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Subject: Session Report rss

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Greg Schloesser
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This was one of my picks from the Gathering prize table, but I just received the game at Gulf Games from Tim Isakson. You see, I departed the Gathering on Saturday afternoon so I could be home for Easter, so Tim took care of my prize table selections. I was anxious to bring the game to the table.

I don't recall having read much about this fairly obscure Günther Cornett title, released by Hans im Glück. It is yet another auction game and is once again set in the Italian city of Venice. Hmmm ... just how many games use this gorgeous former country as a backdrop? I'm not usually over fond of auction games, but this one seemed to have a few interesting twists to make it worth exploring.

The story tells of vast riches inside of the palatial Venetian homes. However, since Venice is sinking, it is somehow imperative that the owners of these homes sell their valuables to the highest bidders (the players). Once a complete 'set' of a particular antique are collected, then these items are then sold. The selling price, however, is unknown until the actual sale is announced. Thus, profits or losses can be experienced.

The board depicts 15 palaces, all surrounded by canals and connected by the famous Venetian bridges. 34 tiles depicting various antiques such as mirrors, candlesticks, pictures, fans, etc. are distributed face-up into these palaces. As mentioned, the antiques are only valuable and able to be sold when all of a set are collected. A complete set can consist of 2, 3 or 4 items, depending upon the antique.

A gondola marker moves from palace to palace along a pre-determined path. How far it moves, however, is determined by the number of bids placed on the current auction. For instance, if the current auction receives 6 bids, then the gondola will move six spaces. Wherever it comes to rest, the antiques contained in that palace are then auctioned. Thus, one bit of strategy is to carefully weigh the amount of your bid so as to potentially control where the gondola will cease its movement. This is certainly not foolproof, however.

Players each begin the game with $30 and do not get more funds until they sell antiques. Bidding is a traditional 'round the table' mechanism, with players either increasing the previous bid or dropping out of the current round. Each time a bid is placed, the gondola moves along the canal. The ultimate high bidder moves his marker down on the cash track and collect the antiques from that palace. These are kept face-up in front of him.

A novel twist in this bidding process is the 'bribery' marker. Each player begins the game with one of these markers and it can be used once per game to purchase the antiques won in a bid for FREE! However, there are some restrictions:

1) There must already be at least one bid on the antiques; AND
2) The winning bid cannot be higher than $15.

If these conditions are met, the player winning the current auction may surrender his bribery token and take the antiques for free! This had the effect of increasing most auction bids beyond the $15 mark to prevent the use of this powerful token.

Once all items in a particular set are collected, they are sold. The price is determined by one of the 12 'sale price' tokens which are placed onto the board. These prices range from a low of $3 per item to a high of $16 per item. Thus, the ultimate sales price of a particular item is unknown, but you do know what the value of the NEXT item to be sold. So, part of the game is to attempt to control the timing of when an item you possess will be sold so as to get the highest price. In reality, this is difficult to control. Sadly, I felt like Brittany Spears (Ooops ... I did it again!) as I misplayed this rule. We placed all of the tiles face-down onto the board (the English rules aren't terribly clear on this), so the ultimate sales price of an item was a total crap shoot!

The game continues in this same fashion until two antique sets remain uncollected. At that point, the player with the greatest wealth is declared victorious. Our game of three players was completed in about 45 minutes.

The game is amusing, but I was a bit disappointed. There really isn't anything terribly new here, and the constant series of auctions grows a bit wearisome. The game may see one or two more playings, but I don't think it will find a permanent location in my collection.

Spouey, Lenny and I were the antique collectors and sailed the canals of Venice in search of wealth. Spouey jumped out to an early lead by having several items of completed sets, and was fortunate that these early sets carried values of $14, $15 and $16 each. Lenny and I suffered as the sets wherein we possessed the most items turned out to be far less valuable per item. So, although we had collected just as many items as Spouey, the decreased value of our items didn't allow us to close the gap. Spouey won easily.

Finals: Spouey 75, Greg 53, Lenny 26

Ratings: Spouey 6, Greg 5.5, Lenny 3

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PK WADDLE
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SO Greg--- I am a bit rule confused too-- do you put the valuation tiles ALL face up.. or just TWO at a time face up then flip them at each sale so people can see just the NEXT value.. or to repeat since you said here in your spiel you did it WRONG having them ALL face down -- are they just all face up ?? TIA !!
 
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Greg Schloesser
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GustavMahler wrote:
SO Greg--- I am a bit rule confused too-- do you put the valuation tiles ALL face up.. or just TWO at a time face up then flip them at each sale so people can see just the NEXT value.. or to repeat since you said here in your spiel you did it WRONG having them ALL face down -- are they just all face up ?? TIA !!


Hey, PK! It has been YEARS since I last played Canaletto. I am sorry to say that my memory of it is simply not that good. I honestly cannot recall the details of whether the cardsa are face-up or revealed at different points.

I'm so sorry I could not be of further assistance. Perhaps you could post it as a question on the game's forum and someone who has recently played can provide an answer.

 
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