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Subject: General comments about Santiago rss

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Robert Birks
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Trafalgar
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Santiago arrived on SBW recently, and I eagerly joined up for several (ok, lots) of games so I could experience this much hyped game. Shortly after, a friend brought around a copy of Santiago, and I played a FtF game as well.

While generally I have quite enjoyed playing the game, there are a couple of issues I have with it that reduce it's value for me. Since nobody else has mentioned them here from what I can see, I thought I'd see if other's agree...

Firstly, in many of the games I have played, being in the right position in the bidding order at the right time can make an enormous difference in the end result. The best example is when one of the tiles showing up is worth much more than any of the others. I have had a game where 1 tile was worth a clear 16 gold to the highest bidder, while the second best was worth 4 (at best, if irrigated). In this situation, last seat is in an overly powerful situation, as long as he has some money. If the earlier players bid high for the tile, he can outbid them by one, leaving them spending a large amount of money for rubbish, all the while making a profit. And of course, if the earlier players dont bid high, then last player gets a huge profit. In my example above, for any player other than last to bid more than 4 is a guaranteed loss, as the last player will outbid them. So the last player has a 11 gold swing, on all players, unless someone is willing to sacrifice themselves. Most games I've been in have been close enough that an 11 gold swing is a game winning swing, all for the good luck of being in the right spot at the right time.

Conversely, if no good tiles show up, then bidding early allows you to pass or bid 1, and conserve your money. Later players either have to bid higher for not much return, or pass for no benefit at all. This however is a much smaller swing than the above example.


The other big negative for me in this game is that the last round canal overseer is usually in Kingmaker position, where they can decide who wins the game by which canal they allow to be placed. So essentially, 9/11 rounds of play comes down to one players whims.


Finally, I dont actually think there is a great amount of skill in the game, as long as you have basic understanding of the game and a basic ability in mathematics.

I dont dislike this game; however there's been very little negative raised in these forums and I thought I'd have a go at explaining why I dont think it is a particularly good game. I'd be interested to hear what others think.
 
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Akke Monasso
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Aalten
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I really like Santiago, in spite of the auctions which are unbalancing at times. If it's a gamebreaker for you, you might try replacing the current auction with a standard auction in which players can raise or pass in order until all players pass. It's been a while since I played, but I think it could work.
 
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Gláucio Reis
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The issue with the auctions does exist, but I don't think it's that big. Plantations are usually shared. If you have a large plantation, it's likely that other players will join in at some time. If one tile is particularly valuable, it will probably generate points for other players as well. I certainly haven't played as much as you, but in my games I think no-one has ever bid more than 6 or 7 escudos, maybe 8.

On the other issue, if you need irrigation, there are a few options. None of them is guaranteed to be available or fail-proof, but you can try:
- get the channel overseer yourself;
- save your extra irrigation for the last turn;
- offer a good bribe.
 
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Oh you seekers of the new who run terrified from history into the clutches of an eternal life where no electric shaver can be built to last.
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    Santiago is one of those games where you are very dependent on the other players at the table to help you keep all others in check. Indeed the auctions can be lopsided, but you mentioned that if someone is willing to take a hit then the advantage is diminished. That's kind of the nature of the game.

    Take it for what it's worth. No game appeals to everyone. You're playing with three, or with four?

             Sag.


 
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mrbass
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GSReis wrote:
The issue with the auctions does exist, but I don't think it's that big. Plantations are usually shared. If you have a large plantation, it's likely that other players will join in at some time. If one tile is particularly valuable, it will probably generate points for other players as well. I certainly haven't played as much as you, but in my games I think no-one has ever bid more than 6 or 7 escudos, maybe 8.

On the other issue, if you need irrigation, there are a few options. None of them is guaranteed to be available or fail-proof, but you can try:
- get the channel overseer yourself;
- save your extra irrigation for the last turn;
- offer a good bribe.


I bid 18 in a game and won. I agree with GSReis when he said "get the channel overseer yourself". I like to sometimes float my extra canal out there knowing that a bid score will likely come up and as long as I'm last to bid it was worth it. So far I'm 7 wins outta 11 games on spielbyweb.
 
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Steven Chen
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Haha I thought I knew that name from somewhere. If indeed that is what you go by on spielbyweb, then I've got you in one of my Amun-Re games. Its funny you've got this swing issue with santiago because I've got the exact same issue with Amun-re. And since you're doing so well in our current game I'll just ask it here though it may not be the most appropriate place.

So this is only my second Amun-Re game (I discovered spielbyweb last month and went crazy signing up for 9 games - 3 Amun-Re, 3 Santiago, 2 Tikal and 1 Reef Encounter), with my first game close to finishing. So as I understand it if you have the most pyramids on one side of the river you get 5 points, 3 points for a set of pyramids in all your provinces in addition to one point for each of your pyramids.

So in that respect, isn't the 5 point for most pyramids on one side of the river a huge swing issue as well? Because if you go last you can outbuild your neighbour by one building stone, and if somebody on your side has built an enormous amount of pyramids then you can spend your money on other things that benefits you, say power cards. But of course the offering comes next and you try to madly deduce what the other players are sacrifing and there will be a maximum swing of 3 building blocks. But if that happens isn't it cruel to lose out on 5 points just because you've a building stone less? (say 3 pyramids and 2 building stones vs 3 pyramids and 1 building stones). And presumably because you're stacking up pyramids on one side of the nile you're not concentrating on other provinces to rack up the 3 points for a set of pyramids either.

So... yeah... a newbie Amun-Re gamer needs advice. There might be ways to play around this that I haven't discovered.
 
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mrbass
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I don't think I'll ever figure out Amun-Re because it's so dang hard predicating what people will sacrifice. I have a better chance figuring out what they'll do in Hoity Toity by far. I still love Amun-Re and yeah I used to bend over backwards trying to get the 5 point for most pyramids on the one side of the nile. Now I'll take it when I can get it. Also it's a great way to force people to sacrifice.
 
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