Wisdom begins in wonder.
Stale pastry is hollow succor to a man who is bereft of ostrich.
Five of us at the weekly Sunday game-day decided to try out Chinatown, a recent addition to the game library. The players were Dave K., Krista, Pat, Jeff, and Ross (me). This was a first playing for all of us, and our group doesn't play that many negotiation games in general, so it was all the newer. The rules are actually quite simple, so after a brief explanation we got under way.
I started collecting detective agency tiles (one of the 6-businesses), and though it took me a while to complete, I began building fairly quickly in the lower right section. I went for some quick cash and built on most of my lots in the early turns. Krista collected both of the other 6-businesses, and built in the lower middle section. She finished her first business fairly ealy, and completed the last 6-tile business at the end of the game. Dave and Pat each started a 5-tile business in the upper left section, and both of them finished it. Jeff got unlucky in his initial lot selection, and ended up without any two lots even in the same section, let alone close to each other. He focused on quickly builing a 3-tile business in the lower left, and went on to build a 4-tile business in the upper middle section. The upper right section was empty after the first round, and never really filled up until the end of the game.
On the turn in which both I and Krista built a 6-tile business, the extra income for 6-businesses card came out, adding insult to injury for the other players. Because of this and Krista's second 6-tile business, she and I were considered to be favorites to win. But, alas, it was not to be, and the final scores turned out to be:
Dave K. $72,000
A surprise victory for Pat! Her buildings were about on par with other players', but her wheeling and dealing put enough money in her pocket to take the win. The surprise was Krista's score, since everyone thought she was doing so well. It seems that she just spent too much to get that second huge business, and there were not enough turns left in the game to make it worthwhile.
Overall it seems that everyone enjoyed the game. There is a fun tension between placing tiles early to start generating income, and saving empty plots for later bargaining power. There are actually very few rules so that even on the first play you can jump right in. Though I have limited experience with the genre, I'd say this is a very enjoyable negotiation game, and I look forward to playing it again
Glad you enjoyed it. I've only played a few times but it's always been a blast. I am eagerly looking forward to the English reprint.