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Subject: A technical review from cost and return perspective rss

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Ming Yuan
Australia
Calamvale
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Manila apparently attracts less attention than it deserves. Part of the reason is because that most gamers do not possess the mindset to understand how the game mechanics works and why it is beautifully designed.
In contrary to many reviews which categorise the game as amidst gambling and bidding, Manila provides a perfect system which resembles the risk and return in real market place. I shall elaborate this point from three perspectives.
Firstly, the positions where player's meeples hold depict a cost and return. The positions are well designed to reflect a positive relationship between risk and return. Higher risk (less likely event) is associated with higher returns and vice versa. Hence players are not gambling but calculating.
Secondly, even more clever, the game designs perfect system for players to place influence over the events to avoid pure randomness to ruin strategy. I guess not many gamers are fully aware of the value of the fleet leader and the bid for harbour master at the first a few rounds, or even after a few games.
Thirdly and most impressively, there is a hedging system in present to perfectly mitigate risk, and thus allow completely different style of play. Most conservative players can always secure a very low level of profit. Aggressive players may try their luck with great potential returns.
Overall, Manila is a game of investment and return. Each decision making is associated with calculation of potential risk. It is challenging for players to fully understand their strategy as this is a deep game. Dice is only a camouflage which makes the game fun but not random at all.
My advice is that you need at least four players to play. Three players make the game obviously biased. Four players work perfectly with luck and strategy. Five players make the game more fun and also more random but less control for strategic players. Guess what, a group of players with financial literacy will find the game very interesting for its mimic of commodity price, risk and return, random walk market, hedging, venture investing, and even insider trading. Gamers who are not interested in making money cannot be bothered by this game.
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Michael Frost

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Though gamers would do best here just to know the game is quite fun. And that it is. A blast with a good group of gamers who understand risk and return on investment. (I write this a gamer with an MBA.)

Played Camel Cup for the first time yesterday. As we were playing it, I told the group, "This game reminds me a lot of Manila." I enjoyed CC, but I find Manila to be more raw fun. I mean, pirates boarding! I've never had an unfun game of Manila.
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Todd Kauk
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I think Manila is approximately 500-1,000 times more fun than Camel Up.

Nice review, thanks!
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Michael Frost

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Todd Kauk wrote:
I think Manila is approximately 500-1,000 times more fun than Camel Up.

Nice review, thanks!


I agree. But we had a group of 6 so CC worked but Manila didn't.
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Robert
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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shadowymz wrote:
Manila apparently attracts less attention than it deserves. Part of the reason is because that most gamers do not possess the mindset to understand how the game mechanics works and why it is beautifully designed.
...
I guess not many gamers are fully aware of the value of the fleet leader and the bid for harbour master at the first a few rounds, or even after a few games.
...
It is challenging for players to fully understand their strategy as this is a deep game.
...
Gamers who are not interested in making money cannot be bothered by this game.


Unless you're trolling, you should avoid insulting the intelligence of your audience.

Quote:
Higher risk (less likely event) is associated with higher returns and vice versa. Hence players are not gambling but calculating.


Semantics

Quote:
Dice is only a camouflage which makes the game fun but not random at all.


Dice aren't random at all? Sorry, no.
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Michael Frost

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Though, just curious, Robert, are you a fan of the game?

The beauty of this game is that ultimately even though it uses dice, it really is a dice-driven probability game. Where after each roll of a die each player has more information to make better probability estimates. So what you may call "luck" or "randomness", others might call probability analysis. And we keep in mind that probabilities are just that...probabilities, not certainties. Just as in real life.
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Robert
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
Though, just curious, Robert, are you a fan of the game?


Haven't played it. I've subscribed to the game since it seems like something I would enjoy.


Quote:
The beauty of this game is that ultimately even though it uses dice, it really is a dice-driven probability game. Where after each roll of a die each player has more information to make better probability estimates. So what you may call "luck" or "randomness", others might call probability analysis. And we keep in mind that probabilities are just that...probabilities, not certainties. Just as in real life.


I understand your point, but if playing this game means I have to listen to someone pontificate on the differences between luck and probability, the probability of me playing it is zero.
 
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Michael Frost

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Just get yourself a copy and start playing. Every game I've ever played, including the 2-plyr variant I created for my GF and I, has been a blast. With both teenagers and adults. Just make sure you know the rules well and teach the game properly. Esp. as regards the pirates and the harbor pilots. Hope you get to enjoy it soon.
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Robert
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Why did Dracula become a bank? To deal with suckers every day!
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Thank you for the strong recommendation
 
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Michael Frost

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BankofDracula wrote:
Thank you for the strong recommendation


Though if you haven't already done so, watch the Dice Tower Review by Tom Vasel from 4 years ago. Keep in mind he is reviwing the original edition, not the later 2nd edition. The component quality is better in the original. (I have the 2nd.)
 
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Ming Yuan
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It quite surprised me that so late a piece of review for a so small game may actually trigger some heated discussion. I am really moved. While I myself is a big fan of Roads and Boats which rules out probability in its entirety, I do wonder whether the boats in R&B may face weather conditions which force them to move a little bit more or less than expected just like in Niagara. When there is uncertainty in life, i am going to accept it like i do not know the flavour of the next chocolate. When there is uncertainty in games, i am going to accept it and try that act as an electron - try to appear in the part of the electron cloud where i am most likely to be. Sure that pure strategy game allows us to be so confident about the power of our mind, it is rare in real life that the know-alls play their plots to the end, and that is why they are often on the side of the villain.
 
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Ming Yuan
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Man the MBA thing really reminds me about me and classmates for my undergraduate study played Manila like six years ago. I do believe that the experience made some of us more aggressive in investment strategy from then on. For every round people mortgage their stock card to loan money to bid for the harbour master. That was intense. And we even added harsh rule to enforce liquidity where stock mortgaged can only be counted into final score if the player has adequate fund to redeem the mortgage. It is a game for real business people. I feel that we changed it to a cut throat game.
 
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Michael Frost

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That is the rule, encumbered shares are NOT owned by the player at the end of the game but that player must still pay out 15 pesos to the bank. The encumbered share can't count positively toward their end game scoring. Essentially the bank owns it. Of course, players would normally only encumber shares that are worth zero at the time they are encumbered.

To own and thus count the share, the player must unencumber the share BEFORE the end of the game (before any single share hits 30 triggering the immediate end game, after which there can be no more actions by any player). You cannot unencumber a share after the game ending has been triggered.
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Ming Yuan
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Is that 2nd edition rule? for 2005 version it says "Each player counts his cash (PESOS) and adds to this the value of his shares (the value of the ware as shown on the black market table). From this sum, he subtracts 15 PESOS for each encumbered share (loan not yet repaid). This final total is the players FORTUNE."
I comprehend this as shares encumbered still worth their market value less 15. I make reference to the Manila rule provided at this link https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/22128/manila-rules-enpdf
If a player has a share worth 30 and no coins on hand, his score under this rule would be 15. Under our rule, haha it is 0.
I am looking into 2nd edition rule now
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Michael Frost

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See the BGG Rules forum here.
 
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Ming Yuan
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Games rules from Rio Grande at this link http://riograndegames.com/Game/133-Manila
says the same.
BTW i remember this game was firstly published by Zoch? so the copyright is sold to Rio Grande now? just wondering. Lucky now we have reprints. It really hurts waiting for reprints from splotter...
 
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Michael Frost

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You have to properly apply all the rules, both those tied to encumbering and unencumbering shares, as well as those regarding the timing of the end of the game. Which is triggered immediately when a share hits 30. The encumbered shares are face down showing you don't own them. And they can't be unencumbered after the game is over. You are penalized for not unencumbering them, but players normally only have encumbered shares worth zero anyway. Though maybe it may be worth 5 pesos at very end of game.

And "Pesos plus unencumbered shares minus encumbered shares" means add up all your pesos as they are at the end, add up the respective peso share values for all of your unencumbered shares and then subtract -15 pesos for each encumbered share. There is no share value for an encumbered share.
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Michael Frost

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shadowymz wrote:
Is that 2nd edition rule? for 2005 version it says "Each player counts his cash (PESOS) and adds to this the value of his shares (the value of the ware as shown on the black market table). From this sum, he subtracts 15 PESOS for each encumbered share (loan not yet repaid). This final total is the players FORTUNE."
I comprehend this as shares encumbered still worth their market value less 15. I make reference to the Manila rule provided at this link https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/22128/manila-rules-enpdf
If a player has a share worth 30 and no coins on hand, his score under this rule would be 15. Under our rule, haha it is 0.
I am looking into 2nd edition rule now


Keep in mind what the rules say about: "Winner: The player with the highest fortune (pesos plus unencumbered shares minus encumbered shares)."

Clearly you cannot add value of encumbered shares. The words you cite above are "adds to this the value of his shares". This is the value of the unencumbered shares, which are shares you own that are face up in front of you. The encumbered shares are not owned and are held face down. Thus the additional part about "he subtracts 15 PESOS for each encumbered share (loan not yet repaid)". There is no positive value for an encumbered share at the end of the game. You just have to pay out 15 pesos for each such share, which is owned by the bank, not the player. It punishes you for encumbered shares, but that punishment is minimal (other than the 3 pesos) if the shares that are unencumbered are worth zero.

And the rule is even more clear when it says "Encumbered share = minus 15 Pesos at game end."

- Thus, there is no positive value for an encumbered share. It doesn't say "Encumbered share = final share value minus 15 Pesos at game end."

- And this clearly shows that there are encumbered shares at the end of the game. Just paying the bank the 15 pesos does NOT unencumber the shares. A player can only do that during the game. NOT after the game ending has been triggered.
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