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Subject: Two games, and we all feel we are still inefficient rss

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Norbert Chan
Canada
Calgary
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
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Jean, Trevor, myself and Don showed up at Greg's new home in Cranston. While waiting for Don, we set up Leonardo Da Vinci, which I had bought for $50 from Revolutions. Don had already read the rules, so it was okay to start explaining. After Don arrived, he made a cryptic remark that he arrived too late and that I had beat him to the table by setting up the game. (Don is not a real fan of Princes of Florence, and after an initial rading of the rules of this game, felt it was similar. Oh well, there's no accounting for taste).

Player order was Trevor, Greg, Norbert, Don, and Jean. Playing the expert version, I was sure I was going to take two apprentices. My theory was that you would require apprentices to acquire many objects, and the more apprentices you had, the better. However, my initial plan got derailed, when I realized I need components and an upgraded lab. So I settled for taking 4 components (2 rope, a glass and a tong). What I really needed was 2 wood, since my plan was to start on the #12 invention, the Bellows machine. But looking upside down at the card, I thought it needed rope. So I made a mistake. Oh well, it was a learning game. (The first time you make a mistake, it is inexperience, the second time you do it, it is stupidity. )

For his starting actions, Trevor took the 4 space laboratory, $5 Florins and an apprentice. Greg also took a 4 space laboratory, an apprentice and 4 components. Don upgraded his 5 space lab, took a mechanical worker and 4 components. Jean took 4 components, upgraded his 5 space laboratory and a mechanical worker.

After mixing up the rope with wood and mumbling something, I decided to start work on the #9 invention, the glass palace. But I looked over at Don's laboratory, which was now finishing a 7 week invention.(He had his master, all three apprentices, and the mechanical worker all working in the laboratory). At the end of turn 1, Don produced invention #9 (which Jean and I had the misfortune of choosing as well, but we would not complete until turn 2, which gave Don the card). Trevor worked on invention #3 all by his lonesome and finished it, Greg worked on invention #1 and finished it. Trevor's strategy throughout the game was to increase his number of apprentices, and frequently would put his master on the academy to earn more apprentices. I would frequently finish second/third and have to pay $2 or $3 for my apprentices.

On turn 2, only Greg was ready to start work in the laboratory, which meant the rest of us were going to be scrapping on all the city spots.
At the end of turn 3, Trevor and Jean both finished invention #8, Trevor bid $4 to take the card.

At the end of turn 4, I finished my first invention, #13 (the aiming crossbow, which I could have used to threaten someone else's apprentice). Greg finished Bellows machine, and Don completed invention #14, the "slowing down flight". The picture of the invention makes it look like some stairs.

At turn 5, invention #2 (a simple secured pulley) came out, worth $4 Florins.There was nothing else I could work on, so I thought I would put up a token fight for it. Imagine my surprise when I was the only one to built it, giving me my second invention. I think people either thought it was not worth the effort or too many people would compete for it. I think it was the latter. Also in this turn, I was in the council, and I was left with the ability to look at the next 4 inventions. I saw the #20, the burning mirror, and began getting the components for it, knowing that the other people would not have seen it yet, and I could collect my components without hopefully too much competition. Face up on the table was invention #16, the double bomb dropping gear. I put both my laboratories, into action, onef for #20 and one for #16. I thought to myself if I could get them both, I could put out 4 different inventions, and no one knew about #20 yet.

At the end of turn 6, Don produced invention #7, the underwater dunk tank.

At the end of turn 7, Trevor produced invention #19, the lifting tower, and Greg produced invention #16. So my dreams of invention innovation ended, and I had to point an arrow at Greg's completed #16.

It turns out I finished my inventions at the end of turn 8, and twiddling my thumbs on turn 9. I think most of the other people were like that as well.

Scores :
Greg 63 ($55 Florins + 8 for diversity, with inventions #1, #12, #15 #16)
Trevor 54 ($46 Florins +8 for diversity with inventions #3, #8, #17, #19)
Norbert 48 ($40 Florins + 8 for diversity with inventions #2, 13, 20)
Jean 32 (invention #15)
Don 28 (inventions #7, #9, #14)

The two rope that I had at the beginning of the game were still in my hand. I guess I could have used them to raise my burning mirror.

We had a non thematic, non Italian lunch of Safeway Ham on bread (since they do not deliver food to Cranston), and we began another game. I thought about what I could improve on the next game. I was the only one who looked at 4 inventions in the draw pile, and that did allow me to produce a big invention, uncontested. Now the trick was how to produce an early invention without competition? No one seemed to be interested in #12, the Bellows machine, possibly because of the minimum 2 turn work required, so I decided to plan around producing that one as my first one.

Player order was myself, Don, Jean, Trevor and Greg. Going first, again playing the expert version, I decided to go for an apprentice, upgrade my 3 lab and take 4 components, of which 3 of them matched the #12 invention. (Last game I got my 4 lab, which I believe is not necessary so early in the game. You only really have enough resources to get one invention going on turn 1 and 2). Don went for 4 components, 4 components and his 4 space laboratory. Jean went for apprentice, apprentice and 4 goods. Trevor went for his 5 lab upgrade, a mechanical worker and 4 components. Greg went for apprentice, lab upgrade and mechanical worker.

On turn 1, Don started two inventions(!), and the rest of us only started one. At the end of the turn, Trevor would produce the #9 invenetion, the glass palace. I was still working on #12. Meanwhile, Don, Jean and Greg had all started on #1! Don bid $4 Florins to win the card.

On turn 2, Trevor invented #8, the theatrical latch, while I porduced #12, the Bellows machine. Don and Jean both produced the #3, the dimensioned sling, and Don outbid Jean with $3 Florins.

By turn 3, Don and Jean would collide again, when they both produced invention #5, the viewing ocular. Don would bid $5 for it, so by the end of turn 3, Don has 3 inventions! I was colleting goods for invention #14, hoping that no one was still interested in silver inventions yet.

On turn 4, Jean produced the #10, the reflecting window, to reflect on his bad luck in sharing inventions.

On turn 5, I produced the #14, and had two inventions to myself. I had also taken a look at the 4 inventions in thh draw pile and began work on the #17, which I only knew about.

On turn 6, Greg produced the #20.

On turn 7, I produced the #17 (extracting tool), and Trevor produced the #15 (enlightening lens). If we worked together, I'm sure we would havemade great dentists.

I was able to produce one more gold invention, the #21. I did have lab space for another invention, but Trevor had produced it, the #15 before I could start it. So again, one of my laboratories was empty on turn 8 and 9.

Scores:
Norbert 48 ($40 Florins +8 diversity, inventions #12, #14, #17, #21)
Trevor 43 ($35 Florins + 8 diversity, inventions #5, #8, #9, #18)
Jean 38 (inventions #10, #19)
Greg 35 (invention #20)
Don 25 ($17 Florins, 8 diversity, three inventions #1, #3, #5).

Funny, Don had 3 inventions after the third turn, and no more after that. So the ability to look in the draw pile in mid game seemed to work. I was also aided by the fact that no one seemed to want to pursue the silver inventions early in the game, allowing me to complete them. We all seemed to feel we were pretty inefficient when turn 8 and 9 rolled around, since we had no inventions to produce. Perhaps in future games we can plan ahead to use the laboratories to full capacity.
 
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David
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Wellington
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How did you find the game itself? Was it engaging, fun, fiddly, boring? Was there a 'buzz' about the game afterwards, or discussion, or did people just say thanks and go home?
 
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Norbert Chan
Canada
Calgary
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
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I enjoyed the game and want to play this in the next few weeks. There are tough decisions to make on what resources to grab, and how to grab them.

I know Jean was unhappy in that he always felt he was completing an invention that someone else was doing, and had to bid to try to win the invention. If you chose the same invention that someone else did, I don't know if that would be classified as luck, fiddly or something else, but it is part of the game.

Another potential negative aspect is that you may be competing in more areas than other people. For instance, you might be outnumbered in areas (where you gain resources), and it may cost you more when you come in second or third. You might be outnumbered more than your opponents, and ulitmately that cost you $Florins, or VPs.

I like the game and want to play more. I think the other people want to play more as well, as we still haven't optimized our moves. The game clocks in slightly under 2 hrs (with 5 players), so it is a good length of time for us as well. To me, it has the potential to be a really good game, but I don't know quite yet how it will look after repeated playings. We didn't discuss the game much afterwards, since we were rushing to try another new game, Augsburg 1520, then everyone had to rush home.
 
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jbrier
United States
Aventura
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I've only played 3er, and even then it is very difficult to be efficient as far as keeping your labs occupied all the time goes- with more players I can only see this getting worse. I like this though, because the impossibility of perfect efficiency keeps you feeling like you aren't "solving" the problem of how to play the game.

I'm impressed at how even with only 3 players things felt very tight. I am REALLY looking forward to this with 4, which I'm guessing is its sweet spot, but I'm concerned that 5 might be too hectic and feel frustrating because of the lack of being able to accomplish things.
 
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David Reeves
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I have played once with a friend's copy of the game with 5 players. I felt it was "tight" as each area was very contested. I just ordered the game so I can test it with my family of 4 playes. Like you, I suspect 4 players may be better, but a couple of gems will confirm that.
 
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