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Subject: Traders Review rss

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Kolby Reddish
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I am not what I would call a "casual" gamer, but it's also not the only thing that I do with my free time. I, like most people who read this site, first turned here on a whim, researching a game I wished to purchase, Puerto Rico in fact. But I've been reading reviews here for over a year, and decided it was time that I started reviewing the games in my collection.

I am a 20 year old college Junior, with several good friends and roommates that forms my playing base. While that information may seem unnecessary, I like to know where people are coming from when I read a review from them, so there's a little information about me for you readers.

I own many board games, honestly, my board game collection is one of my most expensive things that I own. I find learning the new strategies and rules behind a game, not only exhilarating, but extremely fun and challenging.

My gateway game was The Settler of Catan, and it led me down the road to my love affair with Euro games. I now have a collection of mostly Euro games, although there are some select war games that are included.

So that's me,

And now we're going to discuss a recent addition to my collection, Traders of Genoa.

Before I get into my usual style of review, I’d like to say that this is a rare game, no longer in print, and that I bought it to work on completing the Alea big box set, and as it is one of the games that is out of print, and no longer readily available, I bought it for $60 when I found a brand new copy locally. While it was an expensive purchase, this is a great game and I don’t regret it at all. Now I hear rumors of a new edition of Traders being available before the end of March. I personally don’t trust the rumors in the first place, and second, I know that sometimes newer additions don’t have the same quality as the older editions. If you’ve read my review on Acquire, you’ll know my opinion of paying $25 for no more than cardboard and paper. So if you really think you’ll enjoy this game, getting the existing copies of this addition is probably worth the money, especially if you’re trying to collect the Big Box series like some people I know.

I should add however, that this game is only for a select group of people. It has winning mechanics, and is a great game to play, but if you don’t like trading games, STAY AWAY!!! The game’s name is the Traders of Genoa, I mean, with a name like that, you know that trading has to be an issue, and I promise that trading is the main purpose of this game. For those who like trading and negotiation games, this is the best one I’ve played, so lets go ahead and begin,

1. The Components
When I first got this game, I was shocked, the box looks so similar to another of my Alea favorites, The Princes of Florence, that at first I thought the guy I was buying it from had gotten his games confused. This game comes with some nice little large/small order cards, privilege cards, and message cards, some small paper money; which some people may find cheap, but I actually find durable and a very nice size for keeping hidden. It also comes with some nice painted wooden components, the trader tower, the round marker, and five of 8 different wares, in some interesting colors. And of course, a handful of nice cardboard chits, like special cards, and owner markers. The board itself is nice, and has some very helpful artwork. I like the fact that each place you go and take an action, for instance the Post Office, has a symbol, or two, corresponding the number and thing you are doing there. In my example, the Post Office is where the acting player receives two messages, so the Post Office has two of the message insignias, to remind players exactly what to do. This made the game very easy to pick up and play. Honestly, it’s a pretty free range game anyways, with very few rules, but this helped the playing speed most definitely. So the components are very nice.

2. The Theme
This game has such a great theme. This is obviously one of the best Euro themes as far as actually incorporating it into the game. This game is aptly named the Traders of Genoa, and as I state in my forewarning for people who don’t like trading games, trading and negotiating is the main mechanic here, and at the risk of totally ruining your appetite for my game play section, I’m going to try to lightly touch on how they are related. Your goal in this game is to collect the most ducats, essentially to become the best trader in Genoa. You earn money by completing the objectives on your large order, small order, or message cards, or by collecting privilege cards. To accomplish your goals, you trade anything and everything with the active player to get them to do what you want. The theme, essentially is built right into the game mechanics, and truly is a blast if you have a group that can play a negotiation game.

3. The Concept
While you try to collect the most money, it’s good to keep in mind that money is hidden. Therefore you obviously try to convince people that you’re in a worse off situation than you are. Essentially the gameplay, theme and concept all cover the same basic idea. You’re a trader, you do anything you can to accomplish your orders so that you can get that money that you need to win. It is important to note though, on our last play, it was one of the guys first play, for the other three of us, it was like our fifth. When you complete a large order, you receive 100 ducats, but a large order has three goods you need to collect, and you need to take it to the respective Villa. If you pay someone for every branch of that Large Order, it can destroy your total profit. So without getting into too much strategy, this guy completed the most large orders, but actually came in last because he paid so much just to get them completed, while on the other hand, I only completed around 4, but had to pay no one for next to anything on my large orders.

4. The Ending
Because money is hidden, I find the end to this game very exciting. It’s hard to illustrate how exactly aside from just telling you about my first two plays. Now the first two plays, which were three player games, I came out of the gate very strong. In Traders, this is a very bad idea. This essentially stopped the other two players from taking my bids for actions, making me take the left over actions. Basically, on my turn I used all of my special cards to stretch my turns just as far as I could. In the end, I lost both of these games, but only very closely. The point is, leading up to the end of the game, you don’t want to appear to be in the lead.

5. The Game play
This game has some very neat mechanics. When I was pulling out the components, I was surprised to find no actual player pieces. Each turn, the player who is the active player, or the tower player, rolls two dice. The result of the dice corresponds to a space on the board where the trader tower beings. The trader tower consists of 5 brown discs that begin at the result of the dice roll. The active player then has the ability to move the tower, aside from the one disc that is left behind, to an adjacent space. It’s important to know that diagonal spaces do not count as adjacent. Other players will attempt to get the active player to move the tower to the space that they want. Only when the tower goes to a space can a player take the action there. Now this may seem a little foggy, but essentially the active player controls what actions are available by where he moves the tower, and he decides who gets to take that action by accepting their offer. Also, there are five different types of special cards that essentially allow you to break rules. One allows you to take one further action on a turn, since players are usually limited to one action per turn. Another allows you to trade one of anything for one of anything else. Another allows you to take one free ware. Yet another allows you to skip the dice rolling step and place the trader tower at a space that you choose. The last type of special card allows you take the action of a building that you own.

6. Replayability
This game has some great mechanics, and it is a fairly short game. The ten games or so that we’ve played have lasted barely over an hour. Also there are so many different combinations to win that you can play over and over, trying different strategies each time. For instance, you can try to complete a few Large Orders, or you can try a bunch of small orders, or even more messages. Or you can collect privilege cards. Or of course my personal favorite, a combination of them all.

7. The "Luck" Factor
Really this game does involve a little luck. You can roll the dice for the starting position of the trader tower. Also the cards that you draw can be very lucky, but luck isn’t a deciding factor in this game. If you are good at hiding the amount of money you have and keeping your intentions at least a little shrouded, you might not win, but you will certainly make the game competitive. For example, of the ten plays or so that we have had, each game had a close finish, with the top player and the lowest player being less than a hundred ducats apart, which is close considering the top scores were usually around 800-900 ducats.

Conclusions:
I was up in the air about buying Traders of Genoa, not because of the game mechanics, simply because of the price, and the availability. I was fortunate enough to find someone selling a copy right here locally. If you enjoy trading games, this is a very unique gaming experience, that really is a quick, fun game that really has some great mechanics.

Please include any thoughts about the review,

and as always, Thank you for reading!
I'm home with a kidney stone until it passes, so expect a few more reviews coming in the next few days.
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Maaike Fest
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Quote:
Before I get into my usual style of review, I’d like to say that this is a rare game, no longer in print, and that I bought it to work on completing the Alea big box set, and as it is one of the games that is out of print, and no longer readily available, I bought it for $60 when I found a brand new copy locally. While it was an expensive purchase, this is a great game and I don’t regret it at all. Now I hear rumors of a new edition of Traders being available before the end of March. I personally don’t trust the rumors in the first place, and second, I know that sometimes newer additions don’t have the same quality as the older editions. If you’ve read my review on Acquire, you’ll know my opinion of paying $25 for no more than cardboard and paper. So if you really think you’ll enjoy this game, getting the existing copies of this addition is probably worth the money, especially if you’re trying to collect the Big Box series like some people I know.
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According to boardgamenews, it is not a rumour, and the pictures look stunning:

http://www.boardgamenews.com/index.php/boardgamenews/comment...

So I think I will wait for the new edition .

 
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Kolby Reddish
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Ah Thank you for pointing that out!

The new edition does look great!

But I'm still happy with my classic edition :)
 
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Robert Aube
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Ste-Julie
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The new version is actually already out in Europe. It normally means we will have it 3-4 weeks later.
 
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Carsten Buettemeier
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The new edition is really well done, just have a look at the pictures I did from my new Filosofia copy:

 
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Hank Meyer
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T of G is really a great game for 4 or 5 players because there is very little down time....each "turn", you need to be proactive in order to get something. My other favorite (and often overlooked) negotiation game is 'Die Handler'..a game that also has a lot of different mechanics buttoned together to produce a lively trading/screwage game.

Traders of Genoa is also enjoyable to look at, as well as play...soothing medieval colors (the board) and solid components. But the reviewer is correct on one main item: this is not a game for wallflowers!! If you cannot speak up or barter quickly, don't bother joining a game of T of G. Sit quietly in the background and you'll hardly see a single ducat coming your way. You cannot save yourself with a 'lucky roll' of the dice or by drawing some random card - you must get in there and wheel and deal. The Reviewer's other interesting tidbit is the issue of hiding or obscuring your wealth and how well you are prospering....might it be better to take a couple of seemingly low-profit trades early on and attempt to get back into the fray later? Hard to say...but if your opponents see you cashing in far too many 100 Ducat messages, you'll be hard pressed to snag a simple commodity at a decent price. I really enjoy being able to keep my ducat total to myself, but also having to watch how gleeful I sound when consumating a trade and later cashing in to collect a pile of hard-won currency. Still, if all the players silently (or otherwise) agree to just get in there and play, the game should be fun for all.
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Linda Baldwin
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Nice review. One comment -- even if you're resistant to negotiation games, it's still worth trying.

I HATE negotiation games, frankly. (Probably a reaction from a Monopoly bully in my youth.) Settlers is about as far as I go in that direction. Or Bohnanza.

But one play of Traders -- heck, one or two turns into my first game -- and I was hooked. So many choices, so many possibilities. And the thing that's most delightful is that ANYTHING is tradable: cards, chits, cash, wares, you name it. It's all about getting a good value out of what you have. I also love that you don't know exactly when the game will end, which makes those late-game plays very tense.

Not that I'm good at this game -- I wish -- but I sure enjoy the play.
 
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Sophie Gravel
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Thank you for the great feedback regarding our new edition !

Enjoy Genoa !

sophie
 
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