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Subject: All first-time players, lots of sub-optimal play rss

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Valdir Jorge
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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Date: February 18th, 2006

Game: Hazienda

Players: Kim, Patrick, Tamara and Valdir (myself)



Starting last month, the members of the Montreal Boardgames Meetup Group decided to have two monthly meetings instead of one: our "regular" meeting is to happen on the first Saturday of the month while the "special" meeting is scheduled for the third Saturday and will only happen if there are people interested in playing "longer" games (longer than two hours).

For February the long game chosen for the special meeting was Age of Steam. Five members signed up for it. A lot of other people took the opportunity to join the fun an play other games.

I brought with me Hazienda and Dos Rios, two of my 2005 end-of-year gifts to myself. I had "arranged" a game of Hazienda with three other members, but two of them arrived a bit later, so we started with two first-timers.

I had played half of one game solo a few weeks ago and I thought I had a good handle on the rules, but in hindsight I should have re-read the rules. While I was explaining I had to go many times to the rulebook for the small details and I failed to properly explain some of it, which ended up having an effect on the final scores. For instance, Tamara misunderstood how the animal chains worked and thought that it would not be advantageous to continue growing a chain after it reached a market. Only much later in the game did she see how important it would have been to continue expanding. Considering that she ended up in last place, this was a very important mistake of mine. Sorry, Tamara!

We used the symmetrical side of the board, as the rulebook advises for newbies. Each player stayed mostly in his or her side of the board, there were some incursions here and there, but for the most part each one kept to their own "quadrant".

I kept making the same mistake over and over again: I would connect to a market with my third (and last) action of my turn, so that whatever money I got, it wasn't compounded. Patrick and Kim, on the other hand, almost always connected to a market with both their second and third action, so that they always received twice as much money.

The end of the game was kind of funny: when we were down to two animal cards in the second half of the deck, nobody wanted to take those two last animals, because that would signal the end of the game. So we kept playing land and animal cards from our hands, buying haziendas and lakes until finally Patrick bought the last animal and ended the game (Kim, the last player, still had her last turn, so that all players had the same number of turns).

Final Score
Player: 1st + 2nd = Total
Kim: 46 + 79 = 125
Valdir: 34 + 82 = 116
Patrick: 29 + 74 = 103
Tamara: 26 + 72 = 98
The position in the score track didn't change at all from the first to the second scoring. I "won" the second scoring, but that wasn't enough to overcome the huge margin that Kim had over me. Considering how many points each additional market reached is worth, we were all very close together.
 
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Patrick Hanley
Canada
Dorval
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Thanks for being so patient with us newbies. I wasn't too sure I liked the game, but now I'm pretty sure I'd like to have another go at it at a future meeting. Things might have been different if I had only realized the value of visiting multiple markets. blush
I may pick this one up after all.

 
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Taryelle P.
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Agreed, thanks for being so patient and upbeat with frustrated newbies. Ok so maybe I was the only frustrated one, but still....you were great and I'd welcome the chance to play this game again now that we all understand it a bit better.

 
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