Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Sarah, Daniel and I sat down on Friday afternoon to play our first game of Yspahan, the game whose name I have trouble spelling, let alone pronouncing! I've played a bit of a computer conversion of this game, but this was my first time actually playing with my copy of it.
So, here's my impression of the game: Ysphaan is fun. It's also surprisingly quick with three players. I thought it would take longer. You see, each player gets 21 turns during the game, in which they select one action depending on what dice had been rolled, and then can choose to upgrade a building. So, 63 turns plus a couple; that'll take some time? Not that much, apparently. In the 30-45 minute range.
What I thought would *really* slow Yspahna down was how you have to roll dice at the beginning of every round. One player is the "first" player each round. (You have a little black pawn to remind you; like the blue "Ra" token in Ra, we didn't use it). He or she rolls 9 dice (plus up to 3 extra dice if he or she wants to spend gold), and then arranges them on the board according to the quantity of each number rolled. Or the number of each quantity rolled... nah. Go back to the first.
So, if you rolled "1,1,2,3,3,5,6,6,6", you'd have to separate all the 1s into one place on the board, all the 2s, etc.
This doesn't take as much time as you might expect.
So, I explained most of the rules of Yshpahan to Sarah and Daniel, only forgetting a few things that'd become crucial later... well, not really. Yspahana is a game that is best experienced rather than explained. I found it quick, enjoyable, and interesting.
It also has little wooden camels. As I made sure I explained to Sarah and Daniel, camels are important! Gold isn't quite so important, though that didn't stop them gaining a lot of it.
Daniel enjoyed rolling extra dice, and so spent his gold on that. He also upgraded his buildings so he built the joist (Joust?, no I think it's the first) that adds an extra cube to the "souks" when he chose that action to pursue. Sarah thought being a merchant sounded fun, so was going to draw extra cards every time she sent cubes to the caravan.
Me? I spent my early turns upgrading everything. Sarah eventually got there as well.
There are four ways you get points in Yshapan: You fill up the stores on the board (the souks) with little cubes is the first. Each completed set of stores is worth points - more points the more shops in a set, and more points for harder sets to complete. Second way is by sending goods to the caravan. That requires you first to put goods in the stores, and then to move the supervisor to the store, in which case your good is removed from the store and placed on the caravan. If you're got a camel, you can discard that an leave your good in the store, and put a "free" cube on the caravan. Camels are important!
Third way? Upgrading. First two upgrades are worth nothing, next three are worth 5 each, last is worth 10. That's 25 points if you do them all.
Fourth way? A couple of cards allow you to convert gold or camels to points.
You need to find a way of doing it efficiently, and given I'd played the game before, I was more efficient at it than Sarah or Daniel. I got my camels quicker, I upgraded quicker, I got points for souks quicker. Sarah got several cards at the end of the game for sending cubes to the caravan... and discovered that a card that allows you to not have to pay gold or camels for upgrading a building isn't that great when you've already upgraded all your buildings.
Still, I don't think there's that much of a learning curve, so they'll be a lot better the next time they play it. Final scores had me about 80, with both of them in the mid-50s.
That's Karl on the left. Eternity on the right.
I love Melissa, but don't tell her. It's a secret if she can find this. Shhhhh....
also upgraded his buildings so he built the joist (Joust?, no I think it's the first)
Hoist? Could be a translation thing.
Those extra cards at the last week can be useful too, you can
add one cube to the souks by discarding a card when taking the dice =)
I've noticed this to be a very neat feature, especially when going for the harder-to-get souks like the 12 point one. (you only need one 5 if you already got that building which allows you to put an extra cube, then just discard a card and there you go, 14 points with one dice =)