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Subject: First experiences with two players rss

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Valdir Jorge
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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Date: August 1st, 2004

Game: Hansa

Players: Ivan (my son) and Valdir (myself)


I have been playing games designed by Michael Schacht for some time now, but I had never bought one up to last week! I have printed and played all his free-to-play games from Spiele aus Timbuktu (Gods, Kardinal und König – Das Kartenspiel, Dschunke – Das Legespiel and Die Tafelrunde) and I have enjoyed them immensely but for one reason or other I had missed on all his "commercial games", so to speak.

But last week I won a small prize (Can$ 25) in a Chess tournament (read it all here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/46741) and decided that I would spend the extra money on a new board game (duh!)... I had done my homework, I went through the BGG comments and reviews for a few games and shortlisted four to check at the store: Trias, Hansa, Paris, Paris and Clans. I checked them all (and some others too) at the store and finally decided to go with Hansa. The other three don’t seem to be as "serious" as this one and the name Michael Schacht on the box made a difference, too.

At home I read the rules and placed the bits on the board just to see how the game looked like. Let me tell you, this is very pleasant on the eye. Anyway, on Sunday I finally had time to sit down with my son to play this one for the first time. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience! This is not a heavy game on the brain but you still have many decisions to make. The fact that the merchant ship belongs to all players and is also the indicator of what can be done next is a nice touch.

I liked the game with two players, it works perfectly well, but I’m looking forward to playing this with more players around the table, it must be even more interesting.

If there is one thing that I would have changed in the rules is the amount of money given to each player during set-up. At the beginning of each round the player gets 3 coins and at set-up it is also 3 coins, which can create confusion (someone even posted a question about this). I think that giving the players a different number of coins at set-up (say 4, for instance) wouldn’t have changed the game too much and would avoid this doubt.

My son went for selling products, I went for establishing commercial centres. After a very tense and tight game, we ended up tied! My son had more VP’s from the products he sold, but I had two cities where I was the only one with commercial centres, so that made up the difference and we ended up both with 30 VP’s. We had the same number of commercial centres in play (13 each) as well, so there was no winner in this first session.

I didn’t mark down how long the game took, but it seemed to go really fast, we had a very enjoyable time all the way.
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Al Johnson
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I'm glad you enjoy it. Surprisingly to me, this game "feels" like chess, especially when played with 2 players. Just like chess it seems a little dry, but the exciting part is making a move where you don't give your opponent the opportunity to take the advantage. For chess players looking to get into board games, this would probably be my first suggestion. It is also fun with 3 or 4, but feels a little different. The major difference is in a 2 player game it's you againts the other player - no excuses if the other player beats you, just like in chess. In a 3 player game another player can make a move that gives someone else a significant edge. Still very good - especially with 4 experienced players.
 
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