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Subject: First Impression rss

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Wallace E. Friedel II
United States
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We sat 4 players at the game table for our first game of Ys. We had an excellent range of gaming experience represented with 25+, 5+, 1+ year gamers and a newbie on her first day of playing Euros. The explanation of rules was perhaps 10 minutes. I believe we only made 2 rules errors during play; we forgot the 1 gold payout for placing a broker on the market until the second turn and we started out determining the division of gems on the ships based only on the brokers in the port instead of the whole neighborhood. We corrected that before the game's end too. The mechanical parts of Ys resolved smoothly which I think is a good indication of the game's low barrier to entry even for novice players. The competative bidding, because it is partially blind, did not seem mean-spirited when someone lost in a contested area so the game remained friendly. The weakness I saw in Ys was the need for players to be somewhat self-regulating. What I mean by that is it is up to the other players to put pressure or otherwise play directly against a player trying to use a dominating strategy. In our game's case, I concentrated on placing brokers in the 3-gold scoring merchant districts and generated a significant lead by game's end where the other 3 players remained reasonably close in scores. I don't consider this a point to be a criticism of the game's mechanics, but a responsibility for players to bear who want a competative game. Having played Caylus, Yspahan and Amyitis I think Ys gives Ystari games 4 out of 4 for good games on my personal score card. I would be equally pleased to play any of them.
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