Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
2 Posts

Pizarro & Co.» Forums » Reviews

Subject: User Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jonathan Degann
United States
Tarzana
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pizarro & Co. is an auction driven game that is built around three distinct principles:
1) What you are bidding for may be victory points, more cards (which can be worth money for future bids, or more victory points), or special powers, or a combination of the three.
2) You bid with cards valued at 1-9 gold. Cards not used by the end of the game are worth VP's, but these are in reverse proportion to their gold: cards worth 1-3 gold are worth 3 VP's, whereas cards worth 7-9 gold are worth only 1 VP each.
3) The bidding is done according to a unique tiered system. There are six different "explorers" to bid on, and in the first round, each explorer will be available 3 times, for a total of 18 auctions. In round two, only those who won the bid in a given explorer may continue to bid for the next higher level - and two of them will advance, leaving one behind. In round three, only those two players who won the bid in round two may bid to be the sole player to advance for each explorer.

Not making it to the final level doesn't leave you high and dry. For example, in the case of Capt. Cook, the player who only wins the first round auction gets 5 points, the player who advanced to level two gets 10 points, and the player who advanced to level three gets 20 points. One devlish explorer gives the tier one winner 7 points, the tier three winner 15 points... and the tier two winner 0 points! (but additional gold cards).

The fact that winning an auction both gains a player direct priveledges along with the right to continue to the next tier is what makes the game elusive and tasty, and helps to prevent players from assigning a clear value to winning an auction. Still, the game seems slightly austere - even by standards of early Knizia games like Modern Art. In most cases the value of the auction can sway only so much. The VP's are printed right there, and a player can make an average assessment of the value of new cards. The special powers are not the sort that can really throw a player's position into turmoil or great potential. For example, one power enables a player to discard and replace up to 3 cards. It's pretty easy to value the average cards you're going to receive, depending on whether you're looking for gold or VP's.

Still, there are enough good mechanisms in the game to make the decisions tricky, and the auctions tense. For example, the fact that the cards with a low gold value have a high VP value make them tricky to bid early in the game (but at the end of the game, it's usually a no-brainer to hold onto them). One nifty rule allows players to bid for multiple spots with a given explorer. So Capt. Cook may have his first tier won by three different players - or by one player holding two positions and a third player holding the last (or by a single player taking all three!). Taking two positions means, by definition, one of them won't make it to the end. It also increases the possibility of eliminating the competition entirely during round two - and puts the pressure on your opponent to prevent you from "sailing" to an uncontested final auction. Another nice feature is the fact that auctions are held in a random order. So there are three seats on the "Columbus" ship, but how high do you bid the first time? If you can hold out, you might get late auctions cheaply as your opponents' money runs out - or you might pay dearly as players bid more desperately to stay in the game.

At no time did I find the game to be just repetitive. Each of the 18 auctions in round one has its own flavor, depending on the particular explorer up for grabs, and how late in the round it is. Since everything has value to all players, the game doesn't break down from lucky/unlucky draws in the way Medici, another all-auction game, sometimes does.

The game's only weakness is its thinness. While there are different board configurations, there seems to be a limit to how much one sitting can vary from another. You're always bidding on (largely) the same collection of victory points and cards, and their values can be obscured by the other game mechanisms only so much. My fear is that the game may lack staying power.

Still, it pegs in at 45 minutes or less and has it's share of tough decisions. Nobody is going to accuse this game of "playing itself". It is a very satisfactory entry in the mid level games category occupied by such favorites as Carcassonne. As with nearly any auction game, though, it is a little less newbie-friendly, as it can take a playing to decently assess what levels are plausible to bid at.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Steak Fairy
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
flag msg tools
Games? People still play games??
badge
Specious arguments are not proof of trollish intent.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:User Review
Jonathan Degann (#3121),
"It is a very satisfactory entry in the mid level games category occupied by such favorites as Carcassonne. As with nearly any auction game, though, it is a little less newbie-friendly, as it can take a playing to decently assess what levels are plausible to bid at."

I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "mid level games". I consider Carcassonne to be a rather low level game. It is also easy to enjoy Carcassonne with 2 players, if you happen to find the game the least bit appealing (which I no longer do). P. & Co., on the other hand, is a brain-wracking nightmare of a game until you learn the value thoroughly, and even then depends terribly on accurate psychological reads on your opponents (something almost entirely missing in Carcassonne.) Furthermore, unlike Carcassonne, you can barely enjoy P. & Co. with four players, let alone three, and two is not possible. The game is only at its best with 5 or 6 players. I found the rest of your article pretty spot on, and I probably just misunderstood what a "mid level" game is supposed to be....


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.