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Subject: Is this a vicious game, or is it just me? rss

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Billy McBoatface
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I'm halfway through two games on SBW, and one thing that surprised me is how vicious this game seems to be.

By that I mean, there are a lot of opportunities to hurt your opponents.

Both my games are 5 player, and drought is a huge issue. I had a miserable time getting my plots watered, so I gave up, started trying to spend almost nothing on my crops (since they'll probably turn to dust anyway), then put my efforts into redirecting canals away from expensive/productive plots of my opponents. I'm still not winning, but at least some of my plans are succeeding now!

Is this the way the game normally plays? Or will more time playing it show that it's possible to defend against nasty opponents and actually put together constructive plans?

I'm not saying this is a bad thing; backstabbing games are fun! But I'm just curious about whether other people see the game this way or not.
 
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James Fehr
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It is hard to defend against nasty opponents - this is a vicious game. I think it's important to have constructive plans A, B, and C ready to implement at any given time, because it's difficult to see one plan through to the end. My opinion is that it's a lot more tactical than strategic. It's definitely one of my favorite games with the right crowd. :-)
 
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Charles Chen
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I'm not an expert, but an important part of the game is bribing the canal overseer enough that he can't afford to misdirect the canals. A lot of people fail to pay a high enough bribe so the overseer pays 1 extra to put it where he/she wishes.
 
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Jorge Montero
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It's not that evil...it's even worse

Sometimes, you can give a very small bribe to the overseer so that he has a cheap alterative to spending a dozen escudos to make sure three other players don't get 20 escudos each, or taking 11 escudos and lose the game anyway.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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hibikir wrote:
It's not that evil...it's even worse

Sometimes, you can give a very small bribe to the overseer so that he has a cheap alterative to spending a dozen escudos to make sure three other players don't get 20 escudos each, or taking 11 escudos and lose the game anyway.
Yes, I saw one guy do that in one of my games, then used it in my other game...works like a charm! Die, enemy banana fields, die!
 
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marc lecours
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yes, if all my crops are watered and have no need of a canal, I always make a small bribe to put the canal in a totally useless place or a place that only waters the overseer. Great fun.
 
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Kevin Bourrillion
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I never really thought of all these tactical moves as "vicious" or "nasty", exactly -- but I guess it depends a lot on your crowd. Some people take this kind of thing too seriously; to me, that's just how the game is played.
 
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mrbass
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Is still pretty strategic while at the same time giving someone the boot. A few rounds a game there might not be jack squat to get a decent return on investment so I just pass on the bid. Ok so I didn't make a profit but at least I didn't lose anything plus I have a plantation to block off so fruitful growing plantation fields.
 
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marc lecours
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Also our group likes to start the well on an edge or even a corner. This maximizes water shortages in the early game which makes the game nastier. On the other hand this means that in the middle game as you get to the middle of the board things ease up a bit. UNLESS you do what we do.... As overseer we sometimes place a canal between 4 fields that are already watered from other sides. Also we play a lot of canals on the edges of the board (they only water 2 fields). This forces the early use of each player's free canal.

When there are potential water shortages then everybody wants to be the overseer ! (lots of bribe money) When there are 4 or more spots with water available then no one wants to be the overseer.

When the player in the lead is the overseer then it is difficult. The other four players often cooperate and play their 4 fields beside each other.Then each bribe 1 money (cant remember the currency) for the same canal. The overseer can then take 4 money and have no water for his own field (not enough compensation) or pay 5 money and have water. If the overseer refuses the bribe then one of the other four must sacrifice and put in a free canal. It is an unwritten rule that the player who is behind in fields does not have to sacrifice himself/herself with their free canal at this point.Of course all this means that we keep a rough track of who is in the lead and who is behind.
 
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Anthony Simons
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It depends on the player mix whether this will be mildly vicious, absolutely nasty or somewhere inbetween.

But it is certainly easier to defend against nasty opponents than you seem to be experiencing. For example, the canal overseer will often have to take the best offer so if you choose your bedfellows carefully your combined offer ought to draw his attention.
 
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mrbass
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I like what Magic Rat said on his blog October 2006 Summary of Games played
"Santiago – The most important house rule for this game is “No whining”. It’s not a matter of if you’re going to get screwed, it’s a matter of when."
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Todd Sweet
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mrbass wrote:
I like what Magic Rat said on his blog October 2006 Summary of Games played
"Santiago – The most important house rule for this game is “No whining”. It’s not a matter of if you’re going to get screwed, it’s a matter of when."


And if you play with mrbass isn't not only a question of when, but how often! Of course, the screwage factor is one of the things that make this a great game in my opinion!

*Note - don't know mrbass, but playing with him on SBW
 
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Brad Keck
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TMJJS wrote:
mrbass wrote:
I like what Magic Rat said on his blog October 2006 Summary of Games played
"Santiago – The most important house rule for this game is “No whining”. It’s not a matter of if you’re going to get screwed, it’s a matter of when."


And if you play with mrbass isn't not only a question of when, but how often! Of course, the screwage factor is one of the things that make this a great game in my opinion!

*Note - don't know mrbass, but playing with him on SBW

I can vouch for that! I have come to the conclusion that mrbass plays purely for the joy of screwing people over, and not so much to win.
 
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