I keep bringing this game since I own it, though I’m not sure I really like it. We played two times this evening, and I’m still not sure.
Players this time were Ron, Mike, myself, and new fish Dennis.
In the first game, Ron got a really dominant chain in the northwest part of Paris, mostly at my expense. He ended up winning by a large margin.
In the second game, Ron had much less luck, while I was able to get most of the tiles I needed to defend my position (with one major exception). Mike also did quite well in another area of Paris. In the end Mike and I tied, but I had more businesses in the sack, so I got the win.
I’m not sure what turns me off about this game. Maybe it’s the illusion of strategy. There is a lot to think about when choosing which tiles to pick up: whether to improve your position along a line or hope to trigger a grand tour; where the small tour is likely to score; and what tiles for a location have already been selected. But in all practicality the way to make points is to dominate the intersections, preferably those at the center of the board that are right next to other intersections. If you or your neighbor to the right draw the tiles for intersections where you already have pieces or where you need to put pieces, you will be able to protect your position. However, if the person on your left or the person you currently share an intersection with draw the tiles you need, you're out of luck. In the first game, for example, Ron was able to steal quite a few spots from me and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. In game two, I got pretty lucky while Ron got the shaft (and not even from me–I displaced him in only one spot, where it was obviously the best move).
The way to win, or at least be in the running, is to avoid having businesses in the sack. But this is a hit or miss affair. I’ve seen players who were obviously not winning continue to get their businesses replaced, while those who were winning seemed immune, merely because of where and when the tiles came up. Nobody seems willing to lose points just to take on the leader, and who can blame them if this means handing the victory to someone else?
There are definitely important decisions to be made in Paris Paris, and some people play the game better than others. But once you figure out the basic strategy, whether you win or lose is going to depend on who draws what tile and who people decide to pick on more than on how skillfully you play. I guess I prefer games like TransAmerica, where the luck is so obvious you can just relax and enjoy yourself, or a game like Tigris & Euphrates, where thinking is guaranteed to benefit you.