Binyaimn 88, Nadine 86, Jon 82, Nitzan 68
Binyamin requested to play this, another from his recent massive game purchases. Ys was the first game by the same company that produced Caylus, and it shows. Think .... Alladin's Dragons mechanics on a Caylus board.
Ys is a blind bidding game, with at least seven different scoring tracks (there are more, actually). Each of these tracks pays off to first through fourth place, and the value of four of the tracks are themselves fluctuating through player bidding.
Improving yourself on any track generally gains you between 3 to 6 points. Each bid you place essentially gives you benefits on several tracks in different combinations; of course, your opponents are doing the same, That makes it hard to see what is really gained with each placement, and hard to plan with the blind bidding.
Still, like Alladin's Dragons and Caylus, the main mechanic is to earn the benefits of locations through a series of placing markers, which places are then resolved in a particular order. The vast number of tracks, cubes, and other things changing hands is deliberately used to make the game hard to figure out.
And again, I quite enjoyed it, because I like the conflicting choices, and I like area control games, which I seem to get easily enough. There were no strategic problems for me in this game. It pretty much came down to tactics, which, owing to not understanding one rule on the first round of the game, I flubbed, and therefore lost the game. It didn't help that I lost a lot of blind bidding wars by one piece, which was basically a matter of luck.
Binaymin took control of a lot of the interim scoring mechanisms, which gained him a huge interim lead in favor of the end scoring. He ended up winning despite all of our massive end scoring, even after making a slight mistake near the end of the game which cost him a point or two. The end was pretty close, as you can see from the final scores.
Most of the bidding ended up being between Nadine and me, as we competed for similar areas and used similar tactics (even choosing similar bidding numbers all too often and humorously), and between Binyamin and Nitzan who did the same.
Nadine didn't particularly care for it. I groaned when I heard the rules explanation, as it was so derivative and similar to so many other Eurogames, it was a joke. Yeah it is a good game, and I will choose it over other similar games, but really. Something entirely new would be nice.