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Subject: The Second Time Around... rss

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Mitch Willis
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Kathleen
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We played another 4-player session of Masters of Venice this past Friday evening. We had played it a couple of weeks ago but we got a couple of rules wrong; also, during ‘bout the first third of that first game, it seemed kind of fiddly but then it slowly started to click with us. We started to see some of the possibilities but are scores seemed sort of low as they ranged from 14 to 22. We thought the game showed some promise though and wanted to get it back to the table. In the week leading up to this session, the designer was kind enough to provide some answers and insight to a couple of rules clarifications I asked for...we wanted to make sure the second time around that we had the rules down pat.

In our first game, we all kind of concentrated on Guild Orders and left stocks pretty much alone...that changed significantly this game. While Bowen & I did concentrate on the Guild Orders more than Kevin and Robert, we did diversify a bit by buying multiple stocks in both shipping offices. Kevin really ramped up the commodity stocks, particularly Spices. Robert hit the resources fairly, particularly Grain and concentrated solely on Grain stocks until the end game.

Bowen and I jumped ahead early with the Guild Orders, and since we both had Shipping Office stocks, we went there often grabbing free resource cubes and dividends for a little early money. Kevin filled 2 or 3 Guild Orders, but had trouble with one since it had a Grain and Robert was hoarding Grain. In the mean time, Kevin ramped up the price and stock of Spice (he held 7 shares) and when it split, he got 7 VPs. He then bought up some Grain stock since Robert was ramping it up and when it split, Robert got 4 VPs, and Kevin got 3. I was now seeing the importance of stocks but thought I might be too late...even though I was ahead on the board due to Guild Orders, Kevin had a huge stock/ducat advantage (NOTE: he really used the Tax Collector to advantage in increasing his earnings).

I finally started to get into the commodity stock game in the last few turns. I noticed that Kevin had 4 fabric cubes and Fabric stock was within 3 or 4 pegs of splitting. When Kevin bought 3 shares of it, I in turn bought 3 shares giving me 4 total (I was dealt one at the beginning of the game). On the last turn or two, Kevin sold his 4 Fabric cubes, its stock split, giving him 3 & me 4 VPs. When the game ended, Robert had finished with 21 (it was his first game and that was close to the high score in our first game), Bowen had 30 (primarily on Guild Orders), Kevin had 35 as he scored about 25 points from stock & ducat VPs (and he lost 2 from an unfulfilled order), and I finished with 39 getting just enough from my ducats & stock (11 VPs) to eke out a tight win. If Kevin had been able to fulfill that one Guild Order or if I had continued to ignore the commodity stocks, he would’ve won.

This game session went much better and smoother than the first. The three of us who had played before (Kevin, Bowen, and myself) had seen our scores improve from 21, 14, and 22 from our first game to 35, 30, and 39. This session really opened up my eyes as to how important stocks can be (thanks, Kevin!) especially since in some of the posts I’ve read thus far, several folks said they didn’t pay much attention to stocks in their first game. I still think Guild Orders are important, but I don’t think you can ignore the stock market element completely and expect to win. I think Masters of Venice shows a lot of promise and I can’t wait to get it to the table again. As the old song goes, the second time around was "...much better than the first time."
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K Bowen
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Pinehurst
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I totally agree with you Mitch, we should have focused in on stocks earlier. However, as we are still learning and tweeking our strategies, I look forward to playing again.
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Kevin Brown
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I actually only completed one guild order. There just weren't ever any yellow cubes out there on the docks when it was my turn to buy. I probably should have drawn an additional card one of the times when people were at the Guild Hall.

I like this game.
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Mitch Willis
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Kathleen
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phi1231 wrote:
I totally agree with you Mitch, we should have focused in on stocks earlier. However, as we are still learning and tweeking our strategies, I look forward to playing again.

You're right there Kev, I think there's still plenty of fine tuning to do to our strategies. I thought we actually did OK in the early game with the shipping office stocks...on reflection though, I'm thinking they're good for getting some spending money early but pale in comparison to the long-term potential earnings of the commodity stocks as Kevin and, to a lesser degree, Robert proved. I should've also mentioned in the session report how well you used the Trader...I had totally forgotten about his power to exchange any owned cube for another and you used that nicely to complete your last guild order...


pilight wrote:
I actually only completed one guild order. There just weren't ever any yellow cubes out there on the docks when it was my turn to buy. I probably should have drawn an additional card one of the times when people were at the Guild Hall.

I like this game.

Wow, Kevin, I totally missed that you only completed one...I knew Bowen & I completed the same number of guild orders (5 each) so I was thinking you had at least 2...man, you racked up A LOT more points off of stocks than I first realized...
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George Heintzelman
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My experience with the second game was similar to yours, with us moving from focussing solely on guild order fulfillment to playing around with the stock game.

On reflection from our second game, I think third and subsequent plays will probably start to highlight the importance of the Trader role. Your first play, he looks underpowered compared to the Harbormaster or Thief who are collecting free resources left and right, but as we see the value of stocks, the value of being able to get *the exact set of cubes that you want* in the shop where you hold the majority becomes apparent... do you folks think so too?
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Mitch Willis
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threlicus wrote:
My experience with the second game was similar to yours, with us moving from focussing solely on guild order fulfillment to playing around with the stock game.

On reflection from our second game, I think third and subsequent plays will probably start to highlight the importance of the Trader role. Your first play, he looks underpowered compared to the Harbormaster or Thief who are collecting free resources left and right, but as we see the value of stocks, the value of being able to get *the exact set of cubes that you want* in the shop where you hold the majority becomes apparent... do you folks think so too?


Yes, the Harbormaster and Thief seem to be more valuable at first glance and they were the most wanted roles in our first game. In our second game, they were still popular, but 2 more roles showed themselves as equally valuable. Kevin used the Tax Collector to greatly increase his income, and Bowen used the Trader but in a bit different manner than you described above: he used it to complete a very difficult Guild Order late in the game for another 6 VPs. I hadn't thought about using the Trader to affect the value of my stocks, but that's very viable as well...that's a good observation...I'll keep that in my hip pocket for the next game...

We also found the bidding to be a bit higher in our second game...did y'all find that to be the case as well???
 
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George Heintzelman
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otha62 wrote:

We also found the bidding to be a bit higher in our second game...did y'all find that to be the case as well???


Definitely. I 'won' the Gondolieri with bids of 15 and 20 respectively the second game, where those would likely have been in 2nd place in game 1 (4 players, BTW, which feels like the right number for this game, though I haven't played it with another number.)

I noticed that I, at least, was at least partly bidding for the right to increase Orders at my shop of choice, a time or two.

Watch out for when people hold 3 shares in a stock you control with 4 or more (getting 4 or more at all can be a little dangerous, I think -- you can't dump them all at once without killing the value of the ones you're left with.) I walloped the second-place player in our second play by going to the Stock Market on the last turn, selling 3 tailor shares and using a rumor to knock down the stock price. That cost him $140 in stock value right there. These kinds of manuvers are prime uses for the Gondolieri 'jump ahead in turn order' power.

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clemens kremer
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nice session, thanks for sharing
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Aaron Medvick
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I have never been the gondolier, and have won the last 4 times we have played. My thought, is if you can bid $40 to get a thief to steal a good that is worth $40, it pays for itself. Just an example.

Also, stock market depends highly on how many people are playing. In three player game, its not as important -- but in 5 player games the shipping office stocks are golden. Also, you want to focus on buying stocks that have goods that are extremely low in value and/or are saturated -- for those will be sold, and stock will rise.

In a three player game, try taking out 3 stocks of everything and see what happens. We did that last night, and it made the game tighter and also made it so we did not focus on stocks as much -- for there were less to buy. We still paid out the same dividends as if we had 10 shares out.

Also, the trader comes in real handy on the first move for you can trade goods you have, buy 2 and then guarantee the guild hall gets filled immediately. Go to guild hall next turn and you get $150 and chances are, if you are first, no one else will have guild hall done. Granted, you paid $100 for the two goods and $50 to go first and traded the other -- and only break even at the worst case. But you set yourself up for the next turn. Take another card, then third turn, go back to mercato and BAM already have two completed guild halls (iff someone else goes to docks for you). Now you are +$180 after the third turn. Now to thwart that, the thief helps out by stealing goods... and then the harbour master will make the price of goods decline -- making everyone that bought the goods sort of worthless. Try that the next game.

Stocks help, but there are many many many other avenues to win.

Thus the beauty of the game.



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Aaron Medvick
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Oh and if you get majority in a company, say you have 2 stocks more than anyone else, you try to accrue those goods and sell them in your shop.

You will get money for goods, %20 dividend more than anyone, and then stock split, you will get 2 more vps than anyone.

Assume price is $50 and you have 6 goods and stock price is $60. and you have 4 shares.

$600 for goods
$240 for shares
4 vp for stocks
and value of stocks are still $60 thus $240 for stocks

14 victory points there -- without even using a guild hall card. Potentially 15, if you have 10 more dollars.



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Jon Pessano
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Medvick wrote:
In a three player game, try taking out 3 stocks of everything and see what happens. We did that last night, and it made the game tighter and also made it so we did not focus on stocks as much -- for there were less to buy. We still paid out the same dividends as if we had 10 shares out.


We? I do not remember Frank or I realizing you took out 3 shares until a few turns in :-)

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Aaron Medvick
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Well I took the stocks out and we played the game.
 
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