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Subject: Two player game rss

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Emile de Maat
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This report is of my second game of Cuba. In my first game, I played with a Cigars strategy, building a Cigar Factory, a Cigar Café and a General Store, and using them to make Cigars and turn them into VPs and pesos. This time, I wanted to see what else was possible, so I tried to see if I could try and focus on shipping a bit more. In the mean time, my opponent (Scarlet, playing with red) found herself trying out my former Cigar strategy.


In the first turn, I decided to build a Hotel, which seemed like a nice way to start the game without committing to a production strategy. Disadvantage of this was that I hadn’t thought about it before hand, so I did not have the right resources and had to use the Tradeswoman to get the one I lacked. In the meanwhile, Scarlet built her Cigar Factory, and shipped for some early points.
(She shouldn’t have shipped the Citrus, though, and instead have used it to pay the duty.)


Turn #1
Bills: Tax - one peso per building / Duty - two resources / Subsidy - open product Fields / Other - Building Act

Red: Worker
Purple: Worker
Red: Architect (builds Cigar Factory)
Purple: Tradeswoman (takes one resource)
Red: Foreman (turns two Tobacco into two Cigars)
Purple: Architect (builds Hotel)
Red: Mayor (ships two Tobacco and a Citrus for 6VP)
Purple: Foreman (gains 2VP)

Parliament phase: Red has 2 votes, Purple has 5 + 2 (bought) votes. The Tax Act and the Subsidy Act are put into effect.

Red pays her taxes for 2VP and gains 5VP from subsidy.
Purple pays both the taxes and the duty (1 Citrus) for 5VP, and gains 5VP from subsidy.

Score: Red 13 – Purple 12

In the second turn, I built the Small Branch Office, again with a resource from the Trades Woman. Scarlet continued her Cigar strategy, building the Cigar Café. I was eyeing the ship that was now at the 2VP dock, and decided to stockpile some products to supply it with next turn.

Turn #2
Bills: Tax - four pesos / Duty - one Citrus / Subsidy - open resource Fields / Other - Drought Act

Red: Worker
Purple: Worker
Red: Architect (builds Cigar Café)
Purple: Tradeswoman (takes one resource)
Red: Tradeswoman (takes one Citrus)
Purple: Architect (builds Small Branch Office)
Red: Foreman (turns two Tobacco into two Cigars, which are sold for 4VP)
Purple: Foreman (gains 2VP and ships a Citrus for 3VP)

Parliament phase: Red has 5 + 4 votes, Purple has 5 + 0 votes. The Duty Act and the Subsidy Act are put into effect.

Purple pays both the taxes and the duty (1 Citrus) for 5VP, and gains 4VP from subsidy.
Red pays both the taxes and the duty (1 Citrus) for 5VP, and gains 5VP from subsidy.

Score: Red 27 – Purple 26

Having stockpiled some goods in turn #2, I now made my move supplying the ship at the 3VP dock, scoring 12VPs, and putting myself in the lead. By now I was wondering whether I really should have built the Small Branch Office. After all, there was little competition to supply the ships, so I could easily use the major to make big shipments, thus not needing the Office.
In the mean time, both Scarlet and myself were nearly out of money, so we both focused on getting some more. I decided to build a Small Bank (I actually wanted to build a Large Bank, but decided I couldn’t afford to wait for it). Scarlet used the Major to get some income. The Cigars she produced this turn were not turned into VPs, and I assumed correctly she wanted to supply them to the 3VP ship next turn. In order to block her a bit, I decided to ship a Tobacco for 2VPs, so she would be able to ship one less Tobacco for 3VPs next turn.


Turn #3
Bills: Tax - five pesos / Duty - one Sugar / Subsidy - buildings /Other - Corruption Act

Purple: Worker
Red: Worker
Purple: Mayor (ships two Sugar and two Tobacco for 12VP)
Red: Foreman (turns two Tobacco into two Cigars)
Purple: Architect (builds Small Bank)
Red: Tradeswoman (takes one resource)
Purple: Foreman (gains two pesos, 2VP and ships a Tobacco for 2VP)
Red: Mayor (gains four pesos)

Parliament phase: Red has 3 + 2 votes, Purple has 2 + 0 votes. The Duty Act and the Corruption Act are put into effect.

Purple does not pay the taxes and the duty, but gains 3VP from subsidy.
Red pays both the taxes and the duty (one Sugar) for 5VP, and gains 5VP from subsidy.

Score: Purple 45 - Red 37

Now, it was time for Scarlet to come up with some more permanent income, and she build the Large Bank. She stopped the Cigar production for a moment to get some more money. In the meantime, my worker couldn’t get me a lot of useful stuff, so I decided to harvest some Sugar, sell it, and (adding some money from my stock) buy a Rum in return, which I could ship for 3VPs.

Turn #4
Bills: Tax - two pesos / Duty - one Tobacco / Subsidy - water /Other - Harbor Act

Red: Worker
Purple: Worker
Red: Mayor (ships one Tobacco and two Cigars for 9VP)
Purple: Tradeswoman (sells one Sugar for three pesos, and buys a Rum for five pesos)
Red: Architect (builds Large Bank)
Purple: Architect (takes 2 VP)
Red: Foreman (gains four pesos)
Purple: Foreman (gains two pesos, 2VP and ships a Rum for 3VP)

Parliament phase: Red has 2 + 0 votes, Purple has 5 + 0 votes. The Duty Act and the Subsidy Act are put into effect.

Purple pays both the taxes and the duty (one Tobacco) for 5VP, and gains 1VP from subsidy.
Red pays both the taxes and the duty (one Tobacco) for 5VP, but gains no VP from subsidy.

Score: Purple 58 - Red 51

The fifth turn… Time for me to screw up, a bit. I figured that if I kept the Mayor for the Parliament phase, I was guaranteed to win the vote, unless Scarlet would build the Town Hall. So, if she did not build the Town Hall, I could keep the Water Subsidy in play, and probably score a decent amount of points on it, if I built the Dam. This thinking was already a bit flawed, as the starting player would break ties, and Scarlet could make sure she got that. But I made a bit worse: somehow, I forgot to wait and see whether or not Scarlet built the Town House, and went right ahead and built the Dam. Scarlet then built the Town House, which meant I’d get a lot of not-so-useful water, and my plans on how to pay the Duty weren’t as fail-proof anymore, either.

Turn #5
Bills: Tax - three pesos / Duty - two Products / Subsidy - pesos /Other - Market Act (adding goods to market)

Purple: Worker
Red: Worker
Purple: Architect (builds Dam)
Red: Architect (builds Town Hall)
Purple: Tradeswoman (takes one Sugar)
Red: Tradeswoman (takes one resource (water))
Purple: Foreman (gains two pesos, two water, 2VP and ships a Sugar for 2VP)
Red: Foreman (gains four pesos and two votes)

Parliament phase: Red has 5 + 0 + 2 votes, Purple has 5 + 0 votes. The Subsidy Act and the Tax Act are put into effect.

Purple pays both the taxes and the duty (one Tobacco) for 5VP, and gains 1VP from subsidy. One Sugar that is not stored is lost.
Red pays both the taxes and the duty (one Tobacco) for 5VP, but gains no VP from subsidy.

Score: Purple 68 - Red 56

In an attempt to turn the Dam into something useful, I built a Golf Course, so I could turn the water into VPs. Scarlet shipped some more Tobacco. This meant I won the vote, and could get more points from the Acts. It would have been better, probably, if Scarlet had sold the Cigars for 4VP in her Café, and use the Mayor to win the vote.

Turn #6
Bills: Tax - one peso / Duty - one water / Subsidy - votes /Other - Market Act (removing goods to market)

Red: Worker
Purple: Worker
Red: Architect (builds General Store)
Purple: Architect (builds Golf Course)
Red: Foreman (turns two Tobacco into two Cigars and gains two votes)
Purple: Tradeswoman (takes one resource (water))
Red: Mayor (ships two Tobacco for 6VP)
Purple: Foreman (gains two pesos, two water, 2VP, ships a Sugar for 2VP and turns four water into 4VP)

Parliament phase: Red has 2 + 2 votes, Purple has 5 + 0 votes. The Subsidy Act and the Tax Act are put into effect.

Purple pays both the taxes and the duty (one Tobacco) for 5VP, and gains 5VP from subsidy. One Sugar that is not stored is lost.
Red pays her the taxes for 2VP, and gains 2 VP from subsidy.

Score: Purple 86 - Red 66
Final plantation boards:
Red:
Purple:



Final Score: Purple 98 - Red 78

In the end, my early doubts about the Small Branch Office were gone. I seldom had more than one product I wanted to ship, so using the Mayor for that wasn’t that useful. The Branch Office allowed me to save the Mayor for votes, and also allowed me to ship a product each turn, so I didn’t need to store them.
My steady trickle of points from the Hotel and the Shipping through the Office were what made me take the lead in this game, I think.

Scarlet judged (rightly, I think) that the Cigar Café was not a great benefit in a two-player game. With little competition for the ships, she could often supply her Tobacco and/or Cigars for 3VPs, so the Café wasn’t a big benefit. It should be left for games with more players.

As in my first (five player) game, the Market saw little use, and that does disappoint me a bit. I never seemed to have enough products to sell, nor enough money to go and buy. The alternative actions of the Tradeswoman are rather attractive too (though, of course, if there’s more than two players, not everybody can use them).
I’m hoping the market will see a bit more use in other games. We figured this may be the case if the Market Acts come out a bit more early.

The Cigar strategy from my first game was rather static: the worker pawn was seldom moved, and I made most of my actions in the same order each turn. I was glad to see that a different strategy offered a different game play. Still, I think it would be a lot nicer if you'd move the pawn more often, and if the order of the cards were a bit more different. Now, it's often Worker-Architect-Foreman, with one of the others squeezed in or after, somewhere. Using the Worker or the Foreman in the Parliament seems a very unlikely move, as well.

Some statistics (well, simple counting, actually), because I like 'm:


N A P
Worker 12 - 0
Tradeswoman 1 7 4
Architect 10 1 1
Foreman 12 - 0
Mayor 4 1 7
(N = Normal use, A = Alternative use, P = Parliament)

All in all, I'm still wondering whether Cuba deserves a spot in my game closet. This session has convinced me that I certainly want to give it a few more tries. However, though it's playable with two, it probably needs more players to really "work".
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