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Subject: Mare Nostrum vs Vinci rss

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Nathan Fireborn
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I am on the fence whether to purchase Mare Nostrum (+ Mythology Expansion) or Vinci. I love my Game of Thrones! But want a civ development game (i like the idea of each civ having special powers too). I prefer a game with a bit of diplomacy/trading and depth but doesn't go over 3 hours. It sounds like Mare Nostrum is the longer game best with 5 players while Vinci is great with 4 and shorter in length. I dont like brutal and long games so I am not considering Struggle of Empires (but should I?). Also I'm hoping the game will be accessible to teach non-gamers to learn and enjoy.
So why do you love Mare Nostrum or Vinci. What sounds right for me?
 
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Philip Thomas
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I love Mare Nostrum because of all the varied options you can take and because you really feel like you're developing an individual civilisation: Vinci is just a sucession of faceless groups of counters....
 
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Marena Tiano
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Vinci is a much better game for non-gamers. It works well with 3 which is a plus and it is relatively short. The changing abilities keep the game interesting as you never know what options you'll get to try out.

Mare Nostrum is a longer game and it is meatier. There is more to do and more to think about. I like the buying the different heros and wonders.

Your discussion indicates Vinci vs. Mare+expansion. Why don't you buy vinci & base Mare? Get the expansion later. This way you get to play both and if you like the base game, pick up the expansion next go round.
 
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Dave Shapiro
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Mare Nostrum is a bit unbalanced and is more a trading game than anything else. Vinci is more a game of conflict. Mare Nostrum was a real disappointment; far too stagnant. Vinci flows.
 
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Thomas Eager
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Mare is a great (and beautiful) game that is not at all unbalanced, though I can understand how it might appear so to novice players. Since each civilization has its own specific powers and advantages, it takes a few plays to master them--some are more obvious than others, which leads those who have played only once or twice to claim imbalance. But I can assure you that I have witnessed victories for EVERY civilization. If you like AGoT, I think you'll enjoy Mare too.
I haven't played Vinci myself, but from all reports it's a lot more abstract than Mare or AGoT.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Its fine with 4 or 5 players (MN +expansion): the expansion is unfortunately necessary. And I have never seen a game go beyond 3 hrs, even with the 'long version' (5 Heroes or Wonders and Pyramids cost 13) If play the short version (4 Heroes or Wonders and Pyramids cost 12), it will probably be 2 hrs, maybe a little longer for first game. Its a really great game anyway.

I admit you can play Vinci with 3 or even 2, and MN doesn't do that. Still I have plenty of 2 or 3 player games. MN is a really decent 6 player...mmm I want to play it now just from tallking about it!
 
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J. Green
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I own Vinci and Struggle of Empires and passed on Mare Nostrum. I've played all three. The difference for me in all three cases is the map. Mare Nostrum revolves around the Mediterranean, with land around the perimeter of the map including North Africa. It felt rather "boxed-in" to me, with expansion possibilities sort of limited to how far you could expand your civ to the left or right around that perimeter.

In Vinci and in Struggle of Empires, the land mass is central with the water forming a perimeter, and for some reason it feels like you have more options. In SoE, the more options feeling comes from the fact that you can creat colonies around the edges or have an empire in the center or both. In Vinci, you can have at least two empires going at once in different parts of the board, and your holdings can shift a lot.

When I play boardgames, I just don't like to feel limited geographically, and there are enough game choices out there that I don't have to settle for that If I don't want to. Vinci and SoE "feel" like they have more options, and if something isn't working you can try something else. Mare Nostrum felt like if you got behind or messed up or lost a major battle, you're pretty much just waiting for the end. Just my impressions/opinion.
 
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Nathan Fireborn
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I am getting the impression that Vinci has no diplomacy or trading in it, is that right?! Thanks, Nathan
 
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Philip Thomas
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John, have you played with the expansion? That contains many new methods of spreading out and getting your influence into remote areas of the board. Because movement over sea is by convoy, moving by sea is *much* faster than moving by land, and hence having the sea in the middle of the board actually makes for a much more dynamic environment.


 
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Philip Thomas
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Vinci has no trading. It doesn't have any specific diplomacy hard-wired into the rules, like Diplomacy does, (neither does MN) but Vinci players will do quite a lot of tallking to each other about whom to attack and so on. Mare Nostrum Players will too, plus there are other things to discuss like which gods or heroes to use.

Mare Nostrum's trading is somewhart unusual, of course: The Director of Commnerce names a number of cards to trade. Everyone chooses that many cards and puts them face down in front of them. Then everyone turns those cards up, and the Director picks a card from the others. Then the person he picked from picks a card, and so on until they run out.

 
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Dane Peacock
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I like both games.

Vinci feels more like the epic sweep of rising and declining nations. I really like how the nation's abilities are done.

Mare Nostrum (+ expansion) is beautiful in gameplay and I really like the amount and variety of special powers.

Neither one has anything in the way of upgrades or tech trees.

I wish Vinci was a bit less dry with more character.

I wish Mare Nostrum was more about civilizing and less about card play/trading.
 
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Jenny Nguyen
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Vinci is a very dry game. The theme, and I suppose the way the game is - fails to make you feel as though you are actually controlling these great, ancient tribes - rather it just feels like you're shifting a stack of counters around every turn. There would almost be no reason to ever talk to any of your opponents unless to say that it's their turn

I've never played Mare Nostrum but I hear it's almost bad enough to be unplayable without the expansion (but how sexy are the box/components?)...but I have played Struggle of Empires! An excellent game! It's no more cutthroat than Vinci is in my opinion (It feels personal when your own clans get "pwned" ). It's not really that much longer either.

If I could go back in time - I'd never purchase Vinci.
 
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Magnus Lundgren
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Just a vote from someone who dislikes both titles. I am not particular found of any civilization type game. I would definately go with Vinci. At least it has its own feel and it has a greater potential of attracting your none-gamer friends. Mare Nostrum in my mind has nothing that makes it interesting. I could possible be convinced to try Vinci again, but Mare Nostrum never.

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Robert Martin
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Both are good games in their own right. Here's my take.

VINCI
Pros:
- Extremely streamlined - abstract system is easy to learn and play
- Fast, predictable playtime - about 2 hours
- No luck for those into that sort of thing
- Clever civ powers system
- Simple tracking of victory points

Cons:
- Extremely abstract to the point that I would challenge anyone who claims this is a civ building game
- Most of the gameplay centers around pushing discs around to maximize holdings
- Components and artwork are bland
- Generally lacking in thematic depth

MARE NOSTRUM

Pros:
- A true lightweight civ building game - several different building and unit types
- Lightweight combat system minimizes downtime, provides room for strategy, and has appropriate drama
- Each civ has a distinctly different feeling to it
- The wonders and heroes provide a nice historic backdrop
- Some of the best artwork ever in any game
- Equal emphasis on trading, building, and combat
- Excellent expansion adds depth and theme to the game

Cons:
- Underdeveloped rulebook - you will find yourself visiting BGG for answers
- Resource production can be tedious
- Prone to imbalance with inexperienced players
- Prone to ties or kingmaking in the endgame depending on how you play
- Playtime will vary - always 1.5 to 3 hours with our group but some groups report much longer games

OVERALL

Vinci is a fine game for those who prefer a dryer, more predictable, abstract design. Mare Nostrum is an excellent game for those who prefer a rich theme, don't mind a bit of luck, and want several interacting systems. In my mind there is no comparison. Mare Nostrum is the clear winner. The expansion is NOT required, certainly not in the short term at least. I played probably 20 games of the original before I felt the need to add the expansion. The good news is that the expansion breathes completely new life into the game when you do add it.
 
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howl hollow howl
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Sky Knight X wrote:
I like both games. [...]

I wish Vinci was a bit less dry with more character.

I wish Mare Nostrum was more about civilizing and less about card play/trading.


I agree with these last two statements, but to the point where I'm not sure I can echo the first one.

One thing these games have in common is that they both need to be played frequently to get the most out of it. This is needed in Mare Nostrum to effectively counter "imbalances" between the nations. This is needed in Vinci to effectively counter "imbalances" between the chit powers. The original poster mentions A Game of Thrones, which I think plays perfectly fine the very first time (as long as you are playing with the Port rules), as it focuses more on player diplomacy to balance things out. In Mare Nostrum, you pretty much have to learn how to master entire strategies; in Vinci, you just have to recognize potentially strong combos (those that can generate a lot of points over a few turns) - which aren't always obvious - so it's not as big of a problem in this one.

My own group does not meet all that frequently and prefers to sample from a wide repertoire of multi-player conquest games (MPCGs), so it is important that games don't have this quality. Mare Nostrum won't make it to the table because of this; Vinci will still get the occasional play because it is quick enough and the power drafting mechanism is really a lot of fun.
 
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I've owned both games, and from your description, neither of them is what you're after (nor is Struggle of Empires). I like the idea of Civilization (the AH boardgame), but in execution I think it plays like ass and is far too long. I always thought a similar game that was better and shorter would be great, and sounds like what you're after, too, but I have looked long and hard and found no such game. Honestly, the best trading, diplomacy, and technological development game going right now is Twilight Imperium. It has flaws, but it plays smoothly, it's fun, and you can knock out a game in less than three hours once you know the rules.

If anyone knows of a better, similar game, I'd like to hear about it.
 
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Oops, as to why these aren't the games for you.

Vinci - This is a game about making choices and maximizing points with limited resources, while forcing worse options on your opponents. It looks like a wargame, but is really much more abstract. I think if you divorce it form its theme as you play, you'll enjoy it more, but it's not a game about developing a civ, trading, or much diplomacy.

Mare Nostrum - This is a long wargame the first time you play, but once you correctly understand the victory conditions and how quickly they can be achieved, it loses its epic feel and becomes a quick, maybe lucky, landgrab. The "trading" is actually a structured mechanic, which turns out to be the part of the game that usually generates a winner. There is no free-form trading, which cuts down on diplomacy. Once all the land is taken in the game, before too long someone will win. All the jockeying you can do is to push things a little your way, or at least away from whoever seems to be winning. Inevitably, this game wasn't for me, because the strategies seemed straight-forward, and the winner is determined so quickly that there isn't much you can do but push to be in the running and cross your fingers.

Struggle of Empires - Just dull, and way too much luck. It has certain intriguing mechanics, but they don't save it.

Also, I think I lied when I suggested there is trading in Twilight Imperium. Lots of diplomacy and development, but very little trading. You can (and do) exchange money, but this come as part of diplomatic deals. There are no unique resources to be traded.
 
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Pedro
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Mare Nostrum is an excellent game on its own and does NOT need the expansion to be perfectly playable. It drips with theme and it really succeeds in making me feel like I'm running an empire.

My only complaint with the original is that it really needs at least 4 players, to be enjoyable. I own the expansion, but I didn't have a chance to try it...but it looks good.

Vinci is a whole different game. I only played it once and we messed up the rules a bit. The game felt very dry and abstract. Also, in our game there was a severe leader bashing problem, near the end. It wasn't a very enjoyable experience.
 
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CHAPEL
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I would jump onto a new fence and look into getting "Antike" instead. It is by far better game than both Mare Nostrum and Vinci
 
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