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Merchants of Amsterdam» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Frustration, Confusion, Kudos and Love rss

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Wade Broadhead
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All right, after much worry about the auction clock in this game I put it on the xmas list and recieved it for an early gift.
I love exploration, 1500-1600s games as well as anything involved with the Spice Trade, so I knew I'd probably enjoy this game.
The artwork was alluring enough to draw my wife and mother in and it quickly hit the table the day it arrived.
Open the box: the clock is broke. It stops at 140 then only after much work does it finish the cycle: FRUSTRATION. Ugh
I was prepared for a broken clock and decided to do a traditional auction with the monetary limits on the clock.

We opened it up, never having played with a light gaming wife and mother, and to my surprise: that wasn't a problem.

With a few references to the rulebook, and after explaining the bonuses a couple times we were rolling along. We had absolutly no idea what to bid on anything (CONFUSION), and the first few auctions went well below their actual value. Luckily, I picked up some early auctions and positioned myself to score high throughout the game.

Confusion gave way to enlightenment as we all began to understand the bonuses and how the scoring worked. My lead in Amsterdam diminished and auctions became increadibly inflated. My wife just flat out "buying" cards for 200 straight out! I lead in the commodity market, and placed strongly in both colonies and wharehouses.

I noticed that despite shuffling the cards numerous times, they still seemed to be stuck together and turns shot past quickly due to numerous sandclokc draws. Sometimes we would only get one auction before scoring something again, and my wife and mother complained that they wish they would have realized that during earlier auctions.

I must admit at this point there was some wine flowing so perhaps the bidding strategies were unsound, but my mother and wife kept buying cards for high prices and I had aquired so much money I didn't really even bother. The poor randomization of the cards left most of the commodity cards to be taken in the beginning, leaving wharehouses in the end.

The final turns really zoomed by and I ended up with 2.06, wife with 1.86, and mom with 1.5. Despite a worse case scernerio: clock broken, board slightly warped, cards slightly bent and difficult to shuffle, we all really enjoyed the game. I was happy it was a good choice for lighter wine-laden gaming fare with lots of interesting decisions and my favorite theme: KUDOS to the creators.

I can easily see this getting back to the table with my family and gaming friends in the near future, and the length is just about right to see many plays in my "gaming sphere of influence". After only one quick email, Rio Grande is sending a replacement clock this week, but the traditional auction worked just fine for us. I must say after only one play I LOVE this game.
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David McLeod
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After all you had to overcome I was surprised to see that you liked the game... From other reviews and session reports I've read seems like the "What do I bid?" question comes up a lot when first playing. Once you get the clock in there this game should be even MORE enjoyable.

Thanks for the report!
 
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Wade Broadhead
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A functional clock arrived in under a week: kudos and love to Rio Grande....
 
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