who has ever played Goa against me face-to-face, especially in a tournament, now knows why it often takes me so long to make decisions in that game.
 
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Chris Wood
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jaysachs wrote:


Impossible. Everyone loves tech trees.


One of the best responses I've ever seen on here.
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