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Santiago de Cuba» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Fun tactical game with a short playtime rss

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Matt Wolfe
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On Wednesday I got to demo Santiago de Cuba at my FLGS, The Gamer's Armory in Cary, NC.

First game was a 3-player game with Rob, James, and myself. Rob and James had not played before. I like explaining the rules in this game because the rules are straightforward and easy to explain. The symbols on the tiles just make sense and are easy to remember. Kudos to the graphic designer for an elegant presentation. Off we went, driving our apparently communal car around the island, meeting locals and pestering them for goods. James asked during the game what happens if you roll all zeroes for your ship roll. I don't believe the rules cover that unlikely situation, but should it occur I think technically that ship would immediately leave port and you'd roll for a new ship. I would houserule it so you just roll the dice again. The game is short and sweet enough that you don't need to skip 1 entire ship due to the unluckiest roll in the world. Rob and James both quickly caught on to the game and manipulated the random setup expertly, getting tobacco 1 turn and turning it into cigars for export in the next. In the end I managed to outmaneuver my opponents by using wood to fulfill ships they were expecting to fill. Final scores were 43 (me) - 34 (Rob) - 32 (James).

Then the second game began. Adam2, Dan, and Adam2 were all new players, although Adam2 has the game still in shrink sitting at home. What a monster! I explained the rules and off we went. This game was different as the randomized setup yielded a nice combo between the dancer, who gives you 2 VP, and the building that lets you sell 1 cigar and 1 rum for 2 VP each. Dan and Adam2 took advantage of that combo to net 6 VP in several rounds. I find that the person who first deciphers the best combos in each randomized game of Santiago de Cuba is usually going to be the winner, especially if other players don't catch on to that strategy right away. So it's no surprise that Dan and Adam2 tied with 33 points each, with Dan getting the win due to having more money at the end of the game. Adam1 had 31 points, and the master became the apprentice as I only scored a tiny 23 points. But even thought I scored so few, this was a really fun game.

Santiago de Cuba is a nice game to satisfy that 45-minute, medium weight, tactical itch that we all get every now and then. Or in my case, every day.
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Scot Ryder
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Silver Spring
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Nice! I still play this now and again and my kids like it a lot.
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Damien Seb. ●leoskyangel●
Malaysia
Bangsar & PJ
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I play games not to win, it's the gathering that's important - Thanks for the tip Cate108!
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Great session report. This is still a game that I enjoy every now and then. It scales very well and always play in under an hour. It's an underrated gem that needs more love. The way the buildings and people are set up are just genius to ensure replayability.

We played the same way if all dice rolled are '0', the ship sails. '0' in the game simply means no demand.

Whenever me and my friends get to play this game again, it's always been vicious. We tried to send the goods by means other than the port. Also, using crates of boxes to deny other players

If you want to increase the tactical aspect of the game, you can play with a house rule/variant, where you play without the player screen. I don't like house rule, but I tried this variant before (suggested by other user in the SdC forum) just to see how it plays. It became too cutthroat but still fun nevertheless
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Drew Hicks
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First game I played of this was 2 players, which rendered the player screens nearly irrelevant. Amazing how such a pleasant little game can get INCREDIBLY brutal when all the information is known...
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