Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Cacao» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Hot Chocolate rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Matt
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
That's my perp! Futsie, all right - crazy as a coot! He's got to be stopped!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cacao is a tile-placement game in which you, as tribe chieftain, must lead your people to success through the cultivation and trade of cacao.

Each player begins the game with an individual deck of worker tiles. Each one has four workers distributed around its edges, some being balanced with a worker on each edge whilst others will have up to three workers on one edge and one or two blank edges. Players keep a hand of three worker tiles and on each turn decide to send one tile to work in the jungle.

The jungle itself starts with just two tiles in play but will soon expand as workers venture further into the wilderness. Players must place their worker tile next to one or more jungle tiles already in play. Then, if two worker tiles happen to be next to an empty space that space is filled by one of two available jungle tiles that are on display. Finally, any newly placed worker and jungle tiles and activated, at first these multiple activations can be a little difficult to keep track of, but follow a routine and everything should progress smoothly.

One way of earning gold is to harvest cacao by placing workers next to fields, harvested cacao can then be sold by workers next to activated markets. Planning is required since you can only hold a maximum of five cacao and some markets will offer a better price than others. A more long-term way of earning gold is to try and have a majority of your workers next to each of the five temples by end of the game. Another aspect to consider is your tribes water supply, if you do not get you workers transporting water from wells then you will lose a hefty sum of gold at the end of the game, alternatively if you manage to collect a lot of water then you will be rewarded with a nice gold bonus. Then we have mines where workers can earn a little gold, not as much as trading but still better than a slap in the face with a wet fish. Players can also gather sun tokens, and as soon as the jungle tile supply is exhausted these can be spent to place a remaining worker tile on top of one that they previously played. The surrounding jungle tiles are then immediately reactivated which introduces another interesting aspect towards the end of the game.

Games often flow in different directions, in one game players may be stockpiling abundant supplies of cocoa whilst waiting for one of the better markets to come into play, whilst in another there may be a cacao shortage early on. Cacao is worthless at the end of the game so you need to shift it as soon as you can for the best price you can. This all means that you are constantly balancing the opportunity to reap immediate rewards with the need to compete for longer term goals such as improving your water supply and scoring temples. There is also the need to keep in mind how your placement of jungle tiles will benefit your opponents, it is always satisfying to place a market tile next to opponent's workers knowing that they have no cacao to sell.

The game can slow down a bit towards the end as the board expands and more options become available, this also leads to things becoming a little bit too mathematical for my liking. Also, some people may be a bit wary of the luck element, having one of the better jungle tiles available on your turn offers a distinct advantage especially as this advantage can be effectively doubled by playing a sun token later on. Also, I’m not sure how the game will stand up to repeated plays, although the recently released expansion may go some way to alleviating any over familiarity

Cacao has some nice cheerful artwork and a neat purpose designed inlay and plays great at all player counts. There is a nice level of player interaction without any of the outright meanness of Carcassonne for instance. Thinking of that venerable tile-layer there is definitely an old school feel about Cacao but it is still very much its own game. Simple and quick playing Cacao is a satisfyingly sweet snack, much like a favourite chocolate bar.

Here is a list of all my reviews, some with puns that I really should be ashamed of.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Møller
Denmark
Aarhus
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A nice review. Thanks for sharing. I own the game myself and I'm quite happy with it. But I feel like the sun discs don't really come into play much in a 3 player game. Have you experienced that?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David B
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Peukon wrote:
A nice review. Thanks for sharing. I own the game myself and I'm quite happy with it. But I feel like the sun discs don't really come into play much in a 3 player game. Have you experienced that?


Players can speed up or slow down the rate at which the jungle times are placed. If you are frequently placing worker tiles so that two jungle tiles are placed, you significantly increase the chance you will be able to use your sun tokens.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
That's my perp! Futsie, all right - crazy as a coot! He's got to be stopped!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Doing a little bit of maths (not my strong point), a four player game will consist of a total of 36 worker tile placements, a three player game will have a total of 30 and with two players this falls to 22 (but to balance this seven jungle tiles are removed at the start of the game)

So the ratio of worker tiles to jungle tiles is

4 Player: 36:28
3 Player: 30:28
2 Player: 22:21

It looks like that with 4 players the jungle tiles will tend to be exhausted sooner leading to more potential to use sun tokens. There isn't much difference between two and three player games.

I guess that this is something to bear in mind, but like David said you can have an influence on how quickly the jungle tiles are used by placement of worker tiles.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Palau Life
msg tools
I love the solo variant of this game and play many games of it in a row. With the expansions and promo tiles, it's even better. Really enjoy this game at 1P and then 2P!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.