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Subject: First Play rss

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J Boyes
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I just picked up Aquaretto, some of my more serious gamer friends have moved away! (I'll Miss you EvilJeff and April) So I am left with a distinctly more casual gaming crowd. Aquaretto sounded like it would fit the bill of light gateway game with interesting choices.

EvilJeff and April were around this weekend so I figured I would give it a shot learning the game with them.

April was upstair putting the adorable Evie to bed, so I taught Jeff how to play, and then we started a test game, with the two of us collectively playing for April. It was very useful playing the game this way before the real game, we caught a couple of rules and got a handle on the game.

When April showed up we explained the game to her. It is pretty simple, but the various aspects of the game link up in such a way that it makes it a little hard to explain in a linear fashion. I would like to hear about other peoples 'teaching scripts' for this game.

We end up playing about 5 games I think. With Eviljeff and I splitting them, April didn't get a win in any of them I don't think, but she came in second in each. The scores climbed with each game we played I think. Starting off in the mid 20's and ending up in the low 30's by the time we had our heads around the game.

We played the game 5 times in a row, and almost played a 6th, so I think the game went over pretty well. I know that I enjoyed it. It won't ever be my first choice of a game to play, but I can see it hitting the table more than most of my other heavier games. I'm thinking I will probably rate the game about a 7 for now.

Random thoughts:

Getting co-workers seems key to winning. Those big points were always the difference between the top tier scores and the second tier. This means that you have to commit to getting up to 5 in at least 2 suits. I kind of tried the lots of small basins strat and it scored poorly.

I liked the game with 3, I think I would like it a lot more with 4 or 5. Will have to find out sometime.

Money is useful and seems to come in pretty steadily. Hoarding it seems to be a bad idea. I tried the cashier in my first game, and it didn't work out well. I am not sure that 'sloppy play+lots of coins' strat is a good one. This makes each coin worth 1 point if you get a cashier. But the problem is, if you aren't spending money, you are less likely to get more slaves...er..coworkers. Because you have less space, and can't buy or move animals.

I have decided to call this game, “Dolphin Exploitation”

There must be optimal locations for 3, 4, and 5 animal zoos. It would be curious to see them.

I go sleep now.
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