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Subject: First games rss

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Jure Dolanec
Ljubljana - Sentvid
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got Nauticus the other day and after slowly reading the rules twice (my german is not what it used to be), we set up the board.

Board setup

Plenty of pieces! The game employs a clever mechanism for setting up actions, accompanying bonuses and free workers. Before starting each round, the action tiles are shuffled and set up in the middle circle, starting where the first action was taken in the previous round. The first player chooses one action, collects the bonus and performs the chosen action - or passes. Then the next players perform this action or passes, but only the first player gets the bonus. When the first action is completed, the next player becomes the first player and he can choose the next action and collect the bonus. And so forth until seven actions are completed.

No eight action and usually each player performs less than seven actions each round because of those pesky pass counters. If not used, at the end of each round players must subtract points from unused pass counters.

The goal of the game is to built the most ships and sell goods that the ships carry. Bigger ships mean more points at the end and the same goes for goods. The more goods of the same type one sells, the more points she gets.

The first round
Green player was thinking big and already in the first round he started constructing the big ship (four pieces). Since he bought all four different hull types, he got the fifth for free. According to the rules, all pieces and parts obtained for no money go to the warehouse and can only be transported to the shipyards with the appropriate action.

Yellow player started out with a smaller ship, keeping some workers and money for the next rounds. Smart move!

Selecting appropriate actions at the right time is vital. Sometimes it is better to pick an action just for it's bonus and pass the action itself. Bonuses are varied, ranging from points, free ship parts to workers, goods and money.

The second round
Green player continued building the big ship and in the same round, he also completed one small ship, getting the first reward for completing a ship. Since it was only a one-mast ship, he was entitled to one reward and opted for a crown sail which he promptly transported out of the warehouse (using the appropriate action) to use on his big ship.

Yellow player completed his size three ship and collected three rewards for it's three masts. The three rewards can be seen in his warehouse. He also passed three times, thus avoiding lowering his score - the three crown counters

The third round
Green player finally completed the big ship and partially loaded her with goods. It was reward time with four masts! The warehouse is pretty full, some goods already sold (two coffee counters in the lower left corner) and life was good...

Yellow player wasn't sitting idle either. In the third round she completed a small one mast ship and started constructing another size three ship.

In the third round both players scored some points in the Crowns action. For each visible crown (masts, sails and used pass counters), one gets as many many points as he assigns workers - the free blue and her own workers. Maximum is fifteen points per round.

The final round
Green was busy, completing yet another ship, this time a size two. But there wasn't enough time to use all the parts sitting in the warehouse. At least he managed to sell a few more goods! Only passed once, thus lowering the score by three points.

Yellow player completed his second size three ship, passed three times and made good use of the Crowns action. Look at the yellow cube on the score track! A good way to increase one's score, particularly with smaller ships and sales not going so well.

End of the game
After the final count, the yellow player won 116 points to 107. Green's big four size ship was just not enough.

A fun game with enough variety to keep it interesting. Build big ships? Sell more goods? When to pass? Which action to choose?

The rules are great, easy to understand and follow. A couple of ambiguities were quickly resolved. The rulebook sports a rules summary on the right hand side of each page, thus providing a quick reference during playing.

Components are top notch and beautiful. The board looks gorgeous and the action counters fit perfectly in the middle circle.

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