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Subject: Things I learned after my 3rd game of Goa rss

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Asa Swain
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Last Thursday I played a 3 player game of Goa with my roommate Adam, and our friend Steve. This was my 3rd game of Goa, Adam's 2nd and Steve's 1st, but here's a quick learner. Ther game started interestingly with only one plantation being auctioned, with Steve winning it. I won a orange spice tile, but then realized I couldn't use it with without any plantations. Whoops. Without any plantations Adam and I beomaned that we didn't have anything to do on our first turn, but I realized that even though I couldn't develop my abilities, I could tax, explore, and the colonize, which I did successfully. It turned out that getting a orange spice tile was very useful throughout the game, and allowed me to harvest a lot less often. Adam got a orange colonize tile, but that proved less useful for him.

The first half of the game went by pretty normally, with Steve buying a lot of planations and Adam and I going for colonies instead. Normally I love getting the flag tile (for the extra action and being able to control what we bid on), but in this game I only got it once, mostly becuase I was often money poor. It seemed that Adam and Stve kept buying the flag from each other, but somehow even without the flag I managed to develop faster than them.

I think the key was to only develop certain important abilities. In past games I would get my taxation up to level 3 or 4, but this time I never got it beyond level 2. Likewise, I never got my harvesting or colonists beyond level 2. Early on I increased my ships to level 3, and my exploration as well. I think exploration cards are as useful as colonists for trying to colonize. Adam concentrated on his exploration, but we did notice that it added more luck to the game, as depending on the right exploration cards to succeed really made you have to gamble.

In the second half of the game, I continued to struggle with the auctions, losing tiles that I really wanted. The one I did get was the vice-king which was really useful, as I was able to advance my exploration from 3 to 4, and then use the tile to jump to level 5. At the end of the game I explored a lot. The vice-king is still one of my favorite tiles. By this point Adam and I had all our colonies (although several times I barely managed to get enough colonists and Adam failed at one of his attempts, which is the first time I've seen that happen in a game). Steve languished with only one colony, and continued to get a lot of plantations and advance his abilities.

I remember at the end of the game bemoaning that I didn't have enough ships, so at turn 6 or so I advance my shipping all the way up to level 5. I think this helped a lot at the end becuase I had enough ships to develop like mad in the last two turned. The funny this is that I made a few mistakes at the end of the game, I advanced by harvesting to level 3 and 4, when I realized that advancing taxation would have been more useful. I onky harvested once or twice in the entire game, depending on new colonies, new planations and my orange spice tile to give me the spices I needed. It's funny how little you can need to harvest in Goa if you're growing fast enough. I also found myself exploring and drawing useless cards (who needs help colonizing when you already have all 4?) Maxing our your exploration skill does help you collect groups of the same VP-symbols, though.

By the end of the game I had my skills up to 5,4,2,5,2, Adam had 4,2,2,5,2 and Steve had 3,2,2,4,2 (I think). The final score was Steve 27, Adam 38, Asa 48. In my previous games I only scored 37 and 34 points, so I was amazed to have done so well. It's odd becuase I didn't do very well in the auctions, and almost never had the flag, but I think being able to create a strong economic engine early (with my emphasis on shipping an exploration) helped me develop faster than the others.

Like many economic engine games, I get the feeling that Goa might have a runaway leader problem, because he who is in ahead can use their superior skills to get ahead again. Then again, I think my opponents weren't familiar with the power of some of the auction tiles, getting extra ships or colonists at the right time could help make up for being behind in certain kee skills. I also start to wonder what's the point of developing your harvesting or colonists, since they are so rarely needed. And while money is nice, and winning lots of auction tiles very attractive, I've found that the person who taxes the most is often the one who doesn't win.

I am far from having figured out Goa, but it's the most enjoyable game I have played in a while. Sort of a cross between Puerto Rico and Ra, it's got a lot of complexity that I really enjoy.
 
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Simon Johnston
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I'm pretty certain you're mis-playing the Vice-King tile. You have to use it to advance one of your least advanced tracks.
 
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GANDON François
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Simon,
I am sorry but I have to disagree with you : the rules state clearly that the Vice King must be used to move your most advanced marker (quote : "the player moves the highest success marker on his development board 1 row down for no cost. if he has several markers tied for highest, he may choose one among them to move")
 
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MatthiasC
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GANDON wrote:
Simon,
I am sorry but I have to disagree with you : the rules state clearly that the Vice King must be used to move your most advanced marker (quote : "the player moves the highest success marker on his development board 1 row down for no cost.")

Simon is correct here: the German rules state that you move your upmost cube, which is the least advanced. The english rules may have translated this wrong. The german rules are unambiguous here. They explicitly indicate that you (roughly translated) "move your upmost marker on the development tableau one row downwards at no charge. In case of a tie, it is within the player's discretion which one to move."

Edit: grammar, spelling
 
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GANDON François
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Thanks for the information : it is good to know. We will play according to the "official" German rule next time. What would the world of gaming be (and the BGG forums) if there were no translation mistakes and rules misinterpretations ;-) ?
 
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Daniel Corban
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The word "highest" in the rules refers to the one that is highest physically (vertically), not highest in value. It was just a bad choice of wording.
 
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Daniel Corban
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This game is a pure economic efficiency game, so yes, the poor can get poorer. However, the game is almost completely luck free, so every player has an equal chance of winning. Only the failing of a colonization is a true setback, but this is just a matter of putting the odds in your favor before attempting. Counting the cards (colonist values on the cards which have already been seen) is the easiest way of mitigating this luck.
 
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Asa Swain
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Thanks for the rules clarification guys. That makes the vice-king a lot more balanced, it did seem like a very powerful tile.
 
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Peter Mumford
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quartex wrote:
I only harvested once or twice in the entire game, depending on new colonies, new planations and my orange spice tile to give me the spices I needed. It's funny how little you can need to harvest in Goa if you're growing fast enough.

I was wondering if you played the plantations wrong: when you win a plantation it comes without spices. Colonies come pre-loaded.
 
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Edward
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photocurio wrote:
I was wondering if you played the plantations wrong: when you win a plantation it comes without spices. Colonies come pre-loaded.

Actually, both colonies and plantations come fully loaded with spices.

Here's the relevant rule from page 9 of the RGG rulebook (downloadable here):

Quote:
The player who builds a plantation places it face up on an empty space in the upper row of his supply board. Plantations have 1-3 fields for spices, that the player fills with the appropriate spices from the supply.

This is illustrated by the examples on page 11:

Quote:
Yellow bought: the cloves plantation and placed it on her supplyboard with 2 cloves
Green bought: the ginger plantation and placed it on his supply board with 1 ginger

Also see this thread: Do Plantations come with spices?
 
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maddie dogson
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Quote:
I also start to wonder what's the point of developing your harvesting or colonists, since they are so rarely needed.


the colonists seem to me the most important column in our games
no one can expect to win the game without filling his colonies and it cannot be done without progression in the appropriate column

I think the heart of the game is the auctions everything is decided here all the actions are just carrying out plans according to what was aquired in the auctions

this is why I - after 2 or 3 plays -quit believing that goa would be a multiplayer solitaire
 
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Daniel Corban
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The colonists column is the second worst one to advance (taxation being the first). The return on investment is terrible. After the first upgrade, you only gain 1 bonus per upgrade. That is bad. The worst part is that once you are done colonizing, your turns and resources spent on the colonist track do nothing to better your game. Every other track is still usable until the end of the game.

In my games, there is usually one person who upgrades it all the way to the end (probably for the points and bonus expedition cards), but there aren't enough actions in the game to waste on this track.
 
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maddie dogson
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i wonder how you utilize your well-advanced harvest column if you have hardly anything to fill up with spices.
if you play according to the principles to give the lowest priority to money and colonist you won't have the money to buy plantations and will find it difficult to found colonies.

you should play a game against my mate who always advances early on the money column and wins nearly all the tiles on the auctions

but i admit that i overexaggerated the importance of colonists over the ships column - i think these two are the most important columns
 
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Daniel Corban
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Using the money track causes inflation. More money being introduced into the game inherently lowers the value of money. Unless players are regularly buying their own auctions (an absolutely terrible move), the money will stay in the game, raising prices on all further auctions, therefore negating the power of having more money.

You get a one time use of that money, at which point it is handed to another player (again, unless players are making the mistake of buying their own auctions). They will then take that money and bid against you in the future.

Actions are very often worth far more than the money you will get from taxation.

I suppose it can depend on the groupthink, but I am not sure how. Even if your group is only bidding items up to the 3-4 range (where a single taxation can win you an auction), that indicates that no one is taking taxation, otherwise the prices would be higher, since there is more money floating around. Once again, this is based on the idea that players are not taking money out of the game by winning their own auctions.

As for the colonist track, any shortage of colonists is easily and much more efficiently overcome by either winning tiles which give you colonists, or drawing expedition cards (which is already an extremely efficient thing to do). There are two cards which can help: the one that gives you 2 colonists and the one that allows you to reveal an extra card when founding.

Finally, in regards to getting money: simply auction off the tiles you know are in the highest demand and let your opponents give you their money. Buying the flag is also a great investment. You get to determine the general direction of the auctions, you get a free action, and you are virtually guaranteed to make a profit selling the flag the next round.
 
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maddie dogson
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the problem with harvest is that by the time you reach a healty level you won't use it more than once, and by founding colonies you can supply yourself quite well

about money
the toughest part is the auctions
we play the auction that we can always tell how much the other is going to offer for a certain tile, the question is only whether i should overbid him
after a few plays i found that winning your own tile is not as a lame choice as it first seems.

it is a viable strategy to pump up taxation quickly, get money, remain the starting player and keep the flag and the other own tile by overbidding (and paying to the bank and not to the other players- this fact should not be overlooked) the others. you get back your actions you wasted on getting money by winning the flag and extra action tiles
and if you don't want to buy the other players' tiles you just bid low and they have to buy it for themselves (thus losing money) if they don't want to end up with no tiles

the bottom line is that the player who has significantly more money than the others has an advantage enough to win the game

back to the colonists
no other upgrade action than the colonist will give you both victory points and additional spices (as if you were using harvest)
 
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Daniel Corban
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I should point out that even when I only have one upgrade in the colonist track, I almost always have all 4 colonies, so I am not losing anything by ignoring the colonist track.

So you are suggesting that one should spend actions on taxation, then use that money to buy your own auctions (which you will only have one of, unless you are the flag player) instead of smiling as your opponents hand you their money?

Instead of wasting your actions on taxation, you can just auction your item(s) to other players and let them give you more money than you would get from taxation. For example, in my games, the flag alone sells for between 8-16 ducats (depending on inflation from taxation or expedition cards). Even the lowest priced tile sells for around 6 ducats. That is a lot of actions spent upgrading and using the taxation track to gain an equivalent amount of money.

I also fail to see how you can just "bid low" in an attempt to screw another player. There are 2 other players at the table who will gladly pay 1 more ducat to win the tile from you.
 
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maddie dogson
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So you are suggesting that one should spend actions on taxation, then use that money to buy your own auctions (which you will only have one of, unless you are the flag player) instead of smiling as your opponents hand you their money?

i did not suggest that you should, i said it was a possible strategy

yes, it is one way to play this game in a friendly style that players use auctions only to circulate their money and take 1 tile each

and another is to concentrate on money and control the auctions

let me exemplify what i meant:

2player game
you got 5 ducats, Peti has 15 (he advanced on taxation and used it to get a great advantage on money) and the flag

say you bid 4 for the flag

if he lets you take it he can buy the two tiles for 3 ducats and finishes with 16 while you only have 1 left

if he overbids he's still up 10:5 and offers 5 (because he put his other marker on a relatively weak tile) for your tile
you have no choice but to take it (this is the kind of situation i was trying to draw your attention to)
you are up 10:5 but left with a weaker tile to buy
if you buy it he's up in money again, if not, he can take it cheap et cetera...

trust me if someone plays this mean way he will remember the exact amount of money you have

i understand that if no one plays like this it is ok to just toss your money back and forth and take 1 tiles each but if someone plays aggressively it becomes dangerous to enter the auction phase with low cash


(besides, i don't understand why and how you would pay 8 ducats for the flag if you don't produce money)
 
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Chris Shaffer
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maddiedogson wrote:
(besides, i don't understand why and how you would pay 8 ducats for the flag if you don't produce money)


I dunno about the rest of the discussion, but it's almost always worth it to pay 8 ducats for the flag, even if that's every ducat you have. In return you get:

1) An action
2) The right to select where the next auction series will begin on the board
3) The right to auction the flag, which will most assuredly earn you most of the 8 ducats you paid.
 
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maddie dogson
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mind you
Quote:
if you don't produce money


i'm talkin about 2p games

Quote:
it's almost always worth it to pay 8 ducats for the flag, even if that's every ducat you have


if you do that consider how much your opponent is gonna pay for the other two tiles
 
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Alex Bove
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dcorban wrote:
As for the colonist track, any shortage of colonists is easily and much more efficiently overcome by either winning tiles which give you colonists, or drawing expedition cards (which is already an extremely efficient thing to do). There are two cards which can help: the one that gives you 2 colonists and the one that allows you to reveal an extra card when founding.


Absolutely, and you didn't even mention the most useful card for getting colonists: the harvest any combination of spices/colonists/ships card. With your spice column all the way advanced, you can get 6 colonists (equivalent to the "colonizing help" a fully-developed colonist track would give you) plus two more useful things.
 
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