Goa: Back to resource production, management, advance progression and ‘benefit auctioning’ in colonial India. This was my first playing with 4 players. Tile auctioning seemed to be more vicious than in previous 3p games I’ve played, and this was also my first playing in which the elaborate auction tile selection process seemed to make any vague sense – previously I’ve never understood why this strange mechanism was built into the game. Although Pat (I think) seemed to get some cheap tiles early on which may have given him a small head start in one or more areas, I don’t think these items were the key game-winners for him.
As in previous games, I concentrated my advance track efforts on building ships, commodity production, and the ‘penguin’ (settler) track, abandoning completely the money and sextant card track, which both stayed at the zero level for the whole game. This was in contrast to Pat, who seemed to get all of his advance tracks progressing well, but the sextant cards in particular, and later, commodity production. It is clearly important to work through the card actions, something I failed to do at all during the game. The only time I picked up cards was by getting the advance track bonuses for shipping and penguins.
Al also seemed to avoid the sextant cards (unless I’m mis-remembering?), favouring instead the cash track. Richard seemed to be playing competently for a newbie, perhaps almost matching Pat with the sextant card draws and advantageous plays thereof.
As I said, I found the auction rounds stinging. Bad luck or poor choices on the tile auction tableau resulted in me being cash-strapped the entire game. I think I had to spend an action to pull some extra cash just to be rich enough to score the first turn marker, which I managed to get exactly once in the entire game. Also, I only ever saw a total of three extra action (A) cards for the whole game, in contrast to everyone else who seemed to average at least one per two turns. Good fortune did come my way on about the 2nd last turn, when I got to place my auction marker on the tile that allows conversion of six goods tokens into 4 points. I would have liked to win this myself (obviously!), since I was flush with commodities, but knew that my total of 11 cash would not be likely to do it, and I wasn’t overly surprised when Pat bid all that he had for this: $20. This was enough to give me the most cash (equal with Alex) for the 3 point end-of-game bonus, and some change to bid for one more tile.
As both Richard and Pat observed, player interaction is reduced to the auction rounds only, and depending on your perspective this is either a positive or negative for the game. Pat said he liked the ability to work on his own enterprise without interference from others. But for Richard this made the game more resemble multi-player solitaire, which is less interesting. Actually, apart from the tile auctions, there are a few other subtle player interactions. These are the races to one’s preference of colonies, and to the first bonus card picks for each of the advance tracks.
By the end, Pat had achieved a record score. I am so proud to have been a part of that. Really.
Total time: 2 hrs, incl. rules explan.
Results: Player: adv chart, Kolonies, plantations, cards, cash bonus, total
Pat: 34, 10, 5, 7, 0, 56
Richard: 22, 10, 1, 2, 0, 35
Paul: 23, 10, 3, 2, 3, 41
Al: 27, 3, 4, 3, 3, 40
Originally posted on www.themineshaftgap.com.
Thanks for asking, Ryan.
Actually, I have only played Goa about 4 times and I haven't even been aware of the variant(s) you mention. All of our advance tracks began at zero. We all started with $10 cash, except for the default start player (Pat in this case), who started with $7.
Our score breakdowns were summarised at the end of the original post, but to clarify, my 41 came from:
23 points on the advance tracks (ships=10; settlers=10, commodity prodn=3).
10 points for getting all 4 colonies (I focussed strongly on this in my play tactics, and this of course was complimented by the settlers advance track).
3 points in plantations bonuses (a "1-producer" carried a bonus point, and I drew a tile that gave me a simple +2 (can't remember what it was!)).
2 points from the little symbols on the few expedition card draws I had.
3 points for having the (equal) most cash at the end of the game.
Admittedly, some of these points were good timing - in fact 8 pts worth. In the last turn I moved from the 6 spot to 10 spot in the Settlers track, and drew a bonus card as a result. This gave me an instant two commodity tokens for nothing, and unexpectedly allowed me to also move my shipping track from 6 to 10 also, since I had exactly 4 ships available. This gave me another card, which just converted to 1 point. As described previously, the cash fell into my lap too, since I was able to place my last tile auction token on something that Pat (and everyone else!) wanted badly enough to spend big on.
The main lessoned learnt from this game was the value of the Expedition cards. I'm sure Pat would have been reeled in, and perhaps I would have earned more, if I'd tried to go for these a bit more.