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Ed Sherman
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Coda is a straightforward game with a minimum of components: no board, no cards, just a handful of plastic tiles. There are twenty-six tiles, zero through eleven in black and white plus a dash (or "null") for each color.

Gameplay works this way: all tiled are turned face down an mixed up. Everyone picks four tiles and arranges them in order so only they can see them. At that point, the first player picks a tile from the center, and tries to deduce an opponent's tile based on what he or she knows. They can point to an opponent's tile and say, for example, "is that a black two?" If they guess correctly, the black two is tipped over so it is visible. Now the guesser has two choices: keep guessing or stop and put their new tile in their lineup. If they guess wrong, they have to place their new tile in their lineup exposed.

This allows for some interesting deduction: for example, if I am holding the black zero and two, and my opponent still has a black tile before their black three, I'm pretty sure that hidden tile is a one (except for the nulls, which can be inserted anywhere as a bluff). Basically, everyone takes their turn as long as they still have hidden tiles. When someone has all their tiles exposed, their code is "broken" and they are out. Last man standing wins.

The first few times I played this game, I liked it a lot. It's a game that lets you play several times in a row easily (this accounts for all the plays I have listed). However, I started to get tired of it quickly. There's really a lot more dumb luck in it that I'd like for a game that poses as a deduction game -- for example, the first player is at a huge disadvantage because they're usually just randomly pointing to someone's tiles and blind guessing. Also, there are a lot of times that we came down to the end and the last player has a 50/50 guess for the last tile so it's heads they win, tails they lose. One session I "won" twice in a row because the other guy guessed wrong on his turn (I had one hidden tile, there was one hidden tile still in the center -- was my tile the black 6 or the black 8?) which was very dissatisfying.

Anyway, I had fun with it while it lasted, but then I traded it away once we realized we were sick of it. I was really hoping for an interesting deduction game, but its shelf life was way too long to be worth a recommendation. (My rating: 4/10)
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Tony Wai-kit FUNG
Hong Kong
Mongkok
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edosan wrote:
The first few times I played this game, I liked it a lot. It's a game that lets you play several times in a row easily (this accounts for all the plays I have listed). However, I started to get tired of it quickly. There's really a lot more dumb luck in it that I'd like for a game that poses as a deduction game -- for example, the first player is at a huge disadvantage because they're usually just randomly pointing to someone's tiles and blind guessing. Also, there are a lot of times that we came down to the end and the last player has a 50/50 guess for the last tile so it's heads they win, tails they lose. One session I "won" twice in a row because the other guy guessed wrong on his turn (I had one hidden tile, there was one hidden tile still in the center -- was my tile the black 6 or the black 8?) which was very dissatisfying.

My friends know I am so good at making first guesses. I won most games when I am the first player. After tens of demostrations, they know it's no pure luck at my situations.

And I can teach people that there are different guess situations to me. I have (1) Blind Guess, (2) Educated Guess, (3) Tactical Guess, and (4) Deduced Guess. And I can do very well tactical guesses and educated guesses in my first turn.

Currently I have very high (far more than 50:50) win:loss ratio in head-to-head duels. If playing with a setting of winning 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 7 games one-on-one, I have never lost a game yet, in many different game groups.

Therefore, it's not really a disadvantage to be the first player. The point is however that most modern gamers tend to treat it pure random.
 
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