"Buy" or "Sell" - The Boardgame Version
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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In one of the ESPN sports talkshows (Around the Horn I think) they ask various sports questions to reporters and if they "Buy" or "Sell" the idea. In other words, do they think the statement is true or false.

Well, here is the Boardgame version. I have listed some commonly debated issues here on the geek, along with wheather I "Buy" or "Sell" the idea.

I just got San Marco in a trade, so I haven't played it yet, but I'm interested in what you have to say.

Please comment on the games I've listed, and wheather you "Buy" or "Sell" the idea, and add your own questions.
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1. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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Quesiton: Tile draw involves too much luck for this type of game.

Answer: "Sell"
Very rarely will a good player get defeated by drawing bad tiles. If you get in a situation where you have only one type of tile, most likely you brought it on yourself.

It does happen occasionally that you keep drawing a majority of one color, but swapping tiles and using conflicts to get rid of tiles can offset this.

I don't see any way to make the game better. It's near perfect as it is.
 
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2. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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Quesiton: Weak player can spoil the game for others

Answer: "Buy"
If you are playing the game competitively, one bad player can ruin it for the other three players.

Yes, players can have different strategies that may seem odd to you, and I don't have a problem with that. There are certain role selections which quite clearly help one player more then the others, and more than the player selecting the role.

It should be noted, that it is a good strategy when playing with more than 3 players to pick a role, even if it helps someone else more than yourself, as long as it helps you second most. Just try to spread the love around.

Of course, if you are just playing for fun. None of this matters. Chances are you know which camp you are in before you start the game.
 
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3. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:565]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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Quesiton: Shrine connection causes blocking issues that ruin the game

Answer: "Sell"
The onus is on the last player before the threatening player. Unless it's obvious that they won't be able to block. If you are before that player, you are taking a chance if you leave blocking up to them.

Some people have mentioned a variant giving the player who connects extra "carrots" for connection the shrines. I don't like this, and I'll tell you why.

Even if shrine connection happens infrequently, it adds most of the tension and direction to the game. Even if you can't complete a connection, the other player needs to spend valuable resources to try and stop you, giving you an advantage. This makes going for the connection an important strategy, even if you think you have no hope of completing. Without the connection win condition, it becomes much more luck oriented. Who gets buildings out in the best order. Who draws the cards they need to build...etc.
 
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4. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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Quesiton: Dice are evil.

Answer: "Sell"
The dice are what make the game fun and different each time. Without the dice, certain resources would not be scarce, and trading would be significantly reduced.

In a recent game, one player had a corner on the wood market, but he could never get the dice to roll his way. He produced only a few wood over the course of the game. Near the end of the game, he was very much in position to win, because when he did get a wood. He was able to trade it for three resources to the other players. Even though the dice didn't go his way, he was still able to compete.
 
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5. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:230]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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Quesiton: Only one strategy for victory.

Answer: "Buy"
St. Petersburg has the illusion of strategy, but it is almost purely tactical. It's still a fun game, and is the first game I reach for on BSW. Fast, exciting and tense.
 
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6. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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Quesiton: Guild Hall is too strong.

Answer: "Sell"
The guild hall is not too strong. In fact all of the buildings in San Juan are wonderfully balanced. If you asked 20 gamers what the best card is, you would get 10 different answers.

I wrote an A.I. Version of San Juan, and evaluated the scores of 1000 games played by 4 computer players. No matter how I adjusted the A.I. the winning percentage of players building the different 6 point buildings were almost exactly the same. This is not scientific proof or anything, but seems to be good anecdotal evidence that the guild hall is not too strong.
 
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7. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:512]
Mark Haberman
United States
Painesville
Ohio
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Quesiton: Only good with three players

Answer: You tell me....
 
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8. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
Kevin Wood
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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OK... let's open up this can of worms:

Question: The expedition track is too powerful and is the only legitimate strategy.

Answer: Sell. Assuming you are following the rules suggested by the designer, (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/45568) the expedition track is not the only way to win the game. It is powerful, but can be easily overcome by a careful strategy.
 
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