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Subject: SNAP Review [1 play will update if more] - Negative Review rss

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Sami Khan
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Disclaimer: This review is written after one playing, it's quite possible that we read the rules wrong, or I've missed long term aspects of this game. Also everything in this review is my own personal opinion and yours may differ.

Introduction

I have to admit to being a bit of a fan of the Michael Rieneck (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/designer/142) games that I have played. Around the World in 80 Days is an exceptional light family game that scales well, and The Pillars of the Earth (with Stefan Stadler, as is Cuba) again shows off certain attributes nicely; a strong theme, which ties into intelligent gameplay but with a good amount of luck to make things different. It even encouraged me to buy the book from a craft fair stall on the weekend (not having read any Ken Follett). Anyway, this meant that when I heard about Cuba, and all the buzz that it seemed to be getting, I was really looking forward to a game of it.

The theme around Cuba is not so strongly developed, revisiting the familiar from Puerto Rico of "players with plantations, building and shipping goods". Indeed the game seems to be an attempt in some ways to capitalise on the success of PR. It seems to be trying to be heavy (lots of options), while light (very small number of game turns so not that much time for long term strategy).


Gameplay

Kristof Tersago has already given a nice review which details the component images and what is contained in the box, so I won't dwell on this, you can find that review here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/229730

I'll just add a quick note to say that if you've picked up a German copy instead of an English copy (or vice versa, or need another language), then you'll need translations for the tax cards, and the new law cards. The rest of the game is language independent.

Also, the colours on the board don't seem to quite match those of the goods and products, and there are two "whites" (one white, one creme) in the game, and also some colours look subtly different on the board to off, red, orange and yellow seem lightly interchangable. This sort of thing adds a bit of confusion, but this would probably be lost on repeat playings.


My Thoughts

In the game I played (a four player, just over 2 hrs including rules with fast albeit tired players), right from the word go, there was general confusion.

There was confusion as to "What on earth should I be doing?" There are lots of things to look at on the board, and the game does not flow. Each section of the turn seems oddly disjointed, and not really that related to each other. It is not clear what it was best to go for - should I be trying to produce cigars/tobacco to get extra cash/vips? Should I be trying to use the victory point buildings, or trying to use the ships? Now some may say this is just a good number of options. What I say is that as a player I shouldn't be thrown in the deep end and told basically "do anything you want, oh and you only have 6 turns so none of this is likely to be that useful".

There was confusion that was centred around all the building options. Essentially there are a lot of different buildings available to purchase, in a similar way to Puerto Rico and Caylus. Now I didn't like that aspect of PR (and why so many people think this is a great game to try new gamers on when they have to work out sooo many different buildings I am not sure), and it was only marginally better on Caylus because at least the buildings' effect once out was visible by all.

There was confusion about why anyone would become too involved in the laws - yes, it was slightly nice to be able to pick them, in that it might save a couple of vips, but risking wasting a large amount of cash in a bidding war, against just keeping yourself nicely covered for both VP options seemed a no brainer to me. No one seemed to diverge enough within 6 turns for the "special VP style scoring" effects to make a significant impact on the game.

The game kind of ambled along. I was playing a building strategy really that revolved around an early VP building, a water producing building, and a water selling building. It took me half the game to build those, and the rest of the game I was holding ground with the rest of my turn and producing VPs in the bit of it that could. It didn't feel like once I had chosen to do that somewhere on turn two, that there was really much else I could do. Player's long term strategies seemed to be set really early, and then they just had to react to the minor fluctuations of laws that came up, and any random affects any buildings would have.

As it turns out, my strategy won. Do I feel I deserved it? Not at all, the only reason I got it was because I exploited the turn order mechanic while stockpiling a lot of goods in to my warehouse for one valuable ship, and then maintained ground ahead of the others from that point on. I can't say I really played a game, I guess did what I was forced to do after my choices in the first couple of turns.

I'll be honest, I look at all the positive reactions to this game all over the geek, and I can't say I understand them. Were all these people playing a different game? Is it perhaps that I am becoming too much of a cynic after playing so many games that new ones really have to pull all the strings, whereas perhaps to others they feel fresh. Who is to say.

The Others'

sa266: I was very keen to play this, but it disappointed. It felt very fiddly and bitty, as if too many things were crammed into one game - it felt like it needing streamlining more and then it might have been a better game. I didn't have any more clue at the end of the game what I should be doing that I did at the starti]

Unfortunately, I didn't get the other two's opinions, but neither of them were particularly positive.



Conclusion:

The game was a disappointment to me, it didn't have a good theme, the game aspects felt disjointed, and it just didn't feel like a cohesive whole. Felt to me like it should have been playtested more.

Recommendation: IGNORE HYPE Do not buy this game on spec, DO try it, and if you like it then buy it. I'm not getting this one for the collection unless I have my arm twisted into playing again, and suddenly switch opinion on it completely.

Edit: Later in the thread I'm asked to give more detail rather than emotions from the game played, and others shed their thoughts as well, please do read to the end of the thread.
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Matt Tonks
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Hi Sami

Hope you & the family are well. Once I saw this review, I had to read it...

A bit concerned about your review as this is one of the Essen games I am keen to get. Hmmm, what do I do now?!

Is it possible that your negative impressions of Cuba & the fact that you specifically mentioned it felt disjointed possibly down to not having played the game before? Are you saying there seems to be no apparent relation between the actions & phases, etc? Do please elaborate on this if you are able to...

Thanks

Matt...
 
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Sami Khan
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Thanks Matt,

Nope, given how many new games I try the negative impression/disjointedness wouldn't have been down to not playing the game before, as I don't normally get that with new games. I can believe it was probably augmented by being really positive about the game before trying it, but the impressions would still have been negative I'm afraid.

It isn't completely disjointed, there is a connection between the phases obviously, as you require goods/products to use in the taxing stage, and also in the shipping actions. I guess there didn't seem to be a great deal of "flow" in the game, it's really hard to describe, but ultimately it just didn't work for me. Imagine that the series of mechanics that seem to be forced together rather than naturally fitting together in the first place. And then a few more options have been added to make it feel like there's more than one thing to do. Then imagine that these mechanics don't seem particularly fresh. The result just feels a bit unwieldy, and this actually impacted my experience during the game.

The majority of people I've read comments for seem to like the game. I think it's most likely that I'm being a bit "been there done that" with it, so it doesn't feel as good to me, and I'm less willing to forgive it it's quirks where it doesn't seem to work quite right. Certainly it is playable, it just doesn't really shine or make me want to play it again.


tonksey wrote:
Hi Sami

Hope you & the family are well. Once I saw this review, I had to read it...

A bit concerned about your review as this is one of the Essen games I am keen to get. Hmmm, what do I do now?!

Is it possible that your negative impressions of Cuba & the fact that you specifically mentioned it felt disjointed possibly down to not having played the game before? Are you saying there seems to be no apparent relation between the actions & phases, etc? Do please elaborate on this if you are able to...

Thanks

Matt...
 
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John Paul Sodusta
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
I should preface this that I have not played the game but have thoroughly read the rules. I came here to read your review to find more information regarding the game; on how it plays, how the mechanics flesh out, etc.
_______________________

This is why I try not to write reviews of games that I have only played once. Unless it is a light game like Ticket to Ride, TransAmerica, Apples to Apples, Hey, That's my Fish, etc, there will be a lot of subtleties that you will miss in playing one game. You cannot even guarantee that you played the game correctly, just like your disclaimer said.

All of your thoughts revolve around of just not knowing the game. You mention complaint of having tons of options, but that is just a sign of a deep game. You even say that you are thrown in the deep end. You mention confusion as to what the ramifications of certain rules are etc.

I might sound a bit harsh but I am just trying to offer some constructive criticism and maybe you can rewrite some of the information that I might actually be able to extract some information from your review. Maybe I am being selfish because I want to know more about the game and if I should buy it or not. Maybe through my selfishness I can help others that are in the same situation as me.

Right now, as your review stands, all I learned is that you were confused on what to do and did not have a firm grip of what strategies to use. You use the argument of winning the game and not feeling deserving because you just ambled along. See for me, the reason you is not an artifact of the game's integrity but the relative quality of play your opponents executed compared to yours.

I can appreciate you sharing your thoughts, but I must also share that there wasn't much information gleaned from it.
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Hi Coldfinger,

I wonder if I could judge a game after only one session. Especially when the rules tell me to play along the first game, to get the concept, and to get only a hint of the possible strategies.

As you said, it is your opinion, I think I would have played a couple more games before writing it.

I hope you give the game another try and I also hope it start shining for you.

JeVo
 
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Sami Khan
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
I'm honestly intrigued by your response here,

This review is right after Essen, all other reviews of Cuba at this point will have been made after one playing as well I would have thought. The difference between those and mine is that mine is in general negative, and mine refers mainly to experience of the game, rather than dwelling on the rules. And yet the others are OK because they are positive? Or because you want it to be positive? Get that clear in your head first of all.

I say from the outset that it is my experience after one playing (although notice there were four people playing in the game). I also say that I may have had a bad experience and been unfortunate, but that does not change the fact I do not wish to play this game again. I cannot apparently know a game without playing it several times to get the finer details of strategy. By your recommendations, that means I cannot make a review, and that also means that negative reviews cannot exist, as no one who dislikes a game will want to play it again.

When I am trying to find out about games that have just been released, I find it more informative to find out what people have thought. This is the information I have provided here. I always think negative comments are worth a lot more than glowing praise.

To answer your question, on how it plays, I thought I had done that.
It plays in an unstructured, disoriented fashion.
The mechanics do not gel together well.
Some aspects of the game don't really seem to work and seem to have been pasted on to provide extra options (although I didn't mention the market in the description above)
It does not have a solid theme.

You have a rulebook which you have studied for how it physically plays, so I don't see the need to go through that again.


I was playing with four extremely experienced gamers of a very high standard. We had a complete understanding of the rules. In fact my circle of gamers has in the past broken several games which had initial high buzz factor and then dropped off.

I stated in the review title that this was an experience from one playing.
You clicked and read anyway
You didn't like what you read because it was negative about Cuba

what does that tell you? It says that you have prejudged the game before playing.

Please keep an open mind. You may like it, you may not, you're more likely to know than me, but at least know that not everyone out there has liked it, and it does have flaws.




Barkam wrote:
I should preface this that I have not played the game but have thoroughly read the rules. I came here to read your review to find more information regarding the game; on how it plays, how the mechanics flesh out, etc.
_______________________

This is why I try not to write reviews of games that I have only played once. Unless it is a light game like Ticket to Ride, TransAmerica, Apples to Apples, Hey, That's my Fish, etc, there will be a lot of subtleties that you will miss in playing one game. You cannot even guarantee that you played the game correctly, just like your disclaimer said.

All of your thoughts revolve around of just not knowing the game. You mention complaint of having tons of options, but that is just a sign of a deep game. You even say that you are thrown in the deep end. You mention confusion as to what the ramifications of certain rules are etc.

I might sound a bit harsh but I am just trying to offer some constructive criticism and maybe you can rewrite some of the information that I might actually be able to extract some information from your review. Maybe I am being selfish because I want to know more about the game and if I should buy it or not. Maybe through my selfishness I can help others that are in the same situation as me.

Right now, as your review stands, all I learned is that you were confused on what to do and did not have a firm grip of what strategies to use. You use the argument of winning the game and not feeling deserving because you just ambled along. See for me, the reason you is not an artifact of the game's integrity but the relative quality of play your opponents executed compared to yours.

I can appreciate you sharing your thoughts, but I must also share that there wasn't much information gleaned from it.
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Matt Tonks
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
ColdFinger wrote:
Disclaimer: This review is written after one playing, it's quite possible that we read the rules wrong, or I've missed long term aspects of this game.


ColdFinger wrote:
I was playing with four extremely experienced gamers of a very high standard. We had a complete understanding of the rules.


No offence, Sami, but isn't this a bit of a contradiction?!

While I do appreciate your opinion & current desire not to play this again, I personally think that a game that obviously involves quite a lot of options & rules would merit at least another play before some sort of definitive review.

The first time I played Pillars Of The Earth, I was a bit disappointed by it. Played it again a few weeks later & it was much improved.

That's not to say (from a selfish point of view) I hope if you play it again, you love it!

Cheers

Matt...
 
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John Paul Sodusta
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
ColdFinger wrote:
This review is right after Essen, all other reviews of Cuba at this point will have been made after one playing as well I would have thought. The difference between those and mine is that mine is in general negative, and mine refers mainly to experience of the game, rather than dwelling on the rules. And yet the others are OK because they are positive? Or because you want it to be positive? Get that clear in your head first of all.


Here is the thing. I value negative reviews far more than those of the positive ones. Positive reviews only tend to talk about why it is so great and dandy. They do not talk about things that would tick them. They do not go into details the negative aspects of the game that they forgive due to their enjoyment of the game. Those very same forgivable flaws could very well be the deal breaker for me. Case in point is my view on AoE III. You can look at my comments regarding that game and I think you'll see my thought process. I am sorry if I was being too hard on you. I guess I expected too much tosee specific flaws in th game that you would discuss in detail.

Quote:
I say from the outset that it is my experience after one playing (although notice there were four people playing in the game). I also say that I may have had a bad experience and been unfortunate, but that does not change the fact I do not wish to play this game again. I cannot apparently know a game without playing it several times to get the finer details of strategy. By your recommendations, that means I cannot make a review, and that also means that negative reviews cannot exist, as no one who dislikes a game will want to play it again.


Maybe that is the case. All I was asking is that you explain/elaborate why certain things are not to your liking. Like I said, I am being selfish since this is for my own betterment.

I wasn't being entirely fair as you actually touched on my concerns regarding the game, which is the implementation of the laws and its ramifications. Thank you for taking the time to be specific about it.

Quote:
I always think negative comments are worth a lot more than glowing praise.

I completely agree.


Quote:
I was playing with four extremely experienced gamers of a very high standard. We had a complete understanding of the rules. In fact my circle of gamers has in the past broken several games which had initial high buzz factor and then dropped off.

Exactly my point. During that game you happened to have done something more efficiently than others. No one knew any better, you all knew the same thing coming into the game. If you read what I wrote I about this I said it was the relative execution of play, not the caliber of players they are. What you described as being bad could easily happen to AoS and other deep games you enjoy.

Quote:
I stated in the review title that this was an experience from one playing.
You clicked and read anyway
You didn't like what you read because it was negative about Cuba

what does that tell you? It says that you have prejudged the game before playing.


I didn't like the review not because it was negative but because I didn't get as much information as I thought would get. I was looking for negative reviews since they are far in between. I responded to hope that you would further elaborate on the points you provided or if you could remember specific points that you did not like in the game. The bit about the laws is a great example of what I was looking for.
 
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Sami Khan
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Dang caught by my own covering lines.

I write these lines to ensure that if I have done something wrong I can't get my wrist slapped too hard

I don't think having read the rules since that we did misplay any of the rules. We understood the rules but as you say in this kind of game, repeat playings do introduce refinements of longer term strategies and subtle tweaks that can be made. The thing is, the first game didn't encourage me to want to play it again, and I guess with so many games to play I am less forgiving about a game if it doesn't impress me in some way on the first playing. There have been a fair few games that I've played that I didn't like on the first playing, but I could see that there was merit in the game. Siena in particular leaps to mind. I even played it again, but sadly I don't think as a game that it works. Cuba did not leave me with that feeling. Maybe I'm being too harsh, if so it's my loss, but I suspect someone about will start raving enough about it that I will try it again if it is that good.

tonksey wrote:
ColdFinger wrote:
Disclaimer: This review is written after one playing, it's quite possible that we read the rules wrong, or I've missed long term aspects of this game.


ColdFinger wrote:
I was playing with four extremely experienced gamers of a very high standard. We had a complete understanding of the rules.


No offence, Sami, but isn't this a bit of a contradiction?!

While I do appreciate your opinion & current desire not to play this again, I personally think that a game that obviously involves quite a lot of options & rules would merit at least another play before some sort of definitive review.

The first time I played Pillars Of The Earth, I was a bit disappointed by it. Played it again a few weeks later & it was much improved.

That's not to say (from a selfish point of view) I hope if you play it again, you love it!

Cheers

Matt...
 
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Barkam wrote:

I didn't like the review not because it was negative but because I didn't get as much information as I thought would get. I was looking for negative reviews since they are far in between. I responded to hope that you would further elaborate on the points you provided or if you could remember specific points that you did not like in the game. The bit about the laws is a great example of what I was looking for.


OK, fair enough in which case I apologise for my short reply and I'll try to detail in more specifics the negative aspects I thought of the game. BTW I've also had it pointed out to me that I used "confusion" in my original description in an ambiguous manner. When I said "confused" I actually meant the game itself felt confused rather than the players felt confused.



OK first of all, it is a six turn game, but the game itself has significant and long reaching decisions to make, which ultimately, you need to make on your very first turn, and this then leads you through the rest of the turns almost mechanically as you just play to the strategy you have chosen.

For example, there are two clear strategies which will probably be dependent on the boats that are available - the goods strategies. Goods such as tobacco and cigars are likely to be blocking points on the boats, so if you can start producing them sensibly, then you can ensure those points. This means that you need to buy the buiding that converts the tobacco into cigars Turn 1 ideally. Each player should be able to take enough goods on their starting turn so that they are able to build nearly any building in the game on the first turn after using a worker action to take more goods.

I don't like games where your entire game is forced by a decision you make on the first turn, and Cuba felt like it was doing this to me. If you delay this decision to a later turn, you have less turns to execute your strategy, and as there are only six, this is a significant waste of actions.

Once your basic strategy is set, the rest of the game seems to be about taking advantages of minor fluctuations about the game system. Trying to get your plantations so that you can get one more of an appropriate ship good that is likely to have high value, one more of a good that is likely to be taxed for and so on. Typically everyone should be scoring roughly the same amount for taxes/laws at the end of turn, and there are flucutations between turns based on the shipping process.

Now when we come to the shipping process, this is quite likely to come down to turn order. The trouble is that the turn order mechanic (whoever played the highest card number on round 3, TIES broken by the last around the table, essentially means that the person in last position in a round can always guarantee that they are start player in the next round if they wish. Which means that in most cases for the other players it is out of their control. Which makes shipping quite a haphazard experience.

Then we look at the market. Now the market special abilities, taking a free good and cheapest product (sorry another problem with this game is that goods and products [or whatever they were] are kind of interchangable and confusing), seem OK, but in our game, no one really wanted to buy or sell goods. The initial price of goods is quite expensive, given that you are likely to be able to buy 2VPs with the same amount, and the most you'll get for a product on a ship is 3VPs. Selling is also not quite right either. I know it doesn't seem to sound right that neither selling or buying is good, but selling and setting up the next player for a reasonable priced buy just doesn't seem to make sense. The market was only used 3 times in our game and this was because no one felt it was truly advantageous to them. Plus most of these occurred after the market was flooded - which caused a price drop.

Then we look at the plantation board. This is one of those irritating ones. If you want to build a building, you have to cover up a plantation, which lowers your output as the worker needs to be on the same row/column as your building if you want to activate it. Which means that building buildings in one sense is lowering your output in another. OK that's not so bad, and I did think of the aspects in the game this one wasn't too bad.

Finally we have the laws, which are probably my biggest gripe. The mechanism feels reqlly clever, with two laws coming down and replacing existing mechanisms, and indeed I think it would be really good in a different game. The trouble is that firstly bidding for laws is a bit too risky [you make a cash bid and lose all the involved cash after adding it to your total in round 5], for too little gain. As you know what laws are coming in it always seemed better to me to just prepare myself for both eventualities, which wasn't too hard to do. Special cases of the laws tended to roughly impact people around the table in the same way, maybe making 1Vp difference a turn, a slight randomising factor. On the last couple of turns, it was pssible to deny someone more like 3VPs on this, but it all felt like a bit of a lottery who got to choose the laws based on the bid anyway. So, just to clarify, this felt like a bit of a lottery for a minor game swing.


When I described my strategy and how I won again, I said that I "exploited the turn order mechanic to get a ship and then just stayed ahead". Everyone around the table was playing different strategies, but typically we got the same number of VPs a turn, despite the fact they were wildly different. The fact that I got lucky and got to ship more goods on the 3VP boat that turn was what won me the game. It didn't feel like I had done anything special to merit the win, and that was the point I was trying to get across.

The game feels like there should be long term strategies coming in, but as I mentioned, you really have to dedicate yourself to them in the first turn, so from that point on you aren't making long term decisions really. After turn 2 there isn't enough turns to really exploit any new direction, as there aren't enough turns to capialise on it.

Anyway, I hope this summarises things in a way which is more helpful rather than me just trying to impart the feeling I had with the game afterwards. If you'd like me to elaborate on any of the details please feel free. If it didn't work for us and is working for everyone else, maybe it is because we valued things differently in our group, and maybe for example taking a risk on the market prices is a good plan, but without a strong push in that direction from the game mechanics I don't see why it would.

Sami.
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Mark Crocker
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Sami, I find nothing wrong with a "one play" review. I can think of two extremely popular games (Railroad Tycoon, and Pirate's Cove) that I played just one time...and refuse to play again, ever. And I don't feel I have to defend that stance. You don't need to defend yourself.
 
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
See, now THAT's a review! Thank you so much for doing this Sami. You have really shed light on a lot of things for me. Unfortunately for me, the things that bugs you about this game would certainly bug me too. It sounds like the game is somewhat similar of feel to that of AoE III where your initial actions have a great impact on what direction you will be going, strategy wise. Too bad you are constrained like that.

It goes to the "Try before Buy"



 
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Sami,

I can only second the previous speaker, hear, hear.
I tried to write the same words already, but I failed.
But these are the words needed to describe and to praise your last post.

JeVo
 
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
I played this game on Sunday (5 players) - I came last.

It was everyone's first game.
I thought I had a shipping strategy sorted, until the spots for rum dried up on Turn 3, and for the rest of the game. So I had to change my plans. Also the "Rum > VP" building was bought by the first player in turn 3, just as I was going to get it to attempt to get some VPs in for my rum I could no longer ship. soblue

At the game end I saw a new plan to try for next time. Get the Lighthouse, as it allows you to choose the next ship due to arrive from the deck. Ensuring my production has some VPs.

The Laws: I felt similar to the reviewers that they didn't impact enough on others over my own, so there was no point in bidding.
In one round, I bid to screw over the other players as much as myself. Just because if I hadn't changed the laws, I would be the only one screwed.

Cash can only be used in buying from the market or bribing for bids. If I could have used it to buy resources or buildings I would have preferred that.
The alternate ability of the Marketwoman (cant remember her title) of getting a resource cube of your choice was the most useful and it was taken every turn by someone.

I`ll definatly play it again, to try my new strategy and see what else develops.
 
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Well no game can appeal to all players no matter how good it is. So I'll simply throw this hat into the ring...

My first game was Tuesday ( 4 player ) I came third. The winner only built two buildings and simply bashed away at producing VP, in fact he even had two or three "rounds" where no card was of any use and wasted the "round" entirely. My observations post game conclude that the "laws" are very powerful, depending on the game situation......

We had the TAKE 2 of each products off the market end of turn for much of the game. I cannot remember one good or product being purchased off the market, a few were sold for large coin gains, but always got cleared off the board end of turn. If that law changed to the PLACE 2 products in the market each turn the game would have been very different....coinage would have been tighter. With coinage tighter, different "election" winners would have passed different laws. Thus a much different game would have emerged, possibly with a different winner. The winner was always best or close to best in VP gain when all the laws were enacted....yet never won the vote.

There were a few AP moments, but in a tight game like this there will always be a crunch moment when a player gets "stuck" and it was a fiercely fought first game ( except perhaps the laws...you have to learn shake )where all were learning.
Overall the game was well recieved and all players are keen to play again because the three who lost reckon they can see a better plan....time will see.
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Bob Pitman
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
BAYLEYAW wrote:
My first game was Tuesday ( 4 player ) I came third. The winner only built two buildings and simply bashed away at producing VP, in fact he even had two or three "rounds" where no card was of any use and wasted the "round" entirely. My observations post game conclude that the "laws" are very powerful, depending on the game situation......

Overall the game was well recieved and all players are keen to play again because the three who lost reckon they can see a better plan....time will see.


As I was there on Tuesday I'll add my thoughts!
The game does seem to demand a strategy, it doesn't tolerate changes of strategy well, and its very hard to play catch up on points once you are behind. But we have only played it once and it was interesting, and I do want to play it again. I thought it was much more like Puerto Rico with hints of Saulen Der Erde than Caylus.

I had a strategy from the start... tobacco. I could turn tobacco into cigars or points and the buildings were placed so that I could earn tobacco and activate the tobacco - cigars plus either cigars - points or cigars - cash with a single placement.

Trouble was that most of the ships that came in only had 1 tobacco placement space, Tony mostly got there first, plus I could earn 2 points per tobacco from one of my buildings... so unless I waited for the ship placement to be worth 3 points there was little point in playing the mayor early.

My problems arose because I changed strategy (partly forced because other players were collecting points more easily than I was), to try and manipulate Parliament to either make things more favourable to tobacco farmers, or to try and make life harder for the rest by tweaking the laws... but mostly because I saw laws available that I thought were positively harmful for my game plan... which as it happens was already down the tubes because I had tacitly switched from "tobacco to points" to controlling parliament which needed cash.

It became obvious from around the 4th turn that I was in competition for either 3rd or 4th place... or with great steaming shovelfuls of luck possibly 2nd place.

There are some problems there but maybe when we've played a few times those will disappear as we become more experienced with the game. I'm not sure that its a game that will stand a lot of replays, I think there may be a limited number of strategies to use. What I do like is that there is almost no luck involved, but to minimise what luck element there is you need to retain some cash to ensure you can win parliament when it really counts (e.g. when something really harmful or good for you is available).

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Nick Herman
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
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Re: SNAP Review: Review after one play (will update if more)
Thanks for your review, it sums up almost eyactly what I think of Cuba, too.

I played two games so far and after the first one I was very impressed. The graphics and game components are great, the buildings/plantation management is tricky and gameplay is pretty similar to Puerto Rico. But after the second game I had a lenghty discussion with one of the other players (who is a very good strategist) about the game and we realized that there was some considerable shadow along with all the light. Here are some of the things we experienced:

Market
Unlike Puerto Rico, where you can only sell and have fixed prices, you can sell and buy here at the market and the prices vary. But what seems to be a fine mechanic actually doesn't really work very well. To buy goods you need money, but to get money you have to sell goods and unless someone else buys at high prices or sells at low prices there isn't much to gain moneywise or ressourcewise and the prices don't change much. The market laws that add or subtract ressources provide some salt, but once they are gone it's the same old beef again. Most of the time when someone used the merchant he used the option to get a free ressource or building material, not to buy or sell at the market.

Laws
They don't justify to bid a lot for additional votes or safe up a card with many votes just to be the one to choose the new laws. It's not hard to prepare for the conditions and the possible diffence in VPs between players usually isn't worth bidding a lot of pesos - or any at all.

Worker and building placement
This is a bit tricky and in one game one player (who is more of a casual gamer) had trouble to produce ressources/produce building materials/store/use buildings efficiently because he placed his worker and buildings badly a lot. He got behind early and finally lost by a huge margin (something like 40 VPs difference). He didn't have much fun and said he does't want to play Cuba again.

Unfortunately Cuba doesn't live up to the hype for me. It's not a bad game, but in my opinion it is not as good as Puerto Rico (or Pillars of the Earth or Caylus, to which it is sometimes compared, too).
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Sami Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Thanks everyone for your comments, and keep them coming. I've edited my original text to point people to read the rest of the thread too so they hear the other opinions. It's also good to hear that it wasn't just me who has had some of these thoughts.

I haven't seen anyone else in my gaming circle playing Cuba unfortunately, and the only game I've heard of people playing around the area was positively received by all (new to the game) players.

I've spoken to the other two people in the original game as well, and one of them shared my opinion, one of them was slightly more upbeat although concerned and did want to play it again to try out a few things.

My recommendation would remain the same for those who haven't played. Try before buying, but do try!
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Treacherous Cretin
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Unspecified
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Now played a second game, quite a different game to the first, as expected really with the mechanics involved. I still like the game but I'll join with you in recommending people try to play the game fist before purchase*....its good, but Caylus and Puerto Rico are better IMO. Pillars of the Earth now has an expansion to take 2-6 players and is also slightly better. I will still keep this game as there is nothing wrong with it, but I'd hoped for a little more. Not disappointed with the production, nicely done, lots of bits.....oh I am such a "cube tart" shake

* A luxury I don't have
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