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Subject: My take rss

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Charles F.
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The designers of this workman-like and thoroughly unoriginal design meshed together various mechanisms found in Puerto Rice, Caylus and Säulen der Erde. I will concede it works, but is it fun?!?

Its action selection mechanism isn't nearly as interesting as Puerto Rico's role selection or even Caylus's workers. I put this down to the level of player interaction being (yet) lower than in those two games. Really, it seems far more of a game in which you implement a once-conceived plan rather than one in which interaction with other players may dramatically alter your course during a game.

In Cuba, players focus on perfecting their own little economic puzzles. Many "heavy" Euros have such a multiplayer solitaire character, so there must be a sizable gamer demographic into such accountant-style gaming. I myself am bored stiff by this sort of brooding play, particularly when playing time is as long as in the case of Cuba.

The solitaire puzzle aspect of one's personal board is remiscent of Princes of Florence's Tetris-style building aspect. Here you need to work out your best layout of your industries on a number of rows and columns. Just a variation of the tetris-style layouting.... Yawn.

How come the game was called Cuba?!? Its pace is so pedestrian and there's no Caribbean flair whatsoever! One would hope that the laws and voting might create excitement, but it's nothing more than a not particularly interesting closed-fist-auction. Compare that to the voting in say In the Shadow of the Emperor. There you have to devine what way others will vote. The whole psychological aspect is woefully underdeveloped. Talk of a missed opportunity!

Tediously long and overwrought. Little player interaction. Multiplayer solitaire... Cuba is everything I don't want a Euro to be.
 
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Dan Blum
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Cuba is not as interactive as Puerto Rico, but Puerto Rico is VERY interactive. Cuba is hardly multiplayer solitaire. If you are not paying attention to what I am doing I guarantee I will beat you handily.
 
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Chris Boote
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I don't believe that you need pay much attention to the other players either.
The main problem is that the route to VPs is NOT dependent upon building any of the 'production' buildings
Unprocessed goods give just as many VPs as processed, so why waste building resources & foreman actions to convert them?
In every game I've played (about 6) the winner has been the person who built the +2 VP building, and activated it every turn
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well, I've only played it once, but I found it an interesting game with several novel aspects and a caribbean flavour. The rows and columns thing is nothing like Princes of Florence (or indeed tetris).
 
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Charles F.
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Well, I've only played it once, but I found it an interesting game with several novel aspects and a caribbean flavour.


The "voting" - err closed-fist auction - doesn't have one ounce of innovation. The rows & columns may be AFAIK new, but quite the opposite of what I enjoy. But I can see others liking this piece in this solitairish puzzle considering how popular a number of games happen to be with similar features.

Anything else in this design we haven't seen many times before?

Please, the game has no genuine Caribbean feeling whatsoever. I've got this lingering suspicion that is was originally set in a medieval Hanseatic town. There's not any pre-revolution Cuba aspect to the game. Where's the intrigue and turmoil...? Nada. Beancounting tends to have more of those qualities than this workman-like design... The game is themewise nothing more than a generic business-themed VP conversion machine. Cuba relies entirely on its good artwork to convey the Caribbean/Cuban setting.

Quote:
The rows and columns thing is nothing like Princes of Florence (or indeed tetris).


I gives me the same feeling and is just as fiddly. It's about optimizing your layout puzzle, therefore being an apt comparison. Such fiddly and solitairish decision-points are just the sort of stuff which leads to analysis paralysis (though of course AP as such is primarily a player problem). I just can't stomach this sorta mechanism.

Oh, and not to mention that it makes no thematic sense whatsoever, thereby underscoring my general view on the game's theme implementation. But I could live with the lacklustre theming, were the basic game really fun rather than being a solitairish puzzle emphasizing the successful implementation of a once-conceived master plan.
 
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Charles F.
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tool wrote:
Cuba is not as interactive as Puerto Rico, but Puerto Rico is VERY interactive.


Well, my scale simply differs from your own since I want lots of interaction in my games. Puerto Rico does have plenty of interesting indirect interaction, but I wouldn't call it "very interactive". I reserve such a description for wargames, card games, party games etc. which really put interaction front and centre.

Quote:
Cuba is hardly multiplayer solitaire. If you are not paying attention to what I am doing I guarantee I will beat you handily.


I'm not saying there's none. It's the tame and in my book sort of indirect interaction: He's done XYZ so I can't.... She might bid high just to implement the laws I equally favour... What card will others play in an effort to become start player or have a good position to lobby parliament...? I find this sort of interaction quite bland.

You're primarily working your own puzzle. Therefore, I think describing it as multiplayer solitaire is valid. Though of course whether one agrees with this statement or not largely depends on the amount of interaction one desires in a game.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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charlesf wrote:
Anything else in this design we haven't seen many times before?

Be careful with this line of reasoning: if you can only see the old components a game is constructed out of, you'll soon run out of games to play. This could or could not be your intention.

Apart from that: I concur with the multiplayer solitaire remark. Of course you should pay attention to what your opponents are up to, but it is very hard to hurt them in a significant way. You merely change the boundary conditions of their little economy. I'm not still not sure about this game, though. Some economic games make it very hard for a newcomer to play an interesting game, and since I'm not good at this type of thing, I'm nearly always a newcomer myself. In the end I might just buy this game in order to stand a chance at winning sometime; but then I are likely to run into the problem of noone thinking it sufficiently interesting to play with me .
 
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Charles F.
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cymric wrote:
charlesf wrote:
Anything else in this design we haven't seen many times before?

Be careful with this line of reasoning: if you can only see the old components a game is constructed out of, you'll soon run out of games to play. This could or could not be your intention.


It isn't. Innovation isn't as such a virtue. I don't hold it against a game if I detect an approach previously taken. What I however DO expect a game to have is that "spark" - that intangible factor - which makes the game exciting and fun. That has nothing to do with mechanical innovation.

My above comment was simply a response to Philip mentioning Cuba having "several innovative aspects".

Quote:
I concur with the multiplayer solitaire remark. Of course you should pay attention to what your opponents are up to, but it is very hard to hurt them in a significant way. You merely change the boundary conditions of their little economy.


Well said. My feelings exactly.
 
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