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Subject: Pictorial Play Session "Too many Ship Captains, not enough Siap Faji!" rss

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James Hemsley
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Tristan, Joel, Rob and myself spent a few hours this past weekend playing another great game of Indonesia. I was able to capture snaps of each turn taken during the time of the R&D adjustments. I'll give a brief description of the action at each picture and conclude with a summary of my thinking on the strategy.

Session

Era A - Turn 1 (1:48pm)

In this picture (and all subsequent pictures) Tristan is sitting in the south seat, Rob to the west, Me (James) at the North and Joel at the East.

Both Rob and Tristan grabbed shipping on the first turn. Joel grabbed the Bali rice co and I grabbed the Jakarta rice co. Not to complicated, everyone relatively happy and so on.



Era A - Turn 2 (2:04pm)

On the first R&D, I went with "Expansion." I thought this would be an odd move, but I was also thinking about protecting my holdings from mergers by increasing their value quickly. Rob is notorious for merging things (and he chose "Mergers"), and I couldn't trust Joel either, though he and Tristan went "Slots."

Of course, Rob merged the shipping company he had with the one Joel had and Joel ended up getting it. He couldn't afford any other merger, so we moved on.

You can see in the picture above that Tristan took a second shipping company (he had red and blue after the merger) and Rob went for spice in Halambaya. He was probably thinking about the warm feeling of Siap Faji in his stomach!


Era B - Turn 3 (2:21pm)

The last spice company went unclaimed and Era B was ushered in. Joel bid high for turn order. I had increased my slots and Tristan decided to get into the merging mayhem. Joel grew his hull and Rob increased his slot holdings.

Merging just gets crazy. Rob initiates a merger to form a siap faji company (with my rice!). He wins it after some good bidding. Tristan initiates a merge with his two shipping companies and gets them for a song. I thought about going in, but I just though I could make more money with the rubber and my high expansion.

I picked up the rubber on Borneo. I really like this company, as there isn't a lot of competition, and if shipping and cities are placed well, it's easy to ship without paying a lot of money to shippers. Tristan grabbed spice on Sulawesi. Rob picked up another shipping company and placed it near Jakarta. Good! I love competition! I picked up Spice on Java.


Era B - Turn 4 (2:42pm)

Joel and I increased our slots on the last R&D. Hull was becoming a factor and Tristan increased that, and Rob went with Expansion.

There was only one merger this time and it was between mine and Tristan's spice companies. I think he initiated it after thinking he could do Siap Faji and coming up a few bucks short. I ended up winning, and I think I got a good deal, as I was the only spice game in town.

I picked up another rubber plantation on Sumatra. Joel seemed torn in his decision and took the on on the Western coast. We were the only ones who could take anything. Things were starting to get interesting...You see, we had inadvertently extended Era B by taking the things we did.


Era B - Turn 5 (3:08pm)

R&D saw myself take "Expansion" again. I was planning on growing those oil fields I wanted to pick up quickly. Joel played catch up and took it, too. Tristan increased his hull again, trying to keep up with demand. And Rob also increased his hull.

Tristan initiated a merger with Joel's rice company in Bali. Joel didn't even bid to defend it and gave it to Tristan for face value! Maybe he wanted the extra slot? He used that slot to pick up the shipping company on the west side of Sumatra.

I expanded my rubber company over there so that I could alternately use his shipping company or Rob's, based on who I thought was winning. I also used my rubber company on Borneo to effectively cut off Tristan's growth of his rice farm on the island. I'm such a bastard!

At this point I'll point out that Joel, Rob and Tristan all had shipping companies. In a normal competitive, capitalistic environment, that means one thing: a race to the bottom as each competitor tries to undercut the other. In this game, it means that your profits are spread out and shared with the other shippers. Too many captains!!

On to Era C...


Era C - Turn 6 (3:52pm)

I ended up increasing my slots R&D. Maybe I could pick up an extra company or something. Rob went with Mergers as he licked his lips looking at our single deed holdings. Joel also jumped into the Merger game increasing his capacity to 2. Tristan chose Expansion.

Rob was determined to reprise his role as shipping baron. He initiated a merger between his smaller shipping company and Tristan's rapidly growing company. The bidding was fierce, but Rob got what he wanted. Flush with cash, Tristan greedily looked at my awesome rubber plantation in Borneo and declared a merger between it and Joel's Western' Sumatra plantation. It was a 14 property auction = $420 was the starting bid!! The bidding went up slowly, as neither Joel nor I could really afford to keep it (maybe we didn't want to either!). Tristan paid about 1 and a half times the value. 9/14ths went to me.

Flush with cash from the auction and realizing that now that Rob and Tristan had mighty industrial empires, and Joel and I had a lot of empty slots, we figured that we could end it by taking everything but oil! So we did!!! Enjoy the new companies! HAHAAAAHHAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!


Era C - Game End (4:22pm)

James $1618(winner), Tristan $729, Joel $1375, Rob $1219

It was classic! It seems like a lot of our games are quickly determined by a last ditch auction with the winner getting screwed because he doesn't have a chance to make back his money. It was in both Joel's and mine best interest to end the game asap after unloading valuable companies on Rob and Tristan. I don't know if I would have guessed the game was going to end that very round, but because of the extra slots that the mergers opened up, we could end it right there.

I think the only reason I won, as opposed to Joel, was because he was part of the shipping competition and never really had a chance to grow shipping to the size it should get to when only one or two people is focusing on it.

As usual, this game is just too fun. If you haven't had a chance to try it, I highly recommend finding a group of people who like to think, and have their actions play out and develop over the course of a few hours. I always have a blast playing this and eagerly anticipate the next time.

Tristan

Poor Tristan, made the mistake of buying a great company with not enough time to have it pay him back. Even with the double income at the end, he didn't really make back his money.

Joel



Rob counting his "millions"

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Joel J
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This was your best session report yet. A great game of a great game.
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Stephen Tudor
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Amazing session report. Keep 'em coming!
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Devin Smith
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Query: why did the Bali rice company start on the eastern half of Bali? the west half of the island touches two more sea zones, saving at least some money in shipping.

Probably more to come as I read through. Excellent session report.
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James Hemsley
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Excalabur wrote:
Query: why did the Bali rice company start on the eastern half of Bali? the west half of the island touches two more sea zones, saving at least some money in shipping.

Probably more to come as I read through. Excellent session report.


Thanks for the compliment!

Answer (maybe): The map isn't the best designed map for clarity (although it is quite pretty), and Bali is actually in an adjacent sea zone to the shipping. No matter which side of the island he put the rice on, it wouldn't have immediate access to shipping unless a ship moves into that zone.

You also might be asking about why not expand across into Java, but I think the owner was counting on the ships to come to him?

--James
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Rob Mixemong
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I can't believe I like this game so much. It makes my brain hurt and always seems kick me in the nuts. I get close to a good engine built and a couple of jackals’ siphon my gas! I really want to know how that game would have finished with one more turn. I bet Tristan would have had a monster cash company. Can’t wait for the next game.
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jason besly
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I am surprised that the cities are placed so favorably in a tight bunch in Era A to benefit the prdocution companies. It seems like the shipping barons would want you to go the ends of the earth to ship that early rice.

Great photos.
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Devin Smith
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Iceberg1 wrote:
Excalabur wrote:
Query: why did the Bali rice company start on the eastern half of Bali? the west half of the island touches two more sea zones, saving at least some money in shipping.


Answer (maybe): The map isn't the best designed map for clarity (although it is quite pretty), and Bali is actually in an adjacent sea zone to the shipping. No matter which side of the island he put the rice on, it wouldn't have immediate access to shipping unless a ship moves into that zone.

You also might be asking about why not expand across into Java, but I think the owner was counting on the ships to come to him?


The map isn't the clearest, I agree. But the point I'm making is simpler than that: as the rice guy, you want to ship things as cheaply as possible. Bali's in two pieces (an east half and a west half): the western one touches the sea areas north and south of Java Timur (see page 9 of the English-language rules). If he starts the Rice company in that spot, he can ship for R5 instead of praying a boat comes to him and then shipping for R10. Given where the city is, there's no option to expand into Java, of course.

The play blocking off the Siap Faji on Java with the spice company is cute. I also find the inevitable jockeying for position by the eastern rubber companies a fun little side-game in Indonesia.

The detect-the-last-turn game in Indonesia is a bit unfortunate. Even with double payouts, the last turn mergers are worth significantly less than penultimate-turn mergers; figuring out when the game is going to end is thus a mission-critical skill. Of course, the actions of oneself and others in the game strongly affect when the game is going to end, leading to even more complication. It's also a nontrivial mathematical exercise to decide what the true value of a company is during the auction for it, depending on shipping, turn order, and so on. I think I've seen more games lost bidding too high than too low, though.
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James Hemsley
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Excalabur wrote:

The map isn't the clearest, I agree. But the point I'm making is simpler than that: as the rice guy, you want to ship things as cheaply as possible. Bali's in two pieces (an east half and a west half): the western one touches the sea areas north and south of Java Timur (see page 9 of the English-language rules). If he starts the Rice company in that spot, he can ship for R5 instead of praying a boat comes to him and then shipping for R10. Given where the city is, there's no option to expand into Java, of course.


I was unaware that the western half of Bali had access to the Java sea zones. I don't have the instructions in front of me, but I seem to recall the entirety of Bali being in the Bali sea zone. If I'm wrong, then that is a big oversight on our part.

Quote:
The play blocking off the Siap Faji on Java with the spice company is cute. I also find the inevitable jockeying for position by the eastern rubber companies a fun little side-game in Indonesia.


That's just one of the fun little bonuses of this game, I agree.

Quote:
The detect-the-last-turn game in Indonesia is a bit unfortunate. Even with double payouts, the last turn mergers are worth significantly less than penultimate-turn mergers; figuring out when the game is going to end is thus a mission-critical skill. Of course, the actions of oneself and others in the game strongly affect when the game is going to end, leading to even more complication. It's also a nontrivial mathematical exercise to decide what the true value of a company is during the auction for it, depending on shipping, turn order, and so on. I think I've seen more games lost bidding too high than too low, though.


Agreed. Had Tristan and Rob realized that by buying Joel and my companies that they would be freeing us up for the little coup at the end, obviously they would not have done that. The dumb thing about it is that even I didn't see it until it came to my turn to "Acquire."

This game is a great roller coaster of decisions and the ramifications of those decisions. You actually have a lot of control over how the game plays out through acquisitions, mergers and customizing your company on the R&D track. And you can plan for things like mergers, if you assume your opponents are rational. I'll just reiterate that this is a great game that I'm always very eager to play.

--James


 
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Joel J
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Excalabur wrote:
The map isn't the clearest, I agree. But the point I'm making is simpler than that: as the rice guy, you want to ship things as cheaply as possible. Bali's in two pieces (an east half and a west half): the western one touches the sea areas north and south of Java Timur (see page 9 of the English-language rules).


Yeah, the reason I placed there was because we didn't realize it was connected. With this assumption, it's better to place in east bali since it's that much sooner you can expand into a new sea zone. It was actually the fact that the bali rice company never had more than one ship servicing it that cause a lot of problems for me. If only I had known! I have to wonder why you wouldn't draw the sea zones to intersect with west bali.

Quote:
I am surprised that the cities are placed so favorably in a tight bunch in Era A to benefit the prdocution companies. It seems like the shipping barons would want you to go the ends of the earth to ship that early rice.


The people who ended up with the shipping companies were probably first to place cities and last to acquire since it's easy to outbid for turn order. With time, we may be smarter and realize beforehand that if you're placing first, that's the situation you'll likely end up in and place differently.
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Devin Smith
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fattylumpkin wrote:
Yeah, the reason I placed there was because we didn't realize it was connected. With this assumption, it's better to place in east bali since it's that much sooner you can expand into a new sea zone. It was actually the fact that the bali rice company never had more than one ship servicing it that cause a lot of problems for me. If only I had known! I have to wonder why you wouldn't draw the sea zones to intersect with west bali.


Aha! That explains everything

If you look very closely, the line for the two sea zones next to Java actually crosses over Bali. While I'm at it, note that those seas are not next to each other.
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James Hemsley
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Excalabur wrote:
While I'm at it, note that those seas are not next to each other.


I'm pretty sure we got that, but the Bali thing is something we'll have to remember for the future. Thanks, Devin!

--James
 
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