I'm still wondering about the game as well. I hear a lot of comments that it is boring, too easy, and that you can do nothing and still score 18 points. But the designer made some interesting comments, so I may still pick it up sometime. Here are some quotes:
"You know, i think it's my responsability. Nowadays, more and more players tend to think that they understand the game perfectly the game from the scratch (there's a lot of new games each month and less time to play them properly). The case of Bombay is even worse cause it appears as a simple game. So many players think that they just have to 1-2-3 buy somewhere, 1-2-3 sell elsewhere. But the game is more subtle than this. Like Amyitis, Bombay is a rythm game, and you've got to catch the whole pattern of your opponent's moves (and turn order) to maximize your final score.
When i see the low scores in some games of Bombay, i know for sure that those people need more plays to discover the subtleties of the game, but of course they may think that the game is really too simple and maybe broken. Sign of the times..."
"But in Bombay, you need some skill and there's not much luck. For me luck in Bombay is only statistics : if you want absolutely a yellow bale from the bag and you can see that 2 yellows are already on elephant's bags, then you're totally playing with luck ! But if you want a blue, with no blue bales in sight, you will have it in most cases. I will post some figures soon about the odds of drawing a certain color, and you will see that clever replacement is also a part of the strategy in this game..."
"18 is a really low score for Bombay. In a "normal" 4-player game, the experimented winner should score above 30, and probably around 35. Every player should be above 20.
If a player choose to pass all along the game, then he will help all the other players to achieve greter score because he won't compete with them.."
"The fifth position is Bombay is certainly not bad. Our statistics (more than 200 games) prove that the fifth player has aan equal chance to win the game. But of course it does not mean he may do anything, quite the contrary : the fifth player has more informations than the other players and an additional coin at the start of the game. He must absolutely use these 2 advantages in order to make a good start. He he just follows another player and matches his strategy, the start will be really really bad..."
And bigbadgoo made this comment: "I just got Bombay last week, and we played an initial 4 player game right out of the box...I had an incredibly bad game, made several horrendous decisions, and even got caught at the end with silk bales on my elephant. I finished the game with only 12 Rupees. This prompted laughter and the same discussion that, had I done nothing, I would have had a better score. While this is true in rare cases, I have since played 5 four player games and 2 five player games. In none of those games did the winning player have a total in the teens. So, while just passing the enire game, might give a player a better score than he/she might have otherwise if other people's strategies really work against them, it cannot give them the advantage they need to win the game. And even if in some rare instance it did give someone the win, it would not be something that could be replicated without dozens of games. So passing the whole game can make you feel better about yourself if you are the consummate loser, and cant do better than 15 rupees a game, but it will never make you a real winner, but at times deliver you a third place instead of last. The fact that doing so basically says to the world, "I am too dumb to figure out the strategy to win this game" would also have to be taken into consideration, and the fact the whole reason to play games is to interact and have fun....not to sit there collecting your rupee welfare check for sidelining your elephant all game."
So, all these comments make me really interested in this game, so I will keep it on my to buy list .
Hrmm, having played the game multiple times, I'd really take Tom's review with a grain of salt. The whole deal with passing that he makes such a big deal about is a complete non-issue, as 18 is not going to be a competitive score. A score of around 25-30 is routinely going to win. Furthermore, who on Earth would play a game just to pass every turn anyways?
I think he also way over-trivialized the decision making in this one. It's an optimization game; you score the most points possible given the number of actions you have. So no, you're not always going to just deliver the cube to the place where it's in highest demand. You may need a client or a chip from another city, or maybe you want to put down a palace with the cube in hopes of scoring points for people passing over it. No, the decisions still aren't incredibly deep, but there's more to it than Tom implies.
I'm not a huge fan of the game either, but moves certainly aren't as programmed/automatic as this review makes them out to be.
I will insist on this point once more : 18 is NOT a competitive score in Bombay. Usually and fom the very first games everyone should be above 18 points, and the winner above 30.
So passing ang getting 18 is just plain silly...
Once again : if someone plan is to pass every turn, then every other players should thank this player, because :
1) he will finish last 2) he won't compete for buying and selling silk 3) he won't compete for cities marker (every other player will probably earn 8 coins and he will score 0). 4) he won't compete for palaces + clients (he'll earn 0 coins, and the other players will earn from 2 to 8 coins)
So, considering this, is anybody REALLY interested about passing all along the game ?
I would like to add thant Bombay is only simple in appearance. There's plenty of strategical and rythm options. Maybe they don't appear during the first game, but this game has a good learning curve...
Based on one play with 5 players, it seems that taking a coin a turn will not yield anywhere near victory. We all had 25-32 points at the end. Perhaps kids/less good players will score lower, but 18 coins does not seem like a lot.
Regardless, I did not enjoy this game in the slightest, and will not be playing again in the future.
Thanks for the honest review! Negative ones are so much more difficult.
The only time taking a gold coin is a viable choice is either at the beginning when you are out of money and need a coin to do something or at the end of a round when you are waiting for a cube refresh. That's why the mechanism is there. Tom gets a lot of reviews right but this one he really missed the mark (he probably only played once and the scores were low so he made a major assumption, but in this case he just made one of himself).