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Subject: That can't be right! rss

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Daniel Szukalow
Canada
Burnaby
British Columbia
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Succumbing to the deep temptation to get the latest new games quickly I was happy to get my hands on Maestro Leonardo in my latest game order from Germany.

So off we went - Glenn, Steven, Grant and myself. I had read the rules and was quite confident explaining the working of the game. We used the beginner setup as illustrated in the rules and immediately eyebrows were raised - why does Steven get two labs and the rest of us get one? Why do I only get one lousy component and just four apprentices? Let me check that...yup...that's how we start. It seemed as if Grant got the shortest end of the stick only having 3 apprentices - but he got more cash and one of all but one of the components. Well, let's just see how this plays out.

It was no surprise that Steven had the jump on all of us having completed three inventions in the early stages of the game to Glenns one and Grant and I's none. During this first game very few inventions were being completed - we all seemed to be quite lost in the mechanics and fiddliness in the game. By turn 5 I had completed one invention but lost it to Grant because he also completed the same invention and out bid me to take possession. No problem, I thought, the object of the game is cash not completed inventions (although, if you complete more than two different types of inventions you'll earn bonus cash). By this point in the game I had both my labs and was eyeing the 7 and 11 week inventions. Having collected the necessary components by the end of turn 6 I was prime to start both of them and have just enough manpower to complete them with the last two research phases.

During turn 7, however, we were all scratching our heads as to what to do. Don't need components - that eliminates over half the board. Don't need anymore apprentices since all of them were either had at this point or not needed. Too late to upgrade a lab or grab a mechanical man since there are no available spots for them. No need to move an apprentice from one spot of the board to another. What's the point in looking at the top 4 - yet to be - inventions? Don't need to buy a component since they are useless at this point. Oh well, pass, pass, pass, pass. Okay, we must be doing something wrong, right!??

Only Glenn and I made use of the last two pure research phases. I benefitted greatly from completeing both inventions and gaining some much needed florins.

Wasn't quite sure what to make of the game. I've played quite a lot of different games and this one was the first that left me wondering, "That can't be right". We decided to play this one again using the expert setup.
 
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Alex Yeager
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Hello Daniel!

At the risk of making a few folks jealous by talking about playing Leonardo, here's a few observations...

1. Play the expert rules. Continue to play the expert rules. The expert rules provide an interesting, varied and very level playing field for the game.
2. I will assume the deck was built per the instructions (again, next time, stick with the expert rules). If so, yeah, letting someone get a few quick 1-ingredient commissions is bad. Don't let the 2- or 3-ingredient commissions tempt you on turn 1 (although there are times it makes sense to start with them). You'll find the quick cash and the 2-hour credit towards the next one makes going after those small commissions important.
3. Turns 5 and 6 can be huge for ingredients - either by taking the council and looking ahead for what will come up, or watching what the people who DID look go shopping for. On turn 7, it makes less sense, but see the note below.
4. I also suggest trying a variant: DO flip up new commissions during 8 and 9. We played a lot of Leo with this variant in place during testing.
5. Did I mention that the expert rules are the way to go?...

If you have any more questions, I'll help if I can!
Alex Yeager
Mayfair Games
 
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Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
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I just played this game yesterday and found it to play quite contrary to your experience, we were all racing for upgrades, eeking out inventions when possible in the beginning, but as the game progressed we all had well oiled machines that pumped out inventions which made for a highly competative resource bid near the end. Did you get to the gold cards?
 
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Daniel Szukalow
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Burnaby
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I have played the game again since the above session with the proper understanding of what exactly happens in turn 8 and 9 and it also played contrary to the above session. There was now a reason to try to grab as many components going into those last two turns. And yes, we did reach the gold inventions.

Do not play the game with the beginner setup and make sure you read the FAQ to better understand what exactly can be done in those last two turns because the english translation of the rules are confusing.

This game has me looking forward to the next session to try a different 3 favour combo to start the game.
 
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