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Subject: Should I Get This Game? rss

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Gerald Gan
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I'm on the fence whether I'm going to buy this game or not. Let's say that price and game time weren't big issues, do you guys think I should get this game? Is it true what others say that this game gets stale after a few plays? Do certain (if not all) scenarios have optimum strategies that people can and probably will exploit all the time? Is it fiddly to the point of impracticality? Do the stories about people getting the game w/ missing parts happen more often that not?

I'm really torn on whether or not to get this, so maybe you guys can sway me in the right direction. Hehehehe... I love Indonesia by the way, along with other economic games like Container, Le Havre, Brass, etc..
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J C Lawrence
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Roads & Boats is not an economic game. It is a nearly pure logistics game. The entire game consists of planning competitively optimal transport sequences. There are few games like it. The nearest similar game, and it isn't very similar, is Neuland.

I have no idea if you should acquire Roads & Boats. I think it a fine game and am glad to own a copy.
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I own both this game and the expansion and feel they were worthwhile purchases.
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Pone McPoneface
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There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night, and if you go no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone. Ripple in still water, when there is no pebble tossed, nor wind to blow.
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I completely agree with the above posts concerning Roads & Boats. The planning and logistics are truly the heart of the game and I consider it to have a very unique game mechanic. I personally consider & Cetera to be must have expansion and can not imagine playing without it in my humble opinion. In my experience the game takes a significant amount of time to complete, which might be a detractor, but this may just be my experience with the game. I do tend to ponder the logistics and strategy over a much longer period of time than I care to admit!

Pros: Fun and unique.

Cons: Expensive.

edit: grammar blush
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Erin Wolthausen
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I haven't played enough to say definitively, but complaints about it getting stale seem odd, given the variability offered by a modular board. You can always play random maps for something new, or generate your own exotic scenarios. You will, of course, find yourself making the same few moves in the first several turns nearly every time you play, but this is true of many games.

The "optimum strategy" can often be subverted by the player who rushes the game scoring points on the Wonder. Besides, Le Havre and Brass are clearly optimum-strategy games also, and like R&B, both call for significant tactical decisions at times.

In terms of fiddliness, the game is hardly worse than Indonesia, though you'll want a good storage solution.

I agree with clearclaw that there are few games like it, but I think there are some cosmetic similarities to the games you mention which may appeal to you. Using basic goods to build the mechanisms that allow you to upgrade goods is echoed by Le Havre, though it's a more difficult tech-tree to navigate in R&B. Brass allows players to take some advantage of other players' infrastructure and buildings; increase that exponentially and you get R&B, where everything except the goods loaded on players' transporters is up for grabs.

I recommend the game.
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Garry Rice
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I've only played it once and my head still hurts...but I really enjoyed it. Just keep in mind that you don't own what you build...as everyone else has said, it's a logistics game, and anything you build can be used by any other player. I'm not convinced that it gets predictable/repeatable as you can always just pick a random setup. The early game is straightforward enough, but as you grow your transportation options, the number of options available grows through the roof. Its also a rather long game, although in many cases everyone can play at the same time.
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marc magner
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webster
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After looking at your ratings/rankings of games, I agree it is something that you should consider. Due to the cost and the unique game play, i'd never tell someone that they NEED to buy this game without trying it first, but it is something that you should try if you can.

That said, I personally prefer Antiquity over R&B and as a result rarely play R&B.... They scratch similar itches and antiquity is a quicker and more streamlined game, which I also think should be high on your radar.

mm
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Sterling Babcock
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I have played it about 20 times and I am still not bored with it. The maps are very variable, which can significantly change how you go about your plan, as well as how other players interact with you.

I also enjoy the puzzle aspect of trying to score in single player games. I have worked through 2 or 3 of the single player games they provide, and I enjoy it. I actually play on pen and paper when I am waiting for something. It is kind of fun to go back in time and decide, oh yes! I did move that board back on turn 5! (There I am working towards the perfect movement sequence, rather than playing a sequential single player game.)

It can be very fiddly, but that is just the game. It is not nearly as fiddly as Antiquity (personal opinion.).

I still have not fully played with the expansion. I need to find experienced players to try it out!

Oddly enough, I have the opposite opinion of Marc. I would rather play Roads and Boats than Antiquity as I find the latter to have less replayability. Also, I dislike the graves and pollution, which I find depressing. Roads and Boats is all about building your civilization up, not tearing it down and using up resources. But hey, that is just opinion!
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Jay Sheely
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I've played 4 times and enjoy the game immensely. On a whole, I like heavier, more complex games and R&B's fits in nicely.

I don't think it's any more fiddly than Le Havre or a standard wargame. Perhaps less fiddly than Agricola.

It's quite fun, can be brutally competitive and should have a high replayability factor due to the modular board. Although a modular board doesn't mean high replayability, I mean, look at Chess.

There aren't any other games like it (but I wouldn't get it just for that reason).

I like to describe it as "Settlers of Catan... except all of your actions have a point."

And if you don't like it, trade it for something else.

I feel it's one of the great, classic games out there (in the same league as Powergrid & Age of Steam)

Recommended (and if you live near Seattle, come on by and we'll play my copy)
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Craig Sanderlin
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Stale is not a concern of mine. Both the modular board and the actions / reactions of the other players keep it fresh. It even works great as a solo game because you are always trying to improve yourself and it helps develop strategies for multiplayer.
 
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