At Origins this past week, I had the opportunity to observe a four player game of Finca. Explained quickly by the folks at Rio Grande, it looked interesting and seemed to play quite nicely. But what about for two?
The next day, I got my chance to find out. S and I were zooming around the Exhibit hall when we spied one of the tables with Finca on it was vacant. What the heck, let's give it a shot!
Since we had both seen the rundown the previous day, and he had jumped online to give the rules a more thorough reading we were ready to go. The rules for this game are few and easy to understand so with a quick set-up of the board, we were off to the orchard.
You have two choices on each turn. You can either harvest - fruit, almonds or olives - or you can take your harvest to market. There are 4 special tiles which allow you "super" actions during the game, or they can be saved for VPs at the end.
Since the rules are discussed thoroughly in other reports, I will simply focus on this game.
I decided to start off by going for a couple of the multi-fruit tiles in the market as it seemed to be the way to pick up some higher numbers a bit faster. While S chose to try and go the single fruit route.
Play progressed quickly and it seemed as if S had the better strategy, being the first to achieve a set of 1-6 and get the seven point bonus. With only one Finca (building) remaining to be placed, I had to decide whether or not to use my Super Donkey to deliver ten fruits and get three smaller tiles, or simply deliver six this turn and the rest the next to hang onto him for the 2 VPs. I decided to take my chances and in doing so, realized I had completed my 1-6 run and picked up 6 VPs in addition to the market tiles.
That turned out to be the decisive move in the game, even if I didn't realize it before I made it. On his next move, S placed the final Finca. If I hadn't used my Super Donkey, I would have missed out on the 6 VPs for completing my run, and the extra fruit I was able to carry and sell. When we tallied our points the final score was me 63 and S 54.
Final thoughts: Light, fun and quick. This is a game that seems to play equally well with two or four players. There is strategy involved, albeit nothing that should ever result in AP. Do I go for the big sale, or several smaller ones. Do I use my special action tiles or save those for the VPs? And while hoarding can result in a bit of a screwage factor, I can't see that as a viable strategy - rather just a spur of the moment action when you and another player might be close in heading to market and you need to slow them down for a turn.
I loved that set up was very quick. Nothing worse than a short game that takes longer to set up than to play! And the rules are simple and straightforward. No reading is required during gameplay, so it is certainly suitable for just about anyone who can count to six.