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Subject: Three players in our first game...wait, make that two rss

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Joshua Buergel
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I've been wanting to try Yspahan for a while. For some reason, it slipped past my radar when it came out, and then it sat on a wish-list for a long time. I finally snagged it in a Game-a-thon, and after reading through the rules last week, I was fired up to give it a whirl. Any game that features twelve dice in the box is going to get at least a trial from me.

Jarrett, Justin and myself sat down around the table to try and knock out a quick game before people started arriving for our get-together. I explained the rules, and it quickly became apparent that Jarrett wasn't going to hold it together. Due to recent surgery, he was filled to the gills with pain-killers, and I suspect that the little camels were starting to move of their own accord. He snuck off to take a nap, and Justin and I decided to give it a poke with just two players.

Right off the bat, I went for neighborhoods and he went for buildings. He quickly secured the gold building and the camel building, while I was filling up souks right and left. The two player game felt like it had a ton of space in it, with the exception of the neighborhood that has the 12 point souk in it. We weren't using the supervisor much, as he only moved once during the first week when I made a defensive move to keep him away from my stuff. I had a camel drought through much of the first half of the game, and I was getting paranoid about getting nailed by a bunch of ill-timed caravan placements.

After the first week, I was up about thirty points. However, Justin had also managed to build the crane building, and was about to build the +2 points building, and things were going to get ugly. In week two, fueled by his buildings, a vast and unending supply of gold (and yellow dice) thanks to good rolls and the foresight to have built the gold building early, some good rolls that gave him access to that exclusive neighborhood and just all around solid play, Justin really put the hurt to me. He scored 7 souks, for a total of 59 points in the week, while I made to with something pathetic like 12. When you add in his building points, I was down about twenty five points and a building. Things were looking grim. Once again, we neglected the supervisor except for a single defensive move.

In week three, I made a comeback, as I had built the crane at the end of week two and got the +2 points building in this week. I still was running shy on gold, so yellow dice were few, but I still managed to bring in a good number of points. Justin built the other two buildings and sent one of my cubes (from the 12 point souk!) to the caravan, but I had the card that allowed me to place a cube anywhere to repair the damage. It was the only cube that ended up with the caravan in the entire game, as the only other one that might have gone was bribed off by Justin. The final score was closer than I expected, within ten points, but it sure felt like a beating. We both had a good time and the game whipped along really nicely. I can certainly see why people like it, it's a very affable and quick moving game that I expect to see trotted out frequently as filler.
 
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Joe
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It can be difficult to appreciate the value of the caravan when you first start playing, especially since so much of the game board is dedicated to the colorful neighborhoods.

Remember that cubes placed on the caravan are generally going to score points more than once. Once when the cube is initially placed (1, 2, (or 0) points), and again at the end of each week (number of cubes * highest occupied level multiplier). The caravan will also be scored immediately if it is completely filled. This can make for a lot of points before a game is finished, especially if you can get a lot of cubes in there early enough to get them scored multiple times!
 
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Joshua Buergel
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I think we both blew off the caravan initially because it seemed like a waste - two actions to move one cube onto the caravan. It further seemed clear to both of us that one of us was probably making a mistake in blowing off the caravan, but we weren't sure which one of us was. By the time we'd kind of remembered that that was a possible avenue for points, it seemed like that ship had already sailed - having missed the first week of scoring, it seemed like you were missing out on scoring multiple times, so it didn't seem worth it. I didn't want to imply I thought the caravan was worthless, just that we didn't use it at all. Almost certainly a sign of dodgy player skill.
 
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