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Subject: A game of stealing others work and inappropriate but apropos dork jokes. rss

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Drinky Drinky
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Mr. Cat. Hold on I think I know my next move, just give me another minute....NO!!!!!!!
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Thar she blows!!! New Bedford now available for purchase to the public after Gen Con and mass release. The rumors of this game on the Kickstarter seas were mere legend I tell ye. But aye as the only survivors of the Essex have seen it for ourselves and tell ye’ it is true.

I had held off on the Kickstarter for various reasons. Worker placement is a favorite mechanic of mine and I hesitated on this one saying I would pick it up later after I saw a review or how it was played. And alas, I watched from the bow of the ship (actually computer screen) as it lurched out of the water sped away from me toward the horizon, not knowing one day our fates would intertwine again.

Two years later I had played New Bedford at a demo table at Gen Con 2016. Not only was the “test” game to my liking playing the 6 rounds of game, but I was also impressed by the custom tables for the game. And playing the demo at Gen Con also gave me a look into how to possibly teach the game to others and I took note of this for later. I excitedly picked up a copy of the game and didn’t touch it until my 4 day voyage at Gen Con had ended.

As a proviso, some folks may have a bit of trouble with the theme here, as it is a little more blatant than most games. I have had a couple of people not like the theme of killing whales, but they still played through it. One person was little more distraught about the idea, but she slugged through the game and semi enjoyed it. Another gentleman also said he didn’t like the theme, but I called his bluff. Where I said, “Wait. You like Agricola?”. “Where do you think all the cows and sheep go? Uve Rosenberg's mystical farm playerboard to live out the rest of their lives, no it is so your family doesn’t starve.” It got shrugged off and we continued playing. But, I have taught New Bedford to multiple groups of people so far and they seemed to enjoy their first play of the game regardless of the theme of whaling. Regardless of what people thought of the theme everyone was impressed with the art and style that went with the game and loved the looks of the buildings, components, and overall look of New Bedford.

I think my best play was teaching a group of people who were not as used to worker placement games. I knew they had not seen worker placement and engine building games. New Bedford is primarily worker placement but with how the whaling portion feels it is also an engine building game. I wanted their first game like this So I decided to play the part I learned at Gen Con and more demo the game to the 3 other players. I annotated that the first 5 rounds would be “slow moving” and things would kick up around turn 6, and they would need to pre-plan for their engine optimally before the 12th and final turn. I also relayed that though you can build buildings in the game, whaling was the way to go to win the game. They are sea captains, not sea carpenters.

My taking up the “Demo” slot and playing the game with 3 people as opposed to 4 players, helped speed up the game and allowed newer players to take a bit longer without making the game seem too long. What was odd was I think I had just as much fun refereeing the game as I would have playing the game. Based upon this and a couple of other playthroughs, I do believe that 3 players is the sweet spot of the game in terms of time between terms and amount of clash between the players and building spaces. Pulling the whales from the bag as there are less and less whales as the game goes on fits well with the theme of whaling and reminds me a bit of the game Thebes with its bag mechanic. It was also fun watching all the players 'steal' or buy without effort the whales that folks had to sell to pay their own lay as the ships came into port.

During the later rounds, referencing someone who had a bit of trouble with the game, she had just returned with her first ship of whales to pay the crew their lay for the whales. She is just like I can’t do this as a vegetarian. In a bit of almost uncaring logic and realizing I wanted to take it back as soon as I said it. I had told her “Even as a vegetarian, you don’t have to eat the whales. You just kill them and strip them down for their fat so children can read their hornbills in school.” Though the tables around us erupted in laughter, I still felt kind of bad even though it was still kind of funny. It was one of those Sorry, only sort of sorry moments. But still a good time was had by all. If there wasn’t enough childish snickering with mentioning sperm whales, ambergris, using bad sea captains voices of “thar she blows”, and calling each other dorks. That one game event was still was a memorable one for all at the table. Though luckily the sea chanting attempts didn’t catch on for the sake of all at the table.

One of the aspects of New Bedford I still have a hard time getting over is the buildings. Players can build buildings, but someone else will probably use them on you. It is less building your capability and more adding a feature to the game for everyone to use. There is almost little incentive to build except for straight up point buildings. There is no bonus for building the most buildings and nothing like Caylus where someone using your building grants you a victory point. Now on New Bedford I don’t think there would be a method to track victory points in that manner, as there is no scoreboard or loose victory points to track so I think the game design is prevented from doing such. But the 1 coin usage I think is a bit low and should probably be along the lines of 2 coins (at least to pay for the lowest whale) to use the building or that the owner would always be able to use the building as a 2nd but lesser action, similar to how the main town and docks play it out. I think this aspect of no variation will keep New Bedford from being immensely replayable, as each game has no variation in choices and will end up feeling samey (screw you reddit post, merriam webster says samey is a definition, not a phrase of banality).

New Bedford was one of the surprise games that caught me this year, even with all of Gen Con’s pomp and circumstance. New bedford is a good game but looks like it could use a tweak in terms of making the game more replayable where the only variation isn’t what gets pulled out of the bag. With the spectacular artwork, theme, components, and great set of building options during the game; the open availability without much penalty of using other player’s buildings and lack of variation in how the game is played from one game to the next keeps this from being a great or classic game. Still New Bedford is going to remain in my collection as one of the good games in my collection.

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Krisztian Posch
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Do not despair: Rising Tide is here providing variable setup for each game. Problem solved with the replay value I reckon? whistle
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Darrell Louder
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krechevskoy wrote:
One of the aspects of New Bedford I still have a hard time getting over is the buildings. Players can build buildings, but someone else will probably use them on you. It is less building your capability and more adding a feature to the game for everyone to use. There is almost little incentive to build except for straight up point buildings. There is no bonus for building the most buildings and nothing like Caylus where someone using your building grants you a victory point. Now on New Bedford I don’t think there would be a method to track victory points in that manner, as there is no scoreboard or loose victory points to track so I think the game design is prevented from doing such. But the 1 coin usage I think is a bit low and should probably be along the lines of 2 coins (at least to pay for the lowest whale) to use the building or that the owner would always be able to use the building as a 2nd but lesser action, similar to how the main town and docks play it out.


Do my strategy, it doesn't always win, but i feel i have more control over my end of the game rather than whaling, and that is stick to town building. it's one of those game strategies where you have to go all-in. You can't change course midway through the game.

Just gather resources and only spend them to acquire the highly lucrative buildings that will either get you more resources/money or help others. Suddenly that 1 coin for use becomes your winning condition as the players see you with stacks of money (don't forget, money is VP at the end of the game) and discount the points you are rolling in on your buildings.

Note: This is also a viable strategy if you are playing the game and are adverse to whaling, just focus on the town building and you can still win!
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Daniel Rodriguez
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getlouder wrote:
krechevskoy wrote:
One of the aspects of New Bedford I still have a hard time getting over is the buildings. Players can build buildings, but someone else will probably use them on you. It is less building your capability and more adding a feature to the game for everyone to use. There is almost little incentive to build except for straight up point buildings. There is no bonus for building the most buildings and nothing like Caylus where someone using your building grants you a victory point. Now on New Bedford I don’t think there would be a method to track victory points in that manner, as there is no scoreboard or loose victory points to track so I think the game design is prevented from doing such. But the 1 coin usage I think is a bit low and should probably be along the lines of 2 coins (at least to pay for the lowest whale) to use the building or that the owner would always be able to use the building as a 2nd but lesser action, similar to how the main town and docks play it out.


Do my strategy, it doesn't always win, but i feel i have more control over my end of the game rather than whaling, and that is stick to town building. it's one of those game strategies where you have to go all-in. You can't change course midway through the game.

Just gather resources and only spend them to acquire the highly lucrative buildings that will either get you more resources/money or help others. Suddenly that 1 coin for use becomes your winning condition as the players see you with stacks of money (don't forget, money is VP at the end of the game) and discount the points you are rolling in on your buildings.

Note: This is also a viable strategy if you are playing the game and are adverse to whaling, just focus on the town building and you can still win!


I've won a few times with this strategy and so has my son. And you are right, the looks you get when people see the stacks of money growing in front of you are priceless!
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Nat Levan
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Hast ye seen the White Whale?
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I somehow missed seeing this a few days ago. Thanks for the review, and I'm glad you liked it!

Sounds like the Rising Tide expansion should be just what you need if you're afraid it will start to feel samey. For what it's worth, I still love to explore all the little variations in the base game, but I'm a bit biased
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Barry Miller
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Saint Charles
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krechevskoy wrote:
As a proviso, some folks may have a bit of trouble with the theme here, ... I have had a couple of people not like the theme of killing whales, ... One person was little more distraught about the idea,...

Certainly the above reactions are only a small representation of all who play this game, but it's enough to compel a few thoughts about our larger society...

I guess I'm definitely showing my age here, but this sort of intense and troubled sensitivity to an activity which was once accepted, and considered normal, is a remarkable indication of our culture's growing inability to cope with distasteful topics.
(I bolded that last sentence only to emphasize it, but not to stomp my foot about it).

- Is whaling distasteful? Yes, certainly it is!
- Was it distasteful in 1850? No. it wasn't.
- Well then, why wasn't it distasteful in 1850? Of course here I could go into a history lesson about exactly why, which would lead into a discussion of the phenomenon of social norms and how they evolve over the generations, but...
- The larger point is that we as a culture evolved and came to understand why whaling should be taboo and thusly made it so. (Actually, the evolution started before 1850).
- So why isn't that knowledge alone, enough to enable people today to cope? Isn't it enough, knowing that our ancestors took action and made it taboo, so that we don't have to fret over it today?

- And the fact that people become "distraught" by the subject still today (the player mentioned in the OP isn't the only one), is I think, damaging to our culture. It shuts down our capacity to understand our own past. It prevents us from learning and growing, while examining why what was once considered acceptable is no longer.

- And to get back on point, it shuts down our capacity to enjoy a wonderful game, which is in reality, some wood tokens and cardboard on a table top. It is only an abstract representation of an historical activity, after all. I realize you said that those same players went on to enjoy the game, but it's their initial reaction that says so much about our culture today.

- Whaling is part of OUR history... like it or not. The good thing is that we stopped doing it. Celebrate that! Don't let yourself scorn or become troubled by those who came before us and who didn't know any different. It was their way of life, after all.

I guarantee you, that in 100 years, our successors will look back on our practice of butchering and eating cows as being just as scornful and distasteful as we look upon whaling today. Or maybe not... maybe they'll come to understand that such activity is part of natural human evolution and accept the history as such.

So now I have a new goal... to be alive in 100 years to make good on this guarantee!

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Barry Miller
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Drinky,

Sorry about my last post and how it sort of hi-jacks this thread, but after reading your comments regarding some player's reactions to historical whaling, I was compelled to say something - especially when taken in context of the larger cultural phenomenon we're experiencing today of hyper-sensitivity to everything, "micro-aggressions", and "safe spaces". It's all slowly shutting us all down.

How about getting back to your comments about the game?

krechevskoy wrote:
One of the aspects of New Bedford I still have a hard time getting over is the buildings. ... There is almost little incentive to build except for straight up point buildings. There is no bonus for building the most buildings and nothing like Caylus where someone using your building grants you a victory point.

Yeah, I see where you're coming from, and I almost thought the same as you. But then I realized that if everyone thought the same way, no buildings would get out! (Except for VP buildings, of course).

So I see it this way, your incentive for building a building is to get one that suits your strategy out into play! You can't count on anyone else to do it.

And while someone else sneaking in there and using your building before you, earns you only a dollar, think of it instead as 1/5 of a VP!

krechevskoy wrote:
But the 1 coin usage I think is a bit low and should probably be along the lines of 2 coins (at least to pay for the lowest whale) to use the building or that the owner would always be able to use the building as a 2nd but lesser action,...

Yes, I agree with this. Though I haven't played the game enough to really analyze how the $1 usage fee fits into the design of the game (vs how other amounts would or would not adversely impact the design.) It'd be interesting to hear from Nat of the usage fee amount was discussed during play testing, or why it settled on $1.

krechevskoy wrote:
Still New Bedford is going to remain in my collection as one of the good games in my collection.

Yay! Yay!

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Joel Stair
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You get 1VP for every building you build its in the rules.
 
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Barry Miller
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dstair2002 wrote:
You get 1VP for every building you build its in the rules.

Yes, you're right. That's a fundamental element of the final scoring which we all should be aware of. Thusly I believe the OP's point is that, even that's not enough incentive to pay the cost to build a building that you won't have exclusive rights to.

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Steven R
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bgm1961 wrote:

dstair2002 wrote:
You get 1VP for every building you build its in the rules.

Yes, you're right. That's a fundamental element of the final scoring which we all should be aware of. Thusly I believe the OP's point is that, even that's not enough incentive to pay the cost to build a building that you won't have exclusive rights to.



Agree with OP. The victory points for building a building are the same for catching and purchasing a Wright Wale seems a bit skewed. My group tended toward 2 VP's for regular buildings...fundamentally it doesn't change the game, but it does make buildings more viable. I think as is it would be very difficult to win without Whaling, but you could exclusively Whale and still win. Games seem to end with scores in the 20's (somewhere between 20-28 points)...with 2 VPs per building it would still only account for probably 8-14 VPs while increasing scores to probably 23-30 average, thus not diminishing the Whaling aspect.
 
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